Anne Peters
 

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Anne Peters
P.O. Box 3926
Midway, KY 40347
(859) 846 - 9794
pedgoddess
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Freshman Sires of 2024                                        (Copyright by Anne Peters 2024)

(March 15, 2024)

This is a large group of stallions to consider, with 26 entering stud in 2021. At $75,000, the 2020 Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Authentic demanded the highest stud fee of all Kentucky stallions entering stud in 2021. There was a bit of a drop to the next highest, at $40,000 the duo of 2020 Improbable, Champion Older Male of 2002; and Tiz the Law, winner of the 2020 Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes. Game Winner, the Champion 2-Year-Old of 2018, and Grade 1 winner McKinzie were next, both at $30,000.

Authentic was not only the most expensive sire entering stud in 2021, he was the leading first year sire by number of mares bred (229) followed by Vekoma (222) McKinzie (214), Instagrand (190) and Thousand Words (184).

Authentic was also the leader among the class when it came to the yearling market with his first batch of 92 colts and fillies averaging an encouraging $285,033 at the sales. The next by average was McKinzie ($147,744), then Volatile ($119,333), War of Will ($111,506) and Vekoma ($96,825).

In the meantime, typical for fourth-year sires, Authentic's stud fee has dropped from $75,000 to $50,000. Improbable shifted from $40,000 down to $15,000, probably influenced by disappointing sales results. Tiz The Law's fee was halved from $40,000 to $20,000 despite decent yearling sales, so obviously an extra effort to bolster his books until he gets runners. Game Winner dropped only slightly, from $30,000 to $20,000 with good yearling sales. McKinzie's stud fee remained steady after an encouraging sales season.

I'll go into more detail on these stallions individually and then make predictions as to which of the Kentucky sires with their first 2-year-olds of 2024 I think will reach the top. As I have in the past, just to clarify, my picks here aren't which horse I think will become the best stallion overall, but which stallions I think will come out on top in the limited range of their first year with 2-year-olds racing.

Horse of the Year Authentic is one of the best sons of 4-time Leading Sire Into Mischief and he's out of a winning daughter of the top speed horse Mr. Greeley. He was a $350,000 yearling who made only 1 start at 2, winning a 5 1/2 furlong maiden at Del Mar. At 3, he won the mile Sham Stakes-G3 and 1 1/16 mile San Felipe Stakes-G2 then Covid-19 shut down racing. In June he was second in the rescheduled 1 1/8 mile Santa Anita Derby-G1 behind Honor A. P., then won the Haskell Invitational Stakes-G1 in July at the same distance. The 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby-G1 was run in September that year and in it, Authentic defeated the then-division leader Tiz The Law, but followed with a second in the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes-G1 to the top filly Swiss Skydiver. In his final start Authentic won the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 setting a new track record at Keeneland for 1 1/4 miles (1:59.19) beating Improbable by daylight. He retired with 6 wins from 8 starts and $6,191,200, victories ranging from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles. Retired alongside his sire at Spendthrift, Authentic is a prime example of the big, scopey type that Into Mischief is siring nowdays. He's a leggy 16.2 hands, with a long neck, great shoulder, lengthy body, big hindquarter and that long forearm/short cannon that his sire passes on. That his first yearlings averaged a hefty $285,033 is not a surprise, nor would it surprise me that even though he made only 1 start at 2, he should follow in the footsteps of other recent leading freshman sires unveiled at Spendthrift like Cross Traffic (2018), Bolt d'Oro (2022) and Mitole (2023).

Champion Improbable is from the second to the last crop by the speedy City Zip and out of Rare Event, a winner by A.P. Indy and from the family of Hard Spun. He was a $110,000 weanling and a $200,000 yearling. At 2, he was undefeated in 3 starts including a 6 furlong maiden, the mile Street Sense Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths and the CashCall Futurity-G1 at 1 1/16 miles by 5. Improbable's debut at 3 was delayed when Santa Anita was closed due to a rash of breakdowns. Diverted to the 1 1/16 miel Rebel Stakes-G2 which was split into 2 divisions, he was beaten in the first division by Long Range Toddy. Then he bowed to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby-G1 at 1 1/8 miles. Fourth in the Kentucky Derby-G1 (won by Maximus Mischief/Country House) and sixth in the Preakness Stakes-G1 (won by War of Will) he was given a rest until August. His come back was a win in the Shared Belief Stakes at a mile but then failed when fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby-G1 (9f.). He ended the season with a fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1. At 4, Improbable began in April when a second to Tom's d'Etat in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes, then dominated in the Hollywood Gold Cup-G1 at 1 1/4 miles in June. He won the 1 1/8 mile Whitney Stakes-G1 in August. In September he beat Maximum Security by 4 1/2 lengths in the Awesome Again Stakes-G1 at 1 1/8 miles but could not handle Authentic who beat him in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 at Keeneland. He was voted Champion Older Male that year. Improbable retired with 7 wins from 15 starts, earning $2,729,520. A rare City Zip who could stretch to 10 furlongs, he looks very much like his sire, a muscular, flashy chestnut except a little leggier and stands about 16.1 hands. Last year, he had 86 yearlings average $69,670, which is a soft number for the second-highest priced stallion in this group. This is probably what prompted his fee drop to $15,000 this year. That said, he was a top class 2-year-old, so he's very likely to get a lot of juvenile winners, like his sire City Zip.

Tiz the Law was from the first crop of the top Tapit son Constitution and out of the Grade 2 winner Tizfiz by Tiznow. A $110,000 yearling, he made 3 starts at 2, winning twice including his maiden at 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga and the Champagne Stakes-G1 at a mile at Belmont. He was an unlucky third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2. At 3, he won the Holy Bull Stakes-G3 at 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby-G1, but due to Covid-19 restrictions upsetting the schedule, his next start was in June in the Belmont Stakes-G1. Shortened to 1 1/8 miles, he won by daylight, then he won the 1 1/4 mile Travers Stakes-G1 very easily. The Kentucky Derby-G1 was run in September and he ran second to Authentic. He closed the season when sixth behind Authentic in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 after a troubled trip. Training for a 4-year-old debut, Tiz the Law was found to have bone bruising and was retired to stud at Ashford. He's not a big horse, standing 16.0 1/2 hands, but is stocky and deep through the barrel. In a tough class of stallions, Tiz the Law had 77 yearlings average a solid $94,955, suggesting that despite the fact that he's not a big, rangy commercial horse, he can get good looking foals. He was a good 2-year-old, so has the right to get good 2-year-olds this year, and beware, because they might be the kind to mature to a classic type at 3.

