Ten horses to keep your eye on in 2020
Horses beginning their stud careers over this winter do not include any Triple Crown winners or future Hall of Famers. They do include, however, two Breeders’ Cup race winners; a Kentucky Derby morningline favorite who ended up missing the entire Triple Crown; re-enforcements for the Roberto and Halo branches of the Turn-to to male line; and a pair of sturdy turf miler types who each won graded races in five consecutive years. All ten stallions mentioned below are standing in Kentucky.
Omaha Beach ($40,000)
As a rare Grade 1-winning son of War Front on dirt, Omaha Beach boasts the highest starting fee of next year’s new sires. After victories in this year’s Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, he was scratched from the Kentucky Derby and didn’t return to the races until October. Omaha Beach closed out his brief career with a win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and a second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Vino Rosso ($30,000)
Another son of major stamina influence Curlin, Vino Rosso saved his best for last by romping in the BC Classic by 4½ lengths, putting himself in the running for an Eclipse Award. He joins other notable Curlin sons Palace Malice, Good Magic, Exaggerator, Keen Ice and Connect at stud.
All but one of Mitole’s major stakes wins, which included the this year’s BC Sprint and Forego, occurred at six or seven furlongs. But it was his victory over a strong Met Mile field that will make the son of the exported Eskendereya most attractive to breeders.
As one of only two sons of the highly commercial Into Mischief to win a Grade 1 race at nine furlongs (Goldencents was the other), Audible is bound to attract interest at stud. He followed his score in the 2018 Florida Derby with a good third in the Kentucky Derby but was unable to run back to those performances. As a 4-year-old, he finished fifth in the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup.
Catholic Boy ($25,000)
The versatile Catholic Boy checks a lot of boxes: he won a pair of graded races at two, including the influential 2017 Remsen Stakes, and was a Grade 1 winner on both dirt (Travers) and turf (Belmont Derby) at three. He also may be the last best hope for his successful international sire, More Than Ready, to breed on in North America.
Another Grade 1 winner on both dirt (Woodward) and turf (Old Forester Turf Classic), in 2018, this son of Heart’s Cry is the most accomplished tail-male descendant of Sunday Silence
to stand in North America. Yoshida’s resume also includes a length-anda-half beat in the Queen Anne Stakes last year at Royal Ascot and an unplaced finish in this year’s Dubai World Cup.
Catalina Cruiser ($20,000)
The seven victories by this son of Union Rags were accomplished by a total margin of 20+ lengths at distances from six to 8½ furlongs. His only losses came at the Breeders’ Cup, where he ran fifth in the 2018 Dirt Mile and seventh in this year’s Sprint.
Making his first gradedstakes starts at the age of six, Preservationist burst upon the racing scene this summer with wins in the Suburban Handicap and Woodward. As a son of Arch, Preservationist represents, along with Blame, hope for the endangered Roberto branch of the Hail to Reason/Turn-to male line.
Divisidero is one of only a dozen horses over the past quarter-century to have won graded races in five straight years. The others were Better Talk Now, Court Vision, Game On Dude, Rahystrada, Wise Dan, Jeranimo,
Stephanie’s Kitten, Beholder, Hoppertunity, Pure Sensation and Heart to Heart (see below). In his biggest victories, the son of Kitten’s Joy won back-to-back editions of the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in 2016 and 2017.
Heart to Heart ($5,000)
Heart to Heart, a son of English Channel, won 11 graded stakes in the five years between 2014 and 2018, all of them at distances from eight to nine furlongs. His two Grade 1 wins came as a 7-year-old, when he prevailed in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and Makers 46 Mile.