2019 is the year that the first runners by American Pharoah come of age to
race. Being the first Triple Crown winner in a long stretch, Pharoah's first crop
has been much anticipated at every break, first mares in foal, first foals, first
weanlings, first yearlings. This year, his first 2-year-olds hit the breeze-up
sales and then enter the starting gate. Will his progeny live up to such great
expectations? Stay tuned.
Here's a review of the stallions
that entered stud in Kentucky in 2016, listed in order by their stud fee that
American Pharoah is a king more than just in name. He was the
Champion of his crop at 2 (in 3 starts), and returned to dominate at 3, including
the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and ended the season with a perfunctory
win in the Breeders' Cup Classic against older horses. He retired to stud at 4
at an advertised fee of $200,000. He covered 208 mares that season (2016), 214
in 2017, and 182 in 2018. His first yearlings sold extremely well, with an average
of $453,273. His 2019 fee was originally announced at $110,000 but is now for
some reason being advertised as "private." From the second crop of Pioneerof
The Nile, he is a representative of the good cross that his sireline, through
Unbridled/Empire Maker/Pioneerof the Nile, has with Storm Cat-line mares. Although
his dam was unplaced and by the underachieving sire Yankee Gentleman, she obviously
inherited something special from somewhere since she's also produced the 2018
G1-winning filly Chasing Yesterday, and Group/Graded-placed runners American Cleopatra
and St Patrick's Day. Pharoah is a big, handsome horse, listed at 16.2 hands,
with that long, level Unbridled topline, plus a great shoulder and hindquarter.
He was a $300,000 RNA as a Saratoga yearling, which may or may not be significant,
but in fact, he's not perfect. Still, this model could run like the wind, has
a terrific temperament and awesome stride. As a champion juvenile himself, he
should get good 2-year-olds and with a huge first foal crop, he's got the numbers
in his favor. His runners should do well with age and distance as well.
Code is a prince. From the last crop by his great sire A.P. Indy, he's out
of a multiple Graded stakes-producing Storm Cat mare who is a granddaughter of
the champion filly Serena's Song, so his pedigree is flawless. He won 2 of 3 starts
at 2, including the Remsen Stakes after being second in the Champagne Stakes.
Hampered by injuries at 3 (bruised hind ankles and then a torn hind suspensory),
he missed the Triple Crown races and didn't come back until late that season.
At 4, he delivered on his promise and won the Gulfstream Park Handicap, Metropolitan
Handicap and Whitney Stakes and earned the Older Male Championship. He retired
to stud at Lane's End at a fee of $40,000, covering 144 mares in 2016, 153 in
2017 and 154 in 2018 showing no flagging of interest from breeders. His first
yearlings sold for a strong average of $220,782. Honor Code is an eye-filling
individual, nearly black but flashy with a blaze and stockings. He's a big, husky
horse in the mold of Storm Cat with tons of class. As a good late-season 2-year-old
himself, he's likely to get good 2-year-olds himself, especially with quicker
mares but like many of the A.P. Indy line, his progeny will probably get better
with age and distance.
Tonalist is one of 3 Belmont Stakes winners by
the great sire Tapit, underlining the stamina in this bloodline. Tapits come in
all sizes and this one takes after his dam's sire Pleasant Colony in type, being
a tall, rangy horse. He comes from the immediate family of the great filly Havre
de Grace and further back, A.P. Indy; from a great female line going back to Missy
Baba. It's all class here. Tonalist was unplaced in his only start at 2, but grew
into his frame at 3, winning the Peter Pan, Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold
Cup. At 4, he won the Westchester Stakes, a second Jockey Club Gold Cup and shortened
up at the end of the season to win the Cigar Mile. Tonalist retired at an announced
fee of $40,000 that was revised to $30,000. He got 138 mares in his first year,
115 in his second and 124 in his third, meaning that breeders seem to like what
he's putting on the ground. His first yearlings averaged a healthy $101,151. His
fee has been adjusted down to $15,000 in anticipation of a possible lag with his
first runners on the track. Don't expect him to be a sire of a lot of precocious
juveniles, but with a quick mare, he could get some late season contenders. His
progeny will undoubtedly need more time and distance to show the classic stamina
that Tonalist embodies.
