Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macoumba and Malibu Moon

Macoumba on a gray summer day in 2010.
This entry is on a personal favorite mare, Macoumba, who has exerted a great influence on modern racing despite not producing a stakes winner -- although there is still time for that to happen.

Macoumba raced exclusively in France, where in two starts at two she broke her maiden and won the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium des Pouliches-G1, both at Longchamp, for trainer Criquette Head-Maarek. As a three-year-old, she hit the board once, winning the black-type Prix Imprudence, in four starts. At the conclusion of her racing career in July, 1995, the de Chambure family’s Haras d’Etreham sold her privately to B. Wayne Hughes.

The bay filly was imported to the United States and she began her broodmare career at Walmac Int’l. As Group 1 winner by Mr. Prospector and a half-sister to Septieme Ciel -- a stallion standing at Walmac at the time -- Macoumba was ridiculously well bred but she wasn’t the easiest of horses to fool around with. Like many graded stakes-winning fillies, she could be tough. As I got to know her better, I loved to go into the field and wait for her to come to me -- she always did -- for a head scratch. I had to hold my hand out for Macoumba to use as a scratching post. If I didn’t, she would halfway knock me down rubbing her head on my arm, shoulder, back, face -- wherever Her Majesty pleased. She lived at Walmac until Hughes bought Spendthrift Farm and moved his stock there.

There wouldn’t be many racemares successful at the top level who are better bred than Macoumba. One of 45 Grade/Group 1 winners for Mr. Prospector, she was the seventh of thirteen foals out of her dam Maximova (Fr), a Group 1 winner against colts in France and classic-placed (against fillies) in Ireland (second in the Irish One Thousand Guineas) and France (third in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches - French One Thousand Guineas). Like Macoumba, she was trained by Criquette Head-Maarek. At stud, the 1980-foaled daughter of Green Dancer had five stakes winners: Septieme Ciel-G1 (by Seattle Slew); Macoumba-G1; Maxigroom-G3 (Blushing Groom); Balchaia (Nureyev); and Manureva (Nureyev), later the dam of G1 winner/millionaire Riviera.

Macoumba's half-brother Septieme Ciel in 1995 (the date on the scanned photo is wrong).
Septieme Ciel was Maximova’s leading runner. He won five races, most notably the Prix de la Foret-G1, Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte-G2, Prix Thomas Bryon-G3, and Prix Messidor-G3, under the tutelage Criquette Head. He also finished second by a head to Itsallgreektome in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 1990, despite being bumped twice in the stretch. Septieme Ciel stood at Walmac in Kentucky until moving to Haras d’Etreham in France in 1998, and he was later sold to Dairy House Stud in England. As far as I know, he’s still there, alive and kicking at the age of 26. The best of his 24 stakes winners are Oak Leaf Stakes-G1 winner Vivid Angel and American Gipsy, a multiple Group 1 winner in Brazil. Among seven Grade 1 winners out of Septieme Ciel mares are Cirrus des Aigles (three Group 1 wins through 2012); Happy Ticket; and Officer and Proud Accolade, both of whom won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont.

But it is Septieme Ciel’s half-sister Macoumba whose accomplishments have kept this family relevant in the 2000s. Here is her produce record:

~1997 Malibu Moon (c. by A.P. Indy). Winner in 2 starts at 2, $33,840.
~1998 Somethingdangerous (g. by Danzig). 14 wins, 4 to 11, $304,431.
~1999 Curriculum (f. by Danzig). Unraced.
~2000 Parker’s Storm Cat (c. by Storm Cat). Winner at 3, $40,800.
~2001 Lady Nichola (f. by A.P. Indy). Placed in 1 start at 2, $9,800.
~2002 dead foal (by A.P. Indy)
~2003 no report
~2004 British Medium (c. by Storm Cat). 2 wins at 4, $52,802.
~2005 Patricias Prospect (f. by A.P. Indy). Unraced.
~2006 Malvinia (f. by A.P. Indy). Placed at 4, $5,440.
~2007 Mutually Benefit (f. by Dynaformer). 3 wins at 4, $146,289, 3rd CTT and Thoroughbred Owners of California H. [L].
~2008 Messner (c. by Bernardini). Unplaced in 2 starts at 2.
~2009 barren (to Bernardini)
~2010 Positively (c. by Distorted Humor). Winner at 2, 2012, $86,515, 2nd Iroquois S.-G3, Bashford Manor S.-G3.
~2011 Fiji Moon (f. by Indian Charlie). Sold to Solis Bloodstock for $650,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
~2012 Unnamed (c. by Indian Charlie).
~2013 (bred to Tizway)

Macoumba as a younger broodmare, in 1999.
Her first foal, Malibu Moon (whose sire A.P. Indy is a son of Septieme Ciel’s sire Seattle Slew), had a freak injury as a weanling, breaking two sesamoids when he was running and slid in the mud. After months of stall rest, the regally bred colt was physically backward compared to his contemporaries. But when he went into training with Mel Stute, he soon showed his connections that he was fast. Very fast. The Hughes homebred was tearing up the Southern California racetracks in the mornings and went off the favorite in both his starts, maiden special weights at Hollywood, where he was second on April 30, 1999, and won (he paid $2.80) on May 31.

Macoumba's first foal, an A.P. Indy colt born on February 23, 1997 -- leading sire Malibu Moon. I have a better picture, somewhere. Somewhere...
Handsome little guy.
Injury cut short his career before he could run again, but Malibu Moon was given a chance at stud. He started out at Country Life Farm in Maryland for $3,000. When his first crop yielded Perfect Moon, who won the Best Pal Stakes-G2 and the Hollywood Juvenile Championship-G2 at two in 2003, Malibu Moon’s ticket to Kentucky was booked for the 2004 season. At $10,000, his fee was modest while he had to prove he belonged in the Kentucky market. He was raised to $17,500 after coming up with champion two-year-old Declan’s Moon in his second crop. Today, Malibu Moon is one of the most sought-after sires in the industry, standing for $70,000 at his owner’s historic Spendthrift. 

