Let’s take a look at how some of the better known stallions made out at Sunday’s Canadian Yearling Sale.
Bettor’s Delight is the top pacing sire in Ontario, but he took a two-year sabbatical in Pennsylvania when the OSS program came under duress. He sells his second crop from the Keystone State this year, so he didn’t play a role in this sale. That can only hurt.
Muscle Mass also took flight, to New York, when the OLG put the sport through the wringer. The son of Muscles Yankee regularly goes toe to toe with Kadabra at the top of the provincial trotting ranks, so his absence from the sale also hurts. Muscle Mass has returned to Canada, but he won’t be an Ontario eligible factor at this sale again until 2018.
Manofmanymissions, the sire of Celebrity Eventsy, has also moved on to Ohio. Like Muscle Mass, he sold his final Ontario crop last year. Only one yearling by him was offered at this year’s sale.
In no particular order, this is the fifth crop Sportswriter has sent to the Canadian Yearling sale. It’s taken time for the buyers to zero in on exactly who he is, and they’re still struggling to find the answer. Is he a journeyman regional stallion, or something more? His freshman star Sports Column impressed in the OSS this year, but he wasn’t staked to the Metro or Nassagaweya, forget about the Breeders Crown. He’s been MIA for the Grand Circuit meet at Mohawk. Reluctance to stake to the GC on the part of buyers and breeders has been an issue for the penultimate crop son of Artsplace.
In 2013, thirteen by Sportswriter averaged $11,269 at the CYS, while the following year five averaged $41,000. Last year he only sold two colts and three fillies here and they averaged $31,200. This was from a crop of 57. His stud fee jumped from $4,000 to $6,500, which is where it is today.
This year, from a huge crop of 141, he sold ten colts and nine fillies for a $22,500 average, with the colts outdoing their paternal sisters by about $4,000 each. The gross for this group was $427,500, and the average is fine for this sale, but it falls well short of Mach Three and Shadow Play.
Six colts and three fillies by Sportswriter will be offered in Lexington.
Monday at Grand River his freshman daughter Windy Sport and son Yogi Bayama won $105,000 Gold splits. He’s second to Mach Three in the OSS right now.
Sportswriter’s oldest are four, so his opportunity has been somewhat limited, but Reverend Hanover is his richest offspring, and he still hasn’t cracked $500,000, or won a stakes race outside the restricted program. Let’s hope Sports Column doesn’t go the way of the Rev next year.
Shadow Play is a couple of years older than Sportswriter. His timing with regard to entering the Ontario Sire Stakes program was not impeccable. In 2012, when the end of SARP had been announced the previous March, he entered the marketplace with 11 yearlings averaging less than $12,000 at this sale. His fee dropped from a modest $5,000 to $4,000.
The following year a handful averaged $26,000. It was very helpful that first cropper Arthur Blue Chip won the Nassagaweya and was successful in the OSS that year.
Five-year-old Lady Shadow has displayed wicked, world record speed this year in winning the Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty and Golden Girls.
This year nine fillies and six colts averaged $27,746, down from $30,125 for eight in 2015. Brad Grant and Jack Darling each bought a couple, and Dr Ian Moore, who campaigned the black colt, bought one. So, Shadow Play’s average was about $5,000 more than Sportswriter for four fewer yearlings.
Seventeen-year-old Mach Three, who is the leading OSS pacing sire right now, has been standing in Ontario for 14 years. During that stretch he gave us SBSW, Mach It So, Solar Sister, Monkey On My Wheel and a host of other good ones. His $7,500 cdn fee is second only to Bettor’s Delight in the pacing ranks. This year he averaged $30,681 for seven colts and nine fillies from a crop of 103 foals. Having sale topper Brunos From Mars in the fold helped pump up that average. Jack Darling paid $105,000 for him. Last year five colts and six fillies averaged a shade under $39,000.
This was Big Jim’s third trip to this sale. He received a lukewarm greeting in 2014 as six fillies and two colts averaged a shade over $13,000. Last year from a small crop of 41, he sold a filly for $29,000 and a gelding for $13,000. That was it.
Things were looking up on Sunday as five colts and two fillies averaged $25,885, with one colt going to Brad Grant for $45,000 and another to Tony O’Sullivan for $44,000.
His owner, the late Jim Carr, was deluged by cancellations for his Western Ideal stallion’s services when the Ontario program was fighting for survival: Big Jim bred 55 fewer mares his second year at stud. It’s been a difficult slog out of that hole, but successful offspring like Good Will Hanover, Magnum J, Streakavana and Soiree Seelster have helped define him for buyers. Jim ranks fourth in the OSS.
Kadabra, who turns 18 in a few months, has always been a gynocentric stallion: Bee A Magician, Poof She’s Gone, Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover trump the likes of Daylon Magician, Flanagan Memory, Knows Nothing and Prestidigitator. The boys always seem to come up short in open company.
That situation has always been reflected in Kadabra’s sale results: in 2014 at Harrisburg the colts averaged $22,000 while the fillies averaged $58,000. That trend started to shift last year when Kadabra averaged an eye opening $80,000 for 20 yearlings sold at Harrisburg and the colts averaged $68,000 and the fillies $62,000.
Last year three colts and four fillies by Kadabra averaged $40,000 at the Canadian Yearling Sale. This year four colts and five fillies averaged about the same, with the colts averaging $46,000 and the fillies $34,000. Six colts and five fillies will be available in Lexington in a couple of weeks.
Caprice Hill and Emoticon Hanover, a pair of fillies, led the way for Kadabra in the OSS this year, both earning the same $157,500 in sire stakes dollars, as well as lots of Grand Circuit money. Tony Soprano, on the other hand, is still searching for that first win.
Flat seems to be the theme for sales held thus far in 2016. The loss of Bettor’s Delight, Muscle Mass and MOMM is certainly a mitigating factor in this case, but knowing that two of them will be back should inspire confidence.