Sunday, December 31, 2017

Digging Into the Data: 2017 U.S. Grade 1 Winners

Gun Runner
With 89 different horses winning the 112 Grade 1 races run on the flat in North America in 2017, there was a lot of news throughout the year. The racing season had something for everyone with 71 of the 112 Grade 1s taking place on the dirt and 40 on the turf, ranging from distances of five furlongs (the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint) to 1 ½ miles (six at that distance spread between dirt and turf).

While the names of most of those Grade 1 winners are well known, it’s a good time to dig a little farther into their season – and their families – as we reflect back on the 2017 racing season.

Gun Runner – Probable Horse of the Year Gun Runner (Candy Ride) had the most North American Grade 1 wins of anyone in 2017 with four. He was followed by Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman (Quality Road), Stellar Wind (Curlin), and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner World Approval (Northern Afleet) who have three each. Fourteen other horses have two Grade 1s each.

By The Ages – The Grade 1 winners varied in age from two (15 different winners at that age) to seven (two different winners at that age) with an average of 3.8 years old. Interestingly, 5-year-olds tied with 4-year-olds when it came to having the most Grade 1 winners at 24 apiece with 4-year-olds following them up with 17. Six and seven year olds combined for six Grade 1 winners in North America last year.

2YO G1 winner Free Drop Billy before going
through the ring
Sales - Fifty of the Grade 1 winners went through the auction ring at least once. Those who went through the ring a first time (or only once) averaged $350,229 with those going through a second time averaging $304,333 during that second trip. Only one, Dream Tree (Uncle Mo), went through the ring three times, improving from $80,000 as a weanling to $750,000 as a 2-year-old. Twenty-six horses never went through an auction ring (according to Equineline) and are still at least co-owned by their breeder while one went through a ring and sold but is also still co-owned by his breeder, two RNAed at sales and 10 were bought privately without ever going through a ring. A few were sold recently as broodmare/race prospects (Songbird and Stellar Wind two prime examples) but their prices at the November sales were not calculated in.

By the State – Horses born in seven different countries won Grade 1 races in North America this year. Of the 72 born in the U.S., 63 were born in Kentucky, three in Florida, two in Pennsylvania, one in Louisiana, one in New Jersey, one in New York, one in Oklahoma and one in Virginia. On the world stage, one was born in Argentina, one in Brazil, three in Canada (all Ontario), one in Chile, one in France, three in England and five in Ireland.

Sire Locations – Fifty-seven different stallions sired the winners of the 112 Grade 1 races in 2017. The 51 still active sires stand in 12 different countries and four different U.S. states. After the U.S., Ireland and South Korea are tied with four sires each. While all four of the Irish stallions have winners as the result of their runners being sent to the U.S. (even if just for one race), all four South Korean stallions were sold to the country before their 2017 Grade 1 winner had won. Grade 1 producing sires are also located in Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Japan, Peru, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

Colonel John now stands in South Korea
Medaglia d’Oro – It was a year of epic proportions for Darley’s Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado) in 2017 with seven of his runners winning a combined 10 Grade 1 races in the U.S. The stallion, who will stand for $250,000 in 2017, had winners on both dirt and turf ranging from seven furlongs to 1 ½ miles. The stallion’s Grade 1 winners were split between the two sexes with three won by colts and seven by fillies or mares with the biggest victories .coming in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and Breeders' Cup Turf.

Candy Ride – While helped quite a bit by Gun Runner, Candy Ride (Ride the Rails) had two other Grade 1 winners helping take his total Grade 1 count on the year to six, the second highest of any stallion in the U.S. His winners won anywhere from one mile (2-year-old filly Separationofpowers) on the dirt to 1 ¼ miles on both dirt and turf (Gun Runner and Ascend). Candy Ride stands for $80,000 in 2018 at Lane’s End as the No. 1 active sire in the U.S. in 2017.

