Striking Gold - Mr Prospector
Born on 28 January 1970, Mr. Prospector has no doubt been one of the most influential sires and Sire-Of-Sires to have ever lived. By Raise a Native, he was out of the mare Gold Digger by Nashua.
Sold for $200,000 as a yearling in 1971, which back then was large sum of money for a horse, he was trained by Jimmy Croll.
His race record stand at 14 starts, 7 wins, 4 seconds, and 2 thirds and he earned $112,171 in stakes, and in the process he also set two track records. Whilst he didn't make back his yearling price in stakes, he was going to more than make up for it as a stallion.
Mr Prospector began his stud career in Florida in 1975, but earned the right to move to the illustrious Claiborne Farm in 1980.
He sired Conquistador Cielo who went on to win the Metropolitan Mile and, just five days later, the Belmont Stakes. Conquistador Cielo went on to win Horse of the Year.
Mr Prospector began dominating the three legs of the American Triple Crown(The Preakness, Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes) with his progeny, which is still ongoing through his descendants today, and he boasts an impressive list of names. His son Unbridled has gone on to achieve the same honour. He was noted for brilliant speed and he passed this as well as precocity to his offspring.
Many of Mr Prospector's descendants are standing right here in Kwa-Zulu Natal, including the only son of Mr Prospector in Kwa-Zulu Natal and South Africa, Muhtafal of Summerhill Stud; he certainly needs no introduction, breeding fast prolific horses himself.
Mr Prospector's progeny and their descendants who have won at least 1 leg of the Triple Crown include the likes of Fappiano, Cryptoclearance , Victory Gallop, Quiet American, Real Quiet, Unbridled, Grindstone, Birdstone , Mine That Bird, Summer Bird, Red Bullet, Empire Maker, Conquistador Cielo , Tank's Prospect, Woodman (Sire of our very own Woodborough standing at Rathmor Stud, descendant Admire Main at Summerhill Stud), Timber Country, Gulch, Thunder Gulch (descendant Carpocrates standing at Middlefield Stud), Point Given, Gone West (descendants Lion Tamer standing at Avalon Stud and Visionaire at Summerhill Stud), Elusive Quality, Smarty Jones, Commendable, Da Hoss, Afleet, Northern Afleet , Afleet Alex, Forty Niner, Distorted Humor , Funny Cide, Seeking the Gold, Jazil, Sire-Of-Sires Machiavellian (Sire of KZN's own champion stallion Kahal and Mullins Bay - both at Summerhill Stud and Hobb Alwahtan at Newbury Stud) Almutawakel , Street Cry, Street Sense, the unforgettable Zenyatta, Kingmambo (Sire of Atso at Scott Bros, and Malhub at Summerhill Stud) Lemon Drop Kid, Our Emblem, War Emblem, Smart Strike, the mighty Curlin, Lookin at Lucky, Fusaichi Pegasus, Roman Ruler, Ruler on Ice and Mr Principality.
There are plenty of recognizable names mentioned there, who have gone onto stellar careers at stud.
Mr Prospector sired 1,014 foals, with more than 165 stakes winners. As a broodmare sire, by 1999 his daughters had produced 160 stakes winners themselves. Stallions in KZN out of mares by Mr Prospector include the likes of A.P. Arrow, Brave Tin Soldier and Way West who all stand at Summerhill Stud.
Other descendants include A.P. Answer at Clifton Stud, Miesque's Approval (Scott Bros), Bankable who will be standing at Summerhill Stud for his first season this year, Modern Day (Middlefield Stud) and Mon Sang who is an eye-catching stallion at Bush Hill Stud.
Mr. Prospector had completed his 25th season at stud in 1999 and at the time of his death aged 29, he had covered 47 mares for the 1999 season, of which 31 of those mares were confirmed in foal.
On June 1, 1999, Mr. Prospector was put down due to complications from colic, developing peritonitis, at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Mr. Prospector is buried in the Claiborne cemetery, fittingly between two great racehorses and stallions, Nijinsky II and Secretariat.
He nicked perfectly to Northern Dancer, and his sons and daughters are his living legacy and his influence will be felt on the breed for many generations to come.