The Return of Empire Maker

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Empire Maker | Horsephotos

By Bill Oppenheim

Empire Maker stood for seven seasons in Kentucky before his sale to Japan for the 2011 breeding season, and it is very good news for Kentucky breeders that he will be returning, after five seasons in Japan, to stand at Gainesway in 2016. His seven North American crops have produced thus far 48 A Runners (almost seven per crop), a North American A Runner Index of 2.25, and 19 GI or GII winners, including Pioneerof The Nile (sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah), Royal Delta, and the leading North American first-year sire at this year’s yearling sales, Bodemeister. Equally important, though, is that his return further strengthens the influence of the Fappiano sire line, primarily through Empire Maker’s sire, Unbridled, as one of the two most important lines for American dirt racing. He’s already proven as a sire of sires, and there is a high likelihood of him also being an influential broodmare sire, particularly as 15 of his 19 GI/GII winners are fillies. For breeders thinking about where he might fit their broodmare bands, we would note that, of his 50 individual A Runners (including two from his first Japanese crop, foals of 2012), he has sired 10 A Runners out of Seattle Slew-line mares (including Royal Delta); eight out of mares from other Mr. Prospector lines (including three out of Seeking The Gold mares); seven out of Danzig-line mares; four out of Storm Bird-line mares (including Bodemeister); and, if you happen to have any mares with Lord At War in their pedigrees, Empire Maker has sired GI winners Pioneerof The Nile and Icon Project out of Lord At War mares. Contact Bill Oppenheim at bopp@erb.com (cc suefinley@thetdn.com).

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