Anne Peters
 

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

 

 


Freshman Sires of 2021                                        (Copyright by Anne Peters 2021

(February 12, 2021)

The stallion class of 2018 was headed by a star of the brightest quality, the great grey Arrogate, Champion 3-Year-Old of his crop. He commanded an introductory fee of $75,000. Not far behind him at $70,000 was the brilliant Gun Runner from the same crop, who took over from Arrogate when they were both 4-year-olds, earning Horse of the Year honors. Then there was a gap, going back to $35,000, the fee for Classic Empire, Champion 2-Year-Old of the next foal crop. At $30,000 was his classmate, the sprinter Practical Joke. Lord Nelson and Mastery came in at $25,000. All had pedigrees and race records to succeed. No rags-to-riches stories here.

The new boys who proved most popular in the breeding shed that year were Cupid (223 mares), then Klimt (222 mares) and Practical Joke (220 mares). Classic Empire served 185, Gormley served 180, Keen Ice 176 and Gun Runner 171. Arrogate served a limited book of 143.

This is a big class, with 26 newcomers in 2019 so there are a lot of contenders. Here's a rundown on each of them sending out their first 2-year-olds in 2021 and my thoughts on how their stud careers might start out.

Arrogate tragically died in June of 2020 so we will only have three crops to see what he could do. He was a $560,000 yearling, which tells you what people thought about him then. He was unraced at two and didn't debut at three until April when third. He impressed when breaking his maiden in June followed by wins in two allowances before swooping into Saratoga to utterly dominate the Travers Stakes-G1. This was followed with a win in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 beating California Chrome. At four he won the Pegasus Cup and then the Dubai World Cup-G1 in an astonishing performance. Then his form flattened, losing his final three starts including defeat by Gun Runner in the Breeder' Cup Classic-G1. He retired with seven wins from 11 starts and a North American earnings record of $17,422,600. A big, rugged, lengthy horse so typical of his sire Unbridled's Song, that which made him so desirable as a yearling may also be his downfall as a stallion. Sons of Unbridled's Song have been strangely disappointing as sires. His dam is Bubbler, a nice stakes winner by Distorted Humor. His yearlings sold tremendously, averaging $225,167, so maybe he'll be exception. Although a brilliant horse up to 10 furlongs, he was later maturing and I'd expect his progeny may also take a little more time unless out of smaller, quicker mares.

Full disclosure, Gun Runner is a personal favorite but I'll do my best to remain objective. At two, he won his first two races and was fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2. On the classic trail, he won the Risen Star-G2 and Louisiana Derby-G2 before placing third in the Kentucky Derby behind Nyquist and Exaggerator. He bookended several high-profile placings (the Travers-G1, Pennsylvania Derby-G2 and Breeders' Cup Mile-G1) with wins in the Matt Winn-G3 and Clark Stakes-G1. At four, he matured into the Horse of the Year with victories including the Stephen Foster, Whitney, Woodward, Breeders' Cup Classic, all Grade 1s. At five he won the Pegasus Cup-G1 before retiring to immediately to stud. Most of his wins were wire-to-wire, showing speed that could stretch to 10 furlongs. By the brilliant Candy Ride and out of a Grade 2 winner by Giant's Causeway, he comes from a strong Ned Evans family. Gun Runner is a picture, elegantly made but still masculine, well muscled and full of class. He stands just shy of 16.2 hands and could be used to add some leg and quality where needed. His first yearlings averaged $238,569, surprisingly higher than Arrogate's and at the top of this sire crop. A winner at two, Gun Runner has the speed and build to get good two-year-olds.

