Value Sires, Part VI: Earning their Stripes

This can be a terrifying business. Here we are, for the first time in this series, assessing stallions that have at least put some sophomores through the starting gate. And already, commercially, the game appears to be up for many. So much so, in fact, that to give adequate competitive depth to our value podium, we're going to combine the consecutive intakes who were in 2021 respectively contesting the second- and third-crop championships. Here's just one example of how ruthless the market is. I won't name the stallion, because he...

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Record-Setting June Sale Concludes

OCALA, FL - The three-day Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's June Sale of 2-Year-Olds more than bounced back from its 2020 pandemic-induced lull, ending Friday with its highest-ever gross and average and with a record-tying median. In all, 560 juveniles grossed $24,492,950 for an average of $43,737--besting the previous record figures of $23,475,500 and $39,722, respectively, set in 2015. The cumulative median was $20,000. With 125 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 18.2%. "The June sale is all grown up now," said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. "I...

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Country Grammer Makes West Coast Debut for Baffert

After bringing $110,000 from WinStar Farm at the Keeneland January dispersal of the late Paul Pompa, Jr., Country Grammer (Tonalist) makes his first start for Bob Baffert in Saturday's GII Californian S. at Santa Anita. Previously trained by Chad Brown, Country Grammer narrowly captured last summer's GIII Peter Pan S. at Saratoga with subsequent G1 Dubai World Cup winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) back in third. The $450,000 OBS April 2-year-old, last seen finishing a well-beaten fifth in the GI Runhappy Travers S. Aug. 8, worked five...

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Kentucky Sires for 2021: Third-Crop Sires, Part II

This is the second half of the latest instalment in our ongoing series examining stallion options for the new breeding season, featuring sires about to launch their third crop of juveniles. The first part, dealing with the likes of American Pharoah and Constitution, can be read here.  We wrapped up yesterday with the first two of three horses retired to Lane's End after filling the frame in an epic race for the GI Whitney S. in 2015. The third, Tonalist (Tapit--Settling Mist, by Pleasant Colony), has somehow always seemed to...

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Tonalist's Shape Foregoes Lilies for CT Oaks

Dual graded winner Tonalist's Shape (Tonalist) bypassed the Sept. 4 GI Kentucky Oaks in favor of running in Friday's GIII Charles Town Oaks. Victorious in the GIII Forward Gal S. and GII Davona Dale S. in February at Gulfstream, the chestnut was off the board as the favorite behind leading Oaks contender Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) in the GII Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks Mar. 28. Returning to winning ways in Hollywood Wildcat S. in Hallandale May 15, she was fourth last time in the nine-panel GI CCA Oaks in Saratoga July...

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Omega to Alpha, A Breeder Who Knows Horses Inside Out

If anything, you would think it the very last thing that might appeal to one who has spent decades acquainting himself, at viscerally close quarters, with all the things that can go wrong with a Thoroughbred. Yet here he is, sharing the same vicissitudes as those clients for whom--weighing the ups and downs of their trade--his veterinary skills so long served as a vital fulcrum. As one of the original partners of the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Dr. Scott Pierce could scarcely have gone into breeding with fewer illusions....

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Tonalist's Country Grammer Delivers Game Peter Pan Victory

Paul Pompa's Country Grammer (Tonalist) was ultra-game in securing his first black-type score in the rescheduled and relocated GIII Peter Pan S. on Saratoga's opening day Thursday. Saving ground in fourth, the 4-1 shot sat a few lengths off the longshot pacesetter Mo Hawk (Uncle Mo) through a :23.24 opening quarter and closed the gap a bit, moving into third as the half went in :48.13. The bay inched up the fence as 22-1 shot Celtic Striker (Congrats) ranged up outside the leader with Caracaro (Uncle Mo) hot on his...

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Honor A.P. Cracks the Genetic Code

If someone new to our business asked you to pick a single race in 2015 that might explain the passion that consumes us, you probably wouldn't pick the processional exhibitions of a first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. You'd show them the GI Whitney S. In a summer when hardly anyone will be able to renew the Saratoga pilgrimage, you may find the jolt of nostalgia too poignant to revisit the video yourself. But gosh, that was a horserace. Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song), flying just that fraction too close...

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Marketing Entrepreneur Turned Horsewoman Hits the Mark With Sabana Farms

Just under a decade ago, Migdaly Serra was busy building up her marketing and human resource company in Venezuela. The successful businesswoman and entrepreneur knew next to nothing about Thoroughbred horse racing. But Serra caught the horseracing bug, and in just a short time became not only a successful farm owner and manager, but also the breeder of last year's GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run (Hard Spun), as well as Tonalist's Shape (Tonalist), a leading 3-year-old filly in 2020. A native of Venezuela, Serra graduated with...

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Clement Scaling the Heights in 2020

Trainer Christophe Clement has been a familiar face on the racing scene for the last three decades and 2020 looks to be a banner year for the French-born horseman, who is on the verge of collecting his 2000th career victory, and also features among finalists for the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame's 2020 inductions. "Well, you don't really wake up in the morning thinking 'I'm going to win 2000 races'," admitted the 55-year-old native of Paris. "You just wake up in the morning thinking, 'let's do the best...

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Tonalist Filly Remains Unbeaten

The 70 Beyer Speed figure Tonalist's Shape earned last time for her GIII Forward Gal S. score might have scared some bettors off of her and onto 'TDN Rising Star' Spice is Nice--who earned an 84 Beyer for her head-turning 12-length debut romp--but the Saffie Joseph, Jr. pupil proved plenty fast as she upped her record to five-for-five and continued her march towards the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks. A 19-1 debut winner for Juan Avila and Sabana Racing Stable Corp sprinting here last September, Tonalist's Shape was subsequently sold privately...

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Kentucky Value Sires 2020, Part V: First 3-Year-Olds

After surveying the four intakes since, each still safely immune from judgement on the track itself, today we finally reach the first group of stallions who have actually tested their ability to replicate the talent that first earned them--however marginally, in some cases--a place at stud. Their first juveniles, last year, at least permitted some initial response to any erosion of their reputations, through the notoriously jittery and impressionable consensus of the yearling market. Yet there are few more instructive indices of the odds against them than the contrast between...

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