Racing colours of Susan Magnier
|Breeder||David Tsui and Orpendale|
|Owner||Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor|
|Ballysax Stakes (2001)
Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (2001)
Epsom Derby (2001)
Irish Derby (2001)
K. George VI & Q. Elizabeth Stakes (2001)
|European Champion Three-Year-Old Colt (2001)
Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland
(2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
|Last updated on 10 November 2012|
Galileo (foaled 30 March 1998) is a retired Irish Thoroughbred racehorse and active sire. In a racing career which lasted from October 2000 until October 2001 he ran eight times and won six races. He is best known for winning the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby Stakes, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2001 and for his rivalry with the Godolphin champion Fantastic Light. Since his retirement Galileo has become known as a prolific and successful sire of racehorses, including Cape Blanco, New Approach, Frankel and Australia.
Galileo is a 16 1⁄2 hh (64.5 inches, 164 cm) bay horse with a narrow white blaze and a white sock on his near hind leg. He was sired by Sadler's Wells out of the mare Urban Sea. His breeders were David Tsui, the owner of Urban Sea, and "Orpendale", a name used by the Coolmore Stud organisation for some of their breeding interests. He was described as a three-year-old as being "one of the most impeccably bred horses in training".
Sadler's Wells (1981-2011) won three Group One races in 1984 and went on to sire the winners of over 2,000 races, including more than 130 at Group One/Grade I level. He was the most successful sire in the history of British racing, being the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland a record 14 times. Urban Sea (1989-2009) won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 1993 and went on to become an outstanding broodmare. Apart from Galileo, she was the dam of the Derby winner Sea The Stars, and the Grade I winners Black Sam Bellamy (Tattersalls Gold Cup) and My Typhoon (Diana Stakes), as well as All Too Beautiful (Group race winner, Group One placed) and Melikah (Listed race winner, Group One placed).
2000: two-year-old career
Galileo did not appear on the racecourse until late October 2000, when he was entered in a sixteen-runner maiden race at Leopardstown. He was made the even-money favourite, despite the field containing two runners each from the stables of the leading Irish trainers John Oxx and Jim Bolger. Mick Kinane tracked the leaders on Galileo before sending the colt into the lead in the straight. Although there were less than two furlongs to the finish, Galileo extended his lead fourteen lengths by the end of the race.
2001: three-year-old career
As a three-year-old, Galileo was conditioned for a middle-distance campaign and was aimed at Derby trial races in spring. On his debut, he was made 1/3 favourite for the Listed Ballysax Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Leopardstown. Racing smoothly throughout the race, he took the lead two furlongs out and won "easily" by three and a half lengths. Runner-up Milan went on to win the St Leger and finish second in the Breeders' Cup Turf, while the third-placed Vinnie Roe won four consecutive Irish St Legers. After the race, Galileo he was offered at odds of 8/1 for the Derby. O'Brien was satisfied with the performance, especially as he believed the colt was some way from peak fitness ("[my horses]...are as big as bulls") and likely to improve.
Galileo had his third race at Leopardstown in May as he was stepped up in class for the Group Two Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial. He was made odds-on favourite, and was ridden for the first and only time by Seamie Heffernan, as Kinane was riding Milan in the Group One Prix Lupin on the same day. Galileo took the lead a furlong from home and stayed on to beat the John Oxx-trained Exaltation by one and a half lengths. Although Heffernan put Galileo under pressure before going clear, the colt's Derby odds were cut to 5-1.
At Epsom, Galileo started 11/4 joint-favourite alongside the 2,000 Guineas winner Golan. The 2001 Epsom Derby field was strong, with Tobougg, the previous year's champion two-year old, and the winners of most of the major Derby trials,including Mr Combustible (Chester Vase), Dilshaan (Dante Stakes) and Perfect Sunday (Lingfield Derby Trial), all taking part. Kinane positioned Galileo just behind the leaders and turned into the straight in third behind Mr Combustible and Perfect Sunday. Two furlongs from the finish, Galileo moved past Mr Combustible and quickly went clear to record an "impressive" three and a half length victory over Golan, Tobougg and Mr Combustible. Following the race, Timeform assigned a figure of 130 to Galileo, making him, in their opinion, the best Derby winner for ten years. Kinane was reported to have called Galileo the best horse he had ridden, saying, "There is no weakness to him... He is a dream to ride."
In the Irish Derby at The Curragh, three weeks later, Galileo was made favourite at odds of 4/11, with Golan and Exaltation the only other horses starting at less than 20/1. Galileo led two furlongs from the finish and quickly went clear. Although Kinane eased the colt down in the closing stages, he won by four lengths from the Derby Italiano winner Morshdi, with Golan another four lengths back in third. Kinane, who was winning his first Irish Derby in seventeen attempts said that he was always in "complete control", while Morshdi's jockey, Philip Robinson described the winner as "a freak".
