liam’s map attracting the right sort of attention with first crop of weanlings

A winner in six of his eight starts at 3 and 4, Liam’s Map (by Unbridled’s Song) is best remembered for Grade 1 victories in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Woodward Stakes, as well as a tremendously game second in the Whitney, when he was caught in the last stride by eventual divisional champion Honor Code (A.P. Indy).

Both went to stud at Lane’s End Farm for the 2016 breeding season and received very good books of mares from committed breeders. From his first book, Liam’s Map covered 148 mares, with 130 reported in foal, and those matings resulted in 116 live foals (78 percent) in his first crop, now weanlings.

Before he showed his form on the racetrack or breeding shed, Liam’s Map was a striking individual and brought $800,000 from St. Elias Stables at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Liam’s Map was the highest-priced yearling by his sire that year, and the gray colt proved to be the most talented of his sire’s offspring in the crop. Currently credited with 115 stakes winners, Unbridled’s Song is the sire of champion and leading money winner Arrogate, plus the leading first-crop yearling sire Will Take Charge, who was also champion 3-year-old colt of 2012.

With those sons keeping Unbridled’s Song in the headlines, demand for Liam’s Map should likewise stay robust, and he also has a noteworthy half-brother, Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway), a G3 winner and close second in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, who is now at stud with first foals arriving in 2018.

Liam’s Map and his sibling are out of the G3 stakes-winning Trippi mare Miss Macy Sue, a six-time stakes winner who has produced three stakes winners to date. Miss Macy Sue traces back to the stakes-winning Tweak (Secretariat) and her champion dam Ta Wee, whose four stakes winners included Great Above, the sire of Horse of the Year Holy Bull.

With looks, pedigree, and performance, Liam’s Map has attracted some partisans, and the young sire has good representatives from his first crop being offered at the November sale. High on the list of prospects is Hip 989, a bay colt out of the Include mare Kittery Point and a half-brother to G1 winner Sam’s Sister (La Brea Stakes). The colt’s dam is one of four siblings who have produced stakes winners, including four G1 winners. Earlier in the sale is Hip 626, a bay colt out of the Tactical Cat mare Miss Holiday Inn and a half-brother to stakes winner Zip Cash Back (City Zip) and Hannah’s Holiday (Kafwain).

The number of mares bred to Liam’s Map increased in his second season, indicating that breeders liked what they saw from his initial foals, and one of those second-book mares is Hip 385, the Distorted Humor mare Agatha, who is in foal on an April 15 cover. She is out of the G3 stakes-placed Mysteries (Seattle Slew) and is a half-sister to Japanese champion Hishi Akebono (Woodman) and multiple G1 winner Agnes World (Danzig), winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp and July Cup.

The overall results for the first-crop weanlings by Liam’s Map were 11 sold for an average of $146,818 and a median of $125,000.

The specific results for Hip 989 (RNA for $185,000) and Hip 626 ($250,000; Hunter Valley Farm). The highest price was $310,000 for Hip 810, a colt out of Aqua Regia, purchased by St. Elias Stables, Dennis O’Neill agent. The second highest was Hip 626, and the third-highest price was $180,000 for Hip 58, a colt out of High Quail, purchased by Calumet Farm.



the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and low prices) don’t prevent good horses and their breeders from succeeding

Raising a good horse is not a simple thing, and selling one well is even harder. One breeding partnership that has seen its time in the snakebite section of the sales results is operated by Kentuckian Hume Wornall and Louisiana native Jay Adcock.

Currently, the lifelong horsemen have three 2-year-olds who are stakes horses. Two of them, Budro Talking (by Tale of Ekati) and Emily’s Lollipop (Tiz the One), are stakes winners, and a third, the Redding Colliery gelding I Want a Picture, is stakes-placed. From a foal crop of 10 bred by the partners, those results are nothing to sneeze at.

At the sales, however, those three promising young racers sold for an average of $1,500. Ouch.

Adcock said: “We couldn’t operate if that was all we got. But we have a really good program here in Louisiana, and if you breed a nice horse, one that can get out and race and win, you can earn some money that way too.

“These were all nice babies, and we took a risk by sending them out of Louisiana to sell. We wanted to try them on the open market and hoped that buyers would look beyond sires standing in Louisiana for $1,500 and $2,000 and buy the individual,” Adcock explained. “That did not work out.”

Emily’s Lollipop, who has won two of her three starts, including the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, sold for exactly the average. The dark bay daughter of the Tiznow stallion Tiz the One sold for $1,500 at last year’s Ocala Breeders Sales August yearling auction. The buyer was Scott Gelner, who trains the filly for Anton Kubacak.

