Watch: The Best and the Worst
developed "Stallion Watch" to incite deeper
thought among mare owners shopping for stallion
seasons and shares. These lists will be updated frequently
to help our readers recognize some of the better values in
different portions of the market, as well as some of the
lesser values. If you agree or disagree with our commentary,
we invite you to tell us why.
Worst Values, $17,500 - $25,000
1. Curlin ($25,000 Lanes End, KY) - Appears to have the signs of being a useful type over the long term, but not at this price point. Dragging mares down by 31% and not getting the graded stakes horses we like to see in this price range. Commercial breeders have little or no chance of profitability. More appropriate at the $7,500-$10,000 level.
2. Colonel John ($17,500 WinStar Farm, KY) - Progeny can't even muster up the breed average 1.00 AEI and they only visit the winner's circle at a 12% clip. Too many holes in his track numbers to warrant the current fee.
3. English Channel ($25,000 Lanes End, KY) - His 27 yearlings finding new homes last fall traded for a paltry median of $11,000. Nothing but downside in terms of making money in the sale ring. No one but the syndicate is making money.
4. Macho Uno ($25,000 Adena Springs, KY) - If it wasn't for Mucho Macho Man, he'd probably be in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. Median yearling price last year was less than the current fee.
Best Values, $17,500 - $25,000
1. Into Mischief ($20,000 Spendthrift Farm, KY) - Doing it all on his own (1.10 CI), has all the signs of being an elite sire. Current stud fee may look like a huge bargain in a few years.
2. City Zip ($25,000 Lanes End Farm, KY) - Continues to stand the test of time, commanding respect from even the most astute breeders and buyers. Numbers remain solid across the board. Improves his mares and his progeny are ultra versatile.
3. Exchange Rate ($20,000 Three Chimneys Farm, KY) - Not likely to get you a two-turn horse, but does everything else right. Gives breeders options at the track or in the sales ring.
4. Flatter ($20,000 Claiborne Farm, KY) - Remains a model of consistency year in and year out. Improves mares by over 30% and gives you a chance to hit a home run in the sales ring.
5. Bellamy Road ($17,500 WinStar Farm, KY) - Progeny can be rangy and tough to look at, but they usually redeem themselves at the track. Particularly effective if you're looking to add size and stamina. Numbers are impeccable for a $17,500 sire.
Worst Values, $10,000 - $15,000
1. Raison d'Etat ($15,000 Calumet Farm, KY) - This has to be a typo. This horse doesn't even belong in Kentucky, let alone at a fee of $15,000. Much more appropriate for Florida or New York at a $3,500 fee.
2. First Defence ($15,000 Juddmonte Farms, KY) - Failing on all fronts. Aside from Close Hatches, is ultra quiet at the track... and his 2013 median yearling price wouldn't even cover the stud fee.
3. Paddy O'Prado ($15,000 Spendthrift Farm, KY) - Early returns from the sales ring are less than promising for investors. Time will tell if he can get it done at the track, but the current fee isn't in line with the risk being taken on by mare owners.
4. Zensational ($15,000 Hill n Dale Farms, KY) - Track numbers are paltry at best and the commercial market is responding accordingly. Investors have zero chance for profit at his current fee.
5. Americain ($15,000 Calumet Farm, KY) - A bad fit for the American market. Very few 16 furlong stallions make it long term in this country... and early signs from the commercial market ($24,785 covering sire average) seem to substantiate that he's better suited for Europe.
Best Values, $10,000 - $15,000
1. Successful Appeal ($10,000 Walmac Farm, KY) - While not generating the excitement for a commercial venture, it's tough to match this Successful Appeal's value if you're breeding to race. About the only thing he can't do is get a classic-type horse.
2. Include ($12,500 Airdrie Stud, KY) - Won't get you the most attractive individual,
but they can usually run without a lot of vet bills. Never really caught on with the commercial markets, but with the right mare, gives those who race an immediate step up.
3. Spring At Last ($15,000 WinStar Farm, KY) - Never saw this one coming, but you'd be hard pressed to argue he hasn't been an early success. Getting good horses at all levels. Can't breed just any mare to him given his quirky physical attributes.
4. Jump Start ($10,000 Northview, PA) - One of the better regional stallions in this country. Doesn't rely on restricted stakes horses to put up solid numbers every year.
5. Big Brown ($10,000 Three Chimneys, KY) - All he's lacking is a U.S. headliner. Average earnings per start is nearly 60% higher than the four above. Showing signs of being an elite turf sire. A great year to get in on something that could get real good in near future.
Worst Values, $7,500 and under
1. U.S. Ranger ($5,000 WinStar Farm, KY) - Hate to pick on a sire so early in the game, but few sires have started out so poorly in recent memory. Despite getting a solid group of mares, just 2 winners from 28 starters and his progeny are winning at a ridiculous 2% clip against maidens. Seasons should be complimentary until the numbers take a serious upswing.
2. Perfect Soul ($7,500 Darby Dan Farm, KY) - Just 7 stakes winners from his first 6 crops of racing age despite a lot of support from the owner. Drags his mares down by over 44% and his yearlings trade for a median price of less than $11,000.
3. Bluegrass Cat ($7,500 Rockridge Stud, NY) - Reduced from last year's fee of $17,500, but still not producing at the current fee. Lackluster stakes production for years after riding the coattails of solid books of mares. A $3,500 sire at best.
4. Tiz Wonderful ($7,500 Spendthrift Farm, KY) - Gets great looking progeny, but they seldom get their stakes credentials. Just two stakes winners from 110 starters with very little in sight for the future. Ultra risky.
5. Bob and John ($6,000 Saratoga Stud, NY) - Numbers aren't even close to what we see in this price range. Hasn't sired a single graded stakes winner and drags his mares down like few have. Gives mare owners zero shot at commercial success.
Best Values, $7,500 and under
1. Awesome of Course ($7,500 Journeyman Stud, FL) - 40 starters, 37 winners, 5 stakes winners (2 graded) with an AEI of 2.88. What's not to like? Commercial market might not ever catch on, but for those going to the races, he's doing everything right.
2. Runaway and Hide ($7,500 Darby Dan Farm, KY) - Everything is going right for him at the track with solid numbers across the board including a 50% graded stakes winners from stakes winners. Unfortunately, like Awesome of Course, the commercial market isn't paying attention.
3. Langfuhr ($7,500 Lane's End Farm, KY) - A long time stalwart that works with a variety of mare types. Suffers from old sire syndrome in the sales ring, but should be on the radar of those breeding to race, particularly those looking for a source of durability
4. Daaher ($5,000 Shadwell Farm, KY) - Not sure why he isn't being supported more by mare owners, but in the meantime, the few supporters out there are getting a great deal. Still a bit early to write him in as a long term success, but the forecast looks good.
5. Pleasantly Perfect ($5,000 Lane's End Farm, KY) - A little more one-dimensional than Langfuhr, but nonetheless a terrific source of stamina. Sales numbers aside, continues to put up solid track figures.