Farewell & thank you Danzero, 1991-2020

Bred & sold by Arrowfield, Danzero was the first of three Champion Sire sons of Danehill based at the Stud from 1995 to 2018. (PHOTO: Bronwen Healy)

The death of Danzero on Sunday 28 June at the grand age of 28 has been greeted with sorrow and gratitude by the three Studs, Arrowfield, Chatswood & Rosemont, that were his homes for almost all of his long life. 

Bred by Arrowfield from the electrifying first crop of Danehill, he was born on 15 November 1991, the sixth foal of Group-placed city winner Confidentially (by Star Kingdom’s son Kaoru Star), herself bought as a yearling from the Freedman family by John Messara.

The  dark bay colt was sent to the 1993 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale where he was purchased for $55,000 by Lee Freedman, who trained him for a group of owners including Musk Creek Farm’s David Kobritz. 

Danzero quickly stamped his class on juvenile racing in the 1993/94 season, becoming Danehill’s first Australian-bred stakeswinner when he won the VRC Maribyrnong Trial S. LR on 3 October 1993. 

Danzero & Greg Hall prevail in a thrilling 1994 Golden Slipper G1. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

He followed up with success in the VATC Blue Diamond Prelude G3 in February and a month later defeated Racer’s Edge & St Covet to win the 1994 STC Golden Slipper G1. That gave him the honour of being the first of Danehill’s 89 Group 1 winners and convinced John Messara to buy him back for the Arrowfield stallion roster.

A four-start 3YO campaign added one more win, in the VATC H.D.F. McNeil S. LR before Danzero’s retirement in 1995, initially to Victoria’s Chatswood Stud where Champion 3YOs Danglissa & Fairway, the first of his six Group 1 winners, were conceived. The pair also contributed to Danzero’s 1998/99 Champion First Season Sire title success in 1998/99 and the following season they helped him into 5th spot on the General Sires’ list – a remarkable achievement with only two crops racing.

Champion 2YO Dance Hero wins the 2004 Magic Millions 2YO Classic – with Not A Single Doubt flying into shot to nab 2nd. (PHOTO: Sportpix)

Four years later, his Champion 2YO son Dance Hero won the Sydney 2YO Triple Crown and the Magic Millions Classic. The sensational Gai Waterhouse-trained gelding headed a vintage crop (including Charge Forward, Alinghi, Not A Single Doubt, Fastnet Rock & Savabeel) with a Timeform rating of 125 and helped Danzero to his second premiership win, as Champion Sire of 2YOs, as well as a career-high 4th placing on the 2003/04 General list. Dance Hero returned at three for a trio of Group wins and as a 5YO he won the VRC Salinger S. G1, defeating Miss Andretti in race record time.

Danzero shuttled for the 2000 & 2001 northern hemisphere seasons to England, siring three stakeswinners there, most notably the 2004 co-Champion 2YO Filly Soar. 

In the latter part of his career at Arrowfield, Danzero was eclipsed by the two Danehill sons who followed him onto the Arrowfield roster, Flying Spur (like Danzero, a home-bred Golden Slipper winner), and the king of them all, Redoute’s Choice. 

However, the durability of stakeswinners such as Extra Zero (7 wins, 33 placings & $1.7 million earned over 8 racing seasons), Zero Rock (11 wins in Queensland), See The World (9 wins), Startsmeup (7 wins) and the fine Sydney mare Break Card (6 wins) maintained his presence in Australian metropolitan & black type racing.

Danzero’s overall record, including his final two crops conceived at Rosemont after he left Arrowfield in August 2011, stands at 669 winners of 2248 races  in 21 countries, 40 stakeswinners of 93 Group & Listed Races and progeny earnings of $73.4 million.

His status as a broodmare sire has grown steadily in recent years, thanks to 31 stakeswinners, among them Group 1 winners Danzdanzdance, Kolding, Julius, December Draw and  young Darley sire Exosphere.

In a gracious tribute to Danzero, Rosemont’s Anthony Mithen said, “It was an honour to have him on the farm and he was revered by all that got to lean over his fence and give him a pat. He helped teach us the stallion game and was a true gentleman.”

John Messara says, “It was Danzero who raised the flag for Danehill and the dominant sire-line he founded in Australia, and for that we will always remember him with gratitude.”

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