Anne Peters
 

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Anne Peters
P.O. Box 3926
Midway, KY 40347
(859) 846 - 9794
pedgoddess
@yahoo.com

 

 


Freshman Sires of 2018                                         (Copyright by Anne Peters 2018)

This is being written in mid-January of 2018, just as the first runners by this year's freshman sires are prepping for breeze-up sales or training toward their first starts. Coming into this year, the early leaders of the sire crop were champion Will Take Charge, Cairo Prince and Verrazano, who filled the top three slots by yearling average in 2017. But that's not exactly how the story started.

Compared to the previous year's intake of new stallions in Kentucky (29 new horses in 2014), the 2015 market for fresh young faces contracted siginficantly, and stud farms were gambling on only 17 new stallions in 2015. In line with that decline, while the top introductory stud fee in 2014 was $35,000 for Animal Kingdom, one year later, the leading stud fee was slightly less at $30,000, for Will Take Charge.

Will Take Charge is a drop-dead gorgeous horse, there's no doubt. He's big, standing a full 17 hands, but he's by Unbridled's Song, so it's expected. "Will," as they call him at Three Chimneys, is a brilliant golden chestnut with a wide blaze on his elegant head, stockings on both hind legs and the left front leg. Once you get used to all that flash you can concentrate on his great conformation, balance, muscling, and good legs. There's a lot to like here. The Unbridled's Songs have often been criticized for being unsound, but this one, with help from his remarkable mother Take Charge Lady (22 starts and $2,48,377) by Dehere, held up to 21 starts over 3 seasons, 11 during his championship 3-year-old campaign. He broke his maiden in his second start at 2, at the Keeneland fall meet over 7 furlongs on all weather, and late in the year was second in the Remington Springboard Mile. At 3, he won the Smarty Jones Stakes and Rebel Stakes before running afoul during the Triple Crown. He was second in the Jim Dandy, then won the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby. He was second by a nose in the Breeders Cup Classic to Mucho Macho Man, then came back later that month to win the Clark Handicap against older horses, which gave him the division title. At 4, he won the Oaklawn Handicap and placed in several Grade 1s before retiring with a reputation as real battler, and wins from 7 to 10 furlongs. He went to stud at $30,000, and covered 144 mares his first and second seasons, dipping only slightly to 139 last spring. The market loved his yearlings and they led all others from his sire crop with an average of $166,105. Since he showed form at 2, it wouldn't be surprising to see a good group of juveniles this year.

Noble Mission (GB) came to America after a highly successful racing career in Europe, including Group 1 wins in the Champion Stakes, Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and Tattersalls Gold Cup, but that wasn't his true appeal. He's a full brother to one of racing's all-time greats, the mighty Frankel (GB). It doesn't hurt that he's a son of the perennial Leading Sire in Europe, Galileo or that his dam is a stakes winner and multiple Group producer, or that she's by another leading sire, Danehill. Noble Mission was second in his only start at 2, and at 3, was one of the better 10 to 12 furlong runners of his age, winning the Gordon Stakes-G3 (12 f.). He improved with age and at 5 won Group 1 races in England, France and Ireland at 10 and 12 furlongs. Noble Mission, at 16.1 hands, is a good-sized, blocky horse, squarely made with great bone, looking more like a speed horse than the router he was. Being a later-maturing type, and a European turf horse, don't expect his runners to be particularly precocious, but they should get better with age and distance, and the right surface. He got 146 mares in his first year, but only covered 63 the next year due to a badly timed bout with colic. He was back his third spring with 110 mares. His yearlings sold pretty well, averaging $68,102 from a $25,000 stud fee, and he's been reasonably dropped to $20,000 for 2018.

Verrazano is the best American-based son of More Than Ready, who is thriving as a sire of preocious sprinter/milers, especially as a shuttle sire in Australia. Verrazano was unraced at 2 but was an early phenomenon at 3, zipping through 4 scintillating wins including the Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial before getting mugged in the Kentucky Derby. He returned to awesome form in the Pegasus Stakes (winning by 9 1/4) and the Haskell Invitational by the same margin before tiring in the Travers and a bad trip in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. He ended the season when third in the Cigar Mile to Flat Out. At 4, he went to England, which wasn't a bad move considering he has turf breeding on both sides, by More Than Ready out of a Giant's Causeway mare. There he ran creditably enough, third in the Lockinge Stakes and second in the Queen Anne Stakes, both at a mile, but came out of the Eclipse Stakes lame and was retired. Nothing short of brilliant when at his peak out to 9 furlongs, he retired with 6 wins from 13 starts. His dam is by Giant's Causeway from the great family of Chic Shirine and Too Chic. He's a big (16.2 hands), handsome, strongly made, horse with more size and scope than his sire. He got 185 mares his first year, then 190 but a mere 159 mares in 2017. His yearlings sold well, placing him third by average ($97,619) among first crop sires. With all the talent he showed early in his classic year, a busy crop of 2-year-olds should be expected, and he could wind up the freshman leader by the year's end.

