Today, we begin a series where we ask agents and others who book a lot of mares for their clients which sires might be flying slightly under the radar in this breeding season. Who might be getting overlooked in the rush for the new, hot thing? Read on.
Clark Shepherd, Shepherd Equine Advisers: TONALIST — Lane's End Farm, $15,000
When I analyze matings for my clients, I try to stay commercial, but first and foremost, I want to design a racehorse. I make a list of OPTIMAL Matings from my overall analysis, then drop back and ask what makes sense physically, then what makes sense commercially.
I focus mainly on the $15,000-plus seasons for built-in commercial perception. If asked this same question last year, I would have said Blame. I supported him from the beginning, and to get to him last year for $12,500 was a blessing. Now, it's hard to get a mare to him. I have also strongly supported stallions like Violence in a similar way from the start.
In doing upwards of 100 matings per year, you start to see a lot of patterns. Every year a new sire has a pedigree structure that tends to accommodate a broad base of mares. This is almost always a strong indicator of a potential racehorse sire. I like to support this type of stallion in the beginning and even through his “off” years prior to his progeny hitting the track. This approach has proved to be very rewarding. Real results end up creating commercial success even if it wasn't necessarily perceived that way in the beginning.
This year, I'd have to say Tonalist fits the same profile of sire potential and great value. I've been a heavy supporter of Tonalist from day one. I've already booked mares this year to him. He's come down the ladder as far as stud fee, and he seems to accomodate all kinds of mares, both physically and by pedigree structure. I've been able to back up my initial impression with what my clients' mares have produced and what I've seen at the sales, not to mention his good sales averages. They might not be 2-year-olds winning at Keeneland in April; they may take a little time, but they're going to be good horses.