By Bill Oppenheim
The Coolmore team has been floating the idea for a few years now that Galileo (Ire) might be an even better sire than their 14-time British and Irish champion sire, Sadler's Wells. It's hard to know precisely how to assess this, since during his reign Sadler's Wells averaged around 100 foals per crop, significantly higher than his contemporaries, while Galileo's crops have averaged nearly 50% more than even Sadler's Wells's, which makes ratings based on percentages even harder to read. For sure the one area in which Galileo has proven to be even better than his sire is in producing top 2-year-olds. But essentially this is an historical debate; in the here and now, we've all run out of superlatives to describe Galileo's dominance among his contemporaries.
The APEX (Annual Progeny Earnings Index) sire ratings, as you know, are seven-year rolling calculations of sires' effectiveness at siring top 2% earners; as such, the more 'year-starters' (denoted as 'runners', though in this calculation a horse is a 'runner', or 'year-starter', every year [or, in the Southern Hemisphere, season] in which it runs). Among the 614 sires which qualify for Mid-Year 2017 APEX ratings (there are also
101 in Japan, for a total of 715 sires rated, a 38% drop from the 1,156 rated in 2007), Galileo had 2,029 year-starters, the highest of any sire in North America or Europe. The more runners they have, the harder it is to return top index ratings; yet Galileo has not only regained the top spot among 394 NA/EU APEX sires with 200+ year-starters 2011-2017 with a 4.73 A Runner Index, his rating has actually improved every time we've measured it in the last two years. At the end of 2015 he was the leading NA/EU sire with 200+ year-starters with a 4.09 A Runner Index, with Into Mischief (4.07) second, and War Front (3.89) third. As we've been noting all along, Into Mischief's 2014 crop was as big as his four previous crops combined, so his numbers were definitely going to fall; however, the fact that first big crop carried him to the 2016 2-year-old sire championship, and that he is still North America's leading 2014 crop sire, confirms Into Mischief really should be considered one of North America's elite stallions. His current A Runner Index of 2.84 now ranks him 13th among NA/EU sires by Mid-Year 2017 A Runner Index.
At the end of 2016, Galileo's A Runner Index had risen from 4.09 (which is 8.18% of 'runners'/year-starters) to 4.49 (which is 8.98%), though he was temporarily dislodged from the top spot by the usurper Uncle Mo, who registered a 5.09 A Runner Index (10.18% of runners) with his first two crops by the end of 2016. War Front (4.13) was again third. Now, for Mid-Year 2017, Galileo's A Runner Index has risen again, and he is back in the top spot, as noted, with a 4.73 A Runner Index. Uncle Mo (4.59) is second, War Front (4.15) third.
The top three sires are Coolmore-connected; they stand Galileo and Uncle Mo (at Ashford, in Kentucky), and have heavily used Claiborne-based War Front. The next two on the list are Darley's two top sires, Dubawi (Ire) (3.56), who is based at Dalham Hall in England, and Medaglia d'Oro (3.41), based at Darley's Kentucky arm, the old Jonabell. The objective of all sire lists is to identify 'class', so we'd note that the top 20 in a list of 394 is essentially the top 5%, and top 40 the top 10%. As you can see from the accompanying table, the rest of the top 20 NA/EU sires with 200+ year-starters, at this moment in time, include: Ghostzapper (3.21), Dansili (GB) (3.20), Sea the Stars (Ire) (3.18), the top Canadian sire Giant Gizmo (3.16), Lookin At Lucky (3.09 at this level, though still without a Grade I winner), Tapit (3.04), Paul Reddam's California-based Square Eddie (2.97), Into Mischief (2.84), Speightstown (2.71), another California sire, Vronsky (by Danzig, 2.70), Kitten's Joy (2.63), Smart Strike (2.57), Quality Road (2.50), Scat Daddy and Curlin (2.49 each).
We'll expand on these findings in ensuing columns but two other sires merit mentioning today: Japan's Deep Impact (Jpn), who since the beginning of 2011 has had 2,699 year-starters (385 a year) for 254 A Runners and an A Runner Index of 4.71; and the top F2014 sire (first 3-year-olds, therefore now rated for the first time), Frankel (GB), who debuts as an APEX sire with
13 A Runner performances from 114 year-starters, for an initial A Runner Index of 5.70. Obviously, if he keeps that up, he'll leap straight into the world top five, like Uncle Mo has done.
FASIG FIRST-YEAR SIRES: Though a relatively small sale, Fasig-Tipton's July Yearling Sale offers the first glimpse at the produce of sires making their yearling sales debuts. Airdrie's Cairo Prince, from the first crop by American Pharoah and Classic Empire's sire, PIoneerof The Nile, had all eight through the ring listed as sold, for an average of $141,875, topping first-year sires with two or more sold. Three Chimneys' Will Take Charge (Unbridled's Song) had just two sell, for an average of $137,500, inches ahead of Coolmore Ashford's Verrazano (More Than Ready), with three averaging $137,333. Three Chimneys' Strong Mandate (Tiznow) was another who made a strong showing, with four sold for an average of $123,000. WinStar's Fed Biz (Giant's Causeway) rounded out the top five first-year sires with six selling for an average of $86,667.