Bill Oppenheim
Class is actually hard to describe or define: we recognize it when we see it, but it’s hard to pin down. The full-brothers Sadler’s Wells and Fairy King, and their three-quarter brother Nureyev, didn’t look like each other, nor throw like each other; yet they all had class, and threw class. That was Kingmambo: he exuded class.
— Bill Oppenheim

Kingmambo, the first produce of the irrepressible two-time Breeders' Cup Mile (Gr.1) heroine Miesque, the sire of champions in nine different countries and of 85 black-type winners to date, was euthanized Tuesday at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, due to the infirmities of old age. The announcement comes five years to the day of his dam's death at Lane's End. Kingmambo, who will be buried at the farm, had just turned 26 years of age, having been pensioned from stud duties in 2010.

His Summerhill connection lies in that of his son Malhub, owned by Sheikh Mohammed, who spent 8 years in the Summerhill stallion barn, siring winners Maluti, Maji Moto, Winning Edge and Virgo's Babe, to name but a few. Those who frequent these columns will know that a regular "page-turner" lies in the writings of Bill Oppenheim, whose insights we've long regaled as some of the best in the land. Here's what he had to say about Kingmambo:

"Probably the biggest compliment that can be paid to Kingmambo was that he really stamped his class onto his progeny. They didn't always look like him; Kingmambo always struck me as a real Mr. Prospector to look at, yet Lemon Drop Kid looks more like his damsire, Seattle Slew. But Kingmambo did transmit his class, and he was all about class, since besides being by Mr. Prospector he was out of two-time Breeders' Cup Mile (Gr.1) winner Miesque, who had tons of class, and she was by Nureyev, who was the epitome of class.

In terms of numbers, Kingmambo is listed on the TDN Cumulative General Sire List as having sired 894 named foals in 16 crops, of which 85, or 9.5%, were Black-Type Winners, including 48 group/graded Stakes winners, and 24 Group/Grade 1 winners. Possibly his best sire son is King Kamehameha, the number two sire in Japan after Deep Impact; but Kingmambo's record as a broodmare sire is even more impressive. So far he is the damsire of 95 A Runners, using the APEX data, including Camelot, the half-brothers Duke of Marmalade and Ruler of the World, and Juddmonte's champion filly Midday.

There's a little example I like to use when trying to talk about 'class', which in my opinion trumps all other attributes in describing the best horses. Class is actually hard to describe or define: we recognize it when we see it, but it's hard to pin down. The full-brothers Sadler's Wells and Fairy King, and their three-quarter brother Nureyev, didn't look like each other, nor throw like each other; yet they all had class, and threw class. That was Kingmambo: he exuded class.

One interesting note about him was that both as a sire (73 A Runners in the APEX world) and broodmare sire (95 A Runners and counting) he didn't like another 'direct' cross of Mr. Prospector: in other words, as a sire he had no A Runners at all out of mares who were themselves by Mr. Prospector-line sires; as a broodmare sire he has one A Runner by a Mr. Prospector-line sire (excluding Fappiano, which I regard as a separate line, and from which line he has two A Runners as a broodmare sire). I always thought it was because he was such a strong Mr. Prospector type himself, he didn't want to hear of any more of it. We throw the phrase around a lot, don't we? "He was a horse of the highest class".

Kingmambo really was, a horse of the highest class, a privilege to have witnessed, and to have had anything to do with.

Godspeed to him, and thanks."

Bill Oppenheim / Thoroughbred Daily News

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