Lane’s End – Lane’s End Farm leads all stallions farms by Grade 1s won by their stallions this year with 19 Grade 1 races. They also stood Curlin when his four 2017 Grade 1 winners were conceived, taking their overall total up to 23 Grade 1 races. Of the seven stallions responsible for their Grade 1 haul, four still stand at the farm.

Stallion Ages – The stallions (still alive) who sired Grade 1 winners in 2017 vary in age from eight (Bodemeister and Union Rags) to 24 (Northern Afleet) with the average sitting at 14.5 years of age. Eight of the sires are 10 years or younger, 23 are in the 11 to 15 range, 12 are 16 to 19 and seven are 20 or older. Northern Afleet (Afleet) is also the oldest active stallion, standing for $5,000 in 2018 after siring two Grade 1 winners (Denman’s Call with one Grade 1 and World Approval with three) in 2017.

Northern Afleet is the oldest of the sires on the list.
Dams – Eighty-nine different mares produced Grade 1 winners in North America in 2017 with no mare having more than one Grade 1 winner on the year. The mares averaged 13.26 years of age in 2017 with the youngest being eight (eight mares) and the oldest 25 (Win Approval). Twenty five mares were 10 or younger, 40 were 11 to 15, 16 were 16 to 19 and six over 20.

Leslie’s Lady – It was a big year for the 21-year-old Leslie’s Lady, who produced Grade 1 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) in addition to her son Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) siring Grade 1 winner Practical Joke. The mare has produced three Grade 1 winners overall in her career thanks to Mendelssohn’s exploits with Beholder (Henny Hughes) and Into Mischief making up the other two. Overall, Leslie’s Lady is the dam or granddam of five stakes horses. She had a Medaglia d’Oro colt in 2017 and was bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) in 2018.

Damsires – Sixty-eight different broodmare sires were represented with North American Grade 1 winners in 2017 with Distorted Humor (Forty Niner) siring the dams of four Grade 1 winners for six Grade 1 wins overall, tying with Giant Causeway’s (Storm Cat) three Grade 1 winners giving him six wins. Others who had more than one Grade 1 winner are A.P. Indy (three winners for four wins), Deputy Minister (2,4), Dixie Union (2,2), Dynafomer (2,2), Ghostzapper (2,2), Honour and Glory (2, 3), Horse Chestnut (2,2), Lemon Drop Kid (3, 4), Malibu Moon (3, 5), Singspiel (2, 2) and Unbridled’s Song (2, 3).

Distorted Humor
Sires As Damsires – Making sure their names were on both sides of the list, Arch (Kris S.), Bernardini (A.P. Indy), Candy Ride (Ride the Rails), Ghostzapper (Awesome Again), Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo), Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy), Tiznow (Cee’s Tizzy), and Unbridled’s Song (Unbridled) all were both the sires of Grade 1 winners in addition to being the damsire of Grade 1 winners this year. Of those eight, six are still standing at stud in 2018.

Damsires and Grandsires – A.P. Indy (Seattle Slew), Chester House (Mr. Prospector), Distorted Humor, Dixie Union (Dixieland Band), Elusive Quality (Gone West), Empire Maker (Unbridled), Giant’s Causeway, Honour and Glory (Relaunch), In Excess (Siberian Express), Johannesburg (Hennessy), Street Cry (Machiavellian), Tale of the Cat (Storm Cat), Tiznow, and Unbridled’s Song all played double duty on the list with both their sons and daughters having Grade 1 winners this year. Of the 14 stallions on this list, seven are still available to breeders though two are outside North America.