Classic Empire was a very talented colt with a complicated story. A $475,000 yearling, he won four of five starts at two, named Champion Two-Year-Old Male after scores in a maiden, Bashford Manor Stakes-G3, Breeders' Futurity-G1 and Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1. Dumping his rider at the start of the Hopeful Stakes was the only hole in an otherwise perfect season. In his three-year-old debut he was third in the Holy Bull Stakes-G2, washing out. He developed a foot abcess. Then he refused to work. Then he developed a back problem. He returned to win the Arkansas Derby-G1 but was fourth in the Kentucky Derby-G1 after being repeatedly bumped and bruised. He ran a game second in the Preakness-G1, beating Derby winner Always Dreaming but losing to Cloud Computing. Then he developed another abcess, and another refusal to work. That was enough. He was retired with five wins from nine starts and left the impression that he was capable of more had circumstances allowed. Another champion by Pioneerof the Nile, he's one of three stakes winners out of Sambuca Classica by Cat Thief. Classic Empire is a leggy 16.1 hands with the lengthy frame typical of his sireline, armed with great shoulders and prominent hindquarter. He's maintained books over 100 mares his first three years. His intitial yearling crop averaged $87,142 which is more than double his entry fee, but has to be considered a little disappointing. As the juvenile champion of his class, he's got a strong shot at getting a lot of good juveniles, although they might do better as they stretch out over a mile.

Practical Joke was one of of the top two-year-olds of 2016 winning the Hopeful Stakes-G1 and Champagne Stakes-G1 before running second to Classic Empire in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1. At three, he was second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 and Blue Grass Stakes-G2, fifth in the Kentucky Derby-G1, then won the Dwyer Stakes-G1. After a third in the Haskell Invitational-G1, he was taken back to a sprint distance and won the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes-G1, was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1 and third in the Cigar Mile-G1. Practical Joke sold as a short yearling for $135,000 and resold in September for $240,000. Being by Into Mischief out of a stakes-placed Distorted Humor mare gives him a good pedigree with a speed bias. His plain head gives away linebreeding to Halo and Hail to Reason, but otherwise he's a locomotive. He stands 16.2 hands, has a long neck and great power in his shoulder and hindquarter. He's maintained three large books of mares and his first yearlings were very popular, averaging $115,455. Practical Joke's forte was early speed, which suggests his progeny will figure prominently as two-year-olds but might be limited in distance like most of the Into Mischiefs.

Lord Nelson is a professional sprinter. A stakes winner at two, at three he won the San Vicente Stakes-G2 beating Texas Red, and placed second in the Bay Shore Stakes-G3 but ran a weak fourth the Pat Day Mile-G3. Off for about six months, he came back to run third in Runhappy's Malibu Stakes-G1. Off for another six months, he returned to win the Triple Bend-G1, the Bing Crosby-G1 and Santa Anita Sprint Championship-G1. Retired to Spendthrift Farm, he missed the 2017 breeding season while he recovered from severe laminitis. From one of the last crops by Pulpit, his dam is by Seeking the Gold and his second dam is the champion Argentine mare Miss Linda, by Southern Halo. A $340,000 yearling, he checks in at 16.1 1/2 hands and is a handsome horse, muscular with a good shoulder and hindquarter. He looks to benefit from a more rugged mare. He's been covering smalller but full books at Spendthrift and his first yearlings averaged a solid $81,821. With his brilliant speed, Lord Nelson should get early runners, although like many from this male line, they'll probably improve with age.

Mastery was brilliant while he lasted, which was for only four starts. At two he was undefeated in three starts, winning his debut, the Cash Call Futurity-G1 and the Bob Hope Stakes-G3. Turning three, he won the San Felipe Stakes-G2 by wide daylight but was pulled up with a condylar fracture in his left front ankle and retired. A $425,000 yearling, he's by Candy Ride out of a winning daughter of Old Trieste who already produced a stakes winner and is a half-sister to the good sire Jump Start. She's also, from the family of the important sire Miswaki, so the family has a history of producing high class sires. A slashing big (16.2 hands) good looking horse, he's very lengthy and appears to be taller at his tremendously prominent hindquarter than he is at the withers. He's been very popular his first three years at stud and his yearlings averaged $125,736, third overall for this class of freshman sires. There's every reason to believe he'll be among the leading first-crop sires by the end of 2021.