Champion 2-Year-Old Game Winner is by Candy Ride (ARG) and out of the princess Indyan Giving by A.P. Indy out of the champion mare Fleet Indian. A $110,000 yearling, he was undefeated in 4 starts at 2 starting with his 6 furlong maiden win at Del Mar, the 7 furlong Del Mar Futurity-G1, the 1 1/16 mile American Pharoah Stakes-G1 and Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 at the same distance at Churchill beating Knicks Go. At 3, he was second in his division of the Rebel Stakes-G2 to Omaha Beach, then second to Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby-G1. In a rough and tumble Kentucky Derby-G1, he was one of the ones that got the worst of things and finished fifth behind Maximum Security and Country House. He skipped both the Preakness-G1 and Belmont-G1 (said to be due to a bad back), but returned in style in July with a 5 length win in the 1 1/8 mile Los Alamitos Derby-G3. He missed the Travers Stakes-G1 with a virus and didn't race for the rest of the year. He stayed in training at 4 but was retired when it was revealed he'd never fully recovered from a high suspensory discovered after the Los Alamitos Derby. He was retired with 5 wins from 8 starts and $2,027,500. Unlike Candy Ride (ARG), Game Winner is a big guy at 16.2 hands, but he has his sire's profile, muscular and lengthy with a big, long hip. He had good representation at the yearling sales in 2023 with 73 yearlings averaging $94,904. Being a the juvenile champion of his crop, Game Winner has the precociousness and numbers to make an excellent showing as a freshman sire this year.

The high-class McKinzie is by Street Sense and out of the Grade 2-winning juvenile filly Runway Model by Petionville. A $170,000 yearling, McKinzie won both of his starts at 2, a 7 furlong maiden in October and the 1 1/16 mile CashCall Futurity-G1 via the disqualification of stablemate Solomini who beat him by 3/4 of a length after bumping at the sixteenth pole. At 3, McKinzie won the Sham Stakes-G3 at a mile and finished first in the 1 1/16 mile San Felipe Stakes-G2 but was DQ'd after a bumping battle ended with him drifting out on second-place Bolt d'Oro to win by a head. He came back with a hock injury and missed the Santa Anita Derby-G1 and Triple Crown races (all won by Justify), and didn't return until the September 22 Pennsylvania Derby-G1 at 1 1/8 miles, which he won. He ran a clunker in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 won by Accelerate, but bounced back with a romp in the 7 furlogn Malibu Stakes-G1. At 4, he was second in the San Pasqual Stakes-G2 by half a length to Battle of Midway, then second in the Santa Anita Handicap by a nose to Gift Box. He won the 1 1/16 miles Alysheba Stakes-G2, then Mitole narrowly beat him in the Met Mile-G1. He won the Whitney Stakes-G1 at 1 1/8 miles, was second in the Awesome Again Stakes-G1 and second in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 to Vino Rosso. At 5, he ran eleventh in the Saudi Cup-G1, won the 7 furlong Triple Bend Stakes-G2 in June, then disappointed when fifth in the Metropolitan Handicap-G1 and fourth in the Alysheba Stakes-G2. Near the top of his class every year he raced, he retired with 8 wins from 17 starts and $3,473,360. McKinzie is a big, handsome horse, standing 16.3 hands, bearing a strong resemblence to Street Sense. His first yearlings sold very well, second only to Authentic in this class, with 120 selling for an average of $147,744. Dispite his dam being a Grade 2 juvenile winner, McKinzie was a little late getting to the races but got better with age and I would expect the same from his progeny. He'll probably have good representation with his 2-year-olds this year but look for more later.

Preakness Stakes-G1 winner War of Will is bred for turf and ran well on turf, but he was also a superior runner on good old fashioned American dirt. He's by War Front out of French stakes winner Visions of Clarity (IRE), a half-sister to the brilliant miler Spinning World, and sired by Sadler's Wells. War of Will was a $175,000 Keeneland yearling who was rerouted to the Arqana Sale in France where he brought $298,625. Returned to North America to race at 2, he won a 1 1/16 mile maiden on dirt at Churchill and was second in the Summer Stakes-G1T over a mile on Woodbine turf from 5 starts. At 3, he won the mile and 70 yards Lecomte Stakes-G3 and 1 1/16 mile Risen Star Stakes-G2 on dirt at Fair Grounds, but was unplaced in the Louisiana Derby-G2, coming out of that race with a pulled muscle in his right hind. He was unplaced in the Kentucky Derby-G1 after being shut off by the disqualified winner Maximum Security but had a great trip to win the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes-G1. He was unplaced in the Belmont-G1 and Jim Dandy Stakes-G2, third in the Pennsylvania Derby-G1 and ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1. He returned at 4 in May when unplaced in the Shoemaker Mile-G1T. He won the Maker's Mark Mile-G1T at Keeneland in July, then third in the Woodbine Mile-G1T in September. Back on dirt he was ninth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1 won by Knicks Go. Standing a leggy 16.2 hands, he bears a strong resemblence to Sadler's Wells. His first yearlings sold well, with 66 averaging $111,506. He was Grade 1-placed at 2 on turf and won Grade 1 races on both dirt and turf so has license to be any sort of sire, including a good sire of 2-year-olds.

