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US Ranger (dark bay, 2004, by Danzig — My Annette, by Red Ransom)

The tall, dark son of the preeminent international sire Danzig is the first stallion addition to Ben Walden’s new Pauls Mill operation. US Ranger joins Wood Memorial winner Bellamy Road and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller at Pauls Mill.

In the concept of Pauls Mill, Walden has taken a boutique approach to a stallion station, “modelled on my dad’s Dearborn Farm when he stood horses like No Robbery and Timeless Moment,” Walden said.

There are only four stalls at Pauls Mill, and now three of them will have occupants. Walden said, “If you are limiting yourself to four stalls, you have to make the stalls count.”

US Ranger, who placed second in the G1 July Cup over six furlongs and ran third in the G1 Prix de la Foret over seven furlongs last season, is a bigger, rangier type of Danzig. But, like all the successful sons of Danzig at stud, US Ranger had plenty of speed.

A winner of his first four starts, US Ranger plunged into the deep end of the class spectrum with his fifth start in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. He finished a respectable seventh, beaten three and a half lengths by winner Cockney Rebel.

Thereafter, US Ranger was pointed for high-end sprints until the last three starts of his career, when he moved back to eight and nine furlongs. Overall, US Ranger won five races for earnings of £244,806.

Standing 16.1, US Ranger is not the most typical Danzig, who was a rather chubby tugboat of a horse. Walden said, “US Ranger has the size from his female family, Andover Road [the horse’s second dam] and others. I’m sure that the female line was an influence on his size and structure, and that’s a real appeal to me. He should have foals with some leg and size to them.”

US Ranger’s dam, the Red Ransom mare My Annette, is a half-sister to leading sire Dynaformer, a 17-hand tank of a stallion who has the bone of a plowhorse allied with the power of a Lipizzan stallion.

Their dam, the His Majesty mare Andover Way, was one of three stakes winners out of On the Trail, by Olympia. Andover Way won the G1 Top Flight Handicap and four other stakes. Her siblings of note were listed winner Regal Road (by Graustark) and Darby Creek Road (by Roberto), who won the Saratoga Special at 2, ran third in the Belmont at 3.

Andover Way began her producing career splendidly with G2 winner Dynaformer (by Roberto) and stakes winner White Bridle (by Seattle Slew), and My Annette is the mare’s 11th of 14 foals. Andover Way’s last foal, the Arch mare Black Speck, is also a stakes producer.

US Ranger has the size and speed of his immediate ancestors, and now he must try to reproduce those qualities effectively in his offspring to take the next step to stallion success.

Walden has begun the work of assembling a syndicate of breeders to back the horse at stud. He said, “Our plan going in was to sell 15 shares, but maybe we will sell five more to breeders to help strengthen the book. He’s in a vulnerable place in the market, and I want to make this as positive a position as possible for all of us. The terms of the shares include one season annually for four years, and if you breed on that season, you get a second season each of those years if you use that season also to breed another mare for yourself.”

Clearly focused on rewarding season users, rather than season sellers, Walden’s plan also has the added effect of benefitting home breeders who like to race their stock, and that is part of his view of the industry at present. He said, “We are in a time of change, and being positioned to race as well as sell is wise for those who can do so.”

US Ranger will begin his new career in February 2010 at the new Pauls Mill stallion facility in Woodford County.