For such a tall drink of water, Mucho Macho Man came into hand relatively early, and made 5 starts at 2, breaking his maiden and seconds in the formful late season Remsen and Nashua Stakes. At 3, he won the Risen Star Stakes and was third in the Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby. Improving with age, at 4, he won the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Suburban Handicap and Sunshine Millions Classic, and was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic to Fort Larned. At 5, he won the Classic, beating Will Take Charge and proving he could stretch to 10 furlongs. He ran 5 years, and won 9 of 25 starts, with 5 seconds and 6 thirds. He's a son of champion 2-year-old Macho Uno, from the Holy Bull line, and his dam was a good stakes winner by Ponche, by Two Punch, so the pedigree isn't glittery, but they could all run. Mucho Macho Man covered 99 mares his first season, then 72 in his second, but was down to 35 in his third year. His first yearlings sold for a solid $50,650 average. A tall, 16.3 hand greyhound type, he could get juvenile winners like himself, but they're more likely to bloom a little later.

Cross Traffic is a son of Unbridled's Song, and his dam is the Grade 1 winner Stop Traffic by Cure the Blues. This all suggests precocious speed, but the colt took some time to show his best. Unraced at 2 and 3 due to minor problems, he bounded onto the scene at 4, and was second in the Metropolitan Handicap and Westchester Stakes before winning the Whitney Invitational at Saratoga gate to wire in a memorable performance. He was injured after a bad break in his next start and retired with 3 wins from 6 starts, from 6 1/2 to 9 furlongs. A tall (16.3 hands), lanky horse, he's grown into a lovely individual, not quite so long in the body as is typical of his sire, and a little lighter framed, but still nice. At a fee of $12,500, he got 123 mares his first year, 106 the second, and dipped to 71 in his third year. His first yearlings averaged $37,626, suggesting that they might be late developers like their dad. I don't expect this one to sire a lot of 2-year-olds, since he needed an extra year to get to into the starting gate.

Fed Biz was very fast, as his 2 track records at Del Mar will attest. A son of Gaint's Causeway out of stakes winner Spunoutacontrol by Wild Again, he broke his maiden at 2 over a mile at Santa Anita. At 3, he won the El Cajon Stakes (8f. Del Mar all weather) and at 4, took the San Fernando Stakes (8 1/2 f. dirt) and Pat O'Brien Stakes (new track record for 7 furlongs all weather). At 5 he won the San Diego Handicap (new track record for 8 1/2 furlongs all weather). He was also Grade 1-placed on turf, proving his versatility. At 16.1 1/2 hands, Fed Biz is a big, classy looking horse with a lovely head and neck, and terrific body. He was met with a lot of support at stud, getting 147 mares his first year and 128 his second. They must have loved the foals because he bounced up to 157 mares his third year, when others usually dip. His first yearlings sold accordingly, with a healthy average of $77,701. Although he got better with a litte more maturity, Fed Biz's speed should enable him to get a reasonable number of juvenile winners in 2018.

Goldencents is a Cinderella story. His sire was not well thought of at the time, but now Into Mischief stands for $100,000. His dam was a winner by the unexceptional sire Banker's Gold, and Goldencents sold for $5,500 as a yearling. That's ancient history. He broke his maiden at Del Mar by 7 1/4 lengths, was second in the Champagne Stakes to Shanghai Bobby and won the Delta Downs Jackpot to round out his juvenile campaign, and put his sire on the map. At 3, he soared beyond expectations, winning the Sham Stakes, Santa Anita Derby and at the end of the season, the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. At 4, he kept going, winning the Pat O'Brien Stakes (new track record for 7 furlongs), and a second Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Goldencents is a little buzz saw of a horse, blessed with brilliant speed showcased at a mile, although he won the Santa Anita Derby at 9 furlongs. He's not a big horse, just over 16 hands, but he's attractive and well made, with a huge hind end for all that speed. His first season attracted 179 mares, with 190 in his second, and a slight dip to 135 in his third year. His first yearlings averaged $48,109, which isn't surprising if they're not particularly big, but a good return on his $12,500 stud fee. With that large first crop and all his speed and early maturity, he will almost certainly be among the leading freshman sires.

