The world’s number one stallion commentator has been hard at it again, this time compiling a World Top 25 Sires (the younger generation) for us. One problem, like all our American pals, he seems to believe the world has only one hemisphere, does our old mate. But as always, his thoughts are profound, if a bit provocative, but are always worth the read :
The Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus was always one of my favorites, but not so much because he is regarded by some as the founder of Greek philosophy when he postulated something very roughly translated as “all is moisture.” No, I admired him just as much because he cornered the olive market in Thrace in order to prove that philosophers had to be practical, too, and not just walk around with their heads in the clouds.
In the past few weeks, we ’ ve turned these numbers inside out, upside down, and sideways in an attempt to dig into them a little deeper and to interpret them to try an unearth names of sires which stand out a little bit from the crowd.
The APEX ratings tell us a lot about a sire ’ s consistency in producing class racehorses, but they don ’ t necessarily rank sires in the exact order as the broad commercial marketplace. To do so, I’ve had to be subjective.
When all is said and done and written down, here is my idea of a new “World Top 25,” featuring only sires whose first foals were born 1996-2004 These are the top sires of the near future, as I see it. It ’s like the AP Top 25 College Basketball rankings, except there’s only one vote. And you ’ ll notice right away that today ’ s top sires aren’t anywhere near as far ahead of their contemporaries as were the star sires of yesteryear.
As this is to a large extent subjective, disagreements are guaranteed. Don’t be shy if you feel there is a case to be made that certain sires have been overrated, underrated or left out; let us know. One thing we don’t claim around here is infallibility. The two are virtually tied: Smart Strike (3.87) edges Distorted Humor (3.70) on A Runner Index, while they are within decimal points in terms of “ unique A Runners from foals ” ; 9.38 percent for Distorted Humor, 9.35 percent for Smart Strike. I awarded Distorted Humor top spot on the basis that he ’ s consistently generated more fireworks, but there’s only a dirty nose in it. Smart Strike has always been a top sire, though he’s only now getting the recognition for it.
I ’ ve been saying for a long time that the “ sire classes ” of (first foals) 1998, 2000, and 2002 are all very good, and sure enough eight of my top nine sires come from these three classes. In fact, five of the top six come from the 1998 and 2000 groups. Third-ranked Pivotal and sixth-ranked Unbridled’ s Song , like Smart Strike, had their first foals in 1998.
As I’ve noted on several occasions, they were the top three in their group from the word go. Pivotal stood cheaply to start with, but now ranks as Britain ’ s top sire, while Unbridled ’ s Song, as usual, has been firing winners from all directions already this year. According to the under-used Sire Progeny Counts from the TDN website, he has already sired 16 individual horses who rated a mention in TDN in the first nine weeks of the year. Joining Distorted Humor from the F2000 sire class is Awesome Again , whose 21 individual “hits” on the Progeny Counts on the website ties him for the 2008 lead to date, with A.P. Indy .
I rate F2003 Galileo at number five, the top actual young sire (he’s 10 this year) on this list. Sire of successive G1 Dewhurst S. winners and champion European two-year-olds, Teofilo and New Approach, and out of G1 Prix de l’Arc winner Urban Sea, Galileo is displaying all the class his race record and pedigree entitled him to. My seventh-, eighth- and ninth-rated horses are the three top F2002 sires: Dansili (sire of Arc winner Rail Link in his second crop), Giant’ s Causeway , currently number one on the North American General Sire List (that didn ’ t take long, did it?), and Montjeu , sire of two winners of the G1 Epsom Derby, Motivator and Authorized, in his first three crops. The top 10 is rounded off by leading F2004 sire Street Cry , sire of 2007 GI Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, the first horse to crack the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile / Kentucky Derby jinx.
11th-ranked Mr. Greeley (still with a massive 7.45 European A Runner Index) was F1997, 12th-ranked Pulpit, current number two on the General Sire List, now, finally, leads the under-18 F1999 sire class, and Forestry , the leading F2001 sire, claims the 13th spot. Seventeeth-ranked Not For Love , probably the leading North American sire standing outside Kentucky, is the only other F1997 sire to make the top 25 (there are none from the F1996 class among this top 25). Three more F1999 sires make the list: Danehill Dancer , another who started out for next to nothing, ranks 14th. Pulpit ’ s nemesis, Langfuhr , ranks 17th and the underrated, but also uncommercial, Singspiel , is ranked 20th.
