The following post first appeared at Paulick Report last week.
The classic season is the time of year when stallions can really fill in their resumes. Not only can success send a few more mares of the right sort into their books, but the winners of major preps or of the classic races themselves place their sires in focus for the general public, and especially for breeders and buyers.
Some years, the trend is toward new blood. And we have seen Distorted Humor (Funny Cide), Elusive Quality (Smarty Jones), and Birdstone (Mine That Bird and Summer Bird) rise in the estimation of breeders with the immediate success of their racers in the classics.
Very few stallions sire more than one classic winner, however, and proven stallions frequently stamp their classic credentials only after rising very high by other measures of stallion success.
This year, the celebrated veteran sire Malibu Moon (advertised at $70,000 live foal for 2013) sired the winner of the Kentucky Derby, and last Saturday, 19-year-old Awesome Again scored a Preakness winner when his gray son Oxbow won the classic at Pimlico. The Preakness winner’s sire is the head stallion at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Farm, where Awesome Again stands with his son Ghostzapper and other important stallions like Macho Uno (by Holy Bull).
Advertised for $75,000 live foal, payable when the foal stands and nurses, Awesome Again (Deputy Minister) has proven himself both a first-rate racehorse and a major league sire. On the track, Awesome Again won nine of his 12 starts, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Whitney, and Queen’s Plate.
As a sire, Awesome Again has sired Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, champion Ginger Punch, Santa Anita Handicap winner Game on Dude, and numerous other premium-level performers among his 50-odd stakes winners.
One of those is last year’s Haskell Invitational winner Paynter, who is closely related to Oxbow. Both are sons of Awesome Again, and the 2012 Belmont Stakes second Paynter is out of Tizso, a full sister to Tizamazing, who is the dam of this year’s Preakness winner.
Both mares are by the Relaunch stallion Cee’s Tizzy and out of the Seattle Song mare Cee’s Song. They are also full sisters to Horse of the Year and major stallion Tiznow, and the stakes winners Budroyale, Tizbud, and Tizdubai.
With that kind of family and the size and quality expected of a top-class yearling prospect, Tizamazing was a salty sales horse a decade ago. She brought $1 million as Hip 331 at the Keeneland September sale in 2003. Reynolds Bell, Jr., signed the sales ticket on behalf of Jayeff B Stables.
The 11-year-old Tizamazing was unraced but has produced quality from the start. Her first foal is the Distorted Humor colt What Now, a winner of $96,210; her second is stakes winner Awesome Patriot, a full brother to Oxbow; and the Preakness winner is the mare’s third offspring.
Tizamazing has a 2-year-old full brother to Oxbow named Expect a Lot, a dark bay yearling filly by Speightstown, and a colt of 2013 by Unbridled’s Song.
Oxbow and his siblings were bred in Kentucky by Rich Santulli’s Colts Neck Stables. Santulli, one of the smartest businessmen ever to look through a bridle, founded NetJets, the fractional-interest aircraft company, and is one of the most successful breeders and racers of Thoroughbreds in America.
And like a really practical businessman, Santulli sells some of his nicest prospects every year. Oxbow was one of those, and he brought $250,000 at the Keeneland September sale in 2011. Consigned by Lyn Burleson, agent for Colts Neck, the colt sold to Eddie Kane, agent for owner Brad Kelley’s Bluegrass Hall. Kane is the farm manager for Kelley’s Thoroughbred properties, which include the famed Calumet Farm outside Lexington.
Kelley took over operation of Calumet only last year, and one of the signal changes he has made is to place stallions at the historic farm that once stood such breed-shaping sires as Bull Lea. The current leader of the Calumet stallion roster is Melbourne Cup winner Americain (Dynaformer), but it is easy to see that he will be joined by additional premium performers when Oxbow and others are retired to stud.