Champion 3-Year-Old Maximum Security may be remembered more for controversy than his apparent talent. He's by Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 winner New Year's Day out of Lil Indy by Anasheed. Late getting to the races due to sore shins, he won his only start at 2 in mid-December, wiring a field of maiden claimers by 9 3/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream. At 3, he won 2 optional claimers at 6 and 7 furlongs by wide margins before taking the 1 1/8 mile Florida Derby-G1 by 3 1/2 lengths. Next out in the Kentucky Derby-G1 he went wire to wire to win in the slop but was DQ'd for crossing the paths of several competitors down the stretch and placed 18th. He skipped the Preakness-G1 then ran second to King For a Day in the 1 1/16 mile Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth after stumbling at the start. He won the Haskell Invitational-G1 over 1/18 miles but colicked and missed the Pennsylvania Derby. Late in the season he won the 7 furlong Bold Ruler Stakes-G3 and Cigar Mile-G1 and was named Champion of his year. At 4, Max won the Saudi Cup at 1 1/8 miles but on his return to the U.S. was moved from trainer Jason Servis' barn to Bob Baffert due to Servis' indictment for doping. Next time out, he won the 1 1/16 mile San Diego Handicap-G2 and 1 1/4 mile Pacific Classic-G1, then second in the Awesome Again Stakes-G1 and fifth in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1. Maximum Security stands 16.1 1/2 hands and is built more like a sprinter than the router he was. His first yearlings did not sell like gangbusters, with an average of just $56,175 off a $20,000 fee. Although a late starter himself, he had a lot of speed and his sire won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1 so Maximum Security has the the right to sire 2-year-olds this year.

Speedy and versatile Vekoma is by the top class sire Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Grade 1-winning sprinter Mona de Momma by Speightstown. At 2 he won both his starts, a 6 furlong maiden at Belmont in September and the Nashua Stakes-G3 at a mile in November. At 3 he was third in the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2, then won the 1 1/8 mile Blue Grass Stakes-G2. He finished far back in the Kentucky Derby-G1 (won by Maximum Security who was DQ'd) but was put on the sidelines due to some "aches and pains." He had a foot issue then bone bruising that kept him out until the following March. He returned to action with an easy win in the 7 furlong Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream. He won the Carter Handicap-G1 at the same distance at a sloppy Belmont in June by more than 7 lengths. In July he won the mile Metropolitan Handicap-G1. This was Vekoma's last start as he was treated for a foot bruise, then an abcess on his left front foot and retired for the 2021 season at $20,000. Although he's not a big horse, standing only 16.0 hands, he's a beautiful horse and powerfully built, showing a ton of ability from 6 to 9 furlongs. His first yearlings proved very popular, with 114 averaging $96,825. With his speed and physique, he should get a lot of precocious 2-year-olds.

Late blooming Grade 1 winner Tom's d'Etat is by Smart Strike out of stakes winner Julia Tuttle by Giant's Causeway and his second dam is a full sister to Candy Ride (ARG). He was a $330,000 yearling but an injury prevented him from racing at 2. He was unplaced in his first start at 3 in May at Churchill, then second in a 1 1/4 mile race at the end of the month at the same track. In his third start, in August at Saratoga he won a 1 1/8 mile maiden making all the running and winning by 4, his last start at 3. He returned at 4 in March at Fair Grounds winning an allowance at a mile and 70 yards. He was fourth in an allowance at Churchill in May, and won again in June at 1 1/16 miles. At Saratoga in July he won a 1 1/8 mile allowance by 9 lengths. He was off for almost a year and a half after screws were inserted in his right front to repair a fractured cannon. Tom's d'Etat returned at 5 in November winning over a mile at Churchill by another wide margin. In December he won the Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds at a mile and 70 yards. A month later, now 6, he was a well beaten ninth in the Pegasus World Cup-G1. In May he was second to McKinzie in the Alysheba Stakes-G2, then third in the Stephen Foster Stakes-G. At Saratoga he won the 1 1/8 mile Alydar Stakes and was fourth in the Woodward Stakes-G1. He bounced back to win the Fayette Stakes-G2 (9f.) at Keeneland by 4 1/2 lengths and won the Clark Stakes-G1 at Churchill at the same distance. Tom's d'Etat's year 7 was just 4 starts beginning in April when he won the Oaklawn Mile Stakes, then the Stephen Foster Stakes-G2 at 1 1/8 miles. He was third after a bad break in the Whitney Stakes-G1 and never showed up when ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 won by Authentic. Standing 16.2 hands, Tom's d'Etat is a big, burly, lengthy horse. With his size and physical issues in training it's not surprising that yearling buyers were cautious, spending an average of only $38,745 for 56 yearlings. Early maturity was not his trademark, so we'll probably have to wait to see the best of the runners by Tom's d'Etat.

Grade 1 winner Volatile had speed, speed and speed. He's by Violence and from 2 generations of sprint mares, his dam being stakes winner Melody Lady by Unbridled's Song, and her dam the Grade 1 sprinter Lady Tak by Mutakddim. A younger full brother to stakes winner Buy Sell Hold, Volatile was an $850,000 yearling but was unraced at 2 due to tendonitis among issues that delayed his racing debut until July as a 3-year-old. He won his debut at Ellis Park going 6 furlongs, then was second in a 6 furlong allowance at Churchill in September. He was back to winning in November, same track and distance by 3. An ankle chip had to be removed, delaying his 4-year-old debut to April when he won a 6 furlong allowance at Oaklawn by 7 1/2 lengths. In June he won the 6 furlong Aristides Stakes at Churchill by 8, just a tiny tick off the track record. At the end of July he won the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap-G1 at the same distance, wiring a 4-horse field that included Whitmore, Mind Control and Firenze Fire. A hairline fracture of the right front cannon caused him to be retired in September with a record of 5 wins from 6 starts. He's an extremely handsome horse standing 16.2 hands with tons of muscle without looking like a tank. Volatile had physical issues that delayed his own debut until July of his 3-year-old year. His first yearlings sold really well off his introductory fee of $17,500, with 99 selling for $119,333. Offspring who stay sound should come into hand much earlier and I'd expect him to have a lot of good juveniles this year.