2017 U.S. Grade 1 Winners


Race
Horse
Sire
Dam
Acorn
Abel Tasman
Quality Road
Vargas Girl
Alabama
Elate
Medaglia d'Oro
Cheery
Alcibiades
Heavenly Love
Malibu Moon
Darling My Darling
Alfred G Vanderbilt
El Deal
Munnings
Spirit of Wailea
American Oaks
Daddy's Lil Darling
Scat Daddy
Miss Hot Salsa
Apple Blossom
Stellar Wind
Curlin
Evening Star
Arkansas Derby
Classic Empire
Pioneerof the Nile
Sambuca Classica
Arlington Million
Beach Patrol
Lemon Drop Kid
Bashful Bertie
Ashland
Sailor's Valentine
Mizzen Mast
Sortilege
Awesome Again
Mubtaahij
Dubawi
Pennegale
Ballerina
By the Moon
Indian Charlie
By the Light
Beholder Mile
Stellar Wind
Curlin
Evening Star
Beldame
Elate
Medaglia d'Oro
Cheery
Belmont
Tapwrit
Tapit
Appealing Zophie
Belmont Derby
Oscar Performance
Kitten's Joy
Devine Actress
Belmont Oaks
New Money Honey
Medaglia d'Oro
Weekend Whim
Beverly D
Dacita
Scat Daddy
Daja
Bing Crosby
Ransom the Moon
Malibu Moon
Count to Three
Breeders' Cup Classic
Gun Runner
Candy Ride
Quiet Giant
Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile
Battle of Midway
Smart Strike
Rigoletta
Breeders' Cup Distaff
Forever Unbridled
Unbridled's Song
Lemons Forever
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint
Bar of Gold
Medaglia d'Oro
Khancord Kid
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Wuheida
Dubawi
Hibaayeb
Breeders' Cup Juvie
Good Magic
Curlin
Glinda the Good
Breeders' Cup Juvie Fillies
Caledonia Road
Quality Road
Come a Callin
Breeders' Cup Juvie Fillies Turf
Rushing Fall
More Than Ready
Autumnal
Breeders' Cup Juvie Turf
Mendelssohn
Scat Daddy
Leslie's Lady
Breeders' Cup Mile
World Approval
Northern Afleet
Win Approval
Breeders' Cup Sprint
Roy H
More Than Ready
Elusive Diva
Breeders' Cup Turf
Talismanic
Medaglia d'Oro
Magic Mission
Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint
Stormy Liberal
Stormy Atlantic
Vassar
Canadian International
Bullards Alley
Flower Alley
Flower Forest
Carter
Green Gratto
Here's Zealous
Starship Smokester
Cash Call Futurity
McKinzie
Street Sense
Runway Model
Champagne
Firenze Fire
Poseidon's Warrior
My Every Wish
Chandelier
Moonshine Memories
Malibu Moon
Unenchantedevening
Cigar Mile
Sharp Azteca
Freud
So Sharp
Claiborne Breeders' Futurity
Free Drop Billy
Union Rags
Trensa
Clark
Seeking the Soul
Perfect Soul
Seeking the Title
Clement L Hirsch
Stellar Wind
Curlin
Evening Star
Coaching Club American Oaks
Abel Tasman
Quality Road
Vargas Girl
Cotillion
It Tiz Well
Arch
It Tiz
Del Mar Debutante
Moonshine Memories
Malibu Moon
Unenchantedevening
Del Mar Futurity
Bolt d'Oro
Medaglia d'Oro
Globe Trot
Del Mar Oaks
Dream Dancing
Tapit
To Dream About
Delaware Handicap
Songbird
Medaglia d'Oro
Ivanavinalot
Diana
Lady Eli
Divine Park
Sacre Coeur
EP Taylor
Blond Me
Tamayuz
Holda
First Lady
Zipessa
City Zip
Precious Princess
Florida Derby
Always Dreaming
Bodemeister
Above Perfection
Flower Bowl
War Flag
War Front
Black Speck
Forego
Drefong
Gio Ponti
Eltimaas
Fourstardave
World Approval