The ill-fated Battle of Midway had two racing careers, before and after retiring to stud. Unraced at two, he broke his maiden first time out at three in January. He placed in the San Vicente-G2, Santa Anita Derby-G1 and Kentucky Derby-G1 before winning the Affirmed-G3, Shared Belief Stakes-L and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1. He entered stud and bred 61 mares before fertility issues brought his season to a close. Put back into training, he was second in his return in the Pat O'Brien-G2, then won the Comma to the Top Stakes and Native Diver-G3. Returning at five he won the San Pasqual Stakes-G2, but disaster struck when he had to be destroyed after a training injury. By the top sire of sires Smart Strike out of a Grade 1-winning filly by Concerto, his female line was a little unusual with his second dam by Who's For Dinner and third dam by Soy Numero Uno. At 16.1 hands, he was a great-looking, leggy indivdual in the deceiving Smart Strike "plain brown wrapper" mold, and built for middle distances. Battle of Midway got only five foals, three of which sold as yearlings for an average of $38,333. Being unraced at two suggests his progeny will be later maturing. With this small foal crop it would be amazing if he made any sort of mark.

Connect proved himself a top class miler which adds great value to his resume. Third in his only start at two, he didn't return at three until May, breaking his maiden, taking an allowance and scoring in the Curlin Stakes (named for his sire) at Saratoga. Although he was sixth in the Travers-G1, he won the Pennsylvania Derby-G2 and the Cigar Mile-G1 in a late season surge. He returned at four to win the Westchester Stakes-G3 but suffered a "soft tissue injury" and didn't start again. By Curlin out of a Holy Bull mare who had already produced a black type winner, his second dam produced four stakes winners, so the family is there. A $150,000 yearling, Connect grew to a stout 16.2 hands and is a great bodied, muscular horse with a lot of bone, similar in type to his sire Curlin. He's covered three books of over 100 mares each and his first yearlings averaged $51,266. He doesn't seem like the type to get a lot of early juveniles, so we'll wait until they mature to expect more of Connect's babies.

Keen Ice was one of the best in a crop dominated by American Pharoah, and one of only two horses to ever beat him. A winner at two, Keene Ice was also third in the Remsen Stakes-G2. At three he won the Risen Star Stakes-G2, was third in the Belmont-G1 to American Pharoah and Frosted, second to American Pharoah in the Haskell-G1 but beat him and Frosted in the Travers Stakes-G1. He had an off year at four and was sidelined with a hind leg fracture but came back in the fall to run third in Arrogate's Breeders' Cup Classic-G1. At five, he won the Suburban Handicap-G2 followed by placings in the Whitney-G1 and Jockey Club Gold Cup-G1 before retiring after wrenching an ankle. A gritty campaigner, he ran 21 times over four seasons at the highest level and loved a mile and a quarter. He was a $40,000 weanling, then a $120,000 yearling. He matured to 16.3 hands. He's leggy with a great, deep shoulder and good hindquarter. He's one of these tough Curlins who gets better with age, out of a mare by another sire of tough runners, Awesome Again. He entered stud at $20,000 and got 176 mares in his first book, then 73 and 49 in the next two years. His first yearlings averaged $15,444 which is not encouraging commercially, but like his own record and his pedigree suggests, his offspring should get better with age and distance. I don't expect him to be a leading sire of two-year-olds but he could turn things around like his sire did as his runners grow up.

Astern (AUS) is one of several really brilliant colts sired by Medaglia d'Oro in service in Australia. At two Astern won a pair of Group stakes at five and a half furlongs, and at three he graduated to win the G1 Golden Rose Stakes over six furlongs. His sire Medaglia d'Oro is growing in reputation as a sire of sires, including Violence, Warrior's Reward and Fast Anna. His dam, who has also produced champion sprinter Alizee, is by the global sire Exceed and Excel. Astern entered stud at $15,000 to a first book of 116 mares, followed by 90 and 90 in the next two years. His first yearlings averaged $32,300 so he's not a strong commercial play until his babies run. At 16.1 hands, he's not as big as most Medaglia d'Oros, but he's got the great body that usually comes with this line, and a strong hindquarter and hind leg typical of the Danzigs found in his dam. He might get more turf horses but precociousness and sprinter speed is his forte, so don't forget him.