Galileo was then tested against older horses in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot in July. The betting suggested that the race would be a match between Galileo (1/2 favourite) and the Godolphin five year-old Fantastic Light (7-2), who had won Group One races in four different countries. Such were the reputations of these two horses that the third choice in the betting, the Prix du Jockey Club winner Anabaa Blue, started at 18/1. Kinane took Galileo to the lead two furlongs out, but Frankie Dettori soon brought Fantastic Light to challenge. The horses raced together for a few strides before Galileo pulled ahead inside the final furlong and won by two lengths. Marcus Townend, writing in the Daily Mail, described Galileo as the best horse in Europe and praised his "determination" and "lightning acceleration."
Galileo returned to Leopardstown in September for a much-anticipated Irish Champion Stakes in which he was matched against Fantastic Light again, this time over the shorter distance of one and a quarter miles. O'Brien entered Ice Dancer in the race to act as pacemaker and ensure a stamina test. The plan failed as the rest of the riders ignored Ice Dancer, who went ten lengths clear before stopping abruptly in the straight. Fantastic Light took the lead two furlongs out, and Kinane immediately moved Galileo up to join him. The two horses raced side by side throughout the last quarter of the mile, with the advantage appearing to fluctuate between them. On the line, Fantastic Light defeated Galileo by a head in a photo finish. The race has been described as one of the most exciting and memorable in the modern history of the sport. O'Brien praised the winner, but felt that he had "messed up" tactically.
For his final race, Galileo was sent to Belmont Park for the Breeders' Cup Classic. He was racing on dirt for the first time, although before traveling he was prepared by exercising on the artificial surface at Southwell. The Classic was expected to feature a third meeting between Galileo and Fantastic Light, but the Godolphin horse was switched to the Turf shortly before the race. In the Classic, Galileo raced behind the leaders for most of the way but was unable to quicken, staying on at the same pace to finish sixth of the fourteen runners behind Tiznow.
Galileo's retirement was announced immediately after the race.
|Date||Race||Dist (f)||Course||Class||Prize (£K)||Odds||Runners||Placing||Margin||Time||Jockey||Trainer|
|28 October 2000||IBEC EBF Maiden||8||Leopardstown||M||8||Evens||16||1||14||1:48.20||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|16 April 2001||Ballysax Stakes||10||Leopardstown||L||20||1/3||7||1||3.5||2:20.10||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|13 May 2001||Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial||10||Leopardstown||3||39||8/15||5||1||1.5||2:08.50||Seamie Heffernan||Aidan O'Brien|
|9 June 2001||Derby||12||Epsom||1||580||11/4||12||1||3.5||2:33.27||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|1 July 2001||Irish Derby||12||The Curragh||1||411||4/11||12||1||4||2:27.10||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|28 July 2001||King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes||12||Ascot||1||435||1/2||12||1||2||2:27.71||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|8 September 2001||Irish Champion Stakes||10||Leopardstown||1||384||4/11||7||2||Head||2:01.80||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
|27 October 2001||Breeders' Cup Classic||10||Belmont Park||1||1386||100/30||13||6||7.75||2:00.62||Michael Kinane||Aidan O'Brien|
Galileo was named European Champion Three-Year-Old at the Cartier Racing Awards.
In the 2001 International Classification (the forerunner of the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings), Galileo was assessed at 129 (equal with Fantastic Light), making him the third highest rated horse behind Sakhee and Point Given.
Galileo was retired to stand as a stallion for the Coolmore Stud. He has operated as a "shuttle" stallion, standing at Coolmore's main farm at Fethard, County Tipperary Ireland during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season and moving to its Australian branch in the Hunter Region, New South Wales for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. However, since 2012, he has stood exclusively in Ireland.
His 2008 fee for a live foal was reported to be 225,000 Euros. His 2009 stud fee was reduced to 175,000 Euros reflecting the general trend in stallion fees. In both 2012 and 2013, his fee was listed as "private" by Coolmore.
In September 2008, he underwent surgery for colic 
By October 2014, he had sired 176 stakes winners from ten crops of racing age. 
(b) Gleneagles was demoted from first to third in the 2014 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère, after stewards deemed him to have interfered with the horse that finished second (Full Mast) and third (Territories). 
Sire of sires
Sons of Galileo's sons have begun to make an impact as stallions. New Approach sired the classic winners Dawn Approach and Talent in his first year as a stallion in Europe and the Australasian Oaks winner May's Dream in his first Southern Hemisphere crop whilst Teofilo has sire the Irish Derby winner Trading Leather.
|Fairy Bridge||Bold Reason||Hail To Reason|
|Miswaki||Mr. Prospector||Raise a Native|
|Almyra (Family 9-h)|
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- "Fantastic Light outshines Galileo". London: The Independent. 2001-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
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- "EndMaterial2002.PDF" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- Yates, David. "The greatest Derby stars of all time - and how Nijinsky is connected to Goldfinger". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
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- "Thoroughbred Stallions, stud fees, and farm locations". Horsehats.com. 2006-10-04. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
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- "Galileo pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "Adelaide - Family 9-h". Bloodlines.net. Retrieved 2012-07-01.