Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mr. Speaker Retired to Lane's End

It was announced today that 4-year-old Grade 1 winner Mr. Speaker (Pulpit) has been retired to Lane’s End for the 2016 season, joining Honor Code (A.P. Indy) and Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song) as new stallions on the roster.

When winning the Grade 1 Belmont Derby in 2014, Mr. Speaker defeated 10 other horses, with four eventual Grade or Group 1 winners and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up in the field. Among his other victories were the Grade 2 Commonwealth Cup Stakes, Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes, and Grade 3 Dania Beach Stakes. He retires with six victories and two other on-the-board finishes in 18 starts for $1,247,544 in earnings.

Mr. Speaker at Keeneland in April 2015

Mr. Speaker will be the sixth A.P. Indy son or grandson to sit on Lane’s End’s stallion roster for 2016 with the farm also having A.P. Indy’s son Honor Code visiting the shed for the first time next year. A.P. Indy stood at Lane’s End for his entire career and is currently pensioned at the farm. Mr. Speaker is bred on the same A.P. Indy over Unbridled cross as leading sire Tapit (Pulpit) while arguably having a stronger female family as that stallion.

His dam Salute (Unbridled) placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes Tempted Stakes and Tempted Stakes and produced winners State Flag (Street Cry (IRE)) and Fire Away (War Front) in addition to Mr. Speaker. The mare also has a yearling colt named Snap Decision by Hard Spun and is in foal to Malibu Moon for 2016.

Salute is out of the great undefeated mare Personal Ensign, making her a half-sister to multiple producers including Our Emblem (Mr. Prospector) who sired dual-classic winner War Emblem; Pennant Champion (Mr. Prospector) who is the granddam of horses such as Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense), Divine Oath (Broken Vow) (who ran second to Mr. Speaker in the Lexington) and Interactif (Broken Vow); and Breeders’ Cup winner My Flag (Easy Goer) who also produced another Breeders’ Cup winner in Storm Flag Flying (Storm Cat).
“I’ve been very lucky to train for Mr. Phipps for a long time, through that time I’ve trained most of this family. Mr Speaker has the same kind of class, quality & ability as the rest of that family. It’s remarkable how many good horses have developed from Personal Ensign,” said Shug McGaughey, who trained Mr. Speaker.
 
Mr. Speaker will stand for a fee of $10,000 in 2016. Look for an All Equine All the Time New Sires piece on him in the coming months.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Sire Series: American Pharoah

American Pharoah
Perhaps the most exciting stallion prospect to hit the market this century, American Pharoah accomplished nearly every task thrown at him including the Triple Crown.

The colt, by Pioneerof the Nile, finished fifth on debut in a Del Mar maiden special weight but he was beaten by some talented colts with two of them going on to win graded stakes races and the two others placing in Grade 1 events. That debut loss may not have been an eye catcher for American Pharoah but his victory less than a month later caught the attention of everyone in racing when he pulled away to win the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity by 4 ¾ lengths. He was at the top of the conversation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after winning the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes later that month but the colt suffered a season-ending injury only a few days before the Breeders’ Cup.

On the sidelines for five months, American Pharoah romped in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in his first race as a 3-year-old and made the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby win look even easier in April. 

The Grade 1 Kentucky Derby may have been American Pharoah’s most challenging victory with Firing Line (Line of David) and Dortmund (Big Brown) running with him the whole way around. He won by a length but Firing Line didn’t make it easy on the colt in the stretch. But the next two Triple Crown races seemed to be cakewalks for American Pharoah as the colt first romped home by seven lengths in a sloppy Grade 1 Preakness Stakes and 5 ½ lengths in the Belmont Stakes. 

American Pharoah didn’t race for nearly two months after that but he shipped back east for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in early August, a race his trainer Bob Baffert has dominated through the years. American Pharoah gave Baffert his eighth victory while winning his seventh career Grade 1 and eighth race in a row.

