PLENTY OF NEW SIRES TO GO AROUND
While Kentucky sires cover more mares annually than all other state programs combined, regional breeders rely on in-state sires for their mares and to also take advantage of state breeding incentive programs. A total of 228 stallions stood in Kentucky during the 2018 breeding season – and 986 stood in North America outside Kentucky during the season.
In 2019, there are 61 new stallions reported to be standing in North America, and two-thirds of those will be outside of Kentucky. Here’s a look at some of the new stallions by state.
California has the second most stallions at stud behind Kentucky, and nine new stallions have been reported to be standing in the state in 2019. The highest fee for newcomers belongs to Smokem, at $5,000. The son of the hot young sire Union Rags will stand at Lovacres Ranch in Warner Springs, also home to Stay Thirsty. Smokem, out of the Smoke Glacken mare One Smokin’ Lady, was bred in California by Lovacres and raced by a partnership that included his breeder. Smokem raced only at 2. He won a maiden race at Del Mar in the first of his five starts and was then second in the other four, all in stakes, including three at Del Mar.
The Sunshine State has historically had the second best stallion roster in the country behind Kentucky and has produced numerous top sires over the years. In 2019, state sire Girvin will have the highest first-year stud fee outside of Kentucky, at $7,500. The son of Tale of Ekati is one of three newcomers who will stand at Ocala Stud, being accompanied by Ami’s Flatter ($3,500) and Awesome Slew ($5,000). Ocala Stud will have 14 stallions for the 2019 breeding season.
Girvin, out of the Malibu Moon mare Catch the Moon, was one of the better 3-year-olds of 2017, when he won 3 of 8 starts, including the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Stakes over McCraken and Practical Joke. Trained by Joe Sharp and campaigned by Brad Grady, Girvin won both the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Grade 2 Risen Star while winning 4 of 10 career starts and earning $1,624,392. He is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Cocked and Loaded.
Awesome Slew, a Live Oak Florida homebred by Awesome Again, won three Grade 3 stakes while racing for four years and earning $1,223,310. He was second in two Grade 1 sprints and third in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile while trained by Mark Casse. Out of the stakes-winning Seeking the Gold mare Slewfoundmoney, Awesome Slew is a half-brother to a stakes winner, and his second dam is the Grade 2-winning Seattle Slew mare Borodislew, dam of three stakes winners.
Isabelle de Tomaso’s homebred stakes winner Irish War Cry will stand his first season at stud at Northview Stallion Station in Warwick, Md., for a fee of $6,500. The Graham Motion-trained Irish War Cry was one of the favorites for the 2017 Kentucky Derby after winning the Grade 2 Wood Memorial, but he failed to handle the slick surface at Churchill, though he rebounded to finish second in the Belmont Stakes. At 4, the son of Curlin won the Grade 3 Pimlico Special and retired with earnings of $1,257,060.
Irish War Cry will be one of seven stallions on the 2019 roster at Northview, the longtime home of Maryland’s dominant sire, the late Not For Love.
“I believe he’s the most exciting stallion prospect to be retired to Maryland
in years,” said David Wade, Northview’s general manager. “The only son of Curlin in the region, he won over $1.2 million, and Graham Motion said he was the most talented horse he’s trained since Animal Kingdom.
“He’s a horse that we’ve been watching for quite some time during his racing career, and we were thrilled at the opportunity to keep him in Maryland. He was slated to stand stud at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky, but became available for us to purchase when they acquired breeding rights to another son of Curlin, the 2-yearold champion Good Magic.
“We really couldn’t ask for a better reception from the region’s breeders. We offered a limited number of lifetime breeding rights, which sold out very quickly.
“We’re pleased to offer him at a price point that should be affordable for all breeders, and I have no reason to believe he won’t be Maryland’s most popular stallion this season.”
Irish War Cry is out of the Polish Numbers mare Irish Sovereign, dam of Grade 3 winner Irish Strait.
Two of the best-bred newly retired horses to go to stud are Destin and The Lieutenant, both going to Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, with each standing for a fee of $6,500.
Destin, a son of Giant’s Causeway out of the Grade 1-winning Siberian Summer mare Dream of Summer, is a full brother to Grade 1-winning millionaire Creative Cause, who is off to a good start at stud at Airdrie Stud in Kentucky, where he stands $20,000, and to the Grade 3 winner Vexatious.
The Lieutenant, a son of Street Sense out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, is a half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify. The Lieutenant elevated his game this year at age 5 by winning the Grade 3 All American Stakes at Golden Gate as well as running second in the Grade 2 Suburban and Santana Mile and third in the Grade 2 Californian. He earned $345,882 from four wins in 15 career starts while trained by Mike McCarthy.
