Horse Racing: Galawi an import to follow for Graham Motion

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 2nd, 2021

A royally bred son of Dubawi and “nephew” of mile legend Goldikova, Galawi could be poised to fulfill his potential stateside. The sparingly-raced four-year-old broke his maiden in his U.S. debut for Graham Motion at Belmont Park June 27.

Galawi’s pedigree

The Wertheimer et Frere homebred is bred on the same Dubawi/Galileo cross as Ghaiyyath, the world’s top-ranked racehorse of 2020. Galawi’s dam, Galikova, was accomplished in her own right on the racecourse although overshadowed by illustrious half-sister Goldikova.

Having more stamina as a daughter of Galileo, Galikova captured the 2011 Prix Vermeille (G1) as well as the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (G2) over males. In the latter, she was also gaining revenge on Golden Lilac who’d beaten her a length in the French Oaks (G1).

Trainer Freddie Head offered insights into Galikova in this “At the Races” feature going into the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1):

Galikova went off as the 7-1 third choice in the Arc, but wound up ninth behind the sensational Danedream. Kept in training in 2012, Galikova was a reappearing third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1). Her best result as a four-year-old was a second in the Prix Jean Romanet (G1), where she was elevated to the runner-up spot upon the disqualification of first-past-the-post Snow Fairy.

Galikova’s dam, Born Gold, amazingly produced a total of six Group winners, led by Hall of Famer Goldikova, a three-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) star and multiple transatlantic champion. Goldikova’s full brother, Anodin, was arguably unlucky not to win a Group 1 after placing five times at the top level, including when second in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Galikova is herself closely related to Goldikova’s best foal, Terrakova. The winner of two of three career starts, Terrakova scored in the 2017 Prix Cleopatre (G3) before placing third in the French Oaks.

Galikova’s first four foals are all winners, beginning with the French stakes-placed Galikeo.

Galawi's French starts

Coming from such an all-star family, Galawi understandably sparked hopes. The bay colt must have shown trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias enough early on to warrant fancy entries in the 2020 French Derby (G1) and Grand Prix de Paris (G1).

Galawi was unveiled in a newcomers’ race for three-year-old males on the Chantilly Polytrack, where he ranked as the 2.30-1 favorite. As it turned out, he never had a chance against another blueblood, Almanzor’s half-brother Another Sky, who romped in frontrunning fashion. Galawi did well to get up for second in the about 1 3/16-mile affair. Another Sky would eventually place a close third in the Prix de Guiche (G3).

Trying the Chantilly turf later that spring, Galawi rallied to contend in an about 1 1/4-mile maiden. But he couldn’t quite get past in a three-way tussle and settled for third, beaten two short necks by rivals who had raced a bit handier.

After just those two starts as a sophomore, Galawi was sidelined. He was still in France at the beginning of 2021, for he was made eligible for a couple of minor races (at Chantilly and Lyon La Soie) during the first week of April.

Plans then changed. France Galop records Galawi’s export as of April 30, and he posted his first work at Fair Hill on May 14.

Successful U.S. debut

Thus Galawi was not the typical four-year-old maiden when he finally resurfaced from a 13-month layoff at Belmont last Sunday. Accordingly, he garnered 1.65-1 favoritism, and obliged despite lagging behind a slow pace on the firm inner turf.

Lackadaisical at the break, Galawi loped along in last as the pacesetter carved out splits of :24.88, :50.24, and 1:16.39. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez nudged him on the far turn, and he began to respond. Galawi really lengthened upon straightening and asserted by a half-length. It was a fairly bunched-up finish, thanks to the pace, that also contributed to the final time of 2:02.40 for 1 1/4 miles.

Galawi’s final quarter, however, was a sprightly :22.04 according to Trakus. His rounded knee action implies he’d appreciate some ease in the ground as well. In any event, Galawi is eligible to improve with maturity, as the offspring of Dubawi often do.