|Breeders' Cup Classic winner Gun Runner winning the Stephen Foster earlier this year.|
The Breeders’ Cup taking place in Del Mar, Calif. for the first time was historic in itself but the horses couldn’t let it be the only special thing to happen on the weekend with a Keeneland September Yearling sale topper winning a Breeders’ Cup race for the first time, multiple broodmares joining an elite list and many sires getting their first winners.
Read on to learn about just a few of the historic points that happened at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.
Leslie’s Lady – 2016 Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Broodmare of the Year Leslie’s Lady (Tricky Creek) may have made a case to take home her second title when Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Friday. The mare has had a runner in the Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle four of the last six years with Beholder (Henny Hughes) winning three between 2012 and 2016 and Mendelssohn winning this year. Leslie’s Lady is also the dam of Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday), a leading sire in 2017. With this year’s victor, she also became one of only five mares to produce more than one Breeders’ Cup winner.
Mendelssohn – The most expensive yearling to sell at Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale since 2010 when bringing $3 million, Mendelssohn had a lot of expectations on him when he hit the track this year. The colt won his maiden in his second start, was second in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes last month but made a bit more history in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf when he became the first Keeneland September sales topper since at least 1999 to win a Grade/Group 1. With this victory, Mendelssohn becomes a highly promising stallion prospect as his half-brother has already proven to be a top sire and two sisters have produced stakes horses to prove Into Mischief’s success runs in the family at least a little bit. With talk of putting Mendelssohn on the Kentucky Derby trail next year, he could be extremely interesting for both side of the Atlantic.
Late Sires – In a bit more depressing news, the Breeders’ Cup was a memorial of sorts with six dead stallions having runners finish in the top three. Three of those sired winners with two others siring second place horses and one siring a third place finisher. In a bit of good news for those winning sires, two of the winners are intact so they can carry on the lines. Of the other three stallions, only one of their placers is an entire while two of the six horses to hit the board for these stallions are fillies/mares.
Former Breeders’ Cup Winners – This year’s Breeders’ Cup wasn’t kind to former Breeders’ Cup winners, either at the betting window or on the track. Nine former Breeders’ Cup winners ran in this year’s races with five going off at odds of 15-1 or higher with the other four going off as favorites. Of the nine, only Highland Reel (Galileo) was able to hit the board with the next best finish being Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and Queen’s Trust (King’s Best) in fifth. 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday finished the worst when last at 66.10-to-1.
|Mongolian Saturday winning the 2016 Woodford Stakes, his last win.|
Win Approval – When World Approval (Northern Afleet) crossed the line first in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, he became Win Approval’s (With Approval) second Breeders’ Cup winner following 2006 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Miesque’s Approval (Miesque’s Son). The mare has had a lot of success in the Mile with another son, Za Approval (Ghostzapper), finishing second in the race in 2013. With World Approval’s victory, she joined Leslie’s Lady as two of five mares to produce two Breeders’ Cup winners along with Hasili (Kahyasi), Primal Force (Blushing Groom) and Sweet Life (Kris S). Overall, Win Approval has produced four graded stakes winners and two daughters to produce stakes horses from 10 foals. World Approval was the final foal for 27-year-old Win Approval, who was bred in 2013 and 2014 but barren both times.
Locations – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup was truly an international event with the sires of Breeders’ Cup placers standing in Canada (Alberta), England, Ireland, Japan, Uruguay and the United States (California, Kentucky, New York). To add a little extra southern hemisphere flavor, both stallions who sired two Breeders’ Cup winners are also successful shuttle stallions in Australia.
Most Successful Sires – Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) doubled his Breeders’ Cup winning total on Saturday when Bar of Gold won the Filly and Mare Sprint and Talismanic won the Turf, his first two non-juvenile victories at the event. He was joined by More Than Ready (Southern Halo) as the two most successful stallions at this year’s Breeders’ Cup when More Than Ready had Rushing Fall win Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf (his second win in the race) and Roy H win the Sprint on Saturday. It was the first Breeders’ Cup winning weekend for More Than Ready since 2011 while Medaglia d’Oro has had at least one Breeders’ Cup winner each of the last three years.
