Urban Sea

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Urban Sea
Racing silks of David Tsui.svg
Racing silks of David Tsui
Sire Miswaki
Grandsire Mr. Prospector
Dam Allegretta
Damsire Lombard
Sex Mare
Foaled 1989
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Marystead Farm
Owner David Tsui
Trainer Jean Lesbordes
Record 23: 8-3-3
Earnings US$1,704,553 (equivalent)
Major wins
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 only two mares to ever produce two Epsom Derby winners, namely Galileo and Sea the Stars. None have produced three winners of this race.[1]

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 and 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).

Racing career[edit]

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 then 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. Well traveled, her handlers shipped her 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 then traveled to Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong in April where she finished sixth in the Hong Kong Cup. Back home 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 then 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.

Following her Arc victory, at the end of November Urban Sea was invited to compete in the Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse where she ran eighth.

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 then 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.

Breeding record[edit]

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. Her 2002 filly, My Typhoon, set a then-record price for a filly foal of US$2,955,000 when sold in December at the Tattersalls Sale to Live Oak Stud of Ocala, Florida. 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. Sea The Stars went on to win the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, making Urban Sea only the second Arc de Triomphe winning mare to foal a winner of that race (Detroit - dam of Carnegie is the other). Sea the Stars is considered by many to be one of the greatest racehorses of all time.

In 2009, she delivered a bay colt by Invicible Spirit, later named Born to Sea, she died on 2 Mar 2009 as a complication of foaling.[2]


c = colt, f = filly

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
2000 Atticus c Sadler's Wells unraced
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, 2nd Irish Derby 8: 1-3-0 £276,048


Pedigree of Urban Sea (USA), chestnut mare, 1989
Mr. Prospector Raise a Native Native Dancer
Raise You
Gold Digger Nashua
Hopespringseternal Buckpasser Tom Fool
Rose Bower Princequillo
Lea Lane
Lombard Agio Tantieme
Promised Lady Prince Chevalier
Belle Sauvage
Anatevka Espresso Acropolis
Almyra Birkhahn


External links[edit]