Although first-crop sire American Pharoah (by Pioneerof the Nile) is sucking most of the air out of the room with the appearance of his first foals at auction, including 16 consigned to Book 1 here at Keeneland, there are other first-crop weanling sires of note.
High on anyone’s list in this regard is the A.P. Indy stallion Honor Code, whose victories in the G1 Whitney and Metropolitan Handicap in 2015 propelled him to divisional championship honors that year. A top prospect as a juvenile when he won the G2 Remsen Stakes and was a very close second in the G1 Champagne, Honor Code sat out most of his second season but came back strong at 4 to earn the Eclipse in a highly competitive year.
With the ability to produce his form at the G1 level from 8 to 10 furlongs and with a stellar pedigree and physique, Honor Code was very attractive to breeders when sent to stud at Lane’s End for the 2016 covering season, and he received a first-season book of 144 mares. From those, he has 117 reported live foals (81 percent) from his first crop, per statistics from The Jockey Club.
Of the first-crop foals, four are cataloged in Book 1. The first through the ring is Hip 152, a dark bay colt who is a half-brother to G2 Matron Stakes winner Pretty N Cool (Scat Daddy). By the great sire A.P. Indy and out of a mare by the tremendous Storm Cat, Honor Code combines two of the most popular pedigree influences and practically guarantees that duplications of those will occur. This colt carries inbreeding to Storm Cat through the good sire Forest Wildcat and his daughter Latin Lynx, dam of G1 winner Sean Avery and stakes-placed Stayclassysandiego (Rockport Harbor), the dam of Hip 152.
A further measure of Honor Code’s popularity is that two of his Book 1 foals are siblings to G1 winners. Hip 173 is a bay colt out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Unbridled Betty and is a half-brother to Unbridled Command (by the A.P. Indy son Master Command), who won the G1 Hollywood Derby. This colt’s dam brings Mr. Prospector into the pedigree through Fappiano – Unbridled – Unbridled’s Song, and if that works, it will become the pattern for using this stallion.
This already is the pattern of his elite foals consigned to Book 1, as Hip 234 is also out of a mare by Unbridled’s Song. This bay colt is a January 31 foal out of Ecology, the dam of G1 Blue Grass Stakes winner General Quarters (Sky Mesa) and G2 winner A Shin Top and stakes-placed New Wave, both by Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat). So all the stakes siblings are by sires from the lines that Honor Code has close up in his own pedigree.
That Honor Code is attracting producers of this caliber is an indication of how breeders estimate his potential success and also an indication of how attractive he is as an individual, because Honor Code combines the quality and scope of A.P. Indy with the muscle of Storm Cat.