Three more from that strong F2002 class make my top 25. Chester House (ranked 15th) was a real surprise package in that most people probably assumed his storied temperament would come through. Unfortunately, the horse died quite young, so nobody, including Juddmonte, could take much advantage of the fact that he’s turned out to be a really good sire. Successful Appeal , ranked 18th, has impressive numbers from his Florida crops. If his Kentucky crops are just that good, he could be a top 10 sire in no time.
Lemon Drop Kid has recovered from a slow start and, though the market maybe hasn’t forgiven him for not being a top 10 sire, he deserves to make this top 25. Completing this top 25 are: Cape Cross , who I rate second to Forestry among F2001 sires in 19th; Medicean , who I rank second to Galileo among F2003 sires, ranked number 21 and a cluster of three F2004 sires which I rank second through fourth in their sire class, behind Darley’s Street Cry: Coolmore’s Johannesburg (22nd) and Rock of Gibraltar (24th); and the Irish National Stud’ s Invincible Spirit (23rd), who Darley has bought into. There are a further 10 sires which I rate “ on the cusp”.
*THE TOP 25 F1996-B2004 SIRES
- Oppenheim’s Subjective Rankings (Excluding Sires 18yo & Older)
A Rnr Rank Pct A’s Rank
RANK SIRE YR HIS SIRE 1st Fls ST Index A Index Foals Pct A’s
1 Distorted Humor 1993 Forty Niner 2000 Ky 3.70 2 9.38 1
2 Smart Strike 1992 Mr. Prospector 1998 Ky 3.87 1 9.35 2
3 Pivotal 1993 Polar Falcon 1998 GB 3.16 10 6.26 16
4 Awesome Again 1994 Deputy Minister 2000 Ky 3.21 9 5.71 25
5 Galileo 1998 Sadler’s Wells 2003 Ire 3.32 8 4.88 52
6 Unbridled’s Song 1993 Unbridled 1998 Ky 3.09 13 6.70 6
7 Dansili 1996 Danehill 2002 GB 2.48 30 6.34 13
8 Giant’s Causeway 1997 Storm Cat 2002 Ky 2.73 20 6.42 12
9 Montjeu 1996 Sadler’s Wells 2002 Ire 2.70 23 4.17 80
10 Street Cry 1998 Machiavellian 2004 Ky 3.33 7 5.71 25
11 Mr. Greeley 1992 Gone West 1997 Ky 1.79 78 5.14 38
12 Pulpit 1994 A.P. Indy 1999 Ky 2.39 39 6.54 8
13 Forestry 1996 Storm Cat 2001 Ky 3.16 11 5.71 25
14 Danehill Dancer 1993 Danehill 1999 Ire 2.40 37 5.51 29
15 Chester House 1995 Mr. Prospector 2002 Dead 2.52 27 7.62 3
16 Not for Love 1990 Mr. Prospector 1997 Md 2.29 44 7.37 4
17 Langfuhr 1992 Danzig 1999 Ky 2.50 29 5.54 28
18 Successful Appeal 1996 Valid Appeal 2002 Ky 3.33 6 5.91 23
19 Cape Cross 1994 Green Desert 2001 Ire 2.24 46 3.78 101
20 Singspiel 1992 In the Wings 1999 GB 2.45 34 4.41 68
21 Medicean 1997 Machiavellian 2003 GB 2.31 42 4.17 80
22 Johannesburg 1999 Hennessy 2004 Ky 2.48 30 3.60 112
23 Invincible Spirit 1997 Green Desert 2004 Ire 2.23 47 3.93 91
24 Rock of Gibraltar 1999 Danehill 2004 Ire 2.44 35 6.09 20
25 Lemon Drop Kid 1996 Kingmambo 2002 Ky 2.46 33 5.41 32
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News