Magician (IRE) is by Europe's perennial leading sire Galileo which makes him a rare jewel in Kentucky. His dam was the stakes winner Absolutelyfabulous from the only crop by Mozart, a champion sprinter by Danehill, so he's bred on the same cross as Noble Mission and Frankel. He made an impression breaking his maiden at 2 in Ireland by 6 lengths. At 3, he won the Irish 2,000 Guineas at a mile, and the Dee Stakes at 10 1/2 furlongs in Europe. Sent to America, he was second in the Arlington Million, then returned to win the Breeders' Cup Turf going 12 furlongs. At 4 he won the Mooresbridge Stakes in Ireland and had Group 1 placings in the Tattersalls Gold Cup and Prince of Wales Stakes. So he brings a resume as a turf router, winning from a mile to 1 1/2 miles. This sort brings valuable stamina to stud, but being turf horses, it usually works against them in a Kentucky market. Standing a neat 16 hands, he's a little light framed like some Galileos can be, but he looks more like a speed horse than the long distance star he was. He got 130 mares his first year, then a quick drop to 76 mares in 2016 and 60 mares in 2017. His 2017 yearlings averaged $17,641, so he might be the wrong type for the American market. Although he had a great turn of foot to help his youngsters, it's unlikely he'll make much of a mark this year as a juvenile sire.

Real Solution is the first son of Kitten's Joy at stud in Kentucky, and is out of a mare by Pulpit. He started racing in Italy, was a winner at 2 going 9 1/2 furlongs, and at 3 won the Premio Botticelli (10 1/2 f.). At 4 he returned to the U.S. as an top turf horse, winning the Arlington Millions (10f.), and at 5 won the Manhattan Stakes (10f.). A classy turf router, as noted in the past, this type rarely makes it as a stallion in Kentucky, the noteworthy exception being his own sire, Kitten's Joy. His first book was just 58 mares, and his second went to 33. His third book declined to 10 mares. His first yearlings averaged $18,733. He stands just over 16 hands, and is a strongly made plain brown wrapper sort. Real Solution isn't being supported by the market and will have to make his own way as his sire did. He may get juvenile winners, especially on turf, but they'll probably need age and distance to find their niche. [Update: Real Solution was leased to Blue Star Racing in Louisiana for the 2018 season.]

(continued in left column under tables)

My picks for 2017 Leading Freshman Sire
Verrazano (by More Than Ready)
Goldencents (by Into Mischief)
Cairo Prince (by Pioneerof The Nile)
Strong Mandate (by Tiznow)
Itsmyluckyday (by Lawyer Ron)
Will Take Charge (by Unbridled's Song)
 
Kentucky sires with first runners (2yos) in 2018
2015 stud fee
2015
mares
bred
2016
mares
bred
2017
mares bred
2017
yrlg
ave
2018 fee
Will Take Charge (17.0h)
$30,000
144
144
139
$166,015
$30,000
Noble Mission (GB) (16.1)
$25,000
146
63
110
$ 68,102
$20,000
Verrazano (16.2)
$22,500
185
190
159
$ 97,619
$17,500
Mucho Mach Man (16.3)
$15,000
99
72
35
$ 50,650
$10,000
Cross Traffic (16.3)
$12,500
123
106
71
$ 37,626
$ 7,500
Fed Biz (16.1 1/2)
$12,500
147
128
157
$ 77,701
$10,000
Goldencents (16.0 1/2)
$12,500
179
190
135
$ 48,109
$12,500
Magician (IRE) (16.0)
$12,500
130
76
60
$ 17,641
$ 7,500
Real Solution (16.0 1/2)
$12,500
58
33
10
$ 18,733
$ 5,000
Cairo Prince (16.1 1/2)
$10,000
148
148
149
$138,279
$25,000
Shakin It Up (16.0 1/2)
$10,000
92
74
43
$ 34,810
$ 5,000
Strong Mandate (16.2)
$10,000
110
73
88
$ 78,528
$10,000
Itsmyluckyday (16.0)
$ 8,000
127
76
60
$16,866
$ 5,000
Flashback (16.1 1/2)
$ 7,500
157
115
109
$27,845
$ 5,000
Revolutionary (16.1)
$ 7,500
146
109
61
$26,485
$ 5,000
Atreides (16.1 1/2)
$ 6,500
73
60
18
$32,586
$ 5,000
Can The Man (16.1)
$ 5,000
114
133
74
$14,396
$ 3,500
Capo Bastone (16.2) FL
$ 4,000
38
31
10
$ 8,200
$ 4,000
Mark Valeski (16.1) FL
$ 2,500
40
38
34
$ 5,923
PRIVATE

