By Bill Oppenheim
Well, they should be the top two, shouldn't they, since they are the most expensive stallions, respectively, in Europe and North America, although Darley's Dubawi, now at £250,000, is marginally more expensive than Gainesway's Tapit, at $300,000. In 2015, Tapit gave Coolmore's world number one, Galileo, a real scare in terms of the numbers of 2015 A Runners and 2015 ABC Runners each produced: Galileo sired 28 A Runners and 61 ABC Runners in 2015; Tapit sired 26 and 60. Last year, Galileo reinforced the gap between himself and the rest of the world of North American and European sires by siring 36 A Runners in 2016, far clear of Tapit (22) and Dubawi (20), in second and third respectively. But Tapit also sired nine B Runners and 28 C Runners, for a total of 59 ABC Runners, which actually put him ahead of Galileo, who had 10 B Runners but just 11 C Runners, for a total of 57 ABC Runners by Galileo in 2016. So if it seems like every time you turn around there's another Tapit on the scene in North American racing, there probably is: 19.4% of his 2016 runners (59/305) were ABC Runners, versus 16.4% for Galileo (57/346). However, over 10% of Galileo's 2016 starters were A Runners (that's a 2016 A Runner Index over 5.00), whereas Tapit and Dubawi checked in around 7%. Dubawi was also third by number of 2016 ABC Runners, with 48.
A total of 21 NA/EU sires had 30 or more ABC Runners in 2016; we keep specifying NA/EU because Japan's Deep Impact sired 47 A Runners and 114 ABC Runners last year, and King Kamehameha sired 33 A Runners and 95 ABC Runners; but Japan works differently than North America and Europe, so they're not really comparable. In North America and Europe, besides the top three of Galileo (36), Tapit (22), and Dubawi (20), three sires tied with 18 A Runners each in 2016: Darley's Medaglia d'Oro; Claiborne's War Front; and Coolmore Ashford's Uncle Mo, with just his first 3-year-olds–no wonder he tops even Galileo and War Front with his 5.09 A Runner Index. Ramsey Farm's Kitten's Joy had 17 A Runners last year, followed by Darley's Bernadini and Ireland's Morristown Stud's Dark Angel, with 15 each, and Ashford's veteran Giant's Causeway and Lane's End's deceased Smart Strike rounded out the top 10, tied with 14. Tapit (59), Galileo (57), and Dubawi (48) were also the top three by number of 2016 ABC Runners; Kitten's Joy (43) was fourth here, ahead of War Front (40). Medaglia d'Oro was tied for sixth with Bernardini and Hill 'n' Dale's Curlin, with 38, followed by Lane's End's City Zip and Uncle Mo, with 37 each. In a way, War Front is a big mover on this list; he has always been one of the three leaders by A Runner Index, but because he had so many fewer foals he never figured this high up in the lists by number of A Runners or ABC Runners. Once again we have to say all the backchat about War Front is very much, in our opinion, misplaced. His smallest crop of 55 foals were 3-year-olds of 2016 and still included Air Force Blue and Hit It A Bomb, and his 2-year-olds of 2016 ranked him number two to Into Mischief on the 2016 North American 2-Year-Old Sire List by earnings, and he was number one by 2-year-old Black-Type Winners (8), and 2-year-old Graded/Group winners (5). Oh, and yes, they train on: he was the leading North American sire by BTW of all ages (22) in 2016, one ahead of Tapit (21), plus he has a 5-year-old-plus ABC Age Rating of 3.02. Case closed; well, for us, anyway, if not for some segments of the commercial market.
Among F2012 NA-EU sires with their first 4-year-olds in 2016, seven sires had 18 or more 2016 ABC Runners, and were in pretty much the same positions by number of A Runners and ABC Runners. Lane's End's Quality Road was the leading NA-EU F2012 sires by both A Runners (8) and ABC Runners (24). Ireland's Ballylinch Stud's Lope De Vega was right behind him in both categories (7-23, also had 9 B Runners in 2016). Darley's Midshipman and Ashford's Munnings were tied for third with six A Runners and 20 ABC Runners; Eskendereya, who is now in Japan, also had 20 ABC Runners and was tied with Claiborne's Blame with five A Runners in 2016. Makfi, who stood in England, then France, and is also now in Japan, had 19 ABC Runners; Blame had 18.
Nine F2013 NA-EU sires, with their first 3-year-olds in 2016, had 10 or more 2016 ABC Runners. Uncle Mo, equal third nationally with 18 A Runners and in the top 10 nationally with 37 ABC Runners, is of course miles in front among F2013 sires. Lane's End's Twirling Candy and Coolmore Ireland's Zoffany had five A Runners each and were two-three by 2016 ABC Runners, Twirling Candy with 17 ABC Runners (7 B Runners) and Zoffany with 13 ABC Runners. Coolmore's Canford Cliffs and Spendthrift's 'sleeper' Tizway had four A Runners each; Florida's Double Diamond Farm's First Dude had three. These three each had 10 ABC Runners in 2016; Darley Kentucky's Girolamo and Spendthrift's Archarcharch had 11 (no A Runners, though), and Darley's Lonhro, a proven sire in Australia who did a couple of seasons in Kentucky, also had 10 2016 ABC Runners.
A total of 47 North American and European sires had 20 or more ABC Runners in 2016. Click here to see an alphabetical list of the 47 sires.