The following post first appeared last week in the special print edition of the Paulick Report.
Mares and foals in the opening book of the Keeneland November sale ought to be the most appealing lots available, and typically the mares are in foal to the most commercially successful stallions. In addition to the outstanding set of broodmares covered by Giant’s Causeway, there are good-sized lots of classy mares in foal to Malibu Moon and Speightstown, who are having landmark seasons with their racers in 2013.
But Bernardini has perhaps the most interesting group, with nine mares in foal to him just in Book 1. These include G1 winners R Heat Lightning and Home Sweet Aspen, as well as G2 winners Briecat, Nicole H, and Hoh Buzzard.
The other mares mated to Bernardini have produced such notable graded winners as Dust and Diamonds, Sky Kingdom, and Tapicat.
Champion 3-year-old the season he won the Preakness and Travers, Bernardini also finished a close second to Invasor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and with his racing class and pedigree, the horse has never lacked for quality mates. But the scopy and beautifully balanced son of A.P. Indy has proven himself at the top level as a sire to reckon with.
Racers from the stallion’s first two crops included winners of the Travers Stakes in Stay Thirsty and Alpha, the Woodward Stakes (To Honor and Serve), AZ Warrior (Frizette), along with numerous other graded stakes winners and performers.
The racing successes of his offspring have attracted larger and more select books of mares to the stallion, and this son of A.P. Indy has built a following among breeders and racehorse owners, who find the sire’s stock athletic and race-worthy in various racing environments.
Already more than a half-dozen of his sons are at stud, and if they produce racers of like quality, their sire will become even more important and sought-after.
The immediate effect of interest in Bernardini’s offspring is the increase in price for his yearlings and foals. Three foals by the stallion are in Book 1, including Hip 46, a half-brother to G1 Florida Derby winner Ice Box (Pulpit, also a son of A.P. Indy); Hip 77, a half-brother to G1 winner R Heat Lightning (Trippi); and Hip 204, a February filly out of the stakes-placed Preach It. The latter is a half-sister to Oratory (Pulpit), a winner of the G2 Peter Pan Stakes.
Note: Update on prices
Hip 46 was declared out of the sale; Hip 77 sold to Baccari Bloodstock for $300,000; Hip 204 was an RNA at $285,000.
The stallion’s racing age daughter Eblouissante, a half-sister to Horse of the Year Zenyatta, sold for $2.1 million to St. George Farm.
Mares in foal to Bernardini included R Heat Lightning ($1.6 million to Stonestreet), Home Sweet Aspen ($510,000 to SF Bloodstock), Briecat ($160,000 to Spendthrift), Nicole H ($550,000 to Normandy Farm), and Hoh Buzzard ($450,000 to Blandford Bloodstock).