“A Mix of Speed and Stamina,” Olympiad Attracts Breeders at Gainesway

It’s not often that a runner-up effort translates into a key selling point for a new stallion, but when that second-place finish comes behind a horse like Flightline, people take notice. Such has been the case for Olympiad (Speightstown – Tokyo Time, by Medaglia d’Oro), whose career finale in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic made him a standout in the 2023 class of incoming stallions.

Ryan Norton, who joined Gainesway as the farm’s new stallion director a few weeks before the Breeders’ Cup, explained how Olympiad‘s performance at Keeneland over fellow Grade I-winning Classic contenders Taiba, Rich Strike, Life Is Good and others led to a busy stretch of open houses at Gainesway as breeders were eager to inspect the multi-millionaire.

“The Breeders’ Cup was the pinnacle of Olympiad‘s career,” Norton said. “It was a race that had breeders look at him and say, ‘This is a real-deal horse.’ I think that was the reason why he was such a success when he retired here. He had hundreds of people coming to view him and he was booked full within three weeks of his arrival.”

Certainly the campaign that Olympiad put together throughout his 4-year-old season was further incentive for inquiring breeders. A lightly-raced winner at both two and three, the Bill Mott trainee strung together five graded stakes scores in 2022, starting with a track-record setting win in the GIII Mineshaft S. and then continuing on with further victories in the GII New Orleans Classic S., the GII Alysheba S., the GII Stephen Foster S. and the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S.

Olympiad had a mix of speed and stamina,” Norton explained. “He won at seven furlongs and he won at a mile and a quarter. He ran eight triple-digit Beyers up to 111, so he was definitely a very fast horse and he could carry his speed. He had six wins from eight starts at four, plus a second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. To do that in this day and age with such a deep field of older horses in 2022 really showed the quality and perseverance that this horse had.”

Norton said that the members of Olympiad‘s partnership – Robert Clay’s Grandview Equine, Everett Dobson’s Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods – have all submitted some of their best mares to Olympiad and that the new Gainesway stallion will breed between 185 and 200 mares in 2023.

With an initial stud fee of $35,000, Olympiad is one of seven stallions by Speightstown standing in Kentucky, but Norton explained that this particular son of the WinStar stalwart offers a unique opportunity for breeders.

“One of the main things that breeders have been saying is that he has a lot more size and a lot more scope that the typical Speightstown. That was something that I think they were very intrigued with. The mating can produce something that’s going to be a little bigger and a little rangier, a horse that is going to be able to run short or long. He’s 16’1, so you see a lot of Medaglia d’Oro, his broodmare sire, coming out.”

The SpeightstownMedaglia d’Oro cross has been a rewarding mating. Along with Olympiad, Speightstown‘s Grade I winners out of Medaglia d’Oro mares include Rock Fall and Competitionofideas. The cross has also produced Grade III victors Strike Power and Souper Stonehenge.

“It works well because you get the speed of Speightstown with the stamina of Medaglia,” Norton noted.

With a pedigree tracing back to Emory Hamilton’s foundation mare Too Chic, Olympiad‘s extended family features a host of Grade I winners including sires Preservationist, Keen Ice, and Verrazano. His dam Tokyo Time, herself a turf success with a runner-up placing in the GIII Herecomesthebride S., is a half to MGSW Hungry Island (More Than Ready) and GSW Soaring Empire (Empire Maker).

“It’s a very deep family which is why, between his looks and that female family, he was a $700,000 Keeneland September yearling,” Norton said. “Solis/Litt Bloodstock bought him and they’re known for picking out very attractive horses, so breeders are aware when they come here that he is going to have a certain look that they are going to like. He’s a great walker. He drops his head, really extends and has a nice overreach. Looking at the horse and how he moves, you understand exactly how he was such a good racehorse.”

Along with Olympiad, Gainesway also welcomes Drain the Clock (Maclean’s Music – Manki, by Arch) to their roster for 2023. The speedy sprinter earned three graded stakes wins over his three-year career, including a victory over champion Jackie’s Warrior in the 2021 GI Woody Stephens S. He will stand for $10,000 in his debut season.

For more on this year’s class of incoming stallions, click here. 

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