The stakes-placed I Want a Picture, by the Mineshaft horse Redding Colliery, did a bit better at the sales in Kentucky. The gray gelding sold for $3,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale and was pinhooked as a 2-year-old in training sale for $40,000 earlier this year. I Want a Picture was second in the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity.

The yearling who put a stake through the breeders’ hearts was Budro Talking.

“There wasn’t a thing the matter with the colt,” Wornall said, “but I didn’t get the little rascal sold either.”

Instead, the colt was a $1,000 RNA and returned to his owners without getting a live bid. The breeders gave the colt away, and he too was pinhooked, bringing $20,000 from owner Jerry Durant at the Texas Thoroughbred Association sale of horses in training, which was the same sale that I Want a Picture came out of.

Budro Talking has now won two of his three starts, including the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs, named for another colt who wasn’t much loved at the sales but who became a racing and breeding legend.

Budro Talking is also the only one of the three who is Kentucky-sired, being by the Darby Dan stallion Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat). The other two are by Louisiana-based stallions that stand at Adcock’s Red River Farm near Coushatta, La.

Wornall explained that Adcock “foals all the mares at his farm in northern Louisiana,” about an hour away from Louisiana Downs in Shreveport. “There, he raises and weans them, and grows off the foals to about this time of year,” Wornall said, “when he sends them up to me. I raise them here in Kentucky to sale age.”

Some of them sell in Louisiana at the Equine Sales auction in Opelousas, La., and others sell in Kentucky or Florida. One of the challenges the partners and other breeders of Louisiana racing prospects face is that “buyers down there wouldn’t give $5,000 for Secretariat ready to win the Belmont Stakes,” Wornall said. The attempt to try other markets didn’t work any better, however.

Seen at the Keeneland November sale this week, Adcock and Wornall were not visibly the worse for wear after the thrashings they have taken at the sales. “Fortunately, the sales don’t all turn out that bad,” Wornall said.

The partners sold a yearling filly by Twirling Candy at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton July selected yearling sale for $62,000. “That filly was beautiful from the day she was foaled,” Wornall said. “She never did anything wrong, was athletic and beautifully balanced, but she was only about 15 hands. We felt pretty lucky with her price.

“Then she came back to the sale in the Fasig October yearling sale,” Wornall said, “and the fellows at Hunter Valley had done a great job with her. This filly had obviously had a growth spurt, stood nearly 16 hands, was just gorgeous, and sold for $135,000. What a game!”

The dam of the Twirling Candy filly is the Forestry mare Money for Makeup, and she was bred back to a Louisiana stallion because the Louisiana program requires that an in-state mare must be bred to a Louisiana sire at least every other year. As a result, the mare has a Redding Colliery filly of 2017 and is back in foal to champion sprinter Runhappy, who stands at Claiborne Farm, on a single cover for 2018.

In addition to looking forward to that happy prospect, Wornall and Adcock also have hopes for the three stakes horses above. Emily’s Lollipop is entered in the Louisiana Jewel Stakes on Nov. 17, and then I Want a Picture and Budro Talking are both entered in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes the following day.

older stallions showing the importance of class and quality in produce at the breeders’ cup

The geezer brigade of elder stallions made their presence and importance felt at the Breeders’ Cup over the weekend, and these include deceased sires like Smart Strike (Battle of Midway; BC Dirt Mile) and Unbridled’s Song (Forever Unbridled; Distaff). The oldest living sire of a Breeders’ Cup winner this year is the 24-year-old sire Northern Afleet (by Afleet x Nuryette, by Nureyev), whose son World Approval won the highly contentious Breeders’ Cup Mile like his half-brother Miesque’s Appeal (Miesque’s Son). Both are out of the With Approval mare Win Approval, who produced two other major stakes winners, including Za Approval (Ghostzapper), a multiple G3 winner who was second in the BC Mile and two other G1 races. Win Approval was 20 when she foaled the BC Mile winner.

Storm Cat’s outstanding stallion son Stormy Atlantic (23) is the sire of this year’s BC Turf Sprint winner, Stormy Liberal, who is one of 103 stakes winners by Stormy Atlantic. The latter has been one of the most consistent stallion sons of Storm Cat, whose other sons yet at stud include Giant’s Causeway and Tale of the Cat.

Out of the Seattle Slew mare Hail Atlantis, Stormy Atlantic was a stakes winner on the track who began his stud career in Florida at Bridlewood Farm. After early success, Stormy Atlantic transferred to Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky and has climbed to the position of siring more than 100 stakes winners through the natural athleticism and sturdiness of his foals. Stormy Liberal, a 5-year-old bay gelding, was winning a G1 for the first time, and his racing record is one of continuing improvement as he has been a winner each year and graded-placed at 2 and 4.