Destin, raced by Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbreds, won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby while setting a track record and won two other graded races. He was a close second to Creator in the 2016 Belmont Stakes.
Becky Thomas, owner of Sequel, said she has long been a fan of Destin, notably through her early connection to Creative Cause.
“Creative Cause was one of my pinhooking horses, so I have a very strong connection to the family,” Thomas said.
Thomas pointed out that the Sequel stallion Freud, the perennial leading sire in New York, is a full brother to Destin’s sire, Giant’s Causeway.
“I love Giant’s Causeway,” Thomas said. “I loved Creative Cause. I thought he was a brilliant 2-year-old.”
A motivating factor in getting Destin to New York was the ownership of the horse. When the horse was being retired to stud, it was announced major Kentucky stallion operation Gainesway Farm was buying an interest in Destin.
“The ownership group is phenomenal,” she said. “I have had Mission Impazible for Twin Creeks for several years now, and everything imaginable they could have turned up support for him as a stallion they have done.
“We’re very excited about our partnership with Gainesway, as well as with Eclipse Thoroughbreds.”
What attracted Thomas to Destin as a stallion prospect was his package of pedigree, race record, and ability to get a distance of ground.
“New York is often scrutinized for the lack of superior stallions availability,” Thomas said. “This horse works in Kentucky. His pedigree works in New York because he’s at the top of the food chain in New York for providing a horse that was Grade 1 placed, a track-record setter, and a Grade 2 winner. For me, personally, I breed all day long to sires that are a twoturn stamina line. We all want to breed to classic-line horses, which this horse was, being narrowly defeated in the Belmont.
“For our stallion roster to continue to attract not just New York state breeders but out-of-state breeders, we need to keep looking at what our stallion roster is and what we can provide each individual breeder. As Freud gets older, I’d like to think that perhaps Destin can come in and fill that sire line that we’ve so dominated New York with.”
As for The Lieutenant, Thomas said getting him to stud at Sequel was an easy decision.
“What attracted me to him? Let me see,” she laughed. “He’s a half-brother to a Triple Crown winner. He’s by a leading sire who’s having a phenomenal year this year. I’m a huge Street Sense fan.
“He was very, very talented, and he had an injury, so he didn’t run as much as we would have liked for him to, but his race in the Suburban legitimized the fact that he’s a good racehorse [when he finished in front of a number of Grade 1 winners when runner-up to Diversify].”
Thomas hopes The Lieutenant will help the farm duplicate its success with Freud.
“I’m a big believer in pedigree. I love that his dam is young and that Coolmore is putting a lot into Justify.
“I feel we’re in the same situation [with The Lieutenant] we were with Giant’s Causeway [when we got his brother Freud to stand at Sequel]. We feel like we’re following the leader.”
The first-year sire of 2019 with the highest career earnings to stand in North America will be the hard-trying, consistent Hoppertunity, who earned $4,712,625. The son of Any Given Saturday was trained by Bob Baffert, and racing 34 times from ages 3 through 7, compiled a record of 9 wins, 8 seconds, and 5 thirds. He won eight stakes races, including the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 1 Clark Handicap, and was second or third in 12 other stakes, including the Dubai World Cup. He recorded a tripledigit Beyer 15 times.
“Hoppertunity is a throwback to what racehorses used to be – athletic, sound, consistent, can carry his speed over a distance,” said David Wade, Northview Pennsylvania’s general manager. “He won or placed in 19 graded stakes and didn’t duck anyone, yet he’s as clean legged as any horse you’ll find.
“We’re in a period where horses with fashionable pedigrees accomplish something on the racetrack and get retired. Breeders are being attracted to Hoppertunity because of his soundness and longevity. It means something when you can dance every dance at the highest level for several years, and that is something that has been missing from the breed for quite a while. It was a bit of a no-brainer to go after him and bring him to Pennsylvania.
“Hoppertunity is very attractively priced at $5,000 live foal and crosses well with most every sire line. He’s garnering a lot of attention, and rightfully so.”
Hoppertunity’s sire, Any Given Saturday, stood for a year in Pennsylvania before being exported to Korea. His female family is strong. His dam, the Unaccounted For mare Refugee, produced Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runnerup Executiveprivilege, and his third dam is Davona Dale, a homebred champion raced by Calumet Farm.
Girvin will begin his career as a stallion for a $7,500 fee at Ocala Stud in Florida.