By Bill Oppenheim
According to calculations by TDN’s Heather Anderson, a total of 197 different sires are represented by 1,791 weanlings catalogued in the upcoming Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland November sales. Forty-two sires have 15 or more catalogued, and you will not be surprised to hear that fully one-third of them (14) are sires whose first foals arrived this year. This is pretty much a youth culture: eight sires with 15+ weanlings catalogued just had their first yearlings sell; six have their first 2-year-olds racing; and sires with their first 3- through 6-year-olds comprise another 12 sires, meaning exactly two of the 42 sires with 15+ weanlings catalogued had their first foals in 2008 or earlier. Those two (both first foals 2003) are Exchange Rate (21) and City Zip (17). There are weanlings by other important and veteran sires–11 by Tapit and seven by War Front, for example–just not as many of them.
Nine sires have 30 or more weanlings catalogued, and as six of the nine are sires whose first foals these are, let’s take a little bit closer look at these sires with first foals 2015 (F2015). The three non-F2015 sires with 30+ catalogued, by the way, are: F2014 (first yearlings 2015) The Factor (35); F2009 Scat Daddy (31); and the leading freshman sire, F2013 Uncle Mo (30).
The leading sire by number of weanlings catalogued between the two sales is Hill ’n’ Dale’s Violence, a son of Medaglia d’Oro, who has been described by some astute judges as the best-looking stallion in Kentucky. A $600,000 yearling bred by Dell Ridge Farm and raced by Black Rock Stables, with Todd Pletcher as the trainer, Violence won all three of his starts at two, including the GII Nashua S. and GI Cashcall Futurity, but was injured and subsequently retired after finishing second, by a half-length, to Orb in the 2013 GII Fountain of Youth S.
Claiborne’s Data Link, from War Front’s first crop, won the GI Maker’s 46 Mile and Grade II turf races at 8 1/2 and 9 furlongs. As a $7,500 stallion more of his foals are in the ‘back books’–35 of his 38 are in Book 3 or later. Taylor Made’s Graydar, a son of their late Unbridled’s Song, won five of his six career starts for Twin Creek Racing, including a wire-to-wire three-length win in the 2013 GI Donn H. He also won the GII New Orleans H. and GII Kelso in his other two starts as a 4-year-old. He has 37 foals catalogued, 14 of them in Fasig and the first two books at Keeneland.
Ashford’s Shanghai Bobby was the unbeaten 2-year-old champion of 2012 and is by Harlan’s Holiday, who seemingly can do no wrong at the moment and can claim successful sire sons Into Mischief and Majesticperfection since he died in Argentina in 2013. There are 35 foals from Shanghai Bobby’s first crop catalogued. Also with more than 30 catalogued from their first crops are two WinStar stallions: Overanalyze (Dixie Union), winner of the GII Futurity (6 furlongs) and GII Remsen (9 furlongs) at two and the GI Arkansas Derby at three; and Paynter, by Awesome Again, winner of the GI Haskell and beaten a neck by Union Rags in the 2012 GI Belmont S. Overanalyze has 34 foals catalogued, 32 of them in Book 3 and later; Paynter has 31, of which 14 are at Fasig or in Keeneland’s first two books.
Among this group, which covered their first crops in North America in 2014, three stallions averaged well above $100,000 for the mares sold in foal to them in late 2014 and early 2015. Claiborne’s 2013 GI Kentucky Derby winner Orb, by Malibu Moon, topped the charts by covering sire average, with 23 in foal mares which averaged $228,434; he has 25 foals catalogued, 21 of them between Fasig and Keeneland Books 1-2 and looks a good bet to top the charts again in these sales. People like him. Also with 25 catalogued is Pin Oak’s Alternation, a dual Grade III winner by Distorted Humor who, like Data Link and Overanalyze, figures mores prominently in the ‘back books’, as 22 of his 25 catalogued are in those.
Spendthrift debuts three first-crop sires: Flat Out (Flatter), who won three Grade I’s, $3.6-million, and ran Beyers of 107-116 10 different times (21 catalogued); Jimmy Creed, a good Grade I-winning sprinter by Distorted Humor about whom there’s been a lot of positive chat (19 catalogued); and Liaison, a Grade I-winning 2-year-old by ‘sleeper’ sire of sires Indian Charlie, sire of current leading North American freshman sire Uncle Mo. Liaison has 17 catalogued. Lane’s End’s Morning Line, by Tiznow, won the GI Carter H., the GII Pennsylvania Derby, and the GII Marvin LeRoy; he has 20 catalogued. WinStar also has Take Charge Indy (17 catalogued), winner of the GI Florida Derby at three and a six-length winner of the GII Alysheba at four running a Beyer 109. Finally, with 16 catalogued, Darley has Animal Kingdom, a mighty horse by Leroidesanimaux out of a mare by the top German sire Acatanenango, who was the King there before Monsun. Masterfully trained by Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom won the GI Kentucky Derby on dirt, the G1 Dubai Wold Cup on synthetic, and gave Wise Dan a big scare when running second to him in the 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf in his first start in 8 1/2 months. Animal Kingdom’s main base is Arrowfield in Australia, where he now has yearlings. Animal Kingdom himself seems to throw much more to Acataenango than to ‘Leroi,’ but either way it’s a pedigree blend with immense international class and appeal. He was second on covering average among F2015 sires (25, averaged $161,360); Shanghai Bobby (20, averaged $133,700) was third.