In addition to the stallions above, More Than Ready (20) had a pair of Breeders’ Cup winners this year. Typically regarded as a “turf sire,” More Than Ready was a top-class juvenile performer on dirt, and his offspring at the Breeders’ Cup included performers on both surfaces.

The stallion’s first success came on Friday with Rushing Fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf, and the dark bay 2-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts. Sold for $320,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, Rushing Fall was purchased by Mike Ryan, agent, and races for e5 Racing Thoroughbreds.

Bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding, Rushing Fall is out of the Forestry mare Autumnal and is a half-sister to stakes winner Milam (Street Sense) and to stakes-placed Autumn Song (Colonel John). The Breeders’ Cup winner has for her second dam the Mr. Prospector mare Marie J, who sold for $1 million at the 1997 Barretts sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Placed third in the G3 La Troienne Stakes, Marie J also produced the G3-placed Sisti’s Pride, a full sister to the dam of Rushing Fall and dam of stakes-placed Zermatt (Tiznow).

Although Rushing Fall has accomplished her noteworthy successes on turf, the second Breeders’ Cup victory of 2017 for sire More Than Ready came with Roy H over Del Mar’s dirt surface in the BC Sprint.

Bred in Kentucky by Ramona Bass, Roy H was a $115,000 yearling at the 2013 Keeneland September sale who turned into a $310,000 2-year-old at Keeneland’s April sale the following year. The bay juvenile worked well, showing a stride length of nearly 25 feet, with thrust and stride efficiency coefficients that indicated he was a premium prospect.

He was also a good-sized young horse, with the size probably coming through his stakes-winning dam, the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Diva, a three-time winner at the G3 level who also ran third in the G1 La Brea Stakes.

Despite his good results at the in-training breeze and at the sale itself, Roy H didn’t make it to the races at 2, won only a maiden special at 3, and then didn’t win at 4. A lengthy layoff and some rehab put him on the right track, however, and he has won 5 of 6 starts this season, including a pair of G1 races, has earnings of more than $1.3 million, and is a strong candidate for the Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.

Time and patience have paid great dividends with Roy H, just as longevity and quality produce have made this group of senior stallions a significant repository of athletic ability in the Kentucky breeding pool. Cheers to the good old boys!

honor code pressing his advantages of pedigree, performance, and conformation with first-crop weanlings

Although first-crop sire American Pharoah (by Pioneerof the Nile) is sucking most of the air out of the room with the appearance of his first foals at auction, including 16 consigned to Book 1 here at Keeneland, there are other first-crop weanling sires of note.

High on anyone’s list in this regard is the A.P. Indy stallion Honor Code, whose victories in the G1 Whitney and Metropolitan Handicap in 2015 propelled him to divisional championship honors that year. A top prospect as a juvenile when he won the G2 Remsen Stakes and was a very close second in the G1 Champagne, Honor Code sat out most of his second season but came back strong at 4 to earn the Eclipse in a highly competitive year.

With the ability to produce his form at the G1 level from 8 to 10 furlongs and with a stellar pedigree and physique, Honor Code was very attractive to breeders when sent to stud at Lane’s End for the 2016 covering season, and he received a first-season book of 144 mares. From those, he has 117 reported live foals (81 percent) from his first crop, per statistics from The Jockey Club.

Of the first-crop foals, four are cataloged in Book 1. The first through the ring is Hip 152, a dark bay colt who is a half-brother to G2 Matron Stakes winner Pretty N Cool (Scat Daddy). By the great sire A.P. Indy and out of a mare by the tremendous Storm Cat, Honor Code combines two of the most popular pedigree influences and practically guarantees that duplications of those will occur. This colt carries inbreeding to Storm Cat through the good sire Forest Wildcat and his daughter Latin Lynx, dam of G1 winner Sean Avery and stakes-placed Stayclassysandiego (Rockport Harbor), the dam of Hip 152.

A further measure of Honor Code’s popularity is that two of his Book 1 foals are siblings to G1 winners. Hip 173 is a bay colt out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Unbridled Betty and is a half-brother to Unbridled Command (by the A.P. Indy son Master Command), who won the G1 Hollywood Derby. This colt’s dam brings Mr. Prospector into the pedigree through Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song, and if that works, it will become the pattern for using this stallion.

This already is the pattern of his elite foals consigned to Book 1, as Hip 234 is also out of a mare by Unbridled’s Song. This bay colt is a January 31 foal out of Ecology, the dam of G1 Blue Grass Stakes winner General Quarters (Sky Mesa) and G2 winner A Shin Top and stakes-placed New Wave, both by Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat). So all the stakes siblings are by sires from the lines that Honor Code has close up in his own pedigree.

