He came from a pedigree containing multiple Grade I winners. After being retired, he had joined those family members by winning at racing's highest level. Though he did not have the career that ancestors like Affirmed, A.P. Indy or Seattle Slew achieved, Gormley still managed to find success on the track.
A stunning bay son of noted sire Malibu Moon, Gormley was named for sculptor Antony Gormley. Purchased for $150,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Gormley was sent to the barn of trainer John Shirreffs, who conditioned the legendary Zenyatta. The connections were quite familiar to Southern California racing fans; in addition to being conditioned by Shirreffs, Gormley was bred by Jerry and Ann Moss, the owners of Queen Z. Thus, fans saw the pink and blue silks they saw with Zenyatta when Gormley was in action.
Starting three times as a juvenile, Gormley was twice a winner. After breaking his maiden first time out at Del Mar, the colt promptly became a Grade I winner by taking Santa Anita's FrontRunner Stakes a few weeks later. His lone loss came in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he had some trouble and raced wide in that contest. But Gormley was young and had talent. He could rebound from the defeat.
He did just that at the start of the 2017 season. Based at Santa Anita, Gormley took the Grade III Sham Stakes, the traditional opener to Southern California's Kentucky Derby prep season. What's more, it came on an off track, showing Gormley possessed another strength as a racehorse.
The followup to the Sham was the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, which resulted in a fourth. But Gormley came back to take the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in April, the biggest Kentucky Derby prep race in Southern California. That gave him the distinction of winning a Grade I event at the ages of two and three, and he emerged as Southern California's top Kentucky Derby hope.
Going by the family tree, Gormley seemed bred to take a Triple Crown race. His grandsire was A.P. Indy, winner of the 1992 Belmont Stakes, and he had ties to Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed, the three Triple Crown champions of the 1970s. Though nothing was of course guaranteed, the potential was there in the bloodline.
Unfortunately, a win in the spring classics eluded Gormley. He was ninth in the Kentucky Derby after encountering some late trouble, and finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes. He had a summer vacation after the Triple Crown season ended, and returned to where his career began almost a year earlier at Del Mar. Competing in the Shared Belief Stakes, he could not get to the winner's circle, coming in fourth place.
Approximately two months later, it was announced that Gormley would be retired and sent to Spendthrift Farm for stud duty. His race record stood at four wins in nine starts with $1,026,000. According to the BloodHorse Stallion Register, he is among Malibu Moon's highest earning offspring, and holds the distinction of being the only member of his sire's progeny to be a Grade I winner at 2 and 3.
Gormley's career was not as prolific compared to his predecessors, but he was capable of winning big races like they were. As to what his stallion career holds, that will be answered in the coming years. Who knows, perhaps Gormley will one day be victorious in a Triple Crown event as a sire. Malibu Moon did, just as A.P. Indy, Seattle Slew, and others in the family tree.
Gormley was a winner on the racetrack, so it is very possible we will talk about him as a Grade I winner as a stallion several times over in the years to come. Only it shall be as a stallion like his father and grandfather. It seems the apple might not fall far from the tree.
Sources: Malibu Moon Profile: https://www.bloodhorse.com/stallion-register/stallions/131806/malibu-moon
Gormley's Spendthrift Farm profile: https://www.spendthriftfarm.com/gormley/