Kingmambo is fondly remembered as one of the sport’s great sires. He oozed class and quality and had no problem passing that on to his offspring. His sons and daughters excelled on both dirt and turf. Some were precocious, others peaked slowly but lasted many years. Countless of them excelled in the breeding shed as well.
Early Life: From a Family of Winners
The years that preceded Kingmambo’s prowess as a stud were indicative of what he was capable of. His pedigree foreshadowed his talent on the racetrack. He took his first breaths among the hallowed hills of Kentucky, his arrival much anticipated by his breeder Stavros Niarchos of Flaxman Holdings Ltd.. Niarchos was the breeder and owner of the mare Miesque, a daughter of Nureyev and Pasadoble.
As if her beauty wasn’t enough, Miesque was an outstanding racehorse. Like most of Niarchos’ horses, Miesque completed the majority of her racing career in Europe. She made a name for herself on the rolling turf courses, winning a total of ten Group/Grade 1 races. Miesque also made the trek to the United States for the Breeders’ Cup Mile on two separate occasions; each time she was triumphant.
[Video: Watch Miesque, dam of Kingmambo, win the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile for the first time]
Upon the completion of her racing career, Miesque resided at Niarchos’ Kentucky farm. It was there that she would raise Kingmambo, her beautiful son by Mr. Prospector. Kingmambo would become as good of a racehorse as one could hope for; he blossomed under the direction of trainer Francois Boutin.
Kingmambo's Racing Career (1992 - 1994)
Kingmambo was splendid on the racetrack. He got up for place in three group races as a two-year old: the Prix de Cabourg (G3), Prix de la Salamandre (G1), and Prix Thomas Bryon (G3). He propelled himself to even greater heights as a three-year old, winning three Group 1 races and finishing third in two others. His toughness and power earned him the title of Champion in his home of France.
[Video: Watch Kingmambo's thrilling victory in the St. James's Palace Stakes. He struggled to find a way through in the stretch, and had an inquiry called on him for potential brushing as he squeezed through horses, but no change was made.]
The Influential Years at Stud (1994 - 2010)
When Kingmambo retired in 1994, he returned to his birthplace of Kentucky to begin a stud career at Lane’s End Farm with an initial fee of $45,000. He promptly became a headliner of the farm’s stallion roster. In his first year at stud, Kingmambo sired El Condor Pasa. El Condor Pasa became a Champion in France and a three-time Champion in Japan (including 1999 Horse of the Year honors).
In his second crop came Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the 1999 Belmont Stakes (G1) and Horse of the Year in 2000. Lemon Drop Kid would also retire to Lane’s End Farm and has since sired two G1 winners. He looks to be an outstanding broodmare sire as well.
Kingmambo’s record only improved as the years went on. He would sire champions in nine different countries. His sons and daughters found success everywhere from the United States, to Saudi Arabia, to Japan. He sired 85 stakes winners and 50 graded/group winners. 24 of those horses won a Grade/Group 1. Incredibly enough, Kingmambo did it all from an average crop size of less than 64 foals.
By the end of it all, Kingmambo’s stud fee had rocketed to $300,000. Many of his sons would try to emulate their sire at stud, including the likes of Lemon Drop Kid and Dubai Destination. His daughters were no slackers either; broodmares by Kingmambo produced 108 black-type winners.
Death and Remembrance (2010 - 2016)
Kingmambo was pensioned from his stud duties in September of 2010. An arthritic condition in his neck had prevented him from breeding any more mares. It was the official conclusion of Kingmambo’s reign. He lived for six more years at Lane’s End Farm while his final crops made their rounds on the racetracks.
The old stallion was euthanized on January 20th, 2016. He was twenty-five years old.
The farm laid their luminary to rest in their cemetery and placed a carefully crafted bronze of him near the cementery’s entrance. The bronze looks over the lush, Kentucky pastures that made Kingmambo. The very pastures where his descendants will gallop, graze, and play.
It has been four years since Kingmambo was buried, but he lives on through every champion he gifted us. He lives on through every racehorse with his name in their pedigree, as they carry the heart, the class, and the beauty that we so dearly loved in Kingmambo.
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