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Currently the leading freshman sire in the country, the Fusaichi Pegasus stallion Roman Ruler covered only 37 mares in 2009, according to figures released yesterday by the Jockey Club.

The handsome grandson of Mr. Prospector and half-brother to Hill ‘n Dale stallion El Corredor suffered a bad case of fourth-year blues, as breeders declined to use the horse before seeing how his juveniles performed this year on the track.

Currently, Roman Ruler, the sire of G1 winner Homeboykris, tops the list of juvenile and freshman sires with earnings of $988,019, leading Proud Accolade, Pollard’s Vision, Kitten’s Joy, and Wildcat Heir by $200,000-plus. That ranking will be subject to change depending upon the results of the upcoming Breeders’ Cup races, which include four events for 2-year-olds.

Homeboykris, winner of the Champagne Stakes at Belmont in his last start, is expected to race in the BC Juvenile.

One major reason for breeders’ reservations about Roman Ruler, who is an excellent individual and was a highly talented juvenile himself, is that his yearlings of 2008 averaged $58,850, with a median of $34,500, meaning that quite a number failed to recover the cost of production.

Buyers advisers were in error here, as well as with the stallion’s juveniles. Homeboykris, for example, went through the ring for only $11,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company’s March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

The 2009 yearlings by Roman Ruler were among the more brutally disappointing stock sold at this year’s yearling auctions, with the 33 sold to date bringing an average price of $33,794 and a median of $12,500.

If they keep on winning, the economics of breeding to the stallion have to improve.