The Grade 1 Travers Stakes may have been asking for too much after a campaign that had seen American Pharoah load into the starting gate seven times in five months. With a horse who was tired and had gotten a little ahead of himself training the days leading up to the event, Frosted (Tapit) challenging him on the lead may have been the final nail in the coffin. The steadily improving Keen Ice (Curlin) who had been third and second, respectively, in his last two starts against the Triple Crown winner was able to get three-quarters of a length ahead of him at the wire to spoil American Pharoah’s win streak.

But that loss was mostly forgotten about last month in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic when American Pharoah answered some lingering questions about his ability to take on older horses. Facing some of the top horses in the handicap division, including multiple Grade 1 winner Honor Code (A.P. Indy) and last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist (Tapit), the Classic became the Pharoah Show. American Pharoah led wire-to-wire to give Baffert his second consecutive win in the Classic with an easy 6 ½ length victory. 
American Pharoah winning the Breeders' Cup Classic
The victory was a fitting end to a storybook career that now sees American Pharoah having to prove himself all over again, this time in the breeding shed.

American Pharoah is standing for a fee of $200,000 in 2016, tied with War Front at the second highest fee of any North American stallion (Tapit leads the charge with a fee of $300,000). American Pharoah’s sire Pioneerof the Nile also earned a boost this year, going up to $125,000 while American Pharoah’s grandsire has returned to the United States and will be standing for $100,000. 

American Pharoah is at least a sixth generation six-figure stallion with Empire Maker’s sire Unbridled standing for a private fee at the time of his death but having no-guarantee seasons sell for $225,000 on the open market in 2001, according to the Daily Racing Form. Unbridled’s sire Fappiano also stood for a stud fee of between $125,000 and $165,000 in the 1980s according to the Ocala Star-Banner in 1987. The influential Fappiano is by an even more influential sire in Mr. Prospector. Mr. Prospector’s fee may be the highest of any in the family, topping off at $460,000 for a no-guarantee season in the 1980s. While I couldn’t find a stud fee for Mr. Prospector’s sire Raise a Native, it is probable that sire also stood for $100,000 or more at some point in his career.

American Pharoah is out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, who raced twice but didn’t hit the board. The now-9-year-old mare hit gold early with American Pharoah as her second foal. Her first foal, a colt by Maimonides named Xixixi, was also a winner with two victories in 17 starts. Xixixi will also be standing his first year at stud in 2016 as he was retired to Xanthus Farm in Pennsylvania for a fee of $5,000. 

Littleprincessemma did not have a foal in 2013 but has a yearling filly and a weanling colt by Pioneerof the Nile. 

American Pharoah the day he arrived at Ashford Stud
Littleprincessemma is by Yankee Gentleman, who is also the damsire of stakes winners Architecture and Humarumba, and out of the stakes winning, record-setting mare Exclusive Rosette (Ecliptical). The winner of three races, Exclusive Rosette covered about five furlongs on the turf in a time of :57.31 at Atlantic City to set the course record at that track in 1996. 

While she was a decent enough racehorse with six on-the-board finishes in 17 starts for earnings of $27,281, Exclusive Rosette’s produce record is where the mare made a bigger mark. From her eight winners on the track, Exclusive Rosette was the dam of two graded stakes winners. Storm Wolf (Stormin Fever) won the 2005 Grade 2 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes and is a sire in California, while his full-sister Misty Rosette won the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes and the Crank it Up Stakes in 2006. Misty Rosette is the dam of three winners from three to race according to Equibase.

Exclusive Rosette’s winning daughter Vintage Red (Explosive Red (CAN)) is a stakes producer herself with Red Raffles (CAN) (Bold n’ Flashy (CAN) placing in three Woodbine stakes races in 2007. Vintage Red is the dam of five winners from eight foals in the Equibase database.

Exclusive Rosette’s dam Zetta Jet (Tri Jet) produced eight winners with Exclusive Rosette being her only stakes winner while American Pharoah’s fourth dam Queen Zetta (Crozier) produced one winner. His fifth dam Miami Mood (Greek Game) was a stakes winner who produced six winners with two winning stakes races (with both being Queen Zetta’s full siblings) and a third sibling producing three stakes winners. 

