**The following narrative was authored by Lauren Floyd, the Bloodstock Intern for Wasabi Ventures Stables, to explain why Dominus was chosen as a mate for Almyra. You can find out more about Lauren here.**
Maiden special weight winner, Almyra, who raced for Wasabi Ventures Stables in her 4yo year, has been retired and will be bred to the very underrated Kentucky stallion Dominus for a 2021 foal.
Dominus, a son of the incredible sire Smart Strike, was a multiple Grade 2 winner of almost $450,000 in purses in his career. He broke his maiden on the dirt at Santa Anita Park impressively, by more than 5 lengths, for owners George Bolton, Stonestreet Stables, and Spendthrift Farm. He won the G2 Dwyer decisively in just his fourth career start, and went on to win the G2 Bernard Baruch on turf as a 4yo. This versatility isn’t surprising, given his sire.
Smart Strike himself was a remarkable stallion, siring excellent horses all over the world on both dirt and turf, including Curlin, English Channel, Lookin At Lucky, and Soaring Free. He has also proven to be an impressive sire-of-sires, with the likes of Curlin, English Channel, Lookin At Lucky, and Square Eddie among his leading sons at stud. Remarkably, each of the stallions just mentioned has managed to improve on his mares, which is not an easy thing to do, particularly at the top levels. Curlin alone has proven to be a powerhouse in the breeding shed, consistently ranking among the top 10 North American stallions (and often in the top 5!) since 2015. Lookin At Lucky has not only sired recent handicap star, Accelerate, and last year’s G1 Kentucky Derby winner, Country House, but he also has 13 Grade 1 winners across the globe. English Channel has 6 champions to his credit, with his leading runners including Channel Maker, The Pizza Man, Heart to Heart, V.E. Day, and Voodoo Song. While Square Eddie was recently pensioned at just 14, he stood for $25,000 in California in 2020 and was consistently among the leading sires on the West Coast, with G1 winner Ralis and graded stakes winners Eddie Haskell and Listing among his best progeny.
Though still relatively early in his stud career, Dominus has already shown strength as a stallion too, with an AEI of 1.30 compared to a CI of 1.12, meaning that he moves his mares way up. Of his 3yos and up (given that it’s too early in the season to be considering 2yos), he has produced a 4.3% SWs from foals. 82% of his progeny to start have proven to be winners. His largest crop to date (at 98!) are 2yos of 2020, so we could see his stock on the rise later this year. His foals tend to be precocious types that excel on all surfaces.
The match of Almyra with Dominus is also good for an A++ rating on TrueNicks (with a current variant of 14.66), meaning that 22% of the starters bred on the cross of Dominus with Deputy Minister-line mares (like Almyra) have gone on to be stakes winners. Furthermore, if you go a little further back to the cross of Smart Strike and his sons with Deputy Minister-line mares, you get examples of runners like Curlin himself (by Smart Strike out of a Deputy Minister mare), Accelerate (by Lookin At Lucky out of an Awesome Again mare), and Keen Ice (by Curlin out of an Awesome Again mare).
This mating should also be a strong match based on Almyra’s female family. The most successful runner from Almyra’s immediate dam line is her dam’s half-sister, On a Soapbox, a multiple graded stakes winner of over $685,000 who took the prestigious G1 Coaching Club American Oaks as a 3yo. On a Soapbox’s sire is Mi Cielo, who stems from the Mr. Prospector sire line like Dominus. Worth pointing out is that Nodouble also appears both in the dam line of Smart Strike as well as the dam line of Mi Cielo.
Physically, both Almyra and Dominus are good-looking, well-balanced, medium-sized horses that should produce an equally attractive foal.
Dominus wins the G2 Dwyer on dirt
Dominus wins the G2 Bernard Baruch on turf