El Gran Senor

Thoroughbred racehorse infobox
horsename = El Gran Senor

caption =
sire = Northern Dancer
grandsire = Nearctic
dam = Sex Appeal
damsire = Buckpasser
sex = Stallion
foaled = 1981
country = United States flagicon|USA
colour = Bay
breeder = E. P. Taylor
owner = Robert Sangster
trainer = Vincent O'Brien
record = 8: 7-1-0
earnings = $502,969
race = Railway Stakes (1983)
National Stakes (1983)
Dewhurst Stakes (1983)
Gladness Stakes (1984)
2,000 Guineas (1984)
Irish Derby Stakes (1984)
awards= United Kingdom Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt (1983)
Ireland Champion 2-Yr-Old Colt
United Kingdom Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1984)
Ireland Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt
honours =
updated= December 7, 2006

El Gran Senor (1981-2006) was an American-bred Thoroughbred race horse, born at Windfields Farm in Maryland.

An outstanding two-year-old who went on to win European classics over a mile and over 12 furlongs, El Gran Senor received a "Timeform" rated 136. He also enjoyed notable success at stud, had been pensioned at Ashford Stud in Kentucky since 2000, and was 25 years old when he died on October 18, 2006.

He was born in 1981 and though his breeder was registered as the famous Canadian E. P. Taylor, noted pedigree expert Tony Morris reported in his classic book "Thoroughbred Stallions", that El Gran Senor's dam had been jointly owned by Taylor and Robert Sangster. His name comes from the nickname of Horatio Luro, Northern Dancer's trainer. El Gran Senor went to Ireland to be trained by Dr Vincent O'Brien, who had trained numerous major winners for Sangster. The colt was unbeaten as a two-year-old. He won the Railway Stakes (Gr3) and National Stakes (Gr2) at The Curragh in Ireland. For his final race that year he was sent to Newmarket in England for the Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1), the most prestigious two-year-old race in that country. His easy defeat of Rainbow Quest earned him an unusually high two-year-old rating of 131 from "Timeform".

As a three-year-old again raced four times. Injury ended his season mid-summer. He easily won the Gladness Stakes (L) at The Curragh and then returned to Newmarket in England where he put up an astonishing performance in the 2,000 Guineas (Gr1), the first classic of the year. There was an unusually small number of runners for the race in 1984 but El Gran Senor showed tremendous acceleration to beat Chief Singer, Lear Fan and Rainbow Quest in the style of a champion. El Gran Senor suffered his only loss to half-brother Secreto in the 1984 Epsom Derby, finishing second by a short-head.

Talented horses such as Keen and Creag-an-Sgor were made to look ordinary. One measure of a top-class race is the subsequent achievements of those that ran in it. In the months that followed El Gran Senor's brilliant win at Newmarket, Chief Singer went on to take the St James’s Palace Stakes (Gr1) and Sussex Stakes (Gr1) over a mile and the July Cup (Gr1) over six furlongs. Lear Fan, who later became a very successful stallion, won the Prix Jacques le Marois (Gr1) over a mile at Deauville in France. Rainbow Quest, who became one of the most best stallions in England, went on to win both the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Gr1) at Longchamp in France and the Coronation Cup (Gr1) at Epsom in England.

Despite doubts over his stamina, stemming from the amount of speed in the distaff side of his pedigree and the impressive speed he had shown at Newmarket, El Gran Senor was an odds-on favourite for the Derby (Gr1) over 12 furlongs at Epsom. A quarter of a mile from the finish it looked as though that he was going to win in true championship style. However, he failed to produce the expected acceleration and went from looking like a runaway winner to looking likely to lose the race. He got into a battle with another Irish-trained colt in Secreto and at the finish it was that colt whose nose was marginally in front. Secreto had finished third in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (Gr1) over a mile at The Curragh in his previous race. Remarkably both colts, trained by father and son, were sired by the same stallion (this does not make them half-brothers in the racing industry - such relationship is based on sharing the same dam/mother), both were bred at the same stud farm and, it has been reported in places, both El Gran Senor and Secreto had shared a paddock when they were a year old.

Secreto was subsequent injured and never raced again. He became a reasonably successful stallion. El Gran Senor, on the other hand, easily beat Rainbow Quest in the Irish Derby (Gr1) over 12 furlongs at The Curragh. This proved that he had the stamina for the distance. Unfortunately he then sustained an injury and though it had been hoped he would stay in training at the age of four, he was retired to stud in America. Throughout his entire stud career El Gran Senor had low fertility and typically sired no more that 40 foals in any year - these days most top sires and champions sire between 60 and 180 foals in a year. Over the course of his career he fathered less than 400 foals. There were only 14 in his first foal-crop but they included Al Hareb who won the Racing Post Trophy (Gr1) over a mile in England. Al Hareb is at stud in Australia and while his overall record is unremarkable, he did sire the top class sprinter Hareeba, a multiple Group 1 winning sprinter. El Gran Senor sired a total of 12 horses who won at the highest level - Group/Grade 1. These included South African classic winner Kundalini, top American fillies Corrazona, Spanish Fern and Toussaud, Breeders’ Cup Sprint hero Lit de Justice, and multiple European Group 1 winner Rodrigo de Triano.