American Pharoah is one of two Pioneerof the Nile sons standing at stud in Kentucky in 2016 with Cairo Prince entering his second season at Airdrie Stud for a fee of $15,000 next year. While American Pharoah’s accomplishments assure him a full book, Cairo Prince covering 148 mares in 2015 has to be a comfort for those wondering how this son of Pioneerof the Nile will be received by breeders in coming years.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bargain Sire City Zip

City Zip at Lane's End in 2014
Retiring in late 2001 as a 3-year-old after winning nine of his 23 starts, including the 2000 Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes, City Zip was the first notable racehorse out of stakes winner Baby Zip. That mare would go on to produce two more graded stakes winners in addition to being the second dam of three others.

The third foal out of Baby Zip, City Zip retired to Contemporary Stakes in New York as only the fourth horse to sweep the Hopeful, Saratoga Special and Sanford. The stallion would start his career at a modest stud fee of $7,500.

City Zip held his own during his few years in New York, breeding a combined 305 mares between 2002 and 2004 with Grade 1 winner Bustin Stones, Grade 2 winner With a City and multiple Grade 3 winner Get Serious leading the 13 stakes winners produced from those crops. But the best was yet to come when his younger half-brother Ghostzapper burst onto the scene in 2004, winning Horse of the Year honors and convincing Lane's End Farm in Kentucky to purchase the unproven City Zip from New York.

City Zip's fee rose to $15,000 for 2005, a risky move for a stallion whose first foals had just turned two that year. But with 20 winners from 39 runners in his first New York crop, the leader of all first year sires that year, that fee would soon prove to be worth it.
Breeders' Cup winner and champion Work All Week

City Zip bred 80 mares during his first year in Kentucky with 63 live foals born in 2006, including Puerto Rico champion filly Dana My Love and multiple graded stakes winners Run Away and Hide and Unzip Me.

His second Kentucky Crop jumped up to 112 live foals from 145 mares bred with 10 stakes winners coming from that crop. Since that second Kentucky crop, City Zip has bred an average of 120 mares a year, siring horses such as Breeders' Cup winners Dayatthespa, Work All Week and Catch a Glimpse in addition to multiple Grade 1 winner Palace for a total of 56 stakes winners (6 percent stakes winners from horses of racing age) and 59 other stakes horses with every one of his crops producing at least two stakes winners.
Dayatthespa winning the 2014 First Lady
But perhaps more impressive than his numbers is his versatility as a sire.

Last year, the diversity of his offspring was on full display at the Breeders' Cup in late October when five-year-old filly Dayatthespa won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 1 1/4 miles and Work All Week won the Breeders' Cup Sprint going six furlongs on dirt. Both horses would be crowned the champion of their respective divisions at the end of the year. This year's Breeders' Cup winner Catch a Glimpse was another turf filly for the sire while Ready for Rye was a graded stakes winner going seven furlongs on dirt with four others winning graded stakes over varying surfaces and distances. 

However, City Zip is still an affordable option for many breeders.  

The stallion was standing for $25,000 in 2014 and had only a $15,000 raise in his stud fee in 2015 to $40,000, even with 17 stakes winners and four Grade 1 winners that year, according to Blood-Horse Stallion Register. The stallion has 11 stakes winners and six graded stakes winners in 2015 to rank eleventh nationally but Lane's End recently announced that his fee will stay at $40,000 in 2016.
Catch a Glimpse after winning the 2015 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf
For those who are concerned about results in the ring as well as on the track, City Zip has held his own there as well. The stallion's top yearling colt was sold for $300,000 this year while his top filly brought $250,000 according to Thoroughbred Daily News. The 46 City Zip yearlings to sell in 2015 brought an average of $89,532 and a median of $72,500, three times the $25,000 stud fee they were bred on in 2013.

The hardest part of the decision on who to breed City Zip to will almost certainly be in Lane's End's hands this season as it is likely they will have more submissions than they know what to do with when the breeding season starts in early February.