Sumitas adds chapter to the Lomitas story; Stallion who was once banned from racing and poisoned has a top-class son.
Nothing has happened to contradict that idea, so no wonder Lucido's owner was prepared to find pounds 75,000 to put him in the Derby. Epsom might seem an easier option than the German equivalent in Hamburg, where Lucido would have had nine lengths to find on Sumitas on their running in a Group 3 event last year.
Sumitas remains unbeaten and unextended after his fifth run, which brought him victory in the Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2,000 Guineas) last Sunday. He may well have been the best two-year-old in Europe last year, when he won all three of his races by wide margins, and while the other major countries struggle to identify credible leaders of the Classic crop, the chance he will emerge as overall champion is real.
Never mind the fact that, historically, Germany does not produce champion European three-year-olds. It was long a tradition that German owners would not take a three-year-old to compete abroad and races in Germany did not have the status to determine European championships.
But times are changing. The Germans are breeding better horses and they are now well aware they must play away games to earn international recognition.
Three years ago, they had what many felt was a real star in Lavirco. He followed convention by skipping the Arc at three, with an international campaign planned for him at four. He went wrong and missed his chance to play a leading international role.
The lesson was swiftly learnt. Borgia challenged for the Arc and Breeders' Cup Turf at three in 1997 and gained third and second places. Tiger Hill emulated his compatriot's Longchamp effort last year.
Sumitas is going the time-honoured route now, via the Union-Rennen on June 13 to the Deutsches Derby on July 4, but if he comes through those tests, it's a safe bet the 1999 Arc will figure on his agenda.
He carries the colours of Baron Georg von Ullman, whose international outlook is illustrated by his purchase of numerous high-priced individuals at Tattersalls in Newmarket, his ownership of Owington during long-term patronage of Geoff Wragg, and his campaigning of Tiger Hill.
SUMITAS might be termed the first postscript to one of the most extraordinary stories of modern times. A top two-year-old develops claustrophobia at three, causes havoc to horses and injuries to humans on the track and is banned from racing. A Doctor Doolittle type is flown in to treat and cure the reprobate, who is reprieved by the authorities and becomes a champion.
The horse's owner then receives threats, warning his star horse will be killed or harmed. Indeed, he is poisoned before a race for which he was hot favourite. In a clandestine operation, the abused athlete is whisked away to another country and kept there under an assumed name until resuming his career on another continent.
That's the Lomitas saga.
He was the best German two-year-old of 1990, but was barred from racing after a display of obstinacy and, ultimately, savagery at Cologne early in 1991.
His demons were exorcised by famed Californian horse-master Monty Roberts, and the newly tractable colt won three Group 1s and was officially inferior only to Generous and Suave Dancer among European three-year-olds of 1991.
Next year came the threats and poisoning, and his switch to Newmarket, where, known as Pirelli, he was exercised pre-dawn from Susan Piggott's yard.
Then he went to California, where he won and was placed in major stakes, despite foot problems that were sourced to the poison.
After that, only a first-crop champion could provide an appropriate sequel to the drama. Enter Sumitas.
Lomitas was entitled to make the grade as a sire. His Timeform rating at three was higher than seven of the last 11 Epsom Derby winners; he is by the late Niniski, who is only now starting to gain recognition as one of the most important suppliers of stamina; and he is from a family that has thrown a host of major winners, not least Lavirco, a close relation to his dam.
Sumitas is the first foal of Subia, who was only a minor winner but has a pedigree beyond reproach.
She is a sister to Surako, runner-up to Lavirco in the 1996 Deutsches Derby. Their dam, Surata, was a half-sister to Surumu, one of the cornerstones of German breeding. And Subia's grand-dam was a half-sister to Tesco Boy, third in the Champion Stakes and hugely successful at stud in Japan.
Sumitas owns much of what is best about German pedigrees - in double doses. His grand-dams, La Colorada and Surata, have five common ancestors within three generations. Nijinsky is duplicated, as is the outstanding German sire Neckar and influential broodmare Kaiserkrone.
This pedigree offered exciting possibilities and seems to have delivered an exciting reality.
Bred by Gestut Fahrhof. Won 10 (8-12f) of 16 starts, viz. 2 (1 Listed) out of 2 at 2 years, 5 (inc. Grosser Preis von Berlin-Gr1, Grosser Preis von Baden-Gr1, Preis von Europa-Gr1) out of 6 at 3 years, 2 (Gerling-Preis-Gr2, Grosser Hansa-Preis-Gr2) out of 4 at 4 years, 1 out of 4 at 5 years. Also 2nd in Deutsches Derby. Earned DM1,445,500 + $85,638. GAG ratings: 92 at 2, 105.5 at 3, 101 at 4. International Classifications: 131 at 3, 3rd best of his age in Europe (behind Generous and Suave Dancer).
Medium-sized (15.33/4 hh), attractive, correct individual. Outstanding middle-distance performer, seemingly effective on any ground, with an impressive turn of foot. Cured of stalls phobia at 3, 'got at' before only poor effort at 4, subsequently suffered foot problems.
Very well bred. By a dual St Leger winner who became a valuable source of middle-distance and staying horses, out of a champion 2yo filly who also ran 2nd in German 1,000 Guineas. Grand-dam champion 2yo filly, also grand-dam of Gr2 winners La Blue and Lomita, of champion 3yo Lavirco and of Laveron (Deutsches St Leger). Family of Lirung (champion older miler of Europe) and Lagunas (champion 2yo, Deutsches Derby winner, champion sire).
Stands at Gestut Fahrhof, Bremen, Germany, at a fee of DM15,000 (Oct 1). Sire of 2 crops of racing age, inc. notable winner: Sumitas (Gr2).
Bred by Gestut Fahrhof. Unraced at 2 years, won 3 (8-10.5f) of 11 races at 3 years. Earned DM29,300. GAG rating 80. Just useful form in fillies' races, comfortably beaten 4th in only Listed start, no pretensions to Pattern class.
Extremely well bred. Sister to Deutsches Derby runner-up Surako and half-sister to 2 other winners. By a German Triple Crown winner and three-time champion sire out of an unraced half-sister to Surumu, champion 3yo, multiple champion sire/broodmare sire.
To stud at 4 and dam of: Sumitas (1996 c by Lomitas; Classic winner), Solanda (1997 f by Lando; unraced, in training with Peter Schiergen). Her yearling is Sensenti (c by Danehill) and she was covered by In The Wings in 1998.
A marvellous advertisement for his young sire. Impressively maintaining his exalted reputation in his home country and may well prove of European championship calibre.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||May 20, 1999|
|Next Article:||Sprake aims to return tomorrow.|