Northern Afleet
Win Approval
Frank E. Kilroe Mile
Bal a Bali
Put It Back
In My Side
Frizette
Separationofpowers
Candy Ride
Shehadmefromhello
FrontRunner
Bolt d'Oro
Medaglia d'Oro
Globe Trot
Gamely
Lady Eli
Divine Park
Sacre Coeur
Gold Cup
Cupid
Tapit
Pretty 'n Smart
Gulfstream Park Turf
Almanaar (GB)
Dubawi
Baqah
H. Allen Jerkens
Practical Joke
Into Mischief
Halo Humor
Haskell
Girvin
Tale of Ekati
Catch the Moon
Hollywood Derby
Mo Town
Uncle Mo
Grazie Mille
Hopeful
Sporting Chance
Tiznow
Wynning Ride
Humana Distaff
Paulassilverlining
Ghostzapper
Seeking the Silver
Jenny Wiley
Dickinson
Medaglia d'Oro
Little Belle
Jockey Club Gold Cup
Diversify
Bellamy Road
Rule One
Joe Hirsch
Beach Patrol
Lemon Drop Kid
Bashful Bertie
Just a Game
Antonoe
First Defence
Ixora
Kentucky Derby
Always Dreaming
Bodemeister
Above Perfection
Kentucky Oaks
Abel Tasman
Quality Road
Vargas Girl
La Brea
Unique Bella
Tapit
Unrivaled Belle
La Troienne
Big World
Custom for Carlos
Tensas Wedding Joy
Madison
Paulassilverlining
Ghostzapper
Seeking the Silver
Maker's 46
American Patriot
War Front
Life Well Lived
Malibu
City of Light
Quality Road
Paris Notion
Man O' War
Zhukova
Fastnet Rock
Nighttime
Manhattan Stakes
Ascend
Candy Ride
Ghost Dancing
Matriarch
Off Limits
Mastercraftsman
Ravish
Met Mile
Mor Spirit
Eskendereya
Im a Dixie Girl
Natalma
Capla Temptress
Lope de Vega
Mrs Beeton
Northern Dancer
Johnny Bear
English Channel
In Return
Ogden Phipps
Songbird
Medaglia d'Oro
Ivanavinalot
Pacific Classic
Collected
City Zip
Helena Bay
Pegasus
Arrogate
Unbridled's Song
Bubbler
Penn Derby
West Coast
Flatter
Caressing
Personal Ensign
Forever Unbridled
Unbridled's Song
Lemons Forever
Preakness
Cloud Computing
Maclean's Music
Quick Temper
Queen Elizabeth II
La Coronel
Colonel John
Listen
Rodeo Drive
Avenge
War Front
Lerici
Santa Anita Derby
Gormley
Malibu Moon
Race to Urga
Santa Anita Handicap
Shaman Ghost
Ghostzapper
Getback Time
Santa Anita Oaks
Paradise Woods
Union Rags
Wild Forest
Santa Anita Sprint Champ
Roy H
More Than Ready
Elusive Diva
Santa Margarita
Vale Dori
Asiatic Boy
Valerina
Secretariat
Oscar Performance
Kitten's Joy
Devine Actress
Shadwell Turf Mile
Suedois
Le Havre
Cup Cake
Shoemaker Mile
Bal a Bali
Put It Back
In My Side
Spinaway
Lady Ivanka
Tiz Wonderful
Lady Leftennant
Spinster
Romantic Vision
Lemon Drop Kid
Perfect for You
Starlet
Dream Tree
Uncle Mo
Afleet Maggi
Stephen Foster
Gun Runner
Candy Ride
Quiet Giant
Sword Dancer
Sadler's Joy
Kitten's Joy
Dynaire
Test
American Gal
Concord Point
American Story
Travers
West Coast
Flatter
Caressing
Triple Bend
Denman's Call
Northern Afleet
Maggie McGowan
United Nations
Bigger Picture
Badge of Silver
Glory Dancer
Vosburgh
Takaful
Bernardini
Sablah
Whitney
Gun Runner
Candy Ride
Quiet Giant
Woodbine Mile
World Approval
Northern Afleet
Win Approval
Woodford Reserve
Divisidero
Kitten's Joy
Madame Du Lac
Woodward
Gun Runner
Candy Ride
Quiet Giant
Zenyatta
Paradise Woods
Union Rags
Wild Forest