Bal A Bali (BRZ) proved his world class talent winning Group/Grade 1 races in his Brazilian homeland and in the U.S. In Brazil he was a Group 3 winner at two and a dominating Horse of the Year at three with wins from five furlongs to a mile and a half. Brought to the U.S., he nearly died after contracting laminitis in quarantine but recovered almost miraculously to win the American Stakes-G3T at five, place in Graded stakes at six and reach the highest level, taking the Frank E. Kilroe Mile-G1T and Shoemaker Mile-G1T at seven. He's by Put It Back (by Honour and Glory, by Relaunch), an expatriate who sired Grade 1 winners In Summation and Jessica Is Back, Canadian Champion Noholdingback Bear, and many champions in Brazil. His dam is a Group 3 winner in Brazil by one of the all-time great Brazilian sires Clackson. Bal a Bali covered 125 mares in his first season at $15,000, then 74 and 22 the next two years, but his first yearlings averaged a demoralizing $7,166. Being a good two-year-old, a top miler, albeit on the grass, and built in the mold so typical of his In Reality sireline, a 16.0 hands bulldog type, he has all the qualifications of getting good juveniles, so don't ignore him.

Cupid was a $900,000 yearling but a late starter, running fourth in his only run at two in December. After a fourth and a second, he won brilliantly in his third start in February and next time out won the Rebel Stakes-G2 wire to wire. He underwent surgery for an entrapped epiglottis following a bad run in the Arkansas Derby. He came back with front end wins in the Indiana Derby-G2 and West Virginia Derby-G2 over the summer. At four he won the Gold Cup at Santa Anita-G1 in his season debut, and the Harry F. Brubaker Stakes at Del Mar. A big, strong horse at 16.2 hands, he's powerfully muscled on a great frame, looking more like a sprinter than the router he was. He retired to a $12,500 fee and drew 223 mares, the leader for this sire crop showing his eye appeal. The next season he was yesterday's news with just 53 mares, then jumped back up to 75 mares his third year, suggesting breeders liked his first foals. His yearlings averaged an encouraging $46,762. He's by Tapit and his dam Pretty 'n Smart has produced three other stakes winners, two Graded, although her sire Beau Genius might not have such name recognition. Although he didn't do much at two, he had moments of brilliance and will have a huge first crop of two-year-olds this year.

Midnight Storm is a rare item, having run out to the age of six, and not because he lacked the pedigree to be a stallion prospect. He won 10 of 27 starts including seven Graded stakes on dirt and turf, from seven to nine furlongs. Unraced at two, at three he won the Del Mar Derby-G2T and at four won the Seabiscuit Handicap-G2T. Peaking at five, he won four Graded stakes, the Shoemaker Mile-G1T, Eddie Read S-G2T, Del Mar Mile-G2T and Native Diver Stakes-G3, the latter at nine furlongs on dirt. At six he won the San Pasqual Stakes-G2, also on the dirt. By Pioneerof the Nile, also sire of champions American Pharoah and Classic Empire, his dam is a winning daughter of Bertrando and a half-sister to two stakes winners, Ask Shananie and Valid Direction. He was a $38,000 RNA as a yearling but grew to a handsome, typey horse in the mold of his sire and standing 16.1 hands. He's on the leggy side but beautifully made with a good shoulder and strong hindquarter. With a debut stud fee of $12,500 he got 119 mares his first year, then 88 and 69 in his next two seasons. His first yearlings averaged a moderate $37,354. Being unraced at two suggests he needs more precocious mares but he was versatile which offers great potential since they probably won't be limited to turf. Wait and see.

(continued in left column under tables)

My picks for 2021 Leading Freshman Sire
Practical Joke
Gun Runner
Classic Empire
Mastery
Klimt
Mohaymen
 