(continued from right column)

Cairo Prince is from the first crop by Pioneerof The Nile and became his first stakes winner when he scored in the late season Nashua Stakes at 2. He was second in the Remsen Stakes to Honor Code and came back at 3 with a promising 5 3/4 length win in the Holy Bull Stakes. An ankle injury in April forced him out of the Derby and he never made it back to the races. A strapping big grey horse standing 16.1 1/2 hands, his first and second books had 148 mares, and his third was 149, so breeders liked the foals they were seeing. His first yearlings made him the real talking horse of the 2017 freshman yearling sires, with an average of $138,279 from a $10,000 stud fee. Out of a stakes winner by Holy Bull, his youngsters could continue with the success and put him among the leading freshman sires this year.

Shakin It Up was Graded placed at 2, won the San Vicente and Malibu Stakes at 3; and the Strub Stakes at 4. He took his brilliant speed from 6 to 8 1/2 furlongs, much like his sire Midnight Lute. Considering his sire stands 17 hands, Shakin It Up is a surprise at just 16.0 1/2 hands, but he's a very good-looking, powerfully muscled horse. His dam is royalty, by the short lived Vindication - whose daughters have become excellent broodmares - and out of the mighty champion filly Silverbulletday. Shakin It Up served 92 mares his first year, and 74 his second year, dipping to 43 his third year. His first yearlings averaged $34,810 from a $10,000 stud fee. He was very fast and it wouldn't be surprising to see him get a substantial number of good 2-year-olds in his first crop.

Strong Mandate was an outstanding 2-year-old, winnning the Hopeful Stakes and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the best performance at 2 for a son of Tiznow, although he's out of a daughter of champion juvenile Deputy Minister. At 3, Strong Mandate was second in the Southwest Stakes, but tailed off apparently the result of a chip in his right knee that forced his retirement in May that year. As his pedigree would suggest, he's a big (16.2 hands), handsome, strongly made horse, powerfully muscled, and also leggy suggesting that had he stayed sound, he might have run into the middle distances. His first book included 110 mares, the second dropped to 73, but a significant bump back up to 88 in the third book. His strong yearling average of $78,528 should make those numbers improve. The only Grade 1-winning 2-year-old in this group, he should wind up near the top of the Freshman Sire list at the end of the year.

Itsmyluckyday is one of 14 black type winners from the 2 crops sired by the late Lawyer Ron, whose early death was obviously a bigger loss than we knew at the time. One of the top juveniles of his crop, Itsmyluckyday won the Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash and Foolish Pleasure Stakes, both at Calder, and roared back at 3 with a win in the Gulfstream Park Derby, Holy Bull Stakes (new track record for 8 1/2f.), second in the Florida Derby and Preakness. He was out for several months due to a fractured hip, but returned at 4 to win 4 more stakes including the Salvator Mile and Woodward Stakes. A classy runner from 5 to 9 furlongs, he's a heavily muscled, well made horse who has a bit of "Slew" about him, which is not surprising since his dam is by Seattle Slew's very useful son Doneraile Court. Itsmyluckyday stands 16.0 hands but looks bigger, probably due to his tremendous hindquarter development. He covered 127 mares his first season, then a drop to 76, and again to 60 in his third season. His yearlings averaged a weak $16,866 off an $8,000 introductory fee, and he now stands for $5,000. With his own good form at 2, he should make a decent showing as a freshman. I think this is an underrated horse who should be given a fair chance. Remember who his daddy was.

Flashback started out as a full brother to the Grade 1-winning filly Zazu, by Tapit out of Rhumb Line by Mr. Greeley, but ended his career as a fairly good horse in his own right. He won his only start at 2, at 3 won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 3 and placed in the San Felipe Stakes, Sana Anita Derby and Damascus Stakes. He was third in the Ack Ack Handicap at 4 before entering stud. Flashback is a nice individual, and standing 16.1 1/2 hands, he's a tall, scopey horse with a lot of his sire about him, with good muscling and good legs. His first book included 157 mares, his second 115, and his third 109, so he's held his ground. His first yearlings averaged a tepid $27,845, but the real test is on the track, after all. He was a fast horse, but more of a miler who needed that winter over to mature, so precocious juveniles might not be his forte.