That Honor Code is attracting producers of this caliber is an indication of how breeders estimate his potential success and also an indication of how attractive he is as an individual, because Honor Code combines the quality and scope of A.P. Indy with the muscle of Storm Cat.

first foals by 2015 triple crown winner american pharoah selling at fasig-tipton and keeneland mixed sales

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale is notable for many things, including some of the most elite offerings of broodmares and broodmare prospects, with this year’s auction highlighted by champions Songbird ($9.5 million to Whisper Hill Farm (Mandy Pope)), Tepin ($8 million, MV Magnier (Coolmore)), Finest City ($1.5 million, Katsumi Yoshida), among other notable racers or producers. But one aspect that may drive just as many lookers to the sale is the first group of foals up for auction by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

The 5-year-old son of the Empire Maker stallion Pioneerof the Nile was champion of his crop at both 2 and 3, Horse of the Year in the latter when he also defeated older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and earned more than $8.6 million. A winner in eight G1 races, American Pharoah would have been a strong favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile of 2014 but was kept out of the race due to a sore foot. But the colt’s impressive victories in the G1 Del Mar Futurity and Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita propelled him to a divisional championship.

They also essentially sealed the fate of his racing future because Coolmore bought the breeding rights to the colt toward the end of his juvenile season, as the international breeding giant has endeavored to do with U.S. champion juvenile colts for most of the last decade.

Coolmore got it right, and the slashing bay came back strong the following year with a half-dozen G1 victories, the only loss coming to Keen Ice in the 2015 Travers. Retired amid great acclaim, American Pharoah went to stud in 2016 and covered a large book of premium mares at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.

From the champion’s initial book of 208 mares, 178 were reported in foal to The Jockey Club, and there are 163 live foals reported from American Pharoah’s first crop. Of those, six are consigned to the Fasig-Tipton November sale, which lists 74 weanlings among its one-day offerings on Nov. 6.

The American Pharoah weanlings place their sire in a tie for the most offered at this sale. Of the group consigned, two are colts, and four are fillies. At the subsequent Keeneland November sale, there are another 21 weanlings from American Pharoah’s first crop.

At Fasig-Tipton, there’s the one everyone will want a look at.

Hip 46 is a bay filly by the Triple Crown winner out of G3 stakes winner Untouched Talent (Storm Cat), and this filly a half-sister to a pair of high-class runners, including G1 winner Bodemeister, who also ran second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Bodemeister is the “other” son of Empire Maker and, like Pioneerof the Nile, ran second in the Kentucky Derby.

The two sons of Empire Maker share a unique distinction because no other active stallion has two sons who have sired Kentucky Derby winners. Pioneerof the Nile sired his Kentucky Derby winner, American Pharoah, two years ago in his second crop, Bodemeister sired 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming in his first crop.
So, the combination of two G1 siblings with the Empire Maker male line will put Hip 46 on every serious looker’s list. (Hip 46 sold for $1 million to Narvick International.)


globe trot produces an interwoven legacy from winstar, gordon stollery, and claiborne farm

(Note: This was written last week and published at Paulick Report well before Juvenile, in which Bolt d’Oro finished third.)

Unbeaten and more impressive with each start, Bolt d’Oro (by Medaglia d’Oro) is expected to be the hot favorite for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Bolt d’Oro sold at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, where Mick and Wendy Ruis paid $630,000 to acquire the striking bay colt. Ruis’s racing manager Ike Green made the winning bid and later broke the colt.

Out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Globe Trot, Bolt d’Oro is a half-brother to two-time stakes winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Sonic Mule (Distorted Humor). Their half-brother, a yearling colt by Curlin, sold at the 2017 Keeneland September sale for $250,000 to Sagamore Farm.

Unfortunately, that colt is the last foal out of Globe Trot, who died in 2016.

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm, Globe Trot sold to AGS Thoroughbreds (Gordon Stollery) in 2009 for $100,000. Bill Graves, who was adviser and sometime partner with Stollery, said “we were flabbergasted that we bought her at that price.”

Purely in terms of pedigree, she appeared to be worth it much and more. Globe Trot was by perennial leading sire A.P. Indy, one of the great influences in American breeding, and was out of multiple graded stakes winner Trip, by Lord at War.

“On pedigree alone, I had no idea we’d get her for that,” Graves said. “But we bought her, and we were real proud of her. She’s accomplished all that Gordon hoped and planned that she might.