Kentucky sires with first runners (2yos) in 2021
2018 stud fee
2018
mares
bred
2019
mares
bred
2020
mares bred
2020
yrlg
ave
2021 fee
Arrogate
(16.2 1/5 h)
$75,000
143
149
139
$225,167
Died in 2020
Gun Runner
(16.1 1/2 h)
$70,000
171
166
156
$238,569
$50,000
Classic Empire
(16.1 h)
$35,000
185
104
122
$87,142
$17,500
Practical Joke
(16.2 h)
$30,000
220
200
188
$115,455
$22,500
Lord Nelson
(16.1 1/2 h)
$25,000
127
131
123
$81,821
$10,000
Mastery
(16.2 h)
$25,000
139
143
138
$125,736
$25,000
Battle of Midway
(16.1 h)
$20,000
61
-
-
$38,333
Died in 2019 in training
Connect
(16.2 h)
$20,000
163
112
114
$51,266
$15,000
Keen Ice
(16.3 h)
$20,000
176
73
49
$15,444
$12,500
Astern (AUS)
(16.1 h)
$15,000
116
90
90
$32,300
$7,500
Bal A Bali (BRZ)
(15.3 3/4 h)
$15,000
125
74
22
$7,166
$5,000
Cupid
(16.2 h)
$12,500
223
53
75
$46,762
$5,000
Midnight Storm
(16.1 h)
$12,500
119
88
69
$37,354
$7,500
American Freedom
(16.2 h)
$10,000
152
96
54
$27,410
$6,000
Gormley
(16.0 h)
$10,000
180
127
72
$35,389
$5,000
Klimt
(16.2 h)
$10,000
222
187
172
$28,540
$10,000
Unified
(16.1 h)
$10,000
152
102
68
$43,742
$10,000
Mohaymen
(16.0 1/2 h)
$7,500
121
52
59
$45,305
$7,500
Mr. Z
(16.0 h)
$7,500
61
23
15
$5,417
$2,500
War Correspondent
(16.1 h)
$7,500
53
23
21
$17,196
$5,000
Wildcat Red
( )
$7,500
29
16
18
$45,560
$7,500
Tom's Ready
(16.0 1/2 h)
$6,000
48
5 (LA)
--
$9,300
Pensioned 2020
Behesht (FR)
( )
$5,000
12
4
--
(none sold)
Private
Bird Song
(16.0 h)
$5,000
30
20
10
$15,338
Saudi Arabia
Hootenanny
(16.0 h)
$5,000
41
18
7
$13,750
Private
Tu Brutus (CHI)
( )
$5,000
30
22
Turkey
$7,000
Turkey

(continued from right column)

American Freedom is from the last crop of sire-of-sires Pulpit (sire of Tapit, Sky Mesa and Lucky Pulpit). He's out of the stakes winner Gottcha Last by Pleasant Tap, so is also a half-brother to the warrior Gottcha Gold. He was a $500,000 yearling who did not race at two but won the Sir Barton Stakes and Iowa Derby-G3 at three besides placing in the Travers-G1 to Arrogate, beating Gun Runner, and in the Haskell Invitational-G1 to Exaggerator. At 16.2 hands, he's a big, ruggedly handsome stallion harking back to the Pleasant Tap/Pleasant Colony side of his pedigree. He entered stud at a $10,000 fee and covered 152 mares, dropping to 96 in Year 2 and 54 in Year 3. His yearlings averaged $27,410 which is nearly three times the stud fee, but still disappointing. Like others in this group who were unraced at two, I don't expect a lot of precocious babies, but with speedy mares, he's got the numbers to get some good representation with his first crop racing this year.

Gormley was a Grade 1 winner at two and three, which makes him very interesting in this class. He was a $150,000 RNA yearling due to "a bad scope" that he eventually outgrew. He won two of his three starts at two including an impressive maiden debut at Del Mar and the FrontRunner Stakes-G1 upseting Klimt, but he finished unplaced in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 won by Classic Empire. At three he won the Sham Stakes-G3, ran fourth in the San Felipe Stakes-G2 and rebounded with a win in the Santa Anita Derby-G1. He was ninth in the Kentucky Derby-G1 and fourth in the Belmont Stakes-G1 and Shared Belief Stakes before retiring. By Malibu Moon out of a stakes-winning daughter of Bernstein, he comes from a classy family, going back to the Champion mare Estrapade. Although not particularly big (16.0 hands), he's a good-looking, leggy sort, well muscled with a great hindquarter and hind leg typical of the Seattle Slew/A.P. Indy line. Starting at $10,000, he bred 180 his first year, 127 in his second, then 72 in his third year. His first yearlings averaged a respectable $35,389. Being a Grade 1 winner at two and three, he's got the right to get a good number of juvenile winners and there will be a lot of them out there.