Highly-regarded Honor A. P. was a $850,000 yearling with Grade 1-winning parents, by Honor Code out of Hollywood Story by Wild Rush. Honor A. P. made 2 starts at 2, running second in his debut in August at Del Mar, then winning next time in October at Santa Anita over a mile, by wiring the field and pulling away to win by 5 1/4 lengths. He returned at 3 in March when second to future champion Authentic in the San Felipe Stakes-G2. He beat Authentic by 2 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/8 mile Santa Anita Derby-G1 run that year in June. In August he was second in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar at 1 1/16 miles to Thousand Words. In September he was fourth in the Kentucky Derby-G1 won by Authentic. The effort strained his left front tendon and it was decided to retire him. A big, 16.3 hands flashy horse, Honor A. P. looks very much like his sire Honor Code and that A.P. Indy type with a lovely frame, loads of quality, good muscling and good legs. He entered stud at $15,000 and his first yearlings sold rather unspectacularly, 39 averaging $52,741. Although he was getting better with age, he was still an impressive juvenile maiden winner so should get a good number of 2-year-old winners, but like him, his sire Honor Code and grandsire A.P. Indy, they should get better with age.

Few 2-year-olds have made as memorable impression as Complexity when he won the Champagne Stakes-G1 in his second start. He was coming off a maiden win at Saratoga, wiring a good field through 6 furlongs and winning by 4 1/2 lengths. In the Champagne, stretched to a mile, he made all the running and won by 3, at one point in the stretch he was ahead by 5 lengths. In his third start, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G1, he led early but faded to tenth behind the winner Game Winner who beat Knicks Go. Complexity was out until the next June and made only 3 starts at 3. In his season debut, the 7 furlong Woody Stephens Stakes-G1, he was last of 11, clearly needing a race. He came back with a win in November in a 7 furlong allowance at Aqueduct by 7 1/4 lengths. He ended the season when fourth in the Malibu Stakes-G1 won by Omaha Beach. At 4, Complexity made 4 starts. In July, he won an allowance at Belmont over a mile beating Win Win Win, who turned tables on him in the 7 furlong Forego Stakes-G1. In October, Complexity won the Kelso Handicap-G2 at a mile beating Code of Honor, but could not hold that form and was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1 at Keeneland won by Knicks Go. This was his final start and he retired with 5 wins in 9 starts. Five times Complexity had showed brilliant form, which justified the $375,000 paid for him as a yearling. His dam, Goldfield by Yes It's True, had already produced the classy Grade 3-winning filly Valadorna. He has matured to 16.1 hands and is a strapping, handsome, heavily muscled beast resembled a harmonious blend of Maclean's Music and Yes It's True (a personal favorite). Retired at a fee of $12,500, his first yearlings sold well, with 85 averaging $83,071. With his pedigree and early brilliance, I would expect him to be well represented with his 2-year-olds this year.

Curlin's runners tend to get better with age and Global Campaign was no exception. Out of Globe Trot by A.P. Indy, he was a younger half-brother to stakes winner Sonic Mule and Grade 1 winner Bolt d'Oro. He brought only $250,000 as yearling due to some epiphysitis. Uraced at 2, he was impressive in his debut at 3 at Gulfstream when he ran away with a 7 furlong maiden and followed with another romp in February at the same track going 1 1/16 miles. He was fifth in the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 in March behind Code of Honor, but grabbed a quarter in the race. He came back in May in the 1 1/8 mile Peter Pan Stakes-G2 beating Sir Winston who won the Belmont Stakes-G1 next out, which Global Campaign skipped. He missed the Ohio Derby due to a quarter crack then was third in the Jim Dandy Stakes-G2 behind Tax and Tacitus in his last start at 3. He was put on the sidelines for 9 months to recover from the hoof issues and made made a winning debut at 4 at Gulfstream in April in a 7 furlong allowance. After a bad break, he was sixth in the Blame Stakes at Churchill, then nearly wired his field in the 1 1/8 mile Monmouth Cup-G3, losing the lead in the stretch but grimly fought back to gain the win. In the Woodward Stakes-G1 in early September he went to the front and never looked back to score at a mile and a quarter. In his final start he was third in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 behind Authentic and Improbable. Global Campaign stands 16.1 hands and has the size and substance of a typical Curlin. A popular first year stallion, probably helped by being a half-brother to Bolt d'Oro, he had 91 yearlings average a decent $59,442 of a $12,500 stud fee. A horse who needed some time, I wouldn't look for a lot of early 2-year-olds but they should do better as the juvenile races get longer.

One of the last good ones by Arch, Instilled Regard is out of Enhancing by Forestry, a half-sister to Good Reward-G1, Pure Prize and Cosmic. His second dam is the Champion filly Heavenly Prize from a great Phipps family. He was a $1,050,000 2-year-old but didn't run until September. Second in his debut at Del Mar and third next time out at Santa Anita, Instilled Regard won his third start, going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita in October by 4 1/4 lengths. He was third in a roughly-run Cash Call Futurity-G1, and moved up to second after Solomini was DQ'd back to third for bumping with him and McKinzie. In January, Instilled Regard won the Lecomte Stakes-G3 at a mile and 70 yards. He was fourth in the Risen Star Stakes-G2 won by Bravazo; fourth again in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 and fourth again in the Kentucky Derby-G1 both won by Justify. Moved to a new trainer and out of action until September, he was a weak ninth in the Pennsylvania Derby-G1. His next out was in December in the 1 1/8 mile Hollywood Derby-G1T, his first time on turf. He got to the front in the stretch but was overtaken by Raging Bull and River Boyne. He returned at 4 in the April meet at Keeneland when second in a mile turf allowance. In May he ran sixth in the Alysheba Stakes-G2 back on dirt at Churchill, then was out until November. He came back third in an allowance at Aqueduct at 1 1/16 miles on turf. In December he rallied to win the 1 1/8 mile turf Ft. Lauderdale Stakes-G2T at Gulfstream. In January, just turned 5, he was third in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes-G1T won by Zulu Alpha. In March he was sixth in the Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes-G2T at Fair Grounds. In June, he was back with a win in the Fort Marcy Stakes-G2T going 9 furlongs at Belmont and in July, won the Manhattan Stakes-G1T at 1 1/4 miles at the same track. He retired later that year with 5 wins from 18 starts, a classic contender and Grade 3 winner on dirt and a Grade 1 winner on turf as an older horse. Tall, dark and handsome, Instilled Regard stands an elegant 16.1 hands and bears a resemblence to Arch's top son Blame, bred similarly with Seeking the Gold and Nijinsky II in his dam's pedigree. He entered stud at $12,500 and his first small batch of yearlings 28 in all, averaged just $28,327. Although Grade 1-placed at 2, I'd expect his progeny to be later developing, look for more of a route and lean toward his turfy side.

