Racing silks of David Tsui
|Prix Gontaut-Biron (1993)|
Prix Exbury (1993)
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (1993)
Prix d'Harcourt (1994)
|Europe Champion Older Mare (1993)|
Ireland’s Broodmare of the Year (2001)
England's Top Broodmare (2001)
ITBA Outstanding Broodmare (2005)
ITBA Special Achievement Award (2009)
Urban Sea (February 18, 1989 – 2 March 2009) was a French Thoroughbred racemare best known for winning France's most prestigious race in 1993 and for her importance as a world-class broodmare. She is one of ten mares to produce two Epsom Derby winners, namely Galileo and Sea the Stars. She is the only mare in the 21st century to produce two Epsom Derby winners. None has produced three winners of this race.
Bred by Paul de Moussac's Marystead Farm, she was by Miswaki, a son of the leading sire in North America, Mr. Prospector; her dam was Marystead's mare, Allegretta by Lombard. Miswaki raced in Europe and won the 1980 Grade 1 Prix de la Salamandre.
French trainer Jean Lesbordes conditioned a small stable of Thoroughbreds in France for Hong Kong businessman David Tsui. In 1990 he purchased Urban Sea at the Deauville yearling sale on behalf of Tsui for the price of FF280,000 (approximately US$50,000).
Winner of a maiden race at age two in 1991, the following year the three-year-old Urban Sea won two listed races in her seven starts, capturing the French Prix de la Seine at Longchamp Racecourse in May 1992 and the Challenge d'Or Piaget at Deauville-La Touques Racecourse. In June, Urban Sea ran in two Group One races, finishing sixth in the Prix de Diane and third in the Prix Vermeille. She was shipped to Düsseldorf, Germany where she finished third in the Arag Preis (German 1000 Guineas). Sent to North America in the fall to compete in races for fillies and mares, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Urban Sea ran second to fellow French horse Hatoof in the 1992 E. P. Taylor Stakes. At Santa Anita Park in California, she finished last in the Yellow Ribbon Invitational Stakes.
Urban Sea began her 1993 campaign in March with a win in the Prix Exbury. She traveled to Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong in April, where she finished sixth in the Hong Kong Cup. Back in France, she was fifth in the Prix Jean de Chaudenay. After taking second place in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, she won a French listed race in July, and in August the Prix Gontaut-Biron. In October, Urban Sea made it three in a row when she scored an upset win in France's most prestigious race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. In the process of defeating fourteen Group 1 winners, including males, she was ridden in the Arc by Eric Saint-Martin, son of French jockey Yves Saint-Martin.
Sent back to the track at age five, Urban Sea began her 1994 racing season in May with a win in the Prix d'Harcourt. She finished third in the Prix Ganay. In what proved to be her last race, she ran fourth in the Coronation Cup at Epsom Downs in England. A fetlock injury ended her racing career.
Owner David Tsui sent Urban Sea to Ireland as a broodmare for his Sunderland Holdings, where she became one of the world's most successful broodmares. Her 1997 filly, Melikah, was auctioned in 1998 for €1,500,000, the highest-ever price paid for a yearling at the Deauville sales; she won the Pretty Polly Stakes. Her 1998 colt, Galileo, won the Epsom and Irish Derby, plus the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. As a result, Urban Sea was named the 2001 Broodmare of the Year in both England and Ireland. Her 2002 filly, My Typhoon, set a record price for a filly foal of US$2,955,000 when sold at the Tattersalls Sale, and became a Grade I winner in the United States. When Urban Sea's 2006 foal Sea the Stars won The Derby in 2009, she became one of the few mares to have foaled two Derby winners – the last mare to have done so was Windmill Girl, the dam of Blakeney (1969) and Morston (1973). Sea The Stars also won the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and Urban Sea became only the second Arc de Triomphe-winning mare to foal a winner of that race (Detroit, the dam of Carnegie, is the other).
In 2009, Urban Sea delivered a bay colt by Invincible Spirit, later named Born to Sea. She died on 2 March 2009 as a complication of foaling.
Urban Sea's importance as a broodmare has been magnified by the success of her offspring at stud. In particular, Galileo was the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland in 2008 and from 2010 through 2018 inclusive. Multiple classic winners, including the undefeated Frankel, descend from Urban Sea through Galileo. Sea the Stars has also become an important sire, whose major winners include Stradivarius and Harzand. Her four daughters have all become stakes-producing broodmares as well.
|Foaled||Name||Sex||Sire||Major Wins||Record||Prize Money|
|1996||Urban Ocean||c||Bering||Gallinule Stakes||14: 4-0-1||£57,210|
|1997||Melikah||f||Lammtarra||Pretty Polly Stakes||4: 1-1-1||£83,280|
|1998||Galileo||c||Sadler's Wells||Ballysax Stakes, Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes||8: 6-1-0||£1,621,110|
|1999||Black Sam Bellamy||c||Sadler's Wells||Gran Premio del Jockey Club, Tattersalls Gold Cup||18:4-2-3||£444,207|
|2001||All Too Beautiful||f||Sadler's Wells||Middleton Stakes||6: 3-1-1||£163,413|
|2002||My Typhoon||f||Giant's Causeway||Just A Game Handicap, Diana Handicap||22: 9-3-3||$1,308,361|
|2004||Cherry Hinton||f||Green Desert||5: 0-1-2||£27,069|
|2005||Sea's Legacy||c||Green Desert||unraced|
|2006||Sea the Stars||c||Cape Cross||Beresford Stakes, 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Eclipse Stakes, International Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe||9: 8-0-0||£4,417,163|
|2009||Born To Sea||c||Invincible Spirit||Blenheim Stakes||8: 1-3-0||£276,048|
|Mr. Prospector||Raise a Native||Native Dancer|
|Promised Lady||Prince Chevalier|
- Racetrack Sires 2009, June/August, 2009, p.54
- Hunter, Avalyn. "Urban Sea (horse)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- "Arc Winning-filly Urban Sea Dies". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- "Pedigree Analysis: Sailing the Urban Sea". BloodHorse.com. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
- Stevens, Martin. "Masar: an absorbing pedigree and a crucial win for Godolphin breeding". www.racingpost.com. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
- Urban Sea at the Irish National Stud website (includes photo of Urban Sea and her 2005 foal, Sea's Legacy)
- Irish National Stud Stallion Brochure 2009 (includes photo of Urban Sea and her 2008 cover by Invincible Spirit)