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Sire Watch


New categories added weekly!

Best Values, $12,500 – $15,000

1. Midnight Lute ($15,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

Probably the most obvious category leader this year. Track numbers are bullet proof and his progeny aren’t limited to sprinting. With the right mare, can create some buzz in the sales ring as well. Terrific choice for smaller mares.

2. Sky Mesa ($15,000, Three Chimneys Farm, KY)

Should get a lot more respect in the sales ring. Consistently does well with a range of mares on all surfaces. A great option for breeders looking to get a young mare off on the right foot without breaking the bank.

3. First Samurai ($15,000, Claiborne Farm, KY)

Tried and true for several years now with over half of his stakes winners earning their stripes in graded company. Ultra versatile in what he crosses well with and seldom gets dainty progeny. Another solid choice for maiden or small mares.

4. Jimmy Creed ($15,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

This may be a bit of an overstatement, but don’t be shocked if Jimmy Creed embarks on a Munnings trajectory. Very recently, he was getting 20% stakes horses from mares carrying a .98 Comparable Index, which may be an industry first. Obscenely underrated.

Worst Values, $12,500 – $15,000

1. Carpe Diem ($15,000, WinStar Farm, KY)

He could potentially improve as his progeny go longer, but the current fee doesn’t jive with the risk. Sales numbers are going to plummet this summer/fall unless he does something quick at the track. Mare owners
shouldn’t have to hold the bag in the interim.

2. Will Take Charge ($15,000, Three Chimneys Farm, KY)

Sales numbers were problematic last fall (53 yearlings netted a median of just $22,500) and we expect them to drop even more drastically this coming fall. The picture doesn’t get any rosier when you go to his track numbers either. A $5,000 sire at best.

3. Flintshire ($15,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

His globetrotting resume and lightly-made physique have seldom rewarded
U.S. breeders in the sales ring or at the track, and it looks like Flintshire will follow suit. First crop yearlings netted a median of just over $20,000 last year, leaving his early supporters in the red. Would be shocked if he makes any kind of impact with his first runners in 2020. Ultra risky.

4. Bayern ($15,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

This horse has a solid shot a rebounding even though his first crop is yet to yield a stakes winner. He’s gotten a fair number of impressive maiden winners with an average earnings per start of $7,183… but to sign a contract for 15k in 2020 doesn’t make sense. Fee needs to account for the risk mare owners will be taking by supporting him this year.

5. Cross Traffic ($15,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

At first glance, numbers appear solid (1.35 AEI vs. 1.26 CI and 7 stakes winners from his first 109 starters), but aside from Jaywalk, his stake horses are earning their stripes at mid/low level tracks. There are too many lesser priced sires out there achieving the same or better.

Best Values, $7,500 – $10,000

1. Mizzen Mast ($7,500, Juddmonte Farms, KY)

At the risk of sounding redundant, there really is no other sire at this price point with Mizzen Mast’s credentials. Every where you look, there’s a Mizzen Mast earning graded stakes credentials. Commercial appeal is waning like most older sires, but if you’re breeding to race, would be silly to not put him on your short list.

2. Society’s Chairman ($7,500, Shannondoe Farm, ON)

Firing on all cylinders early with 15% stakes winners (a third of which are graded stakes winners) and a tidy AEI of 2.13. Still plenty of time for him to go south, but my money says he’ll be a useful sire at the very worst. Would definitely use him if he were in Kentucky.

3. Smiling Tiger ($7,500, Harris Farms, CA)

Regal female family, strong racing credentials, and A+ conformation are driving this sire to the very top of the California stallion ranks with more than a few of his progeny competing against elite U.S. company outside of California. And his better Cal-breds can turn a nice profit in the sales ring. Plenty to like.

4. Silent Name ($7,500, Adena Springs North, ON)

Clearly needs a certain physical from his mares, but if you get the right match, anything is possible. Progeny are ultra competitive in the Canadian program and he gets a fair number of graded stakes horses as well. Commercial market will likely never give him his due, but he’s a more than useful breed-to-race sire.

5. Flameaway ($7,500, Darby Dan Farm, KY)

As good a physical specimen as you’ll ever lay eyes on. Essentially perfect conformation. Will undoubtedly hit several home runs with his first weanlings and yearlings, which is why he booked full so quickly. Won early, won on dirt/turf, could carry his speed around two turns, and beat Vino Rosso three times.

Worst Values, $7,500 – $10,000

1. Mr. Speaker ($10,000, Lane’s End Farm, KY)

No stakes winners from his first 40 starters with an AEI coming in at 22% below the breed average. Sales numbers are so bad that breeders aren’t even trying any more.  A $1,000 regional sire at best.

