In the first article on the new sires entering stud in Kentucky at the top end of the stud fee rankings, one point of interest was the large group of well-performed 3-year-olds in 2019 who will remain in training for 2020. This generates increased competition and produces more excitement and anticipation at the racetrack, all good for the sport.
The two stallion prospects covered in this second part of the series were leading prospects for the classics of 2018 and top-quality performers during their classic season, but neither Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Audible (by Into Mischief) nor G1 Travers winner Catholic Boy (More Than Ready) found the level of success expected of them in 2019.
After winning the G3 Holy Bull, then progressing to win the Florida Derby and to finish a strong third behind Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) in the Kentucky Derby, Audible appeared poised to be one of the ones in last year’s crop of 3-year-olds. This colt was so highly regarded, in fact, that many handicappers preferred Audible to Justify going into the 2018 Belmont Stakes, but Audible was scratched from the race.
There was a reason for that.
WinStar Farm’s president and CEO, Elliott Walden, said “Audible went on the shelf after the Triple Crown because he was diagnosed with some bone bruising.” After rehab at the WinStar farm facility and then a return to Todd Pletcher, Walden continued, “Audible came back and ran a strong race in winning the Cherokee Run last year on Breeders’ Cup weekend. We thought we were moving the right way and that he was ready to have a great season at 4, but then he didn’t show his form at all in the Pegasus and (Dubai) World Cup. The bone bruising reared its ugly head again, and then we got behind on any return to the track with him. This year, we didn’t get to see the real Audible.”
As a result, the handsome bay son of Into Mischief comes to stud touting his accomplishments at 3 and his strong pedigree. As a very handsome son of leading sire Into Mischief, Audible is going to be popular with breeders because they have pounded on the door to use his sire to such an extent that Into Mischief now stands for $175,000 live foal.
The first three dams of Audible are sired by champions: Gilded Time (Timeless Moment), Gulch (Mr. Prospector), and Easy Goer (Alydar). The fourth dam is three-time G1 winner Classy Cathy (Private Account), one of five stakes winners out of the Tom Rolfe mare Trestle.
Another angle on the colt’s race record is that “we’ve got four Florida Derby winners on our roster,” Walden said, “and there’s something to that race that nominates it as a sire-maker. Over the past 25 years, winners of the Florida Derby include Unbridled, Holy Bull, Unbridled’s Song, Harlan’s Holiday, Empire Maker, Scat Daddy, Quality Road, Take Charge Indy, and Constitution,” who is currently second on the freshman sire list behind only Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Similar to the Florida Derby as a “sire-making race” is the Travers, won last year by the steadily improving More Than Ready son Catholic Boy.
Spread over a broader span of time are an array of Travers winners who have become leading sires, such as Alydar, Runaway Groom, Chief’s Crown, Forty Niner, Holy Bull, Lemon Drop Kid, Medaglia d’Oro, Bernardini, and Street Sense. These winners of the Midsummer Derby include horses who were top juveniles that matured well, along with horses who prospered at 3 and up like Lemon Drop Kid and Medaglia d’Oro.
Catholic Boy falls into the category of horses who showed high form at 2, winning the G2 Remsen Stakes on dirt at Aqueduct and G3 With Anticipation on turf at Saratoga, and then improved at 3. In his second season, Catholic Boy won a pair of G1s races, the Travers on dirt at Saratoga and the Belmont Derby on turf. This year, the colt won the G2 Dixie, then finished second to Preservationist in the Suburban on dirt in a brief season of three starts.
At both 2 and 3, the good-looking bay was a switch-hitting performer, showing his excellent form on any surface he encountered. Claiborne‘s Bernie Sams said, “That’s what makes him most attractive” to breeders. The colt’s versatility gives breeders the option of racing anywhere, in the States or in Europe or Asia, and on any surface: dirt, turf, or synthetic.
The versatility demonstrated by the multiple G1 winner and expected from his foals is central to why Claiborne has “been overrun with applications for him,” and there will be significant international interest in the horse, as well as domestic.
In addition to Catholic Boy’s race record, part of the reason for his widespread appeal is the international quality of the horse’s pedigree. He is a son of More Than Ready, a leading 2-year-old who has become a major sire in America, as well as a leading sire in Australia, and has sired 200 stakes winners. Out of the Bernadini mare Song of Bernadette, Catholic Boy traces to the champion Argentine mare La Sevillana (Court Harwell), who was top of her division at 2 and 3. From her, descend the champion fillies La Lorgnette (Val de l’Orne), winner of the Queen’s Plate, and Lucky Song (Seattle Song), winner of the Park Hill Stakes and a highweighted filly at 3 in Europe.
Still a growing boy when he won the Travers last year, Catholic Boy “has grown and filled out so well that he’s a grand-looking horse, and they tell me he now stands 16.2,” Sams added.
A steady stream of interested lookers are inspecting these young stallion prospects and filling out applications for their mares with the farms. Priced at $25,000 live foal, both Audible and Catholic Boy bring some of the best performances from the 3-year-old crop of 2018 to stud with them.