“He loved to buy from Claiborne because they’re such straightforward horsemen and you can get into some of those grand old families” that make serious broodmares, as well as racing prospects. Among the broodmares Stollery acquired from Claiborne were the Cure the Blues mare Santa Catalina, dam of G1 winner Golden Missile (A.P. Indy), and Eaves, a stakes-placed daughter of leading sire Cox’s Ridge and a half-sister to the good sire Boundary, that Stollery bought out of the Gamely dispersal at Keeneland January in 1998 for $1 million.

Not long after the purchase, Eaves produced a bay colt by Mr. Prospector for Stollery. Later named Ochoco, that colt was sent to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale of 1999, where he brought the top price of $3 million, selling to Aaron and Marie Jones.

That colt was trained by Elliott Walden, now president and general manager of WinStar Farm, which bred Bolt d’Oro from a mare the organization bought from Stollery.

Graves recalled that “we bought Globe Trot because she was very good-looking and well-bred. We bought and raced her with the intention of putting her in the broodmare band but then Gordon went on a vacation down in the Bahamas” and died in Dec. 2011.

That was at the end of Globe Trot’s second year of racing. She was a 3-year-old who had won a maiden special in her third start, and she won an allowance two months after Stollery’s death. “With the family’s blessing,” Graves said, “I then sold her to Elliott for WinStar.”

The filly won a third race, an allowance at Arlington for WinStar, and they tried to get her some black type in listed stakes at Presque Isle. That didn’t work out, but everything else has, with two stakes winners from her first two foals.

Globe Trot’s dam, the Lord at War mare Trip, was the first of three stakes winners Claiborne bred out of Tour, a fast stakes-winning daughter of champion Forty Niner and stakes winner Fun Flight. Trip was also the best of the three, which included listed stakes winners Joke (Phone Trick) and Laity (Pulpit). Joke became the dam of G1 winner Zensational (Unbridled’s Song), but Trip’s daughter Globe Trot has produced the hottest ticket in the country with the favorite for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

In addition to his distinguished immediate relations, Bolt d’Oro traces back to the historic foundation mare Myrtlewood (Blue Larkspur), a top-class winner of 15 races from 22 starts, only once out of the money. Myrtlewood was the source of much of the early success for Leslie Combs at Spendthrift Farm, and when Bolt d’Oro retires from racing, he will stand at Spendthrift Farm, now owned by Wayne Hughes.

into mischief proves to be no joke for breeders and racehorse owners

On seeing that the relatively young 12-year-old stallion Into Mischief (by Harlan’s Holiday) had supplanted evergreen Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy) as the high-priced stallion on the Spendthrift Farm roster, I wondered, “How many Kentucky Derby winners has Into Mischief sired?”

Fair question, but the answer is the same as for nearly all stallions: none.

So what prompted the change?

One of Spendthrift’s veteran stallion season salesmen, Mark Toothaker, had the answer.

Toothaker said, “I’ve sold out Into Mischief in a day and a half. And despite the tremendous kind of year that Malibu Moon has had, I’ve still got a few seasons left to him.

“It’s purely a function of market demand. Into Mischief is the most popular stallion we have, and the demand has been unlike anything we’ve seen.

“Literally, by the time we’re at Saratoga, we had to start a waiting list for interested breeders wanting a season if anyone decided not to take the one they had spoken for, and we’ve had no defections from people who had verbally agreed to take a season.”

One reason for the strict allegiance to the horse is that Into Mischief has been doing right well since the Saratoga meeting this summer, when his son Practical Joke won the Grade 1 Allen Jerkens Stakes. The good-looking bay had won the G1 Hopeful and Champagne Stakes last fall before finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind divisional champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) and Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway).

Earlier this year, Practical Joke was second in the Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass Stakes, then fifth in the Kentucky Derby. After a short break, he came back to take the G2 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont, was third in the Haskell at Monmouth, and then won the Jerkens on Aug. 26.

Since then, Golden Mischief won the Flashy Lady Stakes on Sept. 24, Let It Ride Mom won the La Lorgnette Stakes on Sept. 30, Sister Nation won the Ruling Angel Stakes on Oct. 8, Engage won the G2 Futurity Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 14, and Miss Sunset won the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 21.

The ability to sire Saturday (and Sunday) afternoon kinds of racers has been the hallmark of Into Mischief’s stud career from the beginning. The stallion’s first crop included Goldencents, winner of two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Santa Anita Derby as his three G1 victories, and Canadian champion sprinter and older filly Miss Mischief, plus five other stakes winners.

