Who Will Be This Year's Leading Freshman Sire? We've Asked the Experts

McKinzie | Sarah Andrew

By

It's that time again. The first major 2-year-old sale, the March OBS sale, is in the books and the buyers, sellers and bloodstock agents have had their chance to evaluate this year's freshman sires. So who do they like? We asked the experts listed below to give us their pick for leading freshman sire and an under-the-radar stallion they expect will have a big 2024.

Liz Crow: “I really liked the Improbables (WinStar) at the OBS March breeze show. It's very sad that he passed away. I thought he had, overall, the most impressive breeze show. That doesn't always indicate who's going to be the leading freshman sire, but I have found in the past that it's a good model that tells you the horse is going in the right direction and that they have some 2-year-old speed. Overall, I was very impressed with his horses. Volatile (Three Chimneys) is my sleeper pick. He had, overall, a good breeze show as well. And he bred a lot of mares, something around 180. I landed on quite a few of them that had nice works and he was speedy himself and, being by Violence, comes from a good line of 2-year-olds. With the number of mares he had and with the solid breeze show he had I rank him high on the list.”

Phil Hager: “In terms of the quality that I've seen so far it's a toss-up between Authentic (Spendthrift) and McKinzie (Gainesway). A lot of the Authentics I have seen look really nice. Some look like they could be early, but a lot of them look like horses that can go on and go two turns. The McKinzies look like they might develop a little later in the year, but they seem to have a lot of quality. Both were well supported and will go to a lot of good trainers. My sleeper is Caracaro (Crestwood). That horse could run. I used to work at Crestwood, so I knew the horse's story. He had quite a few that worked really well at the March sale. I don't know if that was a surprise, but they were consistent.”

Mike McMahon: “McKinzie is my pick. I've owned three or four already. Not only were they in demand at the sales but they were all good-looking horses. I haven't had a bad one yet. The one we bought to go racing with, if all is right, he will be pretty exceptional. I feel like I have a good group of McKinzies and have a good feel for them. His 2-year-olds breezed just as well as they were supposed to.  My sleeper is Vekoma (Spendthrift). It's a tough choice because I like several stallions that stand for $10,000 or less and are real bargains. Vekoma has the speed to be a sire, the sire line and the pedigree. I've loved the ones we have been around.”

Jon Green: “I was most impressed with the Improbables. His passing is unfortunate. He had a couple of horses who were on our short list for the 2-year-old sale and last year we saw 10 to 12 of his yearlings that we liked at the yearling sales. I think he will be an outstanding freshman sire. The sleeper is Tom's d'Etat (WinStar). We bought two of his yearlings and I got outbid on one at the March sale. He won't be a juvenile stallion that throws precocious 2-year-olds. Just like him, as they get older. I think you'll see them hitting the winner's circle in graded stakes. They will get better with age.”

Conor Foley: Based on what I saw at the OBS sale, my pick for leading freshman sire would be Tiz the Law (Coolmore). They breezed well enough as a group and I thought they all had a lot of race-horse characteristics to them. Horses can breeze fast, but you still have to ask yourself the question, are they going to go on to be good race horses? They had that look to me. For my sleeper pick, I was impressed by the horses by Thousand Words (Spendthrift).”

Zoe Cadman: “Volatile is my pick for leading freshman sire. Like last year's freshman sire Mitole, Volatile was also brilliantly fast and trained by one of the masters of the game in Steve Asmussen. How he ever paid $20 to win on debut is just beyond me. He was brilliantly fast and being out of an Unbridled's Song mare I see no reason why his babies won't go two turns . They made a great showing at the recently concluded OBS 2-year-old sales showing not only class, which is so important, but also some stretch and athleticism. Marette Farrell, who I work closely with at the sales, scooped one up out of the Lothenbach dispersal who we absolutely love. My under-the-radar pick was going to be Vekoma. But his 2-year-olds are no longer a secret. The were incredibly well received at both the yearling sales and at OBS March. The Farrell team bid on and secured several. So, I'm going with Complexity (Airdrie) who stands for $12,500 at Airdrie Stud, as my sleeper. He has it all. He was a Grade I winner at two and also the Kelso winner at four. His 2-year-olds looked great skipping over the OBS surface and I am looking forward to seeing them hit the racetrack soon.”

Mark Casse: “I have to go with War of Will (Claiborne), who I trained. I have something like 20 of his offspring and they're training very well.  They're going to be very versatile. He was a versatile horse who could run on dirt or grass. My sleeper is Win Win Win (Ocala Stud). The horses by him have been very impressive on the track.”

David Ingordo: “I have to go with Game Winner (Lane's End). He was 2-year-old champion and he got a good book of mares. They look the part. We got a bunch of them that we bought to race that act precocious, but also high class, not cheap. He's my No. 1 pick. My sleeper is Honor A. P. (Lane's End). I don't think they'll win going 4 1/2 furlongs by any means, but you have the A.P. Indy line that is not Tapit. He was precocious enough, but I think he'll be a source of Classic type blood. I can see him getting a horse in the Breeders' Cup Classic or, earlier on, him getting a 2-year-old in races like the American Pharoah and the Breeders' Futurity.”

Terry Finley: We have a couple of Game Winners we like and I know people liked him in Ocala. The McKinzies look like they have a lot of quality to them. I was very impressed with him at the yearling sales and at Ocala, where they sold well. He's got a good shot to come up with a big one and a horse who is going to slant those stats. I like them both but I'll go with Game Winner as my top pick and McKinzie as my sleeper.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Bob Baffert Joins TDN Writers' Room Podcast
  2. Volatile Filly, Authentic Colt Earn Tuesday Bullets in Timonium
  3. West Memorial Becomes First Winner for Freshman Sire Caracaro with Kentucky Juvenile Upset
  4. DeVaux, Ingordo Join BLC's Purses for a Purpose
  5. Thursday's Insights: Miss Makenna A First Runner For Authentic
X

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.