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Best Values, $7,500 – $10,000
1. Mizzen Mast ($10,000, Juddmonte Farms, KY)
As tried and true as we’ve ever seen in this price range. The commercial market will still pay handsomely for a good one, and if you’re breeding to race, he’s a no-brainer, particularly if you an overly refined mare.
2. Freud ($7,500, Sequel Stallions New York, NY)
The King of New York for several years now, he’s also shown that he can get elite U.S. graded stock as well. Seldom gets anything but a very attractive foal. Farm may be leaving money on the table as I suspect NY breeders would pay more for such a potent sire.
3. Midshipman ($8,500, Darley, KY)
Track numbers are very appealing for a horse at this price point… or any price point for that matter. Very consistent and perhaps the only Unbridled’s Song capable of getting durable stock. Warrants consideration for anyone breeding to race.
4. Ransom the Moon ($7,500, Calumet Farm, KY)
If you’re playing the first year sire angle for the commercial market, you’d have to think a two-time G1 winner by Malibu Moon is going to hit some home runs off a $7,500 stud fee. Lots of size/scope for such a quick horse.
5. Army Mule ($10,000, Hill N Dale Farm, KY)
Clearly not the strongest pedigree amongst first-year stallions, but one of the most talented horses we’ve ever seen. His performance in the Carter was one for the ages and nobody gets stallions off to better starts than Hill N Dale. Shouldn’t surprise anyone if he emulates Maclean’s Music and/or Kantharos.
Worst Values, $7,500 – $10,000
1. Fed Biz ($10,000, WinStar Farm, KY)
First foals appeared to be precocious types, but the early results are disappointing. Not to say that he can’t catch fire down the road, but his progeny are winning just 9% of their starts with just one stakes winner from his first 47 starters. 2019 fee isn’t commensurate with the risk.
2. Trappe Shot ($7,500, Claiborne Farm, KY)
This ship sailed a long time ago. Track numbers leave a lot to be desired, and the bottom has fallen out in the sales ring. Would be shocked if he’s still in KY this time next year.
3. Daddy Long Legs ($10,000, Taylor Made Stallions, KY)
Anything is possible, but this horse is an enormous long shot to make it in this country. Unplaced in 13 of his 16 starts with just one graded stakes horse under the first two dams. Ultra risky whether you’re breeding to sell or race.
4. Alternation ($10,000, Pin Oak Stud, KY)
Has definitely rebounded somewhat, but his overall body of work is still lackluster at best. Less than 10% stakes horses from starters and he’s dragging his mares down by 27% with an AEI below the average for the breed. 2018 yearlings netted an average of less than $14,000.
5. Tapizar ($10,000, Gainesway, KY)
Track numbers are problematic from a variety of angles, and if you omit Monomoy Girl (who accounts for 28% of his total progeny earnings), you have even bigger problems. Expect a sharp decline in 2019 sales numbers.
Best Values, $5,000 AND UNDER
1. Dominus ($5,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)
We continue to scratch our heads as to why this horse isn’t getting more respect in the sales ring. His track numbers are nearly bullet-proof with loads of consistency. A big, attractive horse that almost always gets the same in his progeny. Value epitomized.
2. Daaher ($3,000, Circle H Farms, LA)
Overlooked for years, prompting this year’s move to Louisiana.
Regardless of geography, this is another ultra consistent sire that rarely gets a bad one. Requires a certain type of physical from his mares, but otherwise a stellar sire. Should be a man amongst boys in Louisiana.
3. Old Forester ($4,000, T.C. Westmeath Stud Farm, ON)
Gets an absolutely beautiful foal and can improve even the most plain mares. Numbers have been solid for several years now… and not just in restricted company. Would absolutely use this horse if he were in Kentucky.
4. Valiant Minister ($3,000, Bridlewood Farm, FL)
Only on rare occasion do we mention a 1st/2nd year stallion, but this horse deserves a shout. A big, attractive and regally bred son of Candy Ride with elite speed/class. Every year, one or two young Florida sires seem to make a splash commercially, and we’re confident Valiant Minister will be one of them when his first weanlings/yearlings sell.
5. Mark Valeski (Private, Airdrie Stud, KY)
Nobody, including myself, had this horse on their radar when he entered stud in Florida, but his first crop to race have done everything right this year. First or second in 8 of 10 starts, more of us should have paid attention to him back in 2015. An A++ physical specimen with lots of size. Will improve virtually any mare.
Worst Values, $5,000 and Under
1. Tu Brutus ($5,000, Crestwood Farm, KY)
We hate to get all over a horse after he’s bred just one book of mares, but to our knowledge, a horse with Chilean racing credentials has never made it in this country. Extremely difficult to imagine a scenario where this horse will create a positive return for investors in the sales ring or at the track.
2. Real Solution ($5,000, Blue Star Racing, LA)
Early indications are that he isn’t infusing much class in his progeny. Just one of his first 19 starters broke their maiden against special weights, and they’re averaging less than $3,000 per start against non-winners. It wouldn’t be impossible for a son of Kitten’s Joy to get better as his progeny mature, but the safe money is against this horse long term.
3. Shakin It Up ($5,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)
Showed some promise early and was particularly adept at getting attractive progeny, but there are some strong deficiencies in his track numbers as of this writing. 38 yearlings in 2018 netted a median price of just $9,000. Most likely headed to a regional market next year.
4. Morning Line ($5,000, Lane’s End, KY)
Looked like many of us had overlooked him early when he got the Landaluce winner, but he’s fizzling badly in recent months. Getting zero love in the sales ring, and he has just two stakes winners from his first 69 starters.
5. Justin Phillip ($5,000, Castleton Lyons, KY)
Earning power, as measured by the AEI, is 10% under the average for the breed… and significantly below the average for stallions standing in Kentucky. Gets a big/attractive foal, but that’s where the fun stops for investors. Very few mare owners will reap a profit by investing in him at $5,000.