Carpe Diem is one of the good dirt-loving sons
of Giant's Causeway. One of 4 stakes winners out of his dam, Rebridled Dreams
by Unbridled's Song, his half-brother J. B.'s Thunder won the Breeders' Futurity
at Keeneland 4 years before Carpe Diem won the same race in 2014. He was second
in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (to Texas Red, in the absence of American Pharoah),
and came back the next year to win the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.
He retired that July due to a knee chip and entered stud at 4 at WinStar for $25,000.
He covered 162 mares his first year, 144 in his second and 133 in his third year,
so he remains popular. His 2018 yearling average was a very strong $131,434. Carpe
Diem is a typical Giant's Causeway, being a big, burly, blocky horse, a little
on the plain side with a ton of bone. He was a $500,000 yearling and a $1,600,000
2-year-old in training. As a Grade 1 dirt winner at 2 and 3, he could make a powerful
showing with his first 2-year-olds.
Constitution is a Grade 1 winner
by Tapit out of a Graded-placed daughter of Distorted Humor who is the dam of
2 other stakes winners. Is that enough class for you? A $400,000 Saratoga yearling,
he was unraced at 2, but won the Florida Derby in his third start. Working toward
the Kentucky Derby, he came up with a hairline fracture of his right front cannon
and was out until the fall, coming back to be third in the Clark Handicap. At
4 he won the Donn Handicap in wire-to-wire fashion, but soreness in his left front
put him off until the fall, when he was unplaced in his final 2 starts, both in
Graded stakes. When sound, he was exceptional. Constitution entered stud at a
$25,000 stud fee. He bred 172 his first year, 143 in his second and 110 in his
third season. His first yearlings brought an average of $68,152. A tall, handsome
horse, he's got a good shoulder and hindquarter. He was unraced at 2 so his juveniles
might not burst out of the gate early but he's got the talent to sire some good
Liam's Map was truly brilliant, winning 6 races from 8 starts in
real style. By Unbridled's Song out of the Grade 3-winning overachiever Miss Macy
Sue by Trippi, he's from the same family as Dr. Fager and Ta Wee; in fact his
second dam is inbred to Ta Wee. He was an $800,000 yearling, but was late coming
to the party. He ran second in his racing debut in September as a 3-year-old but
the wait was worth it, as it has been with several other later developing Unbridled's
Songs (like Arrogate and Cross Traffic). He won 3 straight including the Harlan's
Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream in December, but was put on the sidelines until June,
winning an allowance at Belmont, then a remarkable second to Honor Code in the
Whitney, followed by big scores in the Woodward Stakes and Breeders' Cup Dirt
Mile. He retired to Lane's End Farm at a fee of $25,000, bred 148 mares his first
year, 157 in his second and 114 in his third season. His first yearlings averaged
a very strong $158,490, third behind Pharoah and Honor Code. Liam's Map is a big
horse but a more compact type than his sire. He's very well made, with a tremendous
length of hip. Although he made a late start himself, his brilliance may give
his juveniles a chance to do well.
Palace Malice was a very versatile
racehorse at the highest level from 6.5 to 12 furlongs. From the first crop by
the great Curlin and out of stakes winner Palace Rumor by Royal Anthem, he was
a $25,000 yearling and $200,000 2-year-old. He won at Saratoga at 2 then bucked
shins. At 3, he placed in the Risen Star and Blue Grass Stakes before winning
the Belmont Stakes and Jim Dandy Stakes. At 4, he reeled through wins in 4 graded
stakes including the Met Mile before suffering a bone bruise the led to his temporary
retirement. Brought back at 5, he placed in stakes but was retired after fighting
lameness in his right front. Palace Malice entered stud at Three Chimneys Farm
for $10,000, and bred a first book of 158 mares, then 117 in his second season,
and 65 in his third year. His first yearlings averaged a respectable $74,426.
He's a big, strongly made horse, who resembles Royal Anthem more than Curlin.