(continued in left column under table)

My picks for 2024 Leading Freshman Sire:
Tiz the Law
McKinzie
Improbable
Complexity
Instagrand
 
Kentucky sires with first runners (2yos) in 2024
2021 stud fee
2021
mares
bred
2022
mares
bred
2023
mares bred
2023
yrlg #@
ave
2024 fee
Authentic
$75,000
229
202
198
92 @ $285,033
$50,000
Improbable
$40,000
177
157
94
86 @ $69,670
$15,000
Tiz The Law
$40,000
159
218
131
77 @ $94,955
$20,000
Game Winner
$30,000
157
131
96

73 @ $94,904

$20,000
McKinzie
$30,000
214
171
168
120@ $147,744
$30,000
War of Will
$25,000
143
112
84
66 @ $111,506
$25,000
Maximum Security
$20,000
135
100
87
41 @ $56,175
$5,000
Vekoma
$20,000
222
196
212
114 @ $96,825
$15,000
Tom's d'Etat
$17,500
116
89
42
56 @ $38,745
$7,500
Volatile
$17,500
181
157
165
99 @ $119,333
$15,000
Honor A. P.
$15,000
110
81
39
$52,741
$10,000
Complexity
$12,500
158
124
59
85 @ $83,071
$12,500
Global Campaign
$12,500
177
87
93
91 @ $59,442
$12,500
Instilled Regard
$12,500
67
23
30
28 @ $28,327
$7,500
Spun to Run
$12,500
119
66
22
49 @ $35,565
$10,000
Echo Town
$10,000
93
87
46
43 @ $39,836
$5,000
Gift Box
$10,000
112
77
31
50 @ $23,865
$5,000
Higher Power
$10,000
152
77
31
65 @ $27,972
$10,000
Promises Fulfilled
$10,000
61
17
15
19 @ $46,737
$5,000
Country House
$7,500
58
31
30
8 @ $15,938
$7,500
Instagrand
$7,500
190
141
95
77 @ $44,601
$7,500
Shancelot
$7,500
64
36
20
17 @ $26,365
$7,500
Thousand Words
$7,500
184
121
61
79 @ $27,075
$5,000
Caracaro
$6,500
76
72
67
31 @ $37,351
$6,500
Bravazo
$6,000
22
8
6
6 @ $20,333
$5,000
Yorkton
$5,000
54
47
28
9 @   $9,674
$5,000

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If milers make good sires, Spun to Run should have things under control. A son of the classy Hard Spun out of juvenile stakes winner Yawkey Way by Grand Slam, Spun to Run skipped the yearling sales and was a $64,000 May 2-year-old. He made 3 starts that year starting in October, fourth in his debut at Parx going 6 panels, then second at 7 furlongs, and third at 6 furlongs at Aqueduct in December. Now 3 in early January, he was third again at 7 furlongs and 2 weeks later finally broke through in a mile and 70 yards event at Parx. In March at Parx he won a mile allowance by a widening 7 1/4 lengths but surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis put him on the sidelines. Returning in July he was dropped into the deep end in the Haskell Invitational Stakes-G1, where he was a respectable third behind Maximum Security and Mucho Gusto. In September he won the Smarty Jones Stakes-G3 at 1 1/16 miles at Parx by a game head. Later that month he was a well beaten seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby-G1 won by Math Wizard. In October, Spun to Run dominated his field in the M. P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes at Parx, winning by 6 3/4 lengths in a hand ride. This proved the perfect prep for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1 at Santa Anita where he wired a talented field with Omaha Beach in second. A month later he was second behind Maximum Security in the Cigar Mile Handicap-G1 before retiring to stud. Getting some size from his sire Hard Spun, Spun to Run stands 16.1 hands and has a Danzig look about him, compactly made, broad across the chest and well muscled. With an opening fee of $12,500, he had 49 yearlings average an unexciting $35,565 last year. Being a non-winner from 3 starts at 2, he doesn't fit my qualifications for a top freshman sire but his dam was a stakes winner at 2 and milers can be sneaky good sires sometimes.

Speed demon Echo Town is by Speightstown out of Grade 2 winner Letgomyecho by Menifee. A $100,000 yearling, he's an older half-brother to the Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Echo Zulu and a younger half-brother to Grade 3 winner J Boy's Echo. Echo Town was unraced at 2, but won in his debut at 3 in January going 6 furlings at Fair Grounds. Third in an allowance in February, he won a 6 furlong allowance at Oaklawn in March by daylight. In April he was second in the 6 furlong Bachelor Stakes by a head, then won an allowance at Churchill in May at the same distance. In June he was second behind No Parole in the 7 furlong Woody Stephens Stakes-G1. At Saratoga he won the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes-G1 by 3 1/2 at the same distance, with No Parole far behind. In September he was fifth in the Pat Day Mile-G2 at Churchill. At Keeneland in October he was third in the Phoenix Stakes-G2 when dropped back 6 furlongs. In his final start he finished far back in the Breeders' Cup Sprint-G1 at Keeneland after being bumped. Echo Town is a a typical Speightstown, meaning not too big (16.0 1/2 hands) and a chunk with a big shoulder and huge hindquarter, built like a locomotive. His first yearlings, 43 in all, averaged a moderate $39,836 off a $10,000 stud fee. Athough Echo Town did not race at 2, his pedigree speaks strictly to speed, with Speightstown on top and the dam of Echo Zulu on the bottom. I wouldn't ignore him as a sire of speedy juveniles this year.

