Just two dozen years ago, the volume of stallion advertising and number of stallions available in the Blue Grass was much different than today.
In January 1986, the Thoroughbred Record had these stallions advertised: Claiborne with 29 stallions (Ack Ack, Avatar, Believe It, Buckfinder, Coastal, Conquistador Cielo, Cox’s Ridge, Damascus, Devil’s Bag, Drone, Forli, Go Step, Hawaii, Honest Pleasure, Key to Content, Linkage, Majestic Light, Mr Prospector, Navajo, Nijinsky, Private Account Quadratic, Secretariat, Sir Ivor, Spectacular Bid, Tom Rolfe, Topsider, and Track Barron), Pillar (Dance Bid, Darby Creek Road), Airdrie (Bold L.B.), Spendthrift 34 (including Affirmed, Al Nasr, Bold Hour, Caro, JO Tobin, Lord Avie, Native Royalty, Raise a Native, Sham, State Dinner, Time for a Change, Wajima, and Wavering Monarch), Ashford (El Gran Senor and Storm Bird), Mare Haven 13 (including Native Charger, Proudest Roman, and Well Decorated), Gainesway 41 (including Apalachee, Big Spruce, Blushing Groom, Cozzene, Exceller, Green Dancer, Icecapade, Irish River, Lear Fan, Lyphard, Riverman, Sharpen Up, Silver Screen, and Vaguely Noble), Beaconsfield Stud 9, Forest Retreat Farms 5 (including Naskra), Pegasus Stud (London Bells), Wimbledon (Sensitive Prince), Domino Stud 9 (including Grey Dawn and Sunny’s Halo), Charles Nuckols and Sons 9 (including Blade, Caucasus, and Mr Leader), Dearborn (Play On), Greentree (Arts and Letters), and Runnymede (President).
Most of the farms with only one or two stallions after their names stood quite a few more but were advertising only the ones listed in the issue I’m looking at. And a few, such as Spendthrift, advertised so many that it seems beside the point to type names most readers wouldn’t recognize, anyway. There are a few than even I can scarcely remember.
So some of the loss that has occurred in Kentucky breeding pool has not been a bad thing, but even a cursory glance through this list … compared to the current sire listings … is chilling to anyone with the best interest of breeding in Kentucky at heart.
Perhaps, if the volume of mares had been culled in proportion to the volume of stallions, we could look at this with warmer feelings, but as things stand today, there are too few stallions, too few of the first rate, and far too little care in mating most of them. Simply throwing them against the wall and seeing which stick won’t recreate the successes found in studs that consistently produced classic contenders and champions.