Those first-crop performers were foals of 2010 and came to the races in 2012. At this time of year in the fall of 2012, five years ago, the sales of seasons to Into Mischief were getting a bit of a flutter because Goldencents had just finished a sharp second in the G1 Champagne behind the unbeaten Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan’s Holiday who would go on to win the BC Juvenile and the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old colt of 2012.

At the time, Into Mischief needed a little wind in his sails. Like any stallion who isn’t a classic winner or champion and enriched with the support of several serious breeders, the third and fourth years are very difficult times to fill a young sire’s book.

For the 2012 breeding season, which was Into Mischief’s fourth year, his stud fee had been $7,500 live foal, and there wasn’t a swarm of breeders taking that. From those covers of 2012, before Into Mischief had a runner, there were 40 reported foals of 2013, with 36 named, according to Equineline stats.

Approaching the 2013 breeding season, however, getting mares for Into Mischief was a different matter, entirely.

Following his second in the Champagne, Goldencents went to Louisiana for the Delta Jackpot, and the $600,000 for winning that lucrative prize made Into Mischief a leading sire. Horse breeders make a habit of sensing the wind and setting their sails accordingly. With his first crop of racers doing so well, Into Mischief was at full sail.

Into Mischief has a good libido and high fertility, and that’s a good thing because his 2012 freshman sire successes sent him more mares for the 2013 breeding season than the horse had seen in his entire previous stud career.

The stallion’s stud fee for 2013 rose to $20,000, and his book size bloomed to 210, with 168 live foals of 2014 per Jockey Club statistics.

Among those were Practical Joke, who races on Friday in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and Miss Sunset, plus a half-dozen other stakes winners this year from the 2014 foals. The good horses from the small early crops have kept Into Mischief so prominent among sires that his stud fee has continued to rise and now stands at six figures, with his first large crops now 2 and 3.

Sail on, Into Mischief.

a tale of two chestnuts: distorted humor and flower alley

Timing isn’t everything for a stallion, but opportune success sure makes a sire’s life a lot easier.

The highly distinguished veteran stallion Distorted Humor (by Forty Niner) began his career by becoming the leading freshman sire of 2002, when the stallion had four stakes winners, including a chestnut son by the name of Funny Cide.

The following year, Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness on his way to being named Eclipse Award champion as leading 3-year-old colt or gelding. Crowd favorite Funny Cide was the first of four top-class colts or geldings to develop out of the first four crops by Distorted Humor. The others were Commentator (G1 Whitney), Flower Alley (G1 Travers), and Any Given Saturday (G1 Haskell).

A stallion could not have made a better beginning with a strong percentage of stakes winners led by this sequence of high-class performers because the principal breeders and commercial market both demand success at the highest level. Distorted Humor supplied that when the stallion was unproven and standing for $12,500 live foal or less.

Further success was naturally expected, and Distorted Humor has delivered. To date, he has nearly 140 stakes winners, including a dozen and a half G1 winners. Anyone who doubted that Distorted Humor was a stallion of great consequence was wrong.


distorted humor at winstar

Distorted Humor – the versatile son of champion racer and sire Forty Niner has become leading sire and broodmare sire, now making an impact as a sire of stallions. (WinStar Farm photo)


Success as a sire of stallion sons, however, has been more elusive.

Fundamentally, Distorted Humor was handicapped from the beginning in this endeavor because half of his four crop leaders were geldings — Funny Cide and Commentator, the fastest of them all.

The other two haven’t been empty stalls, however. Any Given Saturday sired Hoppertunity, a two-time G1 winner who has earned more than $3 million in a career noteworthy for soundness and solid 10-furlong form, and Mongolian Saturday, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

In addition to G1 Ashland Stakes winner Lilacs and Lace from his first crop, Flower Alley sired in his second crop Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who was named the champion 3-year-old colt in 2012.

The classic double for Flower Alley–I’ll Have Another was so like Distorted Humor’s classic pairing with Funny Cide that the very different breeder response to the stallion’s progeny requires explanation.

First of all, the foals and first-crop yearlings by Distorted Humor attracted knowledgeable buyers and brought good prices. Then they performed ahead of expectations on the racetrack. Simply put, the foals in the initial crops by Flower Alley did the reverse. They did not attract buyers by virtue of their obvious athleticism or strength, and those doubts were quickly borne out on the racetrack. Despite two G1 winners in his first two crops, the demand for Flower Alley and his stock diminished rapidly. I’ll Have Another sold for only $11,000 as a yearling and for $35,000 as a 2-year-old in training, and that colt was from the stallion’s second crop.

When a stallion’s offspring elicit those sorts of prices, breeders don’t want to see any more of them, especially in these days of 100-plus books of mares.

