The thoroughbred breeding operation of Rancho San Antonio, is peacefully nestled within the lush enclave of Monte Plata, a luxuriant oasis of green spaciousness about an hour north of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. The farm sits at elevation sloping slightly above sea level and inhabits a breezy Caribbean calm with the lull of mild wind gusts that dance playfully through tropical mango trees, royal palms and Bayahiba Rose. Adorned with the attractiveness of a resort, a floral emblem of “La Rosa de Bayahiba” beautifies a paved entranceway amidst delightful invitations of songbirds. Tweets from a pair of Palmchat colloquially known as “Ciqua Palmera”, perform early morning melodious duet which permeates the senses and authenticates a presence in paradise. This is the sight that welcomes you to the home of Triple Crown winner and multiple champion racehorse, Sicotico.
Sicotico, which translates to psychotic in English, was well balanced, sane and sensible in style and performance. He was Champion 2-year-old, Champion 3-year-old, Horse of the Year in 2008 and 2009, multiple track record-setter. Bred in the island nation of Dominican Republic, he was inducted into the Caribbean Horseracing Hall of Fame. During his career, Sicotico reeled off 24 consecutive victories at the peak of his power against the best runners racing throughout the Caribbean. Among his triumphs was the 2008 rendition of Clasico del Caribe where he out finished a stellar cast with a furious late rush to capture the prestigious running under native Dominican, Joel Rosario. With accolades and accomplishments, this equine star became an iconic figure so-much-so that the famed salsa singer Raulín Rosendo was inspired to pen a song in Sicotico’s honor.
Sicotico’s sire was Blueformer (Dynaformer + Tangled In Blue) whose sire Dynaformer, was a son of Roberto, Epsom Derby winner and European champion bred and raised by John W. Galbreath. While the owner of Major League Baseball (MLB) team Pittsburgh Pirates in 1969, John W. Galbreath, honored the young juvenile with namesake Roberto of baseball legend and MLB Hall-of-Famer, Roberto Clemente. How idiosyncratic it must have been decades later that an influential sire of significant international appeal, would shaped a dynastic sire line that leads to the suburbs of Monte Plata only a stone throw from neighboring Puerto Rico, the birthplace of Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker.
Sicotico’s dam was Lump Of Joy (Lombardi + Thortania), whose third dam was multiple stakes producer Long Ago (Tom Fool + Landmark). Long Ago three stakes winners were Prince Graustark by Graustark, Hempt’s Lark by T V Lark and Unconscious Doll by Unconscious. Notable runners that traced back to this mare include 1993 Wood Memorial winner, Storm Tower by Irish Tower, Troubador Stakes winner Contortionist by Torsion and Thanksgiving Handicap winner, Mountain General by Mountain Cat. While the scope of family 9-e has been above average in production, this specific branch has had some lean moments of drought.
The ability of a racehorse to outperform its bloodline expectation is one of the most crucial aspects of thoroughbred breeding, especially for small scale breeders. In an attempt to harvest blended success of speed and stamina, breeders utilize at least one of four tenets that form the basis of mating: (1) nicking sire line with broodmare sire line (2) male-inbreeding to a superior stallion (3) female-inbreeding to an exceptional broodmare (4) complete outcross within four or five generations. Each of these breeding concepts, on average, yields about a 10 percent success rate.
One singular breeding theory by itself does not have huge distinctive advantages over the others. While the primary principle of breeding today is Nicking, for centuries breeders have been satisfied with its 10% hit ratio. This aged concept has continued with modern popularity creating an over-usage that vastly negates its effect with diminishing win percentages. Somewhat akin to everyone stampeding gold mines located at the crossroad of Medaglia D’Oro and Forty Niner. Breeders who augment at least two or more tenets of breeding philosophy usually see maximized returns. A few examples of multiple breeding tenets being applied similarly and successfully to Sicotico follows:
In 1997, a 2-year old dazzled racegoers with some scintillating performances that propelled him to Horse of the Year title. His name was Favorite Trick. He had multiple links of family number 9 (nine total) mixed with family 19 (one total) and rule (1) nicking of Clever Trick to Never Bend combined with rule (2) male-inbreeding to Nearco. His female family was 9-e.
In 2008, a 3-year old won Clasico del Caribe and the heart of his nation plus championship honors. His name was Sicotico. He had multiple links of family number 9 (five total) mixed with family 19 (three total) and rule (1) nicking of Clever Trick to Never Bend combined with rule (2) male-inbreeding to Nasrullah and Northern Dancer. His female family descends from 9-e.
In 2012 and 2013, a daughter of Mizzen Mast won back-to-back runnings of the Breeder’s Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita. Her name was Mizdirection. Her dam had multiple traits of family number 9 (three total) mixed with family 19 (one total) and rule (1) nicking of Clever Trick to Never Bend combined with rule (2) male-inbreeding to Buckpasser. Her female family descends from 9.
In 1998, a 2-year old sold for $800,000.00 at the Barretts March Sale, he would go on to earn over 1 million dollars winning Graded stakes across the country. His name was Yes It’s True. He had multiple traits of family number 9 (four total) mixed with family 19 (one total) and rule (1) nicking of Clever Trick to Never Bend combined with rule (2) male-inbreeding to Nasrullah and Nearco. His female family, of lost origin, is listed as A1.
In 2002, a 3-year old on the Kentucky Derby trail strut his stuff by winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and other Graded preps. While he did not win the Kentucky Derby, he came back in late summer to win the prestigious Pacific Classic (G1). His name was Came Home. He had multiple traits of family number 9 (five total) mixed with family 19 (one total) and rule (1) nicking of Clever Trick to Never Bend combined with rule (2) male-inbreeding to Nasrullah and Native Dancer. His female family is 21-a.
In summation, the acquisition of greater power in bloodstock comes from the inclusion of multiple rules rather than a single ‘tried and true’ axiom. Consider these phenomenal horses from the past: Numbered Account, La Prevoyante, Weekend Surprise, Anne Campbell, Majestic Light, Red God, and Nijinsky II to name a few. They all have the same powerful sire-to-sire nick as Sicotico’s 2nd dam, Thortania. Thus in that regard, Sicotico was a well-planned mating.
The wonderful experience and visit to Rancho San Antonio would not be complete without the gratitude and mention of vital members of the crew that makes the success of any thoroughbred farm a reality. They truly are the unsung heroes, from the worker manning the sentry post, that forms the first line of defense for these magnificent athletes, and the blacksmith beaming with pride of his awesome responsibility of keeping four-legged guests on their feet to the hot walker doubling as groom and the worker out in the distance plowing the grounds or prepping the soil.
Even in paradise, life on a thoroughbred farm involves high level of coordinated work. Dedicated staff maintains an amicable blend of generosity and vast knowledge in their horsemanship routines. Farm Foreman, Dilson Sosa, a pensive man with a cordial disposition and an air of excellence, plays a vital role in this successful breeding operation. Well respected by his superiors and subordinates alike, his sharp eyes stay focused on intricate details involved in running the day-to-day ongoings of the farm. He can quickly recite the race stats of an individual stallion and knows where each horse is at any given time. With low wages and high esteem, he unwittingly smiles whenever he hears the name Sicotico.