Taking Stock

Taking Stock: City of Light Stars at Keeneland

There are folks who sound like broken records when it comes to first-crop sires, complaining that breeders who use them and buyers purchasing those yearlings at auction are about as foolish as dunk-tank clowns. However, when one of those sires succeeds with his first 2-year-olds, those same people are usually the first to wax eloquent with platitudes, forgetting what they'd said earlier. That's human nature, I suppose. What they forget is that all sires start out with first crops, and there are people on the other end that wildcat for...

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Taking Stock: Gun Runner Flexes Candy Ride/Storm Cat Nick

Two sons of Candy Ride (Arg)--Gun Runner and Twirling Candy--were represented by three 2-year-old Grade l winners over the weekend, and do you know one thing they had in common? Each was produced by a Storm Cat-line mare. This affinity for the Storm Cat line was also an important feature of Candy Ride's own success, and breeders appear to be copying that formula with his sons. It's not surprising; it's something that usually happens when a stallion is successful with the females of another sire line, and this type of...

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Taking Stock: A Weekend to Remember

Everything that top-class racing should be was on display over the last weekend. The six Grade l races at Saratoga on Saturday featured most of the leading horses in each division except older dirt males, and as a group they didn't disappoint, did they? Nor did their trainers. One race after another was dramatically decided at or close to the wire, and some of the runners-ups, including the Steve Asmussen-trained Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow) in the Gl Runhappy Travers S. and the Todd Pletcher-conditioned Life is Good (Into Mischief) in the...

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Taking Stock: Kentucky Stud Farms Invested in Candy Ride Sons

Candy Ride (Arg), by Ride the Rails from Candy Girl (Arg), by Candy Stripes, came from Argentina, where he was a champion miler, and quickly established himself as both a high-class racehorse with a win in the Gl Pacific Classic and as a sire here in a similar way that Forli (Arg) and Lord At War (Arg) did before him. Make no mistake, it was quite a feat, because South American-bred racehorses, no matter how successful they are on the track in North America, most often whiff at stud in...

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Taking Stock: Amr Zedan Has Arrived

Three of the first four finishers in the Gl Kentucky Derby were owned by Middle Eastern entities. The beaten favorite in fourth, Essential Quality (Tapit), races for the global Godolphin operation of UAE's Sheikh Mohammed, whose recently deceased brother Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell had won the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks a day earlier with Malathaat (Curlin). The Derby runner-up, Mandaloun (Into Mischief), flies the famous green and pink silks of Juddmonte, whose longtime owner, Saudi businessman Prince Khalid Abdullah, passed away earlier this year but whose future rests with his eldest...

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Taking Stock: Breeders Robertson, Gonzalez Elevate Dialed In's Profile

Somewhere on the grounds of OBS on Tuesday, the two unacquainted men who bred Dialed In's (Mineshaft) only two Grade l winners to date--Gl Kentucky Derby-bound Get Her Number and Super Stock--quite likely passed each other unaware of the other in that random way of the universe that plays with degrees of separation. I assume this because I was on the phone with Phil Robertson, who co-bred Get Her Number with his wife Brenda, when Pedro "Pete" Gonzalez, the co-breeder of Super Stock with his grandson P.J. Gonzalez, phoned me....

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Taking Stock: Rock Your World is Bred For Any Surface

On Wednesday on Steve Byk's radio show "At the Races," while discussing the pedigree of Gl Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}), I mentioned that the undefeated colt is suited for dirt despite beginning his career successfully with two wins on grass. In fact, Rock Your World, who earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure on the main track, is bred to handle any surface and would probably be equally as adept on all-weather. Owned by Hronis Racing and Talla Racing and trained by John Sadler,...

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Taking Stock: Street Sense Poised for Big Years

"He's technically full," said Darley America sales manager Darren Fox the other day, discussing Gl Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}), who's standing this year for $60,000, down from $75,000 in 2020. "If you had a nice mare, there's a couple of spots that mares haven't been named yet. We keep him at around 140 mares. He was very hard to manage the demand, especially last year at 75, and he's 60 now, but that's because of overall market conditions. It wasn't a reflection of cooling off on...

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Taking Stock: Midnight Bourbon's American Lines

Throughout time, American bloodstock has been continually infused with new blood from other countries, just as a long history of immigration has made this country a melting pot of cultures. But these things come at some cost, don't they? What of the more or less original American sire and dam lines that have been subverted by the newer arrivals? Who's looking out for their interests as they get forgotten and cast aside? The Tiznow colt Midnight Bourbon, who is on the Gl Kentucky Derby trail after winning the Glll Lecomte...

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Fletcher Jones's Unusual Racing Legacy

Warmed by the fireplace, or perhaps by sipping yet another glass of a Santa Ynez vineyard's rich and full-bodied red, I was contemplating the new year and how it needs to be better than the fiasco that was 2020. The wine, by the way, was issued by a label called Westerly and named Fletcher's Red, and it happens to be the namesake of a man who burned a short but bright trajectory through horseracing. He's also had a positive impact on young people's lives in ways in which he could...

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Taking Stock: Performance vs. Stud Fee for the Small Owner-Breeder

By the time a stallion has established himself at stud, his fee is usually determined by performance, not the hype that surrounds new horses when they first enter stud. There are, of course, many ways to measure performance, including progeny earnings (which determines placement on the General Sires list), percent of black-type winners to named foals, quality of runners, number of Grade l winners, etc. There are seven thoroughly proven stallions that will stand for $150,000 or more in North America in 2021, and these elite horses--Into Mischief ($225,000), Tapit...

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Taking Stock: Fifth-Year Stallions and Brody's Cause

Much has been made lately in Kentucky on farms reducing stud fees in response to the blighted economy, but there's a group of stallions whose fees would have mostly dropped as a matter of course even in booming times. These are second- through fifth-year stallions; frequently, fees for horses entering their fifth season at stud as their first-crop runners turn three show particularly pronounced drops from their initial fees. A small commercial breeder contacted me the other day to discuss the reduced 2021 stud fee for a stallion whose first...

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