One of the signal facets of the contemporary commercial market is a fascination with first-crop sires. One prominent consignor even went so far as to declare that if sellers weren’t offering stock by first-crop sires or by proven sires, then potential buyers just walked on by.
As perplexing as this situation is for breeders, not to mention stallion managers, the recent results of the classics are rewarding that obsession with first-crop sires.
Two weekends ago, Always Dreaming (by Bodemeister) won the Kentucky Derby in convincing style, and the fleet bay is from his sire’s first crop of racers. This weekend, yet another sire with first-crop 3-year-olds, the Distorted Humor sire Maclean’s Music, was responsible for Cloud Computing, the rangy dark horse who upset the Derby winner in the Preakness.
Last year, the Kentucky Derby was won by Nyquist, a son of first-crop sire Uncle Mo, and in 2015, the Triple Crown was swept for the first time in 37 years by American Pharoah, who is from the second crop of Pioneerof the Nile.
Whereas both Pioneerof the Nile and Bodemeister were classic performers themselves (each was second in the Kentucky Derby), Maclean’s Music never got close to the roses. In fact, he had only a single race, which he won emphatically by 7 ¼ lengths in the near-record time of 1:07.44 for six furlongs.
The horse’s speed, good looks, and pedigree gave him a place at stud because he had the backing of serious breeders.
Among those was owner-breeder Stonestreet Thoroughbreds, plus Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, where Maclean’s Music stands at stud, and the stallion is owned by Stonestreet and Hill ‘n’ Dale.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc., is the co-breeder of Preakness winner Cloud Computing in partnership with Stretch Run Ventures LLC.
Their colt Cloud Computing is the direct result of serious breeders giving serious support to horses they believe in, regardless of whether they are first-crop or fifth-crop stallions. And the partners sent their good mare, the multiple graded stakes-placed producer Quick Temper to Maclean’s Music.
Not only was Quick Temper a talented racer who ran second in the G2 Silverbulletday Stakes, G3 Maple Leaf Stakes, and G3 Arlington Matron Handicap, but she also earned $259,722.
The breeders were soundly rewarded for their support.
When Hill ‘n’ Dale offered Cloud Computing at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, he was a grand specimen, and the dark brown colt sold for $200,000, the highest price among 45 yearlings by the sire that sold in 2015.
The agent who selected the striking colt for owners Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence was Mike Ryan, co-breeder of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. Ryan has stated his admiration for Maclean’s Music, who is an imposing individual, and for the prospects of the stallion’s better stock.
Both Always Dreaming and Cloud Computing share good size and scope, plus the muscling and positive attitude of a high-end athlete.
In the case of Cloud Computing, Maclean’s Music appears to have added body mass to the scope and elegance of the colt’s quality dam, who is a daughter of Belmont Stakes winner and Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, one of the most potent influences for classic performance in American breeding.
In addition to the stamina and quality of A.P. Indy, Quick Temper inherited some of the racing ability of her dam, G1 winner Halo America, the best racer by the hickory racehorse Waquoit. Halo America won 15 races from age 3 to 7, earning $1,460,992, and the big gray mare won her G1 in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn.
Her sire was the towering gray Waquoit, a son of the fast stallion Relaunch, who continues to be an important influence in pedigrees. Waquoit was out of a mare by the top French 2-year-old Grey Dawn, and backwards in regard to his pedigree as it may seem, Waquoit was best as he got older, more especially in races from 10 to 12 furlongs. Among his 13 stakes victories, the old warrior won the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Brooklyn Handicap twice, and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic to Alysheba and Seeking the Gold.
Then, in addition to the speed of his sire Maclean’s Music and grandsire Distorted Humor, Cloud Computing traces back in his female line of descent to one of the great American mares, Alcibiades, who was both a top racer and producer. The top filly of her crop at 2 and 3, Alcibiades won the 1930 Kentucky Oaks and produced four stakes winners. The best of these was Menow (Pharamond II), winner of the Futurity at 2 and the Massachusetts Handicap at 3, and his three black-type siblings were the mares Sparta (St Germans; Latonia Oaks), Salaminia (Man o’ War; Alabama Stakes), and Lithe (Pharamond; Demoiselle Stakes).
Sparta is the branch of Alcibiades that is responsible for Cloud Computing and a classic victory 71 years after her daughter Pitcher (Shut Out) was foaled to become the next link in the line of descent.
That succession of quality through the generations has led to our 2017 Preakness winner, sired by a freshman stallion from a female family of deep quality. And in a look to the future, the classic winner’s dam has a yearling full brother to Cloud Computing. In 2017, Quick Temper was bred back to Maclean’s Music.