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A splendid racehorse who won the Kentucky Derby and 10 of 15 lifetime starts (all the others in the money), Spend a Buck was quite disappointing at stud, siring nothing within hailing distance of himself as a racehorse in his early crops and quickly falling off the map of commercial recognition in the bloodstock depression of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Partly due to lack of domestic interest in the horse, Spend a Buck went to South America to stand in Brazil as a shuttle stallion for at least four seasons (1997-98 and 2001-2002).

From those covers down south, the son of Buckaroo sired at least nine G1 winners. That’s a major league statistic for any sire, and it’s even more amazing because Spend a Buck was older, out of fashion in Kentucky, and presumably would not have had that many top-flight mares.

Well, whatever was the case, Spend a Buck was much more successful with his offspring in South America than with those here in the North. From his 16 crops in the US, Spend a Buck sired 1 (yeah, one) G1 winner: Antespend, and she was out of the Argentine mare Auspiciante (by Practicante).

The statistics from Spend a Buck’s years at stud are even more startling in their contrast:

North America                                                                  South America

16 crops                                                                               5 crops

542 foals                                                                              194 foals

3 G1 winners (2 in South America only)                9 G1 winners (1 in North America only)

The stallion’s best include: [horse name, year of birth, broodmare sire, G1 victories]

ANTESPEND (1993 f., *Practicante). 10 wins, $1,011,954. Del Mar Oaks, Santa Anita Oaks, Las Virgenes.

BLACK COFFEY (1995 c., Storm Bird). 13 wins, $104,791. Horse of the Year in Peru (twice), champion older male in Peru (thrice). 1st Clasico Jockey Club del Peru.

CLAUSEN EXPORT (1990 f., Our Native). 8 wins, $60,067. Grande Premio Major Suckow, Grande Premio Proclamacao da Republica.

EINSTEIN (Brz) (2002 c., Ghadeer). Santa Anita H., Gulfstream Park BC S., Turf Classic at Churchill Downs (twice), Gulfstream Park Turf S.

FOREVER BUCK (Brz) (1998 c., Ghadeer). 3 wins, $47,705. Grande Premio Associacao Brasileira de Criadores e Proprietarios do Cavalo de Corrida.

HARD BUCK (Brz) (1999 c., Secreto). 9 wins, $1,073,674. Gulfstream Park BC H., Grande Premio Linneo de Paula Machado.

HATIF (Brz) (1999 c., Trempolino). 7 wins, $181,729. Grande Premio Jockey Club de Sao Paulo.

INVESTOR’S DREAM (Brz) (1998 c., Ghadeer). 4 wins, $120,974. Champion 2yo in Brazil. 1st GP Juliano Martins.

IRISH LOVER (Brz) (1998 f., Ghadeer). 8 wins, $107,674. Champion 3yo in Brazil. 1st Gran Premio Henrique Possollo.

JOCKEY’S DREAM (Brz) (1999 c., Ghadeer). 3 wins, $81,386. Grande Premio Jockey Club Brasileiro.

L’AMICO STEVE (Brz) (2003 c., Ghadeer). 7 wins, $204,839. Champion older horse in Brazil, champion stayer in Brazil. 1st Grande Premio Brasil.

PICO CENTRAL (Brz) (1999 c., Purple Mountain). 9 wins, $1,283,145. Horse of the Year in Brazil and champion sprinter in Brazil. 1st Metropolitan H., Vosburgh S., Carter H.

Lest we make too much of pedigrees becoming congruent or bloodlines liking one another, consider that the first three on the list are US-bred. Only Antespend is out of a South American mare. Both Black Coffey and Clausen Export were high-class racers, though bred on NH time. Of the rest, only Einstein did not win a G1 in South America … because he never started in one.

All the horses are out of stallions with very recognizable European or US pedigrees. Ghadeer is a good son of Lyphard, Epsom Derby winner Secreto and Arc winner Trempolino need no introductions, and Purple Mountain is a son of the Herbager stallion Grey Dawn II, won the Fall Highweight Handicap at Belmont, and earned $695,122 the hard way (by winning 11 of 62 starts). In his American stud career, Spend a Buck had to have covered mares by the same or similar sires. Yet the results are disconcertingly different.

If Einstein wasn’t there to throw a wrench in an obvious theory, it would be tempting to say that the training and management of the horses in South America fitted something that the Spend a Bucks needed and thrived with. That is probably at least a big part of the rationale, though, because Einstein was imported by and went through the training program of Kenny McPeek, and McPeek is as patient a horseman as lives in the US.

Trained by Helen Pitts, Einstein will enter stud at Adena Springs in Kentucky for 2010.

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