He was pensioned from stallion duty at the age of 19 but his tally of 55 stakes winners represented a rate of more than 14% stakes winners to foals born - 10%+ is the usually accepted sign of a good very good stallion. His record as a sire of successful stallions has been disappointing. As a broodmare sire (maternal grandfather), however, he had done very well. His top class filly Toussaud is one of the most valuable mares in the world and she is one of a tiny handful of mares who have ever produced as many as four Group/Grade 1 winners. Her son Chester House (by Mr Prospector) won the Arlington Million (Gr1). Her daughter Honest Lady (by Seattle Slew) won the Santa Monica Handicap (Gr1). Another son, Chiselling (by Woodman) won the Secretariat Stakes (Gr1) before taking up stallion duties in South Africa. Her fourth Grade 1 winner is classic winner Empire Maker (by Unbridled). He is at his owner-breeders' Juddmonte Farm in Kentucky and his first progeny will race as two-year-olds in 2007. Many of them were sold for in excess of US$100,000 as a yearling.

EL GRAN SENOR (USA) - b.1981-2006 - Northern Dancer - Sex Appeal, 7 wins inc Irish Sweeps Derby (Gr1), General Accident Two Thousand Guineas (Gr1), William Hill Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1), BBA Goffs National Stakes (Gr2), P.J. Prendergast Railway Stakes (Gr3), Gladness Stakes (L), 2nd Ever Ready Derby (Gr1), etc. European Champion 2yo colt in 1983. Champion 3yo colt in 1984. Sire in USA. First foals in 1986. Retired in 2000.

SIRE OF 55 SW inc:Al Hareb (Gr1), Belmez (Gr1), Corrazona (Gr1), Helmsman (Gr1), Kundalini (SAf-1), Le Triton (Gr1), Le De Justice (Gr1), Rodrigo De Triano (Gr1), Saratoga Springs (Gr1), Senor Tomas (Gr1), Spanish Fern (Gr1), Toussaud (Gr1), Candid Glen (Gr2), Dr Kashnikow (Gr2), El Angelo (Gr2), George Augustus (Gr2), Morgana (Gr2), Panama City (Gr2), Chanzi (Gr3), Crystal Gazing (Gr3), Flowing (Gr3), Navarra (Gr3), Saratogan (Gr3), Signorina Cattiva (Gr3), Stylish Senor (Gr3), Altamura, Amwag, Bright Candles, Colonel Collins, High Walden, Mudslinger, Rua d’Oro, etc.

BROODMARE SIRE OF PATTERN WINNERS INC:Chester House (G1W by Mr Prospector), Chiselling (G1W by Woodman), Empire Maker (G1W by Unbridled), Grand Slam (G1W by Gone West), Honest Lady (G1W by Seattle Slew), Ice Point (G1W by Roy), Le Vie Dei Colori (G1W by Efisio), Leadership (G1W by Selkirk), Poplar Bluff (G1W by Dowsing), Ramonti (G1W by Martino Alonso), Vicar (G1W by Wild Again), Decarchy (G2W by Distant View), Aynthia (G3W by Zafonic), Conroy (G3W by Gone West), Indygo Shiner (G3W by A P Indy), Olmodavor (G3W by A P Indy), Summertime Legacy (G3W by Darshaan), Tippity Witch (G3W by Affirmed), etc.

PATERNAL GRANDSIRE OF STAKES WINNERS INC:Erimo Excel (G1W by Rodrigo de Triano), Hareeba (G1W by Al Hareb), Caramba (G2W by Belmez), Grace Namura (G3W by Rodrigo de Triano), Hour Of Justice (G3W by Lit de Justice), Injustice (G3W by Lit de Justice), No Comprende (G3W by Compadre), Rodrigo Rose (G3W by Rodrigo de Triano), Spanish Falls (G3W by Belmez), Atlas Shrugs (by Compadre), Beautiful Prize (by Lit de Justice), Burnin’ Memories (by Lit de Justice), Cumby Texas (by Lit de Justice), Emerald Earings (by Helmsman), Knight Of Darkness (by Helmsman), La Gran Marylin (by Compadre), Lit A Fire (by Lit de Justice), Love Sting (by Lit de Justice), Millfleet (by Compadre), No Parole (by Lit de Justice), Officer Nasty (by Lit de Justice), Rare Friends (by Helmsman), Silver Bird (by Lit de Justice), Sir Edwin Landseer (by Lit de Justice), Tenderlit (by Lit de Justice), Thats The Problem (by Lit de Justice), etc plus pattern winners in Venezuela sired by leading sire George Augustus.

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