Revolutionary is one of 9 black type winners from the only 2 crops sired by Champion War Pass before his early death, and so, like Lawyer Ron mention above, was obviously a genetic loss to the industry. It's even more critical because War Pass looked like he'd be the son of Cherokee Run who might make it, but now the mantle of passing on that line goes to his son Revolutionary, out of an A.P. Indy mare from the family of Mineshaft. He broke his maiden at 2 at a mile and came back over the winter to win the Louisiana Derby, but it was his subsequent win in the Withers Stakes that proved really remarkable. Running last most of the way, in the stretch he deftly wove through traffic, then burst between rivals at the last second, to win by a head. He ran third in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the Belmont, his last start at 3. He didn't return until the next year, when he was second int he Oaklawn Handicap and won the Pimlico Special. He's a big horse at 16.1 hands, but has that same, dark, sleek, muscular look like the best Cherokee Runs. He attracted 146 mares his first year, then 109, and a dip to 61 last year. His yearlings averaged a tepid $26,485 from his $7,500 fee. He may not break through this year, but don't count him out. He was a fighter, and that kind of racing heart is rare.

Atreides is bred in the purple, by Medaglia d'Oro out of the Grade 1 sprint mare Dream Rush by Wild Rush. Although unraced at 2, Atreides won his first 3 starts at 3 by daylight, including the Monarchos Stakes (8f.) by 17 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream. He ended his career with a 4 1/2 length romp in the Aventura Stakes at the same track and distance in December. He retired in January due to a tendon injury and with the late announcement, covered 73 mares his first year. He got 60 the second year, and 18 his third year. Still, his first yearlings averaged $32,586, which is encouraging. He's a big (16.1 1/2 hands), leggy horse and rather typical of his sire, with a good shoulder and sloping hindquarter. He had a ton of talent and that usually translates into speed, but not necessarily the early speed needed to be a top freshman sire.

Can The Man is, like Goldencents, another one of Into Mischief's early success stories, and he topped the 2013 Barretts 2-year-old sale at $320,000. Out of the French stakes winner Smolensk by Danzig, he's from a great family going back to the great mares Blush With Pride and Best In Show. At 2 he won first time out at Del Mar, then ran third in the Del Mar Futurity and fourth in the FrontRunner Stakes before winning the Speakeasy Stakes (6f.) at Santa Anita. At 3, he won the Affirmed Stakes (8 1/2 f.) first time back and made one more start before retiring. He's a good-sized horse at 16.1 hands, but looks smaller than he is, being a stocky, lengthy, low to the ground type with a big hip. His first book had 114 mares, then a jump up to 133, but a drop to 74 in his third season. His first yearlings averaged $14,396. As a speed horse with good 2-year-old form himself, he's got a shot at siring a number of juvenile winners, but I'm not sure he's shown enough class to move to the top of the class in this division.

Capo Bastone entered stud in Florida but moved to Adena Springs' Kentucky division in his third season. A maiden winner at 2, he was also third in the FrontRunner Stakes and Breeders' Cup Juvenile that year. At 3, he placed in the Derby Trial and later in the year won the prestigious King's Bishop Stakes (7f.) at Saratoga. He's by the sprinter Street Boss out of a mare by Fit to Fight, so is bred for speed and looks the part. At 16.2 hands, he's a big, strong, powerful horse in the mold of his heavily muscled sire, except with more leg. He covered 38 mares his first year at stud in Florida, then 31, and only 10 mares his first season in Kentucky. His first yearlings sold for an average of $8,200. He's got an uphill climb from there, but could have a few good Florida-bred juveniles carving out a niche for him this year.

Mark Valeski also entered stud in Florida at $2,500 and moved to Kentucky for his third season. A winner at 2 at Delaware, he was a good horse at 3, second in the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby before breaking out to win the Peter Pan Stakes (9f.) at Belmont. At 4 he won the Mineshaft Handicap (8 1/2f.) at Gulfstream and placed in 2 other stakes. He's by Proud Citizen, a highly underrated stallion by Gone West, and his son is installed hopefully at Airdrie as a replacement. He's out of a good route mare by sprinter Fortunate Prospect. He looks like his sire, and is a good sized (16.1 hands), attractive horse in that Gone West model, muscular and compact. He got 40 mares his first year in Florida, then 38, and 34 mares in his first season in Kentucky. His yearlings averaged a weak $5,923, but he's getting the opportunity, and it's just a matter of seeing if some of these Florida-bred 2-year-olds can run this year.

Copyright by Anne Peters 2018