As a result, both Flower Alley and Any Given Saturday are now plying their trade abroad. Flower Alley stands at Wilgerbosdrift Stud in South Africa after his export in 2014, and Any Given Saturday was sold to the Korean Thoroughbred Breeders Association and was exported to stand there in 2015.

Before Flower Alley left, however, he sired a trio of full brothers out of the stakes-winning mare Flower Forest (Kris S.). Each of those three is a stakes horse, and 5-year-old Bullards Alley became the latest G1 winner for his sire with victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 15.

The International was the greatest success to date for Bullards Alley, who had previously won the G3 Kentucky Turf Cup and had placed four times at that level. The gelding has full brothers Karibu Gardens (G2 Sky Classic Stakes) and Nessy (2nd in the restricted John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga).

Given all the challenges to his early sons, Distorted Humor has had a blazing hot 2017 with son Mclean’s Music, sire of 2017 Preakness winner Cloud Computing from his first crop, and with 2017 freshmen sires Alternation and Jimmy Creed, both of whom have already sired stakes winners.

In addition, Distorted Humor is the leading broodmare sire of 2017. Among the 67 stakes winners out of Distorted Humor’s daughters, the leader is champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song).

That should mean breeders should prize the daughters of Distorted Humor even more, and the 24-year-old stallion has more to come. On Oct. 15, his 2-year-old daughter Happy Like a Fool won the G3 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park by 2 ¼ lengths from Take Charge Paula, a filly from the first crop by the A.P. Indy stallion Take Charge Indy. Third-place Valuable Package was eight lengths farther back.

Just as the grand old stallion began his career with fast and classy racers, the chunky chestnut son of Forty Niner is continuing that pattern to the end.

champagne toast for firenze fire, whose victory at belmont earns first g1 success for freshman sire poseidon’s warrior

The 2-year-old crop of 2017 is reluctantly assuming some degree of order amidst the dust created by most graded stakes for juveniles being filled with non-winners of a race other than maiden. So the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park was a welcome relief as Firenze Fire took home the prize for his third victory from four starts.

Already a winner of the G3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga, Firenze Fire is from the first crop by the Speightstown stallion Poseidon’s Warrior, who became the first freshman sire of 2017 to get a G1 winner.


poseidon's warrior - serita hult photo

Poseidon’s Warrior – son of champion sprinter and noted sire Speightstown had his first G1 winner in the historic Champagne Stakes. Pleasant Acres / Serita Hult photo


A stakes winner at 2 and 3 who progressed to win the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes at Saratoga as a 4-year-old, Poseidon’s Warrior won 7 of 21 starts, earning $701,147. The Vanderbilt was his only victory at the premier level, but the bay son of Speightstown also ran third in the G1 Vosburgh behind The Lumber Guy and Caixa Eletronica. The Vanderbilt and Vosburgh were both at six furlongs, like all the black-type efforts by Poseidon’s Warrior, who won four stakes, placed in five more.

Purchased as a 2-year-old in training at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale in May 2010 by Charles Zacney, Poseidon’s Warrior raced initially in the name of Zacney’s Cash Is King Stable, then for Swilcan Stable LLC from the midpoint of the colt’s 3-year-old season onward. After concluding his racing career, Poseidon’s Warrior retired to Pleasant Acres Stallions near Morriston, Fla.

Pleasant Acres’s Michelle Hemingway recalled that she, along with farm owners Joe and Helen Barbazon, worked with an agent to “secure all the farm’s stallions in the fall of 2013.”

Poseidon’s Warrior was one of those, and the horse was syndicated into 50 shares, with the “previous ownership retaining some shares,” Hemingway said.

The breeder of Firenze Fire is not a shareholder, however. Ron Lombardi races and breeds under the name of Mr Amore Stable and bred the Champagne Stakes winner from his mare My Every Wish (by Langfuhr). On April 18, 2012, Lombardi claimed My Every Wish for $16,000 out of her second start when the filly ran a respectable second as the favorite. My Every Wish ran second in both her races, but something clearly went amiss that prevented the filly from pursuing a racing career.

Retired as a broodmare, My Every Wish produced the Champagne Stakes winner as her first registered foal in 2015. Barren for 2016, My Every Wish foaled a bay filly by Istan (Gone West) in 2017.

My Every Wish is one of four foals out of the Unbridled mare Mille Lacs, a full sister to 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee. The latter produced five stakes winners, and the best-known of these are Preakness Stakes and Metropolitan Handicap winner Shackleford (Forestry) and the Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne (Orientate).

Shackleford is a second-crop stallion (first 3-year-olds of 2017) standing at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, and Lady Joanne is a broodmare in Japan.

