This is the sixth in a series of notes and impressions about the new stallions in Kentucky for 2009. The horses will be reviewed alphabetically.
Elite Squadron (2004 chestnut by Officer out of Sweet Mama, by High Brite)
Stands at Wintergreen Stallion Station for $7,500 live foal
The first son of Officer to enter stud in Kentucky, Elite Squadron is one of the five best-looking young stallions of the year. He is a truly smashing individual: a big, very strong, masculine animal with presence.
The chestnut horse does not lack chrome, either. With a blaze and four stockings, Elite Squadron is as eye-catching in the paddock as he was on the racetrack. The winner of five races and just over a half-million dollars, Elite Squadron won at G2 level and was G1-placed to Street Boss in the Triple Bend last year.
Elite Squadron looks like a fast horse too. He has the long, round barrel of his sire, as well as the powerfully developed forearms and gaskins. He has a massively muscled and well-angled hindleg and shows himself well while walking. As expected with a big, rugged horse, Elite Squadron has a lot of bone.
First Defence (2004 dark bay by Unbridled’s Song out of Honest Lady, by Seattle Slew)
Stands at Juddmonte Farm for $17,500 live foal
With a quick look at the race record of this horse and the one above, the immediate impression is how similar they are. Both had immense speed, ran second in a G1 to a top horse (First Defence was second to Hard Spun in last year’s King’s Bishop), and go to stud at 5.
First Defence moved himself into a higher stud fee bracket, however, by winning a G1 in 2008 (the Forego at Saratoga) and by having a pedigree that moves people. He is out of a top-class mare in Honest Lady, the best racing daughter of Broodmare of the Year Toussaud.
In addition, First Defence is by Unbridled’s Song, the most commercially appreciated son of Unbridled, although Juddmonte’s Empire Maker is giving him a run for the money.
On both the male line and the female family, this is a pedigree that has strong interest for Juddmonte, and this horse is the third generation bred there. He will be most interesting to watch next year as his first foals are born.