It's always among the key questions on everyone's mind as 2-year-olds begin racing when Keeneland opens in April and the first-year sires have their first chance to show off their progeny. In this ongoing series, we have sought the opinion of several top judges as to who will be on top of the podium when 2019 is in the books.
MIKE RYAN, Owner, Breeder, Bloodstock Agent
“You have to remember that who I think is going to be the best overall sire and who do I think is going to be the top freshman sire are two entirely different things. I think Liam's Map could be the leading freshman sire. The Liam's Maps are going to be more precocious and I have seen a number that I really like. I don't think they'll be limited to sprinting. I think they will be summer 2 year-olds, but I don't think they will be limited to summer 2 year-old stakes. I think they will stretch out, as well, like he did. He will have more starters than American Pharoah and Honor Code because I think they'll be a little sharper and a little more precocious.
I love American Pharoah and when it's all said and done I think he will be the best sire among this group. I am also high on Honor Code. With Pharoah, I was very impressed by his yearlings. I'm impressed by the ones I've seen down here at the training centers. I agree with Eddie Woods. I don't think they will be sprinters, although Niall Brennan and myself have a Pharoah filly who is very fast. I like the way they move. I like the way they handle their training. They do it with ease and they have a lot of class. I would expect to see some of them run when the races stretch out to 6 ½ and 7 furlongs. I think you'll see more of them run in September and October when we're talking a mile and beyond. They're going to excel when they go two turns. At the same time, I do expect to see some summer 2 year-olds. I expect to see some of them show up at Saratoga and Del Mar. I am extremely impressed with him as a potential sire. I am impressed to the point where I am breeding two mares to him this year.”