In the female line, Firenze Fire traces back to the fifth-generation In Reality mare Taminette, who is the dam of multiple G1 winner Tappiano (Fappiano) and two other stakes winners. Taminette was a full sister to English 2,000 Guineas winner Known Fact and a half-sister to major winner Tentam (Metropolitan Handicap, United Nations, and Jim Dandy) and to juvenile stakes winner Tamtent (both by In Reality’s sire Intentionally), as well as to stakes winners Terete (Boldnesian) and Secrettame (Secretariat).

The latter produced the high-class racehorse and major international sire Gone West (Mr. Prospector), and the mating that produced the 2017 Champagne Stakes winner introduces Gone West in the male line through his important son, champion sprinter Speightstown.

Speightstown’s first-crop son Munnings has been his sire’s most important son at stud, with 23 stakes winners to date. Poseidon’s Warrior came from the third crop by Speightstown, who has sired 83 stakes winners, including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz.

Standing for a 2017 advertised fee of $6,500, Poseidon’s Warrior has 51 first-crop 2-year-olds. The stallion has had 19 starters, 3 winners, and 1 graded stakes winner to date. Following the Champagne success of Firenze Fire, Poseidon’s Warrior ranks 5th on the freshmen sires list by gross earnings with $498,333.

Firenze Fire is scheduled to start next in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar.

saltram and the limits of space and time

In a comment to my post earlier this week about the Jersey Act, EJC Blackwood elaborated on the problem with Lexington’s pedigree: the 1783 Derby Stakes winner Saltram. The horse appears twice in the pedigree of Lexington; the first was through his grandsire Timoleon, who is out of a mare by Saltram that is stated to have been bred in the U.S., and the second appearance of Saltram was as great-grandsire of Lexington’s third dam (by U.S.-bred Robin Grey, by English-bred Royalist, by Saltram).


lexington at woodburn

Lexington – the son of Boston was the greatest American stallion of the 19th century and became omnipresent in American bloodlines. He was the primary “offender” from the perspective of British authorities due to the questioned presence of the English stallion Saltram in his pedigree.


Royalist seems to be universally admitted as having been imported to the States and used as a stallion here. Not so with Saltram.

From what I’ve learned from Edward Blackwood and some early-morning researches, Saltram was the crux to the pedigree problem with Timoleon and his exceptional descendant Lexington.

From the references to pedigree problems or anomalies that influenced British authorities to question the authenticity of American pedigrees, it was clear that Lexington was the particular fly in the ointment that made English breeders and registration authorities so suspicious about “American blood.”

None of the sources that I had read previous to the discussion with EJC Blackwood, however, had mentioned that the fault with Timoleon was his maternal grandsire Saltram. The specific problem is that some authorities believe the horse was not sent to the States. That does pose a problem.

Some sources do list Saltram as an import of 1799, coming to Virginia for William Lightfoot. Verification of this kind of thing is triply difficult because 1) there was no log of exportations from England, 2) there was no official record of importations to the U.S., and 3) there was no operating stud book in the States at the time. The latter was officially created in 1867 through the publication of the American Stud Book Volume 1 from Sanders Bruce and B.G. Bruce, although there had been published records of pedigrees and blooded horses quite a bit prior to that date.

saltram_racing calendar p1

Among the records available to me, the English Racing Calendar of 1798 lists Saltram as being at stud for 1799. In England.

saltram_racing calendar 02

It is possible that he stood the 1799 season at the stable in England, then was exported in the summer or fall of 1799 to America. In fact, in the American Stud Book of 1867, Volume 1, the Bruces list Saltram as being imported by William Lightfoot but without a date of import. That was two-thirds of a century after the horse’s reported relocation, and if it is taken as the authoritative document for Saltram’s importation, it does leave a little to doubt.

But there is an earlier reference. In the American Race-Turf Register and General Stud Book of 1833, Patrick Nisbett Edgar places Saltram as an import to Virginia by Lightfoot and gives the date as 1800. That is a more solid reference, given that the horse would have been verifiable in the memory of living men, and physical records should still have existed to show transactions related to his importation and even to his book of mares bred.

If they existed, they have not come to my attention, and presumably there was further contention about the matter for it to have been an issue more than a century later when it posed a problem for the General Stud Book authorities in England.

Furthermore, one of EJC Blackwood’s sources from Russia believes the horse was sent there and “buried by the banks of the Volga.”

Clearly, this relatively minor stallion cannot have been in three places at once, nor have sired foals in multiple hemispheres simultaneously. So the problem of time and space reveals itself, and the exact provenance of Lexington’s and Timoleum’s pedigrees remains obscure.