Val Royal

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For the train station, see Bois-Franc (AMT).
Val Royal
Sire Royal Academy
Grandsire Nijinsky
Dam Vadlava
Damsire Bikala
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1996
Country France
Colour Bay
Breeder Jean-Luc Lagardere
Owner David Milch
Trainer 1) André Fabre (France)
2) Julio C. Canani (USA)
Record 12: 7-2-0
Earnings US$1,186,687
Major wins

Prix de Guiche (1999)
Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (1999)
Del Mar Derby (1999)
Oak Tree Mile Stakes (2001)

Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Mile (2001)

Val Royal (April 7, 1996 - October 17, 2008) was a French bred Thoroughbred racehorse who competed successfully in France and the United States and was best known for winning the 2001 Breeders' Cup Mile.

Background[edit]

Val Royal was bred and raced by Jean-Luc Lagardere. Val Royal's dam was Vadlava, a daughter of the 1981 French Derby winner, Bikala.[1] His sire, Royal Academy, won the 1990 Breeders' Cup Mile.[2]

Racing career[edit]

France[edit]

Val Royal made his racing debut at Longchamp Racecourse with a win on October 25, 1998. His only start at two, he began his three-year-old campaign in 1999 with another win in a Listed race at Chantilly Racecourse on May 3 then on May 20 won his first try in a Conditions race, capturing the 1,800 metres (1⅛ miles) Prix de Guiche at Longchamp. Sent to England for that country's most prestigious race, the Epsom Derby at 1½ miles on soft turf proved too much for Val Royal and he finished eleventh in a field of sixteen. Back in France, he earned a runner-up finish in the 1,800 metre Prix Daphnis then, after winning the 2,000 metres (1¼ miles) Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano at Deauville Racecourse, was sold in a private transaction to American Television producer David Milch.

United States[edit]

Brought to California, Val Royal's race conditioning was taken over by Julio Canani. In his first start in the United States on September 6, 1999, Val Royal thrilled racing fans at Del Mar Racetrack when he charged from far back to win the Grade II Del Mar Derby. Unfortunately, a series of minor ailments kept him out of racing for the remainder of 1999 and all of the year 2000. Unraced for nineteen months, Val Royal returned on March 3, 200, finishing second in the G II Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap at Santa Anita Park. Once again, an injury kept him out of racing, this time for seven months. Returning on October 7, he came from last place at the turn for home to win Santa Anita's Oak Tree Mile Stakes by more than two lengths in a quick time of 1:33.21.

Record run in the Breeders' Cup Mile[edit]

Following his win in the Oak Tree Mile, Val Royal was then was shipped east to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York to compete in the October 27 Breeders' Cup Mile. Yet again, Val Royal was last as the field turned for home but swung eight-wide on the turn, running the final two furlongs (400 metres) in a time 0:22 to win by two lengths. His time for the mile of 1:32.05 was the fastest in the history of the race, and is a record that going into 2010 has not been matched.[3]

Scheduled to go to Hong Kong's Sha Tin Racecourse to run in the Hong Kong Mile Val Royal developed a quarter crack that saw him sidelined him until March 2 of 2002 when he returned to Santa Anita and finished fourth in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap. Sent to Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai for the 2002 Dubai Duty Free Stakes, Val Royal finished fifth in a sixteen-horse field in what would prove to be his final race.

Stud record[edit]

In April 2002, Val Royal suffered a career ending tendon injury and was then sold to a breeding operation. He stood from 2003 through 2006 at Oak Lodge Stud in County Kildare, Ireland and was shuttled to Eliza Park stud near Kerrie, Victoria, Australia for the Southern Hemisphere breeding seasons. In 2007 and 2008, he stood at the Irish National Stud plus was shuttled to Brazil.

While standing at Haras Basano in São Paulo, Brazil, on October 17, 2008 Val Royal collapsed suddenly in the paddock and died from a suspected internal hemorrhage.[4] During his short career as a stallion, he sired more than seventy winners among which were:

References[edit]