eskendereya at tm2 (2)



If you want to help your stallion get that big winner, just sell him overseas.

For instance, there is Empire Maker, who already had Grade 1 winner Pioneerof the Nile proven on the track before the sire’s sale, then champion Royal Delta, G1 winner and Kentucky Derby-Preakness second Bodemeister, and other major performers came to light afterwards; and Forty Niner, whose post-sale successes include leading the general sire list with numerous top performers, including classic winner Editor’s Note.

This peculiar trend, which applies both to horses from the U.S. and Europe, goes all the way back to 1970 Kentucky Derby winner Dust Commander (Bold Commander), sold to Japan and then sire of 1975 Preakness winner Master Derby and 1977 Kentucky Derby second Run Dusty Run.

Now, Wood Memorial winner Eskendereya (Giant’s Causeway) has joined the list. Sold to the Japan Bloodstock Breeders Association in September last year to stand in Japan, the big chestnut has his best racer in the current 3-year-old colt Mor Spirit, winner of the G2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 6.

Mor Spirit made his first start a couple of weeks after the sale of his sire had been announced and won a maiden special in late October. Second to the well-regarded Airoforce (Colonel John) the following month in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, Mor Spirit became a G1 stakes winner with his victory in the Dec. 19 Los Alamitos Futurity and took the next step toward the classics with his success in the Lewis.

mor spirit 2016 lewis (2)

  • More Spirit winning the 2016 Robert Lewis Stakes

The ruggedly made dark brown ridgling had already been the subject of considerable attention, however. The April 1 foal first went to sale as a late yearling and sold out of the Allied Bloodstock consignment for $85,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton October yearling auction. Then, he was pinhooked through Wavertree Stables, agent, and Mor Spirit resold at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Florida sale as a 2-year-old in training for $650,000. This was the same auction where 2015 juvenile champion colt Nyquist sold for $400,000.

Mor Spirit’s sale priced ranked him 10th among the 43 Eskendereya yearlings offered in 2014, but he had progressed so remarkably in four months of training that he was the premier lot of 16 by his sire last year at the sales of 2-year-olds in training.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Elkstone Group LLC, Mor Spirit is out of the Dixie Union mare Im a Dixie Girl. The dam was a swift stakes winner at 2, accounting for the Bassinet Stakes and Colleen Stakes, plus finishing second in the G3 Astarita Stakes at Belmont.

Mor Spirit is his dam’s seventh foal but first stakes winner. He has a year older full brother who sold for $125,000 at Keeneland September in 2013 and won two of three starts. Im a Dixie Girl proved to be a successful sales producer, with her last three offspring fetching around $1 million, depending on how one counts the double sale of Mor Spirit, but she did not achieve immediate success with them on the racetrack.

Likewise, Eskendereya started rather quietly with his stock coming to the races. Now with first-crop 4-year-olds, Eskendereya had not been rising in popularity for the 2015 breeding season under the intense scrutiny of commercial stallion assessment, and his stud fee had dropped from $30,000 during his first year to $17,500 in 2015, when he was booked to 70 mares. On the track at the time of his sale last September, Eskendereya had only four stakes winners from his first two foal crops of 106 and 90 foals, and the best of his performers on the track by then was probably stakes winner Eskenformoney, who was graded stakes-placed.

Since Eskendereya’s sale overseas, Isabella Sings won the G2 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill last November, and G1 winner Mor Spirit now has two stakes to his credit with the promise of more to come.