Kentucky Sires For 2020 Part II: First Weanlings
Thu, 01/02/2020 - 13:17
By: Chris McGrath
Over the coming days and weeks, we will be touched by the customary pictures of first foals tottering onto the gawky limbs that must someday propel them around the racetrack, and so determine the viability of their sires’ new careers.
That’s the idea, at any rate. Sadly, we know that the auctioneer’s gavel will expel some of these stallions from Kentucky–and just to reiterate, we will be surveying regional sires at the end of this series–before their stock gets any meaningful opportunity to test the heritability of the talent that first earned them a place at stud.
A bleakly familiar reality, by this stage. Yet it seems as though commercial breeders are no longer backing off only as stallions are about to launch runners, but even before they undergo the preliminary judgement of the sales ring. (And, on that point, please let’s not fall for one of the lowest tricks in the promoters’ book: namely, covering sire averages. Those, clearly, are almost wholly contingent on the quality of those mares who happen to surface on the marketplace.)
Anecdotally, at any rate, some of the stallions under review today have already exhausted the fleeting vogue they enjoyed as newcomers last year. Nowadays, it seems, commercial breeders often need to have locked themselves into a deal for a breeding right if they are to return to a young stallion.
Another farm to have launched three sires in 2019 was Lane’s End. Two of them looked especially good value and one, CITY OF LIGHT, has in fact been elevated already from $35,000 to $40,000. (A most unusual distinction, at this stage.)
Though finally admitting 146 mares, Lane’s End kept his book commendably under control, having reported him as oversubscribed even before he sealed his stardom in the GI Pegasus World Cup. Unsurprising, really, because he represents the full package: a $710,000 September yearling who proved as charismatic as he was accomplished on the track, his four Grade Is underpinned by a beautiful shape to his pedigree.
In particular he looks an absolute imperative for anyone who wouldn’t mind keeping a filly, his genes being saturated with outstanding broodmare influences. His dam is by Dehere, who ties together two monsters of that ilk in Deputy Minister and Secretariat; out of a Grade I-winning mare by Secretariat’s half-brother Somethingfabulous. And his grandsire Elusive Quality packs that down with granddams by Secretariat and Sir Ivor (by another half-brother to Secretariat, Sir Gaylord).
City of Light obviously offers Lane’s End clients rather less expensive access to the blood of his sire Quality Road, now in the stratosphere at $200,000. And by the same token, while elite European breeders need their heads examined if they aren’t using Quality Road (who has some grass behind him), City of Light really should be on their radar too: his second dam is a half-sister to a top-class turf performer of his day in Cacoethes (Alydar).
Books of 168 and 167, respectively, enabled the farm’s two other newcomers, West Coast and Accelerate, to hold their fees at $35,000 and $20,000 respectively. WEST COAST is out of a Breeders’ Cup champion, albeit his page is otherwise decorated by success in quantity sooner than quality; and he obviously earned his stripes on the track, flowering late to claim the sophomore championship before acquitting himself well against the top older horses.
Nonetheless the son of Flatter was comprehensively out-pointed by ACCELERATE, whose $20,000 opening fee reflects absurdly on the prejudices of the market. West Coast was just one of many he dominated in a six-for-seven spree in 2018, the one exception being City of Light who, receiving three pounds, beat him a neck over nine furlongs in the GII Oaklawn H. They left the rest for dead, making for one of the better Grade IIs of recent years.
By one of the world’s most under-rated stallions, Lookin At Lucky, Accelerate has a perfectly solid family: half-brother Grade I-placed; their dam a half-sister to a Grade I winner; first two dams by sons of old school broodmare influences in Deputy Minister and Damascus; inbred to a Broodmare of the Year in fifth dam Smartaire, whose son Smarten is damsire of Lookin At Lucky’s father Smart Strike.
On the track, Accelerate matured into a model of precisely those virtues the breed most needs today: soundness, courage and relentless development. His build can be judged from the $380,000 paid by a renowned judge for a son of a stallion who suffers the reputation of not being a “sales sire” (which, if anything, he should receive as a compliment). Go elsewhere among this lot, if you insist, but eventually you will find that Accelerate catches up with you out on the track.
CHRIS MCGRATH’S VALUE PODIUM
Gold: Accelerate, $20,000 Lane’s End
Just a whole lot of racehorse for that money.
Read full article here.
Source: Thoroughbred Daily News