He's not perfect, as his $25,000 yearling price would suggest, but he was loaded
with talent. A horse who got better with age and distance, his first crop should
be expected to do the same, but with some early type mares, he could get some
Bayern's front-running style was dangerous, and then
he learned how to carry his speed to several remarkable victories. He's by Offlee
Wild, a sire who didn't live up to his early promise before moving to Pennsylvania
for the 2012 season. This may be why Bayern wasn't offered for sale as a yearling
that year and saved instead for the Maryland May 2-year-old sale, where he brought
$320,000. His dam, Alittlebitearly by Thunder Gulch descends from Helen Alexander's
great Courtly Dee family. Unraced at 2, he showed blazing ability early at 3 and
was briefly on the Derby path, placing in the Arkansas Derby and Derby Trial (which
he actually won but was DQ'd). Diverted to the Preakness, where he finished ninth,
he then won the Woody Stephens Stakes and Haskell Invitational brilliantly. Tiring
badly in the Travers, he bounced back to win the Pennsylvania Derby and then the
Breeders' Cup Classic wire to wire. Fighting a quarter crack at 4, Bayern placed
in two Graded stakes and was retired to Hill 'n' Dale Farms the next year at $15,000.
He bred 139 mares in his first book, 105 the next year and 106 in 2018. His first
yearlings sold very well for an average of $103,193. Bayer is not a big horse,
but is an extremely good-looking one, with a very balanced, athletic frame and
powerful hindquarter. Although not able to start at 2 for undisclosed reasons,
his brilliant speed, ability to set the pace in a race and hold it should help
him get some good juveniles. The only foreseeable handicap to his stallion success
is having the inconsistent Offlee Wild as a sire.
Karakontie (JPN) is
a classic-level French miler with coveted bloodlines. A son of the international
turf sire Bernstein, also sire of Champion Tepin, he's out of Sun Is Up, by Sunday
Silence out of a daughter of the great mare Miesque. Karakontie won the Grand
Criterium at 2 in France, and at 3 won the French 2,000 Guineas and Breeders'
Cup Mile. He entered stud the next year at Gainesway Farm at $15,000 breeding
113 mares in his first book, although those numbers dropped off to 57 in his second
and 43 in his third season. Considering his ability and pedigree, he's undoubtedly
been misunderstood by the American market, which is reflected in his 2018 yearling
average of $35,492. He's a good-sized, attractive horse with a good shoulder and
hip. Obviously a horse with turf leanings, he was a top class 2-year-old, and
is likely to get good juveniles on grass, particularly if a few find their way
to race in Europe. I think we'll regret it if this horse leaves Kentucky before
he's given a fair chance.
Competitive Edge, a precocious sprinter/miler,
was one of the first exciting runners from the initial crop by Super Saver. His
dam is stakes-placed Magdalena's Chase by Cape Town and he cost $750,000 as a
2-year-old. As a juvenile, he broke his maiden, then won the Hopeful Stakes at
Saratoga, only to be laid up after surgery to repair a hairline fracture in his
left front. He returned at 3 to win the Tamarac Stakes and Pat Day Mile. He retired
to Ashford Stud at a fee of $12,500, covering 160 mares his first year, followed
by 69 mares in 2017 and 35 in 2018. Despite this fall from favor, his first yearlings
averaged a decent $47,102. An attractive, medium-sized, heavily muscled horse,
he's very likely to get early 2-year-olds like himself, and there will be a lot
(continued in left column under tables)
picks for 2019 Leading Freshman Sire|
Pharoah (by Pioneerof The Nile)|
|Daredevil (by More
|Palace (by City Zip)|
Map (by Unbridled's Song)|
|Bayern (by Offlee Wild)|
sires with first runners (2yos) in 2019|
Court (AUS) (16.0h)|
(continued from right column)
by More Than Ready out of a mare by Forty Niner who also produced G1 winner Albertus
Maximux. With this pedigree, it's not surprising he was a brilliant and precocious
juvenile, with flashy wins in his maiden debut and the Champagne Stakes, both
in the slop. At 3 he was second in the Swale Stakes then faded to fourth in the
Wood Memorial, his last start at 3, so there may be a soundness question. He's
not a big horse but is a compact, powerfully muscled type like More Than Ready.
He was a $260,000 yearling, and retired to WinStar Farm at a fee of $12,500. His
first season attracted 123 mares, 113 in his second, and a bounce up to 140 in
his third year. His first yearlings averaged just $34,353 in 2018, a little discouraging.
Still, with his early speed, it would be shocking if Daredevil wasn't well represented
with his first 2-year-olds racing.