"All growed up" -- Malibu Moon in January, 2013. A plate bearing the name of his grandsire Seattle Slew, who once stood at Spendthrift, is on the door behind him.
Malibu Moon’s graded stakes winners to date are:

~Declans Moon-G1 (2002; out of Vee Vee Star, by Norquestor): champion 2-year-old
~Ask the Moon-G1 (2005; Always Asking, Valid Appeal)
~Devil May Care-G1 (2007; Kellis Ransom, Red Ransom) *died of lymphosarcoma in 2011
~Edens Moon-G1 (2009; Eden’s Causeway, Giant’s Causeway)
~Funny Moon-G1 (2006; Fun Crowd, Easy Goer)
~Life At Ten-G1 (2005; Rahrahsixboombah, Rahy): millionaire
~Malibu Mint-G1 (2002; Ivory Mint, Key to the Mint)
~Malibu Prayer-G1 (2006; Grand Prayer, Grand Slam)
~Kauai Katie-G2 (2010; More Than Pretty, More Than Ready)
~Luna Vega-G2 (2005; Donnavega, Rock Royalty)
~Malibu Pier-G2 (2007; Blue Moon, Lomitas)
~Moon Catcher-G2 (2004; Smartster, Smarten)
~More Chocolate-G2 (2009; Little Treasure, Night Shift)
~Perfect Moon-G2 (2001; Perfectly, Parfaitement)
~Prospective-G2 (2009; Spirited Away, Awesome Again)
~Raw Silk-G2 (2005; Silken Sash, Danehill)
~Sara Louise-G2 (2006; Kings Lynn, Mt. Livermore)
~Sweet August Moon-G2 (2005; Silent Academy, Royal Academy)
~Ah Day-G3 (2003; Endette, Thirty Eight Paces)
~Bobina-G3 (2009; Maliziosa, Dynaformer)
~Hot Summer-G3 (2008; Summer Delight, Quiet American)
~Moonwalk-G3 (2010; Lucinda K, Red Ransom)
~Oydsseus-G3 (2007; Persimmon Hill, Conquistador Cielo) *died of laminitis after contracting colitis in 2010
~Rodman-G3 (2005; Crystal Gem, Affirmed) *died early in his first season at stud
~Winding Way-G3 (2009; More Than Pretty, More Than Ready)

full siblings

Known, as you can see, for his fillies, Malibu Moon is overdue for a big colt. Perhaps three-year-old Orb, who recently won at Gulfstream Park and was profiled by Sid Fernando on his blog, will be the one who steps up to the plate. But his star so far in 2013 is three-year-old Kauai Katie, already winner of the Forward Gal Stakes-G2 and the Old Hat Stakes-G3 in 2013 and of two Grade 2s -- the Matron Stakes and Adirondack Stakes -- last year. Her only career loss is a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1.

Eden’s Moon (there’s a photo here) was sold as a racing or broodmare prospect to Mandore International Agency for $1,525,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale, while Prospective, featured in a post last spring, won five stakes races at three and ran in the Kentucky Derby (as did the filly Devil May Care in 2010). In off-track news, Declan’s Moon is participating in the Retired Racehorse Retraining Project 100 Day Thoroughbred Challenge.

A Malibu Moon filly out of More Than Pretty breezing at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale in March, 2012. Better known now as Kauai Katie, she won her first start by 12 lengths at Saratoga and has three Grade 2 wins and one Grade 3.
Back to Macoumba, of her other foals, three-year-old colt Positively was multiple graded stakes-placed in 2012; Mutually Benefit is stakes-placed; and Parker’s Storm Cat is standing stud at Gibson Thoroughbred Farm in Washington (after also beginning his career at Country Life) and has sired millionaire/Grade 3 winner Ben’s Cat. Messner, by A.P. Indy’s son Bernardini and thus bred similarly to Malibu Moon, is at Penn Ridge Farms in Pennsylvania for his first breeding season, covering on a $1,500 fee.

Curriculum as a foal in 1999, with her dam Macoumba in the background.
Daughters of Macoumba have made a good start to their broodmare careers. Curriculum’s second foal is Grade 3 winner Temple City (by Dynaformer), who is standing his third season at stud, breeding for $5,000 at Spendthrift alongside his close relative Malibu Moon. Temple City has a two-year-old full brother named Box Score, and their dam was bred to Tiz Wonderful in 2012. Another Macoumba daughter, Lady Nichola, is represented by Grade 3 winner Worth Repeating, by Giant’s Causeway, and was bred to Tizway for her 2013 foal.

Curriculum's son Temple City at Spendthrift Farm in January, 2013.
Mutually Benefit just had her first foal, a colt by Tapit (a grandson of A.P. Indy) born on January 27. Malibu Moon’s full sister Patricias Prospect (whose oldest foal is four) also has a January foal, a filly by Eskendereya -- this in addition to a yearling filly by Warrior’s Reward and a two-year-old by Tiz Wonderful (named All for Us). Malvinia, the other full sister, has no surviving foals yet but was bred to Giant’s Causeway for this year.


  1. Nice comprehensive look at Malibu Moon's family. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Frances. Very informative and well written. Enjoyed it very much.

  3. So many good horses ... so little time!

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  6. I confirmed with Spendthrift Farm management that, to the best of their knowledge, Temple City has not yet been bred to any Malibu Moon mares... after 4 years at stud. Wait a waste of some opportunities to double this great mare Macoumba!