VFTRG contributor Joe F. takes a look at the first crop stallions thus far.
Two sons of first crop stallion Mister Big made a splash—literally—winning 52K ONSS Gold Series events at water logged Mohawk Raceway Monday night. The Grinfromeartoear stallion, a millionaire four times over, stands in Ontario for $7,500. That fee looked heavy in light of his less than successful run at the sales in the fall. His 14 yearlings at Harrisburg averaged a modest $9,100, with 85% of them selling for 15K or less. Overall, the Mister Bigs averaged about $9,400 with a top price of $37,000. One of Monday night’s winners, the impressive Falcon Justice, sold for $7,500 and has already banked more than 50K on two wins. Last night’s other winner, Crafty Master, has won both starts and has earned about 34K.
Shadow Play, another first crop Ontario stallion, fared better at the sales than Mister Big did, but the enthusiasm for him was still somewhat tempered by the tenuous situation up North. As opposed to Mister Big, who sold 40 yearlings, 73 Shadow Plays went through the sales. Half of them brought 15K or less. They averaged more than 16K and the top colt brought 135K. That one, Arthur Blue Chip, is showing early promise. The Shadow Plays have been lighting it up in the ONSS, especially the fillies. The hard luck filly, Book Babe, got everyone’s attention with a :52.4 win at Mohawk, but she injured herself in that race and is out for the year. Alibi Seelster, winner of a 70K ONSS Gold event last week, is another promising Shadow Play filly. Twin B Spy, a 50K Harrisburg purchase, won his 52K split of the ONSS Gold Series last night.
The Western Hanover stallion, If I Can Dream, sent 66 through the ring for a disappointing average of 12K, but his progeny have been showing very well in the NYSS. His top priced colt, Forty Five Red, a half brother to thirty Two Red, was a handy winner in a 46K NYSS race at Saratoga. Big Boy Dreams and Mean Pauline are a couple of other impressive Dream offspring. He now has the unenviable task of replacing Rocknroll Hanover as the Western Hanover line stallion in New Jersey thanks to a change of venue. If the Jersey politicians ever get their act together he could be positioned for success.
Art Official is another first crop stallion already on the move. He was standing for 7K in PA but has been relocated to Ohio, where he carries a reduced 5K stud fee. The 52 Art Official yearlings averaged 16K and carried a median price of 10K. Between SBSW and Dragon Again, and with Well Said looming on the horizon, the PASS, as lucrative as the program may be, is getting very competitive. And off what his freshman crop has shown to this point, Art Official will be a nice fit in Ohio. Sister Stroll, a half sister to Dancinwiththestarz has already shown her class in the PA All Stars. And Let’s Drink On It and Official Command are a pair of tough, fast colts.
Well Said was by far the most favorably received pacing stallion in this year’s rookie class. 79 of them averaged 54K with a median price of 45K and a top of 380K. Expectations were high for the Hanover stallion and thus far he isn’t disappointing. While the aforementioned pacing stallions are expected to earn their keep in restricted company, Well Said is a 15K stud and as such expected to do well in open as well as state bred races, just like SBSW. Tuesday afternoon his son, Kingofthejungle, took a 54K split of the Albatross at The Meadows in :53.1, while another Well Said colt, Tellitlikeitis, a half to Rockin Amadeus, Rockin Image and Time To Roll, won his split in :52.2. Well Said’s 24 fillies sold at Harrisburg averaged 54% less than his 29 colts. Yet fillies like Boots N Saddle, Talkative, Legal Process and Southwind Silence are already showing promise.
The star of this year’s first crop sires is undoubtedly Muscle Hill. His daddy is eighteen and in search of an extender; Dewey certainly gives no indication that he’s up to the task. Muscle Hill may well be that extender. The 53 Muscle Hill’s brought an average of more than 80K, with a median of 65K and a top of 360K. 60% of the Muscle Hills auctioned off at Harrisburg brought more than 50K. That’s very impressive for a stallion based in New Jersey. Southwind Spirit, a 105K Lexington buy, and Hill I Am, a brother to Prayer I Am, will both get your attention. So will Trixton, a half to Impressive Kemp. The NJSS finals are coming up over the weekend. After that we’ll see the Muscle Hill’s move into open competition.
Explosive Matter, who stands at Hanover for 7,500, sold 77 for an average of almost 18K and a median price of 13K. Only three went for 50K or more. Contrast that with Muscle Hill who moved 30 at that level. Despite the lack of enthusiasm on the part of buyers, Amped Up Hanover, Kapow Hanover, Struck By Lindy and Vanity Matters have all won splits of the PASS All Star races. Value wise it’s hard to top Explosive Matter’s daddy, Catab Hall, at a 10K stud fee. Maybe Explosive Matter will carry on that tradition.