Klimt was the best two-year-old in the West in his year and is by Quality Road. He was a $140,000 Fasig-Tipton July yearling, graduating to a $435,000 OBS two-year-old. At two he ran six times, winning half including the Best Pal Stakes-G2 and Del Mar Futurity-G1 before running second in the FrontRunner Stakes-G1 behind Gormley. Both of them were off the board in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile behind Classic Empire. Early in his three-year-old year, showing some ankle soreness, he was moved from Bob Baffert's barn to Art Sherman's and given time off. He didn't come back until July, when second in the Los Alamitos Derby-G3 and third in the Shared Belief Stakes before retiring. He's by the high class Quality Road and out of stakes-placed Inventive by Dixie Union, going back in female line to the top racemares Tennis Lady and her dam Fara's Team. He stands 16.2 hands and is a great looking horse, strongly made with a grand shoulder, hindquarter and a lot of quality. His first season fee was $10,000 and he bred 222 mares, second in this class behind only Cupid by number of mares, so he'll have a lot of two-year-olds. He remained popular with 187 mares in Year 2 and 172 in Year 3. The problem came when his yearlings averaged a disappointing $28,540, so he's got a hill to climb commercially. Being a great two-year-old with a very large first crop, he ought to make a good showing among first-year sires.

Unified is one of three brilliant sons of Candy Ride in this class of stallions. He was a $325,000 Saratoga yearling who was unraced at two but won his first three races at three in impressive fashion. These included a maiden at Gulfstream, the Bay Shore Stakes-G3 and Peter Pan Stakes-G3 before running fifth in the Pegasus Stakes-G3 in June. Given time off, he returned at four to beat Mind Your Biscuits in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship-G3, then was second in the Carter Handicap-G1 and unplaced in the Belmont Sprint Championship before retiring. Out of a mare by Dixie Union, Unified is a bigger version of Candy Ride, standing 16.1 1/2h, with a lot of length and tons of muscle. He retired at a fee of $10,000 and got 152 mares his first year, then 102 the second year and 68 in his third. His yearlings averaged a strong $43,742 for the stud fee. Although unraced at two himself, his speed should allow him to get some precocious babies.

Mohaymen is a Grade 2 winner by Tapit out of the outstanding mare Justwhistledixie by Dixie Union. She was not only a Grade 2 winner but has been an outstanding producer, dam of four Graded stakes winners including Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 winner New Year's Day. Mohaymen was a $2,200,000 yearling, the joint sales topper at the 2014 Keeneland September Sale. Undefeated in three starts at two, his wins included the Nashua Stakes-G2 and Remsen Stakes-G2. At three, he won the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 and Holy Bull Stakes-G2 but was fourth in the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby and Jim Dandy Stakes-G2. He tailed off inexplicably, off the board in the King's Bishop Stakes-G1, and could not win in four starts at four, his best being fourth in th Weschester Stakes-G3. Mohaymen is similar to his great sire physically, being a medium-sized horse at 16.0 1/2 hands, nicely put together with a deep shoulder and big hind end. He entered stud for a bargain $7,500 and got 121 mares his first year but dipped to 52 and then 59 in his second and third years. His yearlings averaged $45,305 last year, a nice multiple on his stud fee. Being a good juvenile himself and half-brother to a Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 winner, he could be a late season surprise among the freshman sires.

Mr. Z campaigned for four years, although it was probably two years too many. One of the best two-year-olds of his year, he ran eight times, breaking his maiden in June, then second in the Sanford Stakes-G3 and Saratoga Special-G2, second in the Breeders' Futurity-G1 and Delta Downs Jackpot-G3 and third in the Los Alamitos Futurity-G1. At three, he made 12 starts, placing in the Smarty Jones Stakes, Southwest Stakes-G3 and Arkansas Derby-G1 before winning the Ohio Derby, and running second in the Indiana Derby-G2. He couldn't maintain this high form, even though he continued to race in Graded stakes although a much lighter schedule, with just three starts at four and two starts at five. He's by the top sire Malibu Moon out of the Storm Cat mare Stormy Bear, a half-sister to champion Chief Bearhart from the great Gold Digger family. In fact, Mr. Z is 4x4 to Gold Digger. He was run through the ring twice as yearling, as a $60,000 RNA in September and then sold for $135,000 in October. He stands 16.0 hands and is rather lanky, made more like a router than a speed horse. He stood his first season at $7,500 and covered 61 mares, dropping to 23 in his second year and 15 in his third. His first yearlings averaged a forgettable $5,417. He was a good early two year old like his sire and although he doesn't have strong numbers, he could have a few good ones to make a showing this year.

