(Photo : Darley Stud)
THIRD CROP STALLION POWER
One thing which constantly exercises the minds of stallion men, is where the next sire of sires is going to come from. After many years of doubting, Sadler’s Wells has truly arrived, and on the other side of the Atlantic, A.P. Indy has stamped his name in bold black type as the pre-eminent producer of young sires.
There’s been considerable conjecture of late in every facet of the racing media, including these columns, on the shift of the balance of stallion power back to Europe, a reversal of a trend which manifested itself for some thirty to forty years between the 1940’s through to the 1980’s. Somehow you wondered what was becoming of the American thoroughbred after so many years of dominance, but it seemed that with the weight of spending power so strongly concentrated in predominantly European hands, there would be no let up in the swing back.
A change in their respective strategies by the two power houses, Coolmore and the Maktoums which led to the establishment of their own operations in the USA, has to a degree, mitigated against the flow eastwards. The result has seen the emergence on the American continent of Coolmore’s Giants Causeway (Storm Cat) as Champion Sire, and for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley, of the new giants, Street Cry (Machiavellian), and more recently, Medaglia d’Oro a grandson of Sadler’s Wells. Interestingly, both the latter two are by European-raced turf sires.
However, these horses are not alone, and the current group of third crop stallions is where the excitement rests. In a recent article labelled the Hot List, the Thoroughbred Daily News commented that this group was so good that Candy Ride (Arg) (Ride The Rails), sire of five Grade 1 winners, currently sits in fifth on that particular TDN Sire List by way of cumulative progeny earnings, while Birdstone (Grindstone), whose sons Mine That Bird and Summer Bird are both Classic winners, is sixth.
As it stands, with just about two weeks left in 2010, Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) leads the stellar studs with $15,355,047 in progeny earnings. Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra accounts for $3,506,730 of that total, but of course Medaglia d’Oro is no one-trick pony. He sports a co-leading nine graded stakes winners and a co-leading five Grade/Group 1 winners.
The Darley stallion joins Tapit (Pulpit) and Speightstown (Gone West) as the only horse to be on the leaderboard on all five lists. From named foals, he hits at 5.93 percent clip with black-type winners (20), a 10.39-percent clip with black-type horses (35), a 2.67-percent clip with graded winners, and a 4.45-percent clip with graded runners (15).
Sitting behind Medaglia d’Oro is Gainesway resident Tapit, whose earners have bankrolled $14,330,588. The gray, sire of another top filly in the form of Stardom Bound, rivals Medaglia d’Oro in many statistical categories. His 23 black-type winners equates to a strike rate of 8.27 percent, with his 40 black-type horses checking in at a clip of 14.39 percent. His nine graded stakes winners matches Medaglia d’Oro’s number, but his 3.24-percent clip edges his rival.
In third, with $13,081,052 in earnings, is championsprinter Speightstown, who proved he could sire a Classic-distance horse when his four-year-old son Haynesfield wired the 1 1/4-mile G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in October. The WinStar stallion now has four Grade I winners in all. Lion Heart, in fourth with $12,834,440 in earnings, has been exported to Turkey for the 2011 season, while Candy Ride sits with $11,265,565 in earnings.
Standing at Lane’s End, Candy Ride joins Medaglia d’Oro as the lone stallion of the group with five Grade 1 winners.
Interestingly, the writing was on the wall very early with this group. The top five third-crop sires now were the top five freshman sires then, albeit in a different order. At the conclusion of he 2008 season, Tapit led Lion Heart, Candy Ride (Arg), Medaglia d’Oro and Speightstown. The aforementioned Stardom Bound, heroine of the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, flew the flag for Tapit and was his chief earner, while Medaglia d’Oro’s leading earner that year was a filly named… Retraceable. The Mark Casse-trained filly won the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Woodbine and earned $227,717 that season. Rachel Alexandra, winner of the G2 Golden Rod Stakes, earned $201,440.