Gift Box always showed promise but took a while to earn his Grade 1. Like his sire Twirling Candy, he got better with age. A $135,000 weanling, his dam, Special Me by Unbridled's Song, is a true blue hen, also producing the Grade 1 winner Gina Romantica and Grade 2 winners Stonetastic and Special Forces. Gift Box was third in his debut at 2 at Saratoga. He won next out in October at Belmont in a 1 1/16 miles race taken off the turf. At the end of November he was third in the 1 1/8 mile Remsen Stakes-G2 behind Mohaymen and Flexibility. He didn't train well in Florida, having a few "minor setbacks" and returned to racing at 3 at the end of May, winning a 1 1/16 mile allowance at Belmont by 4 1/2 lengths. At Saratoga he was second to Connect in the 1 1/8 miles Curlin Stakes at Saratoga, then fourth in Arrogate's astonishing Travers Stakes-G1. In November Gift Box was fifth in the Discovery Stakes-G3, then was out almost a full year. He returned at 4 in September when sixth in an allowance at Saratoga. He ran second 3 times in New York allowances through December. In February, now 5, Gift Box was second again at Aqueduct then broke the string winning at a mile at Aqueduct in March by 8 3/4 lengths. Over the summer he changed hands and was rehomed in California. Given this reset, he started in December, winning the San Antonio Stakes-G2 at 1 1/16 miles over Battle of Midway. In April, he won the Santa Anita Handicap-G1 by a nose over McKinzie at 1 1/4 miles. In May he was second to Vino Rosso in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita-G1. After an uncharacteristic fourth in the Stephen Foster Stakes-G2 in June, he was rested until December when he returned with a repeat win in the San Antonio Stakes-G2. Gift Box retired with 6 wins from 18 starts over 5 years, and only 4 times off the board. He stands 16.2 hands, and bears a strong resemblence to his dam's sire Unbridled's Song. Although Grade 3-placed in late season at 2, I'd expect his progeny to get better with age and maturity. He should get some good juveniles but I don't think he'll be a leader in this category.

Grade 1 winner Higher Power has pedigree to spare, being by Medaglia d'Oro out of stakes winner Alternate by Seattle Slew. He's a half-brother to Grade 2 winner and proven sire Alternation and to stakes winner Interrupted from a deep Pin Oak family. He made 2 starts at 2, third in his debut in October at Remington, then won next time out in November going a mile. At 3, he won a mile allowance at Oaklawn in January, then ran eighth in the Rebel Stakes-G2 in March. In April he improved to run third in the Northern Spur Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. There's a gap until December, when he ran third in an allowance at Fair Gronds. He ran in 3 more allowances at Fair Grounds starting in January and now a 4-year-old, picked up a win in the last one in March at 1 1/16 miles. In April he was sold at the Keeneland Racing Age Sale for $250,000 and was sent to California. He was fifth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita-G1, then, switched to grass, won a mile allowance at Santa Anita in June. He was a half-length second behind Bombard in the mile Wickerr Stakes on turf at Del Mar in July. In August Higher Power won the 1 1/4 mile Pacific Classic-G1 in a romp by 5 1/4 on dirt. In September he was third in the Awesome Again Stakes-G1 at 9 furlongs at Santa Anita to Mongolian Groom and McKinzie. He was third in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1 behind Vino Rosso and McKinzie. He returned at 5 in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes-G1, finishing last of 10. Given a rest until June, Higher Power was second to Improbable in the Hollywood Gold Cup-G1, then ran third in the San Diego Handicap-G2, fourth in the Pacific Classic-G1 then tenth in the Breeders' Cup Classic-G1. He retired to stud with wins from 8 to 10 furlongs. He's a big (16.2 hands), good looking horse in the mold of his sire Medaglia d'Oro. His first yearlings averaged a modest $27,972 off a $10,000 stud fee. Although a winner at 2, he was later developing and wanted a route, so I don't expect him to be a top freshman sire this year.

Promises Fulfilled was still just an unraced 2-year-old when his sire Shackleford was sold to South Korea. A $37,000 yearling, he's out of Grade 3-placed Marquee Delivery by Marquetry, so a half-brother to stakes winner Marquee Miss and 3 other stakes horses. At 2, he won his debut in September winning the 6 furlong maiden at Churchill by 4 lengths and followed with a 7 furlong allowance win at Keeneland. In November he ran third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2 behind Enticed and Tiz Mischief. His return at 3 was a wire to wire win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes-G2 in March, over Strike Power and Good Magic. In the Florida Derby-G1, he engaged in a speed duel for 6 furlongs, then faded to last behind winner Audible. In the Kentucky Derby-G1 he again led for 6 furlongs, then faded to finish far behind Justify. Clearly run past his best distance, in June he was taken back to 7 furlongs for the Woody Stephens Stakes-G2 in which he led most of the way but finished third. In July at Saratoga he won the Amsterdam Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs and at the end of August he won the 7 furlong H. Allen Jerkens Stakes-G1, leading at every call. In October he won the 6 furlong Phoenix Stakes-G2 the same way. In the Breeders' Cup Sprint-G1 in November at Churchill, he led early but faded to fourth behind Roy H.. At 4, Promises Fulfilled started the season in March in Dubai, running fourth in the Golden Shaheen-G1 sprint. In May he was third in the Churchill Downs Stakes-G1 and in June was fourth in the Metropolitan Handicap-G1. In July, he came a winner again in the 7 furlong John A. Nerud Stakes-G2 at Belmont, making all the fractions and won by 4 1/2 lengths. In his final two starts he was sixth in the Forego Stakes-G1 and Phoenix Stakes-G2 before calling it a career. Promises Fulfulled is a leggy horse, standing 16.3 hands, and a more handsome version of his sire Shackleford, with a lovely head, nice long neck, good shoulder and excellent hindquarter. His first yearlings sold well off his original $10,000 fee, with 19 averaging $46,737. With his good form at 2 and front-running speed, he should have some good 2-year-olds racing this year.

