By Bill Oppenheim
We've always taken the view that 'value sires' are to some degree a matter of opinion, and we value the opinions of our readers, who are a knowledgeable community (else why would you be reading TDN?). So please let us know of any sires in NA or Europe, standing for 40,000 or under, which you feel we've missed out in the last two columns, and we will include them with next week's essay. In the US, we have not one but two judges who have mentioned the first foals by WinStar's Fed Biz ($10,000), a son of Giant's Causeway who won three Grade II races for owner Kaleem Shah and trainer Bob Baffert: the 1 1/16m. San Fernando S. on the dirt at Santa Anita; and the seven-furlong Pat O'Brien S. and 1 1/16m. San Diego H. on the synthetic at Del Mar. But what really has the judges excited are the foals they are seeing from his first crop. He had 20 sell of 22 offered (91%, a tip in itself) at the November sales, for an average of $65,200 (0ver 5x his entering stud fee of $12,500), and a median of $48,500 (almost 4x). One of the judges we heard from is a pinhooker, another represents primarily end-users; but to get two independent reports with the same message, with no prompting whatsoever – you could do worse than take the hint. For 100% certain he is throwing foals at least two of the experts like.
An advocate for Congrats points out that he and California Chrome's sire Lucky Pulpit are the only sires in the top 20 on the North American General Sire List (worldwide earnings – click here) which stand for under $40,000. This is absolutely the case, and since Congrats stands for $20,000 that does qualify as very good value. Moreover, it's worth mentioning that Congrats did not arrive in Kentucky from Florida until the 2011 breeding season, which means his first Kentucky foals are just 4-year-olds of 2016. His 157 winners this year ranks him among the top five in that category, too.