2. Lea ($7,500, Claiborne Farm, KY)

Progeny don’t seem overly eager to visit the winner’s circle. Winning just 10% of their starts with only two stakes horses and ten winners from 38 starters.  Yearlings in 2019 sold for a net median of less than $14,000. Very little chance of getting a positive result.

3. Summer Front ($10,000, Airdrie Stud, KY)

Lit up the sales boards from 2017 to 2019, but the wheels are starting to come off.  First crop has performed fair at best, and the sales numbers have plummeted accordingly.  Could rebound, but the 2020 fee doesn’t jive with the associated risk.

4. Get Stormy ($7,500, Crestwood Farm, KY)

If you pull Got Stormy from the numbers, this sire has done very little.  Just ten total stakes horses from 171 starters and an ordinary AEI, even with Got Stormy’s numbers.  More of a $1,500 sire in a regional market that has turf opportunities.

5. Fed Biz ($7,500, WinStar Farm, KY)

Can’t write this sire’s headstone just yet, but there are too many 1st/2nd year and proven sires out there that take the luster off this sire. Needs to show that he can get more graded stakes quality runners.

Best Values, $5,000 And Under

1. Dominus ($5,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

Doesn’t appear the commercial market is ever going to catch on, but if you’re breeding to race on a budget, or you want to get a young mare started off with an inexpensive, high percentage son of Smart Strike, Dominus should be at or near the top of your list.

2. Awesome Slew ($5,000, Ocala Stud, FL)

We don’t focus a lot on 1st/2nd year sires, but this horse deserves a shout out. Royally bred son of a sire-of-sires with an equally impressive race record. Big resume for a such a small stud fee.

3. Adios Charlie ($4,000, Ocala Stud, FL)

Terrific track numbers including a handful of elite graded stakes horses. Progeny win one out of every five starts, he usually improves upon the opportunities afforded him, and his numbers aren’t skewed by one big earner.

4. Cajun Breeze ($5,000, Stonehedge Farm South, FL)

Eight winners and three stakes horses from his first 13 starters with average earnings per start over $9,000.  It’s very early and there’s still plenty of time for him to go south, but there are strong indications that he might be around for a while.

5. Daaher ($3,000, Circle H Farms, LA)

Probably the best sire to ever stand in Louisiana. You’ll never get your money back breeding to sell in Louisiana, but Daaher should create a lot of mailbox money for breeders in that program. A terrific source of grit and durability.

Worst Values, $5,000 And Under

1. Champ Pegasus ($2,500, Barton Thoroughbreds, CA)

Quite possibly the worst progeny numbers ever recorded. Not a single stakes winner from 109 starters, an AEI of just .31, and his starters get to the winner’s circle at just an 8% clip. Better off just leaving the mare open.

2. Astrology ($4,000, Acadiana Equine, LA)

Nothing but downside. Track numbers are abysmal, and in that particular market, there is virtually zero chance of getting a return in the sales ring.  A wasted year for breeders who support him in 2020.

3. Lost Treasure ($5,000, Hill n Dale Farms, KY)

Few farms can jump start a stallion’s career like Hill N Dale, but Lost Treasure is a head scratcher.  Only the rare one is going to turn a profit in the sales ring, and he presents even more risk to those breeding to race. Just doesn’t have the firepower in his resume to warrant the risk.

4. Strong Mandate ($5,000, Three Chimneys Farm, KY)

This ship has sailed. Thought he’d be on his way to a regional market by now. Only 4 stakes horses from his first 87 starters and his 30 yearlings offered in 2019 netted a median price of less than $11,000.

5. Sky Kingdom ($5,000, Darby Dan Farm, KY)

Very little in his first 22 starters to indicate he’ll be in Kentucky beyond the 2020 season. Progeny are winning just 6% of their first 83 starts and 60% of his total progeny earnings are from one horse.  It wouldn’t be completely unheard of for him to rebound, but the odds are long.

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Thoroughbred Review
  • About Jason Hall

    A lifelong student of bloodstock topics as well as being an active owner and breeder, Mr. Hall advocates the importance of empirical research to identify truth in breeding practices. His articles have appeared in such magazines as The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, The Texas Thoroughbred, The Homestretch, Illinois Racing News, Hoofbeats, The Louisiana Thoroughbred and El Caballista. Mr. Hall holds a degree in journalism from Boise State University.

  • Mariana Lopez

    An enthusiastic and dependable member of our team, Mariana specializes in data collection and interpretation for our statistical research projects.

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