We never saw the best of Country House despite his Grade 1 credentials. He's by the tough racehorse sire Lookin At Lucky out of the winning mare Quake Lake by War Chant and is an older half-brother to Grade 3 winner Mitchell Road. At 2 he was unplaced in his debut at Belmont, then was a half-length second in his next start at a mile at Aqueduct in December. He broke his maiden in his 3-year-old debut in January at Gulfstream over 1 1/16 miles, closing strongly. In February, he was second in the Risen Star Stakes-G2 at the same distance at Fair Grounds behind War of Will. In March he was fourth in the Louisiana Derby-G2 behind By My Standards. In the Arkansas Derby-G1 in April he was third behind Omaha Beach and Improbable. In the Kentucky Derby-G1 he was making his late run on the outside but wasn't going to catch Maximum Security. That horse was DQ'd to fifth behind a domino slide of horses who were interfered with, and Country House was moved up for the win. After the Derby, Country House spiked a temperature and coughed so was out of the Preakness. In June he was examined for lameness and diagnosed with "proximal suspensory ligament desmitis in both front fetlocks." His condition deteriorated to serious laminitis in his left front, but he courageously survived to enter stud in 2020. Off an introductory fee of $7,500, his first small batch of yearlings averaged a modest $15,938. Being a non-winner at 2, I don't expect his first crop of 2-year-olds to take him to the top but they should appreciate time and distance.

A truly brilliant 2-year-old by Into Mischief, Instagrand is out of the winning mare Assets of War by Lawyer Ron. He was a $1,200,000 2-year-old who made an early debut in late June at Los Alamitos, when he wired his field to take the 6 furlong maiden by 10 lengths under a hold. In August he won the Best Pal Stakes-G2 at Del Mar in similar fashion, blazing to a 10 1/4 lengths win. As a 3-year-old in March he was third in the Gotham Stakes-G3 going a mile at Aqueduct, then third again in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 behind Roadster and Game Winner. Backed up in distance in the Pat Day Mile-G3 on the Derby undercard in May, he faded to finish ninth, coming out of the race with a sesamoid fracture in his left hind. Successful surgery allowed him to return to action the following December at Del Mar in a 6 1/2 furlong allowance but he needed the race and finished last of 5. In January, the 4-year-old was third in a mile allowance at Santa Anita. In February he was sixth in the San Pasqual Stakes-G2 at 1 1/8 miles. Given a break until June, he was fourth in a 6 furlong allowance at Belmont but didn't race again. The precocious colt retired with a fee of $7,500 and was one of the top 4 stallions in this crop attracting 190 mares in his first book. His first yearlings sold well considering his fee, with 77 averaging a healthy $44,601. A son of Into Mischief, Instagrand is set up to become one of the top freshman sires of 2024.

Shancelot's exceptional speed had some people calling him a freak but his pedigree explains everything perfectly. He is by Champion 2-Year-Old Shanghai Bobby and is the best of 4 stakes performers out of stakes-winning True Kiss, a daughter of Is It True out of a half-sister to Grade 1 sprinter and sire Yes It's True. A $50,000 Saratoga yearling and $245,000 2-year-old, Shancelot was unraced at 2, but his 3-year-old debut in February was an eye-catching, blazing fast wire-to-wire win over 7 furlongs by a neck over Bodexpress. His second start was delayed until June at Monmouth when he ran away from his field early in a 6 furlong allowance to coast home by 6 1/4 lengths. In his third start, the 6 1/2 furlong Amsterdam Stakes-G2 at Saratoga, he turned on the after burners to lead by 6 at the half mile pole and widened from there to come home 12 1/2 lengths in front. At the end of August he was third in the 7 furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Stakes-G1 by 2 noses in a furious photo, beaten by ind Control and Hog Creek Hustle. In October he was second by a head to Omaha Beach in the 6 furlong Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes-G1. In the Breeders' Cup Sprint-G1 at the same distance, he led into the stretch only to be caught by Mitole. He was the pace in all his races, capable of setting blistering fractions and hard to get by at the wire. He stayed in training at 4 but didn't start, his career interrupted by a change of trainers, and then ended in January of his 5-year-old year with a tendon injury. Retired to stud late at $7,500 he got only 64 mares his first spring. This resulted in 17 yearlings that averaged an uninspring $26,365. He'll be an underdog, but Shancelot has the genetic stuff to sire really brilliant speed. Although unraced at 2, that kind of speed usually translates into precociousness, so don't forget his name.

Grade 2 winner Thousand Words is by the classic sire Pioneerof The Nile out of the high class sprinter Pomeroy's Pistol by Pomeroy. His looks and pedigree made him a million dollar yearling. He ran for the first time at 2 in October winning at 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita. He won the Los Alamitos Futurity-G2 in his second start at 1 1/16 miles in December. In his debut at 3 he won the Robert B Lewis Stakes-G3, then ran a weak fourth in the San Felipe Stakes-G2. In April, after a stumble at the start of the Oaklawn Stakes, he finished far back. Covid-19 interfered with the classic schedule and he was off until the Los Alamitos Derby-G3 in July, placing second behind Uncle Chuck. In August he won the Shared Belief Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Del Mar beating Honor A.P. For the Kentucky Derby-G1 in September, he was a late scratch after flipping in the paddock. He was eighth in the Preakness Stakes-G1 in October after leading early. At the end of December he was unplaced in the Malibu Stakes-G1. Thousand Words, a good sized (16.1 1/2 hands) horse with million dollar looks, he was very popular, covering 184 mares his first season at $7,500. Last year, 79 yearlings averaged $27,075. A Grade 2 winner at 2 with a lot of 2-year-olds, he should have good representation as a freshman sire this year.

