Can you name the best son of Mr. Prospector still active as a stallion? If you said, “Smart Strike,” you win a gold star.

But can you name the second-best son of Mr. Prospector? Hint: He is also the broodmare sire of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner.

His name is Not for Love, and he stands in Maryland at Northview Stallion Station for a $15,000 stud fee. That makes him a very pricey regional stallion, but he has proven himself worth it.

The 24-year-old is the leading sire in Maryland, as well as one of prominence nationally. Not for Love has sired 137 stakes horses, with 78 of those being stakes winners. That adds up to 9 percent of the stallion’s 903 foals of racing age.

But even by Not for Love’s standards, the past weekend was outstanding. He sired the winners of four races in the Maryland Million series: the Maryland Million Classic, Sprint, Distaff, and Nursery.

The winner of the Classic was last year’s winner, Eighttofasttocatch, an 8-year-old who is also his sire’s leading earner with $997,970 to date. A $47,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic September yearling sale in 2008, Eighttofasttocatch was bred by Dark Hollow Farm and Herringswell Stable.

A good-looking chestnut gelding, Eighttofasttocatch has raced for seven seasons, and he has 16 victories in 48 starts, with seven seconds and four thirds. In aptitude a miler, Eighttofasttocatch has shown his best form going extended miles, and in the 2014 Classic, the gelding took the lead and refused to be caught in registering his 11th stakes victory.

The 2011 Maryland Million Classic was the first victory in the series for Eighttofasttocatch, who had placed third in the 2010 Maryland Million Turf. He has won the last two Classics for a trio of series triumphs, and he is the poster boy for many of his sire’s best qualities.

They are racehorses, first and foremost. They like their racing, show gameness, and are naturally athletic. They are also surprisingly tough, with 82 percent of his foals starting in a race and 65 percent winning.

Not for Love himself raced for four seasons, with six victories in 29 starts. As a full brother to champion Rhythm (by Mr. Prospector out of the Northern Dancer mare Dance Number), a great deal was expected of Not for Love.

As a racehorse, he did not fulfill much of it. He was pretty tough and reasonably competitive, but he earned black type only with a third in the minor Bob Harding Stakes, going a mile and a sixteenth on turf.

Still, it was black type, and with his grand pedigree, Not for Love found a place at stud in Maryland. There, he emphatically outperformed probability and expectations.

Not for Love has proven to be a bigger success at stud that his famous full brother. This is all the more surprising because Not for Love is something less than the perfect specimen, but perhaps overcoming that physical shortfall is an indication of greater ability that he was able to transmit genetically.

And Not for Love has bred his pedigree, with its speed and quality, with such consistency that he has become a leading sire.

In the Maryland Million this year, Not for Love stormed the heights with his proven competitors, which included D C Dancer, winner of the Sprint, and Classy Coco, winner of the Distaff.

Those two are 4-year-olds, presumably with plenty of racing left in them, but Not for Love also had the future on display with the Nursery winner Golden Years. The latter is a 2-year-old colt out of Sweet Annuity, by Oh Say, and the colt is unbeaten in two starts with earnings of $80,760.

Bred by O’Sullivan Farms, Golden Years is a bright prospect for his sire’s golden years. The colt sold at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale for $120,000. He came out of Bill Reightler’s consignment and sold to Ellen Charles; Golden Years races in the name of Hillwood Stable LLC.

Just as Golden Years is a continuing advertisement for his sire during Not for Love’s latter years at stud, Maryland’s leading sire is also getting national recognition as a broodmare sire. Not for Love is the broodmare sire of Grade 1 winner Starship Truffles, but he earned greater renown and some measure of lasting fame as the broodmare sire of 2014 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome.

*The preceding post was first published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

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