Lea is the best runner by the
speedy First Samurai, and out of the mare Greenery by Galileo. A versatile runner,
he was unraced at 2, and started out as a quality turf runner, winning the Commonwealth
Turf Stakes at 3. At 4 he was second in two graded stakes on grass, but the magic
happened when switched to dirt. At 5 he won the Donn Handicap, setting a new course
record for 9 furlongs, and Hal's Hope Stakes. At 6 he won the Hal's Hope Stakes
again and was second in 4 Grade 1 races including the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Retired to Claiborne Farm at 7 for $12,500 he got 100 mares his first year, but
a big dip to 46 his second year. The the quality of his first crop bounced him
up to 125 mares his third year and resulted in an outstanding $85,782 yearling
average. A big, handsome horse, he's muscled like his sire but with more height
and scope. Although his progeny will probably be later maturing like he was, his
good looking first crop may come to hand earlier. Lea could be the surprise of
this freshman stallion class and looks like a good value buy this season at $7,500.
Speaker was bred and raced by the Phipps Stable, sired by Pulpit out of Salute
by Unbridled. His second dam is the great champion and Broodmare of the Year,
Personal Ensign, so his pedigree is the highest class. Although this family has
done well on dirt, Mr Speaker earned his reputation on turf and started early,
winning the Danie Beach Stakes at 2, and the Coolmore Lexington Stakes and Belmont
Derby Invitational at 3. At 4 he won the Commonwealth Cup at Laurel. He won from
a mile to a mile and a half on turf, showing good stamina. Retired to stud at
Lane's End at $10,000, he covered 117 mares his first year but missed the next
Kentucky season due to a quarantine problem returning from Chile. Back this year,
he covered 86 mares. His 2018 yearling average was $31,136. He's a good-looking
middleweight but might be commercially compromised because he's a turf router.
Summer Front is from the second crop by War Front and out of Rose of
Summer by El Prado, making him a half-brother to the G1-winning filly Laragh.
He was a $475,000 2-year-old and was a stakes winner at 2, 3, 4 and 5, all on
turf. He won 8 of 23 starts including the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes and Grade
3 Hil Prince and Miami Mile stakes. He retired to stud at Airdrie for a fee of
$10,000. A good looking typey horse but with more height than his sire, he got
137 mares his first year, 119 his second, and 100 his third season. His first
yearlings averaged a very healthy $50,811 for his stud fee. Being a dual stakes
winner at 2 bodes well for his juveniles, although they might be biased to turf
racing. That hasn't hurt his sire War Front much, though.
is by the brillaint Hard Spun out of a winning mare by Charismatic, from a strong
female line going back to good Fred Hooper breeding. He was a $375,000 yearling;
broke his maiden at 2 and ran third behind Honor Code and Cairo Prince in the
Remsen Stakes that year. At 3, he won the Wood Memorial and Jim Dandy Stakes and
at 4 he placed in 4 stakes including second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup to Tonalist.
A class act, he is a big, handsome horse similar in type to Hard Spun. He entered
stud at Spendthrift for $10,000 and was extremely popular, getting 190 mares his
first year then 139 his second, but a huge drop to 67 in his third year, followed
by his first yearlings averaging a disappointing $27,666. He'll have enough 2-year-olds
to get a fair chance, but he's going to have an uphill battle to remain relevant
commercially unless his runners do big things.
That covers the Kentucky stallions
who entered stud at $10,000 or better. In the $7,500 bracket were Commissioner
(by A.P. Indy), Dramedy (by Distorted Humor), Fast Anna (by
Medaglia d'Oro) and Tapiture (by Tapit). Tapiture was the most popular
with 176 mares, followed by Commissioner (154 mares). The surprise leader in this
small group by yearling average proved to be Fast Anna ($50,611) closely followed
by Tapiture and Commissioner. The one most likely to get a lot of 2-year-old winners
is Tapiture, who won the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes as a juvenile.
table shows the remaining stallions in this sire crop standing for less than $7,500.
The one I particularly liked was Palace (by City Zip) who entered stud
at Spendthrift for $6,000. His yearlings averaged a reasonably good $37,146 off
that stud fee, so he's one that might be flying under the radar. Although he was
unraced at 2, he was a consumate sprinter which gives him an edge at producing
precocious speedy types, so he's my undervalued wildcard pick out of all of them.
by Anne Peters 2019