Most Successful Broodmare Sires – Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo) had a banner weekend at the Breeders’ Cup as both a sire and broodmare sire. The stallion’s Beach Patrol finished second in the Turf on Saturday but his daughters’ runners were where he shined as Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song) won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (and likely Eclipse honors) on Friday and Bar of Gold (Medaglia d’Oro) won the Filly and Mare Sprint on Saturday. He was joined by Danehill as broodmare sires to have two Breeders’ Cup placers with both of Danehill’s runners finishing third, both in turf races, with September (Deep Impact) and Highland Reel (Galileo).
|Lemon Drop Kid in 2016|
Curlin – While Curlin (Smart Strike) has had a lot of success in the U.S. classic races, he’d never had a runner win a Breeders’ Cup race. But that ended with a bang in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday. A $1-million yearling, Good Magic came into the race still a maiden though he had finished second in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes by half a length to confirm his class for this race. He proved that he was a good choice for the bettors who brought his price down to 11.50-to-1, winning by 4 ¼ lengths with $270,000 Curlin yearling Solomini finishing second behind him after a second in the Grade 1 FrontRunner at the end of September. Of Curlin’s 115 2-year-olds, 40 have started with nine winners (22.5 percent) and three stakes winners, not a bad start to this crop.
Sales Prices – The Breeders’ Cup this year was a mix of homebred and commercially bred horses with six horses winning racing under their breeders’ names and seven others going through the ring. Gun Runner (Candy Ride) was bred by Besilu Stable, which partnered on all its stock with Three Chimneys when he was a yearling, making him an abnormality that doesn’t fit in either category. However, due to the partnership and other Besilu horses now running under the Three Chimneys banner he was also placed in the homebred category.
The seven who went through the ring averaged $754,286 with two $1-million+ horses (both at the 2016 Keeneland September Sale). Five last sold as yearlings with two last selling as 2-year-olds and none selling for under $100,000 (2-year-old buy Stormy Liberal). There was however a large gap between the $1,000,000 horses and the rest with the third most expensive horse being the $410,000 Battle of Midway (Smart Strike).
|The most expensive Breeders' Cup winner this year.|
First Time Winners - This year’s Breeders’ Cup was a good time for sires to break their Breeders’ Cup maidens with five of the 11 stallions with winners getting their first victor at the meet. Some, such as Curlin are getting the winners fairly early in their stallion careers while those like Candy Ride (Ride the Rails) and Stormy Atlantic (Storm Cat) had to wait quite a while to get the first victory. Candy Ride’s first victory as a sire came in a big way with Gun Runner winning him the Classic.
Stud Fees & Ages – The average advertised 2017 stud fee of the stallions who sired Breeders’ Cup winners this year sits at $101,130, $54,961 more than the average stud fee of all the stallions with runners in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. The most expensive fee of the winning stallions is Dubawi (Dubai Millennium) at the equivalent of $332,542US, who also leads the fee for all sires of runners while the least expensive of the winners is Northern Afleet (Afleet) at $6,500. The least expensive of all the advertised stud fees for stallions with runners is Imperialism (Langfuhr), who had his lone Breeders’ Cup runner finish second, at $1,940US.
The average age of the stallions with Breeders’ Cup runners also averages a bit lower than those with winners at 14 ½ years of age with the winners averaging 18 ½ years old. The oldest stallion with winners is the late Smart Strike (Mr. Prospector) at 25 years old while the youngest is Quality Road at 11 compared to five 7-year-old stallions having runners. Smart Strike is the oldest on that list as well.
Farms – Seventeen different farms had at least one stallion with a Breeders’ Cup runner hit the board over the weekend but none was as successful as Lane’s End, who had five stallions with place getters, including three with winners. Of those five stallions, three are still active with Candy Ride being the most expensive at $60,000. Three other farms had three stallions with placings (Coolmore, Darley and Hill ‘n’ Dale [while including new stallion Kitten’s Joy]) and four others had two stallions hit the board apiece as well. Ten of the 17 farms are solely in Kentucky, one in both Kentucky and Ireland, one in Kentucky and Canada, one in New York, one in Japan, one in Uruguay, one in Canada and one in California.