War Correspondent is a later maturing horse and a multiple Graded stakes winner on grass. Unraced at two, he won two races in France at three at 7.5 and 10 furlongs. Brought to North America, he ran twice at four, winning an allowance at Monmouth at a mile on turf and placed in the Autumn Stakes-G2 on the all weather at Woodbine. At five, he won the Appleton Stakes-G3T and finished third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap-G1T. At six he was unplaced in three starts. At seven he won the Miami Mile Stakes-G3T and was third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap-G1T and third in the Presque Isle Mile Stakes on all weather. He's by the top sire War Front and out of the multiple stakes producer Tempo West by Rahy. This makes him a full brother to the Group 1 winner Declaration of War who has now sired 33 stakes winners from five crops to race before he was sent to Japan for the 2019 season. War Correspondent went to stud at $7,500 and covered just 53 mares, then 23 and 21 in his next two crops. His first yearlings averaged only $17,196. He's a typey War Front, but with a little more leg, stands 16.1 hands. Although I don't expect him to be among the top first-year sires, it's possible he could pick up where his brother Declaration of War left off as a sire.

Wildcat Red was a good sprinter/miler although often raced beyond his best distance. He made three starts at two, winning twice and second in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes, all at Gulfstream. At three he was second in the Gulfstream Park Derby before winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 and Hutcheson Stakes-G3. He was second in the Florida Derby-G1 (to Constitution) but finished very far back in the Kentucky Derby-G1. He came back in late June to win the Quality Road Stakes at Gulfstream, then was third in the Haskell Invitational-G1, fifth in the King's Bishop-G1, third in the Oklahoma Derby-G3 and second in the Millions Classic Preview Stakes. At four he was third in the Smile Sprint Stakes-G2 before winning the Teddy Drone Stakes, and at five, he was second in the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes to X Y Jet. Wildcat Red is a Florida-bred, by D'Wildcat out of Grade 3-placed Racene by Miner's Mark and was a $30,000 OBS two-year-old. He entered stud at $7,500 but has never covered substantial books, with 29 mares in his first year, 16 in his second and 18 in the third. His first yearlings averaged a surprising $45,560, very good for the stud fee. He might have got some respect were he standing in Florida, but he gets very little in Kentucky, so his few juvenile runners will have to duke it out against the hordes of Cupids and Klimts and Gun Runners to get any of the big purses.

Tom's Ready was a classy sprinter/miler with a good pedigree, by More Than Ready out of Goodbye Stranger by Broad Brush. A $145,000 RNA as a weanling, he was a $145,000 Saratoga yearling. Tom was a nice two-year-old. He broke his maiden going seven furlongs by daylight at Churchill and was a close second in the mile Street Sense Stakes. At three he was second in the Lecomte Stakes-G3 and Louisiana Derby-G2 before a bad run in the Kentucky Derby-G1. Taken back in distance, he won the Woody Stephens Stakes-G2 and Ack Ack Handicap. At four he was third in the Churchill Downs Stakes-G2, won the Leemat Stakes, and ran third in the Forego Stakes-G1 and Kelso Handicap-G2 before winning the Bold Ruler Stakes-G3. He was clearly at his best at seven furlongs. He retired to stud at $6,000 and covered only 48 mares resulting in 11 foals. This apparent fertility issue may be what precipitated his move to Louisiana the next season where he covered only five mares (four foals), and no mares were listed as bred in his third year. He's now out of business and retired to Old Friends in Kentucky. His first yearlings averaged $9,300. He was a good two-year-old and had a ton of speed, but a leading sire title is unlikely based on 11 foals.

The final four stallions on my table entered stud at $5,000 and the only one who would seem to have a chance this season is Hootenanny, winner of the 2014 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. The other three, Behesht, Bird Song, and Tu Brutus had first books of 30 or less. Tu Brutus was sent to Turkey after his second book of mares and Bird Song now stands in Saudi Arabia.

To pick through this class of freshman sires, I'm projecting that Practical Joke comes out on top as Leading Freshman Sire at the end of 2021, although I see a strong case can be made for Gun Runner, Classic Empire, Mastery, Klimt, and my wildcard choice, Mohaymen.

Copyright by Anne Peters 2021