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Best Values, $12,500 – $15,000
1. First Samurai ($15,000, Claiborne Farm, KY)
One of the few sires out there with good track and sales numbers at a reasonable fee. Yearlings averaged $108,897 last year with 2yo’s bringing an average of $126,538. And if you have a mare that tends to get smaller foals, this horse should be on your radar.
2. Outwork ($15,000, WinStar Farm, KY)
We don’t put a lot of unproven stallions on our lists, but we had to make an exception for this horse. Ultra-talented with a regal pedigree… and one of the very best physical specimens we’ve ever seen. Big, powerful, correct and very athletic in appearance. Reminds us a lot of Violence. Will be stunned if he doesn’t pan out in the sales ring.
3. Jimmy Creed ($15,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)
Firing on all cylinders at the racetrack and the commercial market is starting to pay attention. Two year olds are creating all sorts of home runs for investors this year, averaging $187,857 as of this writing. Stud fee will be north of $20,000 next year.
4. Kantharos ($15,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)
You can’t just send any type of mare to him, but if you send the right physical his way, anything is possible with Kantharos. Epic in terms of stakes production. One of the more consistent sires out there today.
5. Sky Mesa ($15,000, Three Chimneys Farm, KY)
As tried and true as they get, and one of the best out there in terms of matching up physically with a wide range of mares. Starting to transition into his twilight years, but still gets plenty of attention in the sales ring.
Worst Values, $12,500 – $15,000
1. Tapizar ($12,500, Gainesway, KY)
Very little stakes production through his first 131 starters and nothing over the $300,000 earnings mark. Dragging mares down by 32% and the market is no longer interested. Even if you reduce the current fee by 50%, there’s no upside for the mare owner.
2. Bal a Bali ($15,000, Calumet Farm, KY)
Terrific racehorse, but there’s little or no chance that a son of Put It Back will create a positive return on investment from a $15,000 stud fee. Would be surprised if more than two of his first crop of weanlings create a net profit.
3. Big Blue Kitten ($15,000, Calumet Farm, KY)
First four in-foal mares through the ring have produced a net average of $3,600. Well before these numbers started coming in, a novice could predict no one would make any money on this stallion, even if the seasons were purchased for a third of his current fee.
4. Vancouver ($15,000, Ashford Stud, KY)
To date, this writer can’t recall a stallion with Australian racing credentials making it in this country. Lonhro had some commercial success initially, but didn’t make it long term, and Vancouver doesn’t bring a proven sire record to the table like Lonhro. Predicting big losses in U.S. sales rings.
5. Astern ($15,000, Darley, KY)
In the exact same boat as Vancouver. Very tough to visualize a scenario where even a quarter of investors will make money off the current stud fee. Much better options out there in the 1st year, 2nd year, and proven sire ranks.
Best Values, $7,500 – $10,000
1. Mizzen Mast ($10,000, Juddmonte Farms, KY)
Seems like you can’t get through a week without a new Mizzen Mast stakes horse making headlines. Progeny get it done on all surfaces and you won’t find a better sire for adding bone/body substance to a lighter framed mare.
2. Dominus ($10,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)
A real head scratcher as to why the commercial market pays no attention to this sire. Average earnings per start is approaching industry elite status and they visit the winner’s circle at an 18% clip.
3. Run Away and Hide ($7,500, Darby Dan Farm, KY)
Progeny aren’t the big/robust types that the commercial market clamors to, but his track numbers are difficult to beat at this price point. Have to be careful what type of mare you send him, but otherwise, it’s tough to go wrong with Run Away and Hide.
4. Midshipman ($8,500, Darley, KY)
Gets solid physical specimens much like his sire and his track numbers are comparable with stallions at higher price points. Juveniles are particularly adept at working fast at two year old sales.
5. Freud ($7,500, Sequel Stallions, NY)
Numbers are a touch inflated by performances in restricted company, but as we all know, this sire can get elite types at the graded level. Another solid source of substance/balance. Generally improves his mares physically.
Worst Values, $7,500 – $10,000
1. Graydar ($7,500, Taylor Made Stallions, KY)
There’s still a glimmer of hope for this sire, but we don’t like his chances. Early numbers indicate he’ll be a KY exile no later than 2020. Ultra risky proposition for mare owners in 2018 at any price.
2. Fort Larned ($7,500, Adena Springs, KY)
Just four winners from his first crop and 75% of his progeny earnings come from one horse. Median earnings of just over $2,200. He could catch fire as his progeny mature and go longer distances, but we’re skeptical.
3. Star Guitar ($7,500, Clear Creek Stud, LA)
Just like his race record, sire numbers are derived almost entirely against paltry Louisiana-breds. 2017 yearlings netted a median of just $9,000. Mare owners signing $7,500 contracts are almost guaranteed to lose their shirts.
4. First Dude ($10,000, Double Diamond Farm, FL)
Not a bad sire by any means, but there are better options at lower price points, and with his 2017 net median yearling price just barely over $3,500, his 2018 fee makes no sense.
Best Values, $5,000 and Under
1. Daaher ($5,000, Shadwell Farm, KY)
While the weanling and yearling markets pay little attention to him, juvenile buyers will pay handsomely for a good one, and if you’re breeding to race, his ultra consistent numbers are tough to beat.
2. Northern Afleet ($5,000, Taylor Made Farm, KY)
Can’t send just any mare to him, but if you get the physical compatibility right, anything is possible with Northern Afleet. Gets more than his share of wins at the elite levels.
3. Old Forester ($4,000, T.C. Westmeath Stud Farm, Canada)
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. Stroll ($2,000, Iowa State University, IA)
Probably the first time we’ve mentioned an Iowa stallion. Unbelievable what this sire does with ordinary mares. Progeny are remarkably quick and can run on all surfaces. Maybe the most potent sire to ever stand in Iowa.
5. Roi Charmant ($1,000, Rancho Temescal, CA)
Has probably covered two quality mares at most and still boasts an average earnings per starter of $61,968. Despite such poor support, his progeny are more than competitive on one of the world’s toughest racing circuits.
Worst Values, $5,000 and Under
1. Grey Swallow ($5,000, Calumet Farm, KY)
Pedigree and racing credentials are ill-suited for the United States. Accordingly, the American market is pushing back. From eight progeny to go through the ring this year, nothing sold for more than $2,500 and five failed to receive a single bid.
2. Musketier ($5,000, Calumet Farm, KY)
Another resume that was never going to work in this country. First 15 starters have been of no consequence and his 2017 yearlings averaged less than $2,600. Zero upside for investors.
3. Champ Pegasus ($5,000, Barton Thoroughbreds, CA)
First crop has done nothing, even in restricted company… and his 28 yearlings commanded a paltry median price of just $1,750 this year. A $750 stallion at best.
4. Soldat ($5,000, Woodford Thoroughbreds, FL)
This ship has sailed. After a promising first crop that included some very nice physicals, his progeny simply aren’t getting it done at the races. No stakes winners from his first 42 starters with an unimpressive 0.50 AEI. Starters are winning less than 9% of their races against maidens.
5. Data Link ($5,000, Claiborne Farm, KY)
Numbers closely parallel those of Soldat. Just one stakes winner from 46 starters and half of his starters have failed to eclipse $1,200 in career earnings. Hard to imagine him not being exiled from Kentucky by this time next year.