Grade 1-placed Caracaro is by the young sire of sires Uncle Mo out of Peace Time by War Front, and was a $95,000 weanling. Late getting to the races, his only juvenile start came when second in a 7 furlong maiden after leading most of the way at Gulfstream in December. Next time out in January at a mile he impressed by making all the running and winning by 6 lengths. Training for the Holy Bull Stakes, a vet exam for a private sale revealed a hind end issue that required a 3 month layoff. His third start was in July when second by a neck to Country Grammer in the Peter Pan Stakes-G2. In August he was second behind Tiz the Law in the Travers Stakes-G1 at a mile and a quarter. Prepping dynamically for the Kentucky Derby-G1, run ins September that year due to Covid-19, Caracaro took a bad step during a work, and was discovered to have a soft tissue injury in his right front. He was retired to stud at $6,500 and his first yearlings averaged an encouraging $37,351. At 16.2 hands, he's a big, handsome colt in the typical Uncle Mo mold with good muscling and bone. More of a later maturing middle distance type, I would expect his progeny to be more like he was, so don't expect a lot of fireworks from his first juveniles this year. Then again, later maturity and distance are kind of unusual for an Uncle Mo, so maybe that earlier ability will come through.

Grade 2 winner Bravazo ran 4 years and made 22 starts. By Awesome Again out of Tiz o' Gold by Cee's Tizzy, he's bred very similarly to several of his sire's best runners including Paynter and Oxbow. At 2 he was unplaced in his debut in August at Saratoga. He won next time out going a mile at Churchill, then was second in the Breeders' Futurity-G1 to Free Drop Billy at Keeneland and third in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill. He ran a throw-out tenth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes-G2 in November to finish his juvenile campaign. At 3 he won an allowance at Oaklawn in January at a mile prepping for his win in the Risen Star Stakes-G2 at 1 1/16 miles at Fair Grounds. Unplaced in the Louisiana Derby-G2 and Kentucky Derby-G1, he was second in the Preakness Stakes-G1 a half length behind Justify in the slop. Sixth in the Belmont Stakes-G1, he was second in the Haskell Invitational Stakes-G1 behind Good Magic, third in the Travers Stakes-G1 behind Catholic Boy and Mendellsohn. He was seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby-G1, the third in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile-G1 to City of Light and Seeking the Soul. He ended his 3-year-old season a neck second in the Clark Handicap-G1 to Leofric. At 4, he ran twice in Grade 1 races in January and November, to no effect. Returning at 5, he ran 4 times, all in stakes, never better than fourth. He was finally retired after a training injury demanded knee surgery. At his best when a 3-year-old, Bravazo was competitive at the highest level and game in a drive. He is a homebred so never went through a sale. He stands 16.0 hands resembling his sire Awesome Again, squarely made rather than lengthy, with a deep shoulder and well muscled behind. From his initial book of 22 mares at $6,000, he had 6 yearlings in 2023 average $20,333. A good but not great 2-year-old, with the right kind of mare he could get some early speed but with a small first crop it's unlikely he'll wind up very high on the Freshman Sire list.

Grade 3 sprinter Yorkton was as durable as they come nowdays, racing 5 years and making 30 starts with 7 wins. He's by Speightstown out of Sunday Affair by AP. Indy and a half-brother to Grade 3 sprinter/miler Weyburn. At 2 he made 3 starts, running third in his debut in August at Woodbine and winning second time out in September setting all the fractions for the 6 furlongs on all weather. He was ninth in the Cup and Saucer Stakes, tiring after leading through 6 furlongs. At 3, he ran 10 times and won 3, all at Woodbine: the Queenston Stakes (7f.AW), Charlie Barley Stakes (8f.T) and King Corrie Stakes (6.5f.AW). At 4, he made 7 starts, winning twice, an allowance at Woodbine (6f. AW) via a DQ and the Bold Venture Stakes-G3 over 6 1/2 furlongs by 5 1/4 making all the running. He was also second in the Nearctic Stakes-G2 (6f.T) and Vigil Stakes-G3 (6f. AW). At 5 he ran 6 times, 5 in stakes, winning his second Bold Venture Stakes-G3 (6 1/2f. AW), his only time on the board. At 6, he ran 4 times without winning, but was second in the Sir Shackleton Stakes (7f. dirt) at Gulfstream and third in the True North Stakes-G3 (6 1/2f. dirt) at Belmont. Standing 16.2 hands, Yorkton is big for a Speightstown but typically stocky, muscular and with good bone. A consumate sprinter, most of his career was on the all weather surface at Woodbine, but he also won a stakes on turf and was stakes-placed on regular dirt. His first yearlings averaged a modest $9,674 from a $5,000 fee. Although winner at 2, he's more like his sire being a later maturing type so I don't see him being a leading sire of 2-year-olds 9 $9,674.

This group of stallions is loaded with good 2-year-old performers and speed horses, several of which have the qualifications I look for in a future top level freshman sire. It's almost easier to eliminate the later maturing candidates to limit the field.

Let's start with Game Winner, who was a champion 2-year-old himself, so a high probability in this class of stallions but he's not going to be among my top picks this year. You can disagree with me, that's fine.

Improbable, Tiz the Law, McKinzie and Complexity were Grade 1 winners at 2. Vekoma, Instagrand and Thousand Words were also Graded stakes winners at 2. Any one of them has the right to sire good juveniles.

I argue that Tiz the Law was as good as or better than Authentic who beat him out as 3-year-old champion their year. Authentic only made 1 start at 2, so I pick Tiz the Law over him in this freshman sire category.

McKinzie was an all-rounder, good at 2, 3 and 4, going short and long, and his sire Street Sense was a champion at 2. That makes him very interesting to me.

Improbable was good at 2, unlucky at 3 and a champion at 4, besides being a rare City Zip who could go a distance, but he's still a City Zip and that means precocious speed.

Complexity was the definition of brilliant and although not as good at 3 as he was at 2, he had a world of speed and that makes him a wild card here.

Instagrand was a blazing 2-year-old and should have a lot of juvenile winners, but he's got a lot of overcome with a $7,500 stud fee. I'm still putting him in as a wild card.

This is hard. I'm going to go with Tiz the Law, McKinzie and Improbable with Complexity and Instagrand as wild cards. Yes, I'm taking 2 wild cards.

Copyright by Anne Peters 2024