March 27th, 2014

Stroll is value

By Elaine Belval

The Claiborne sire Stroll is outstanding value for his stud fee.

Stroll is a G1 winner by sire of sires Pulpit (Sky Mesa, Tapit, etc.). His dam is the Graded stakes-placed 2YO Maid for Walking. She is also the dam of the SW and G1-placed Patrol. His second dam is the SW Stinging Nettle, by leading sire Sharpen Up.

A homebred for Claiborne, Stroll won a maiden race at Saratoga at two, won five of six starts at three (including the G2 Jamaica H.) and won the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic S. on the Kentucky Derby undercard at four. All told, his record was 7 wins from 16 starts and $795,091 in earnings. All his wins came on turf.

With his pedigree and race record, Stroll was a bargain, but as a turf horse he only attracted limited interest here  and soon found his way to Italy. His first book, foals of 2006, included Canadian Champion Van Lear Rose, winner of the prestigious Mazarine S. at Woodbine. That first crop of 37 foals ended with five SWs, two of them GSWs. It’s why he was repatriated.

His  small books in Italy included the SW Celticus. His first crop since returning to Claiborne is now 3YOs. It numbers just over 50 foals and includes SW Extrasexyhippzster, winner of the Miracle Wood S. at Laurel this year and the Don Rickles S. at Aqueduct last year. He is owned by Ed Hipps and the Kirwan Equine Group, was bred by Toni M. Kirwan and Edward Hipps, and is trained by Michael Trombetta. For a while the colt was on the Triple Crown trail..

This return US-bred crop (foals of 2011) also includes the 2YO SW Skylander Girl (winner of the My Dear S. run in July at Woodbine).  He also has three additional SP horses from this crop (including the second and third-place finishers in the Sywnford S. in Canada in 2013).  His average earnings per starter is a very solid $35,000.

Stroll has 29 2YOs of 2014 and just over 20 yearlings. In 2013, his yearlings averaged just over $33,000 (his median was $30,000). And his 2014 stud fee is just $5,000.

For breeders and buyers, Stroll can just be called a downright bargain.

March 10th, 2014

Closing Argument is an appealing LA sire

By Elaine Belval

Closing Report won the $100,000 Azalea S. at 7.5F at Delta Downs on Feb. 28 for her second stakes victory of 2014 and advertised what a great pick up her sire, Closing Argument, was for the burgeoning Louisiana stallion market. He moved to Louisiana for the 2011 breeding season and was the leading sire with $3.1 million in progeny earnings. He finished third in earnings in both 2012 and 2013 with $3.6 million and $2.99 million, respectively.
Closing Argument is off to a banner year again in 2014. For Louisiana breeders, he is an exceptional breed-back option. And he is a great value for all breeders looking for quality at a very reasonable price. In 2014, Closing Argument stands for $5,000 at Louisiana Stallion Station North.
Closing Report should continue to hawk the merits of her sire. She is owned by Stephen R. Brown, was bred by Brett A. Brinkman and Allen Chiasson, and is trained by Bret Calhoun. To date she has won four of five lifetime starts and has earned over $205,628. Before the Azalea, she’d won the $125,000 LA Bred Premier Night Starlet S. at the same track over the same distance.
Closing Report’s sire won or placed in eight of nine lifetime starts. Closing Argument won a maiden race at Saratoga and the NATC Futurity at two. At three, he won the G3 Holy Bull S. and finished a desperately close second in the G1 Kentucky Derby to Giacomo in 2005. As a two-year-old stakes winner who was put on the classics trail at three and was good enough to place in the Derby and run in the Preakness, his credentials are impeccable.
Closing Argument is one of the better racing sons of the solid sire Successful Appeal, who has 77% starters, 61% winners, and 8% SWs, including G1 winners J P’s gusto and Appealing Zophie, to his credit. This is the sire line of In reality through Valid Appeal.
Closing Argument himself sires 78% starters, 59% winners, and 5% SWs. His progeny have median earnings over $30,000. Aside from dual SW Closing Report, Closing Argument has two additional stakes horses in 2014, the Japanese GSP Little Gerda and Determinato (third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S.).
Closing Argument’s best runner is GSW and G1-placed Capital Account, an earner of $455,080. While Closing Argument sires mainly dirt runners, he has had winners on the artificial surfaces and turf. He has been successful siring two-year-old performers, and his progeny lean towards speed, with most of his progeny’s best wins coming at less than eight furlongs.

December 20th, 2013

Awesome Again…and again…and again

By Elaine Belval.

Awesome Again’s son Game on Dude won three G1 races and over $2 million in earnings in 2013 alone, but the Adena Springs sire is definitely about more than just Game on Dude. His son Oxbow became his first Classic winner when he won this year’s Preakness S., and that colt is now a contender for champion three-year-old — if he wins, he will be Awesome Again’s third Eclipse Award winner. Awesome Again has 10 SWs in 2013, four of them GSWs.

Awesome Again even sired the winners of two of Aqueduct’s New York-bred stakes races in November: Awesome Vision won the eight-furlong Move It Now S. for owner West Point Thoroughbreds, breeder Kaz Hill, Farm and Adena Springs and trainer Thomas Albertrani; and the two-year-old gelding So Lonesome won the eight-furlong (turf) Virgo Libra S. for owner Patricia Schuler, breeder Waterville Lake Stables Ltd., and trainer Thomas Bush.

Awesome Again was an incredibly talented racehorse for owner/breeder Frank Stronach. He won the Queen’s Plate and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic among his nine victories in 12 starts. He retired to stud for a strong $50,000 fee, and got over 70 named foals in his first crop, eight of which became SWs. One of those eight was Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, and another was the G1 winning two-year-old Toccet (Champagne S.).

His second crop of 70+ foals contained the GSWs Rumor Has It and Anew. His third crop, born in 2002, contained Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Wilko and Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Round Pond.

Awesome Again has not stopped siring quality. He has over 45 SWs, and almost 60% of them are Graded SWs. His GSWs have won from six furlongs (Anew – winner of the True North H.-G2) to 12 furlongs (Rumor Has It – Kentucky Cup Turf S.-G3). Approximately 10% of his SWs have won on turf and 10% have won on artificial surfaces. He has 13 G1 winners. And of course he is one of the better sires in Breeders’ Cup history, with four individual winners of three different races (Classic; Distaff, twice; and Juvenile).

As a sire of sires, Awesome Again’s son Ghostzapper has had very successful years in 2012 and 2013, and Awesome of Course is a leading young sire in Florida, having had very limited opportunity and still getting the likes of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Awesome Feather. Toccet is among the leading sires in Oklahoma, with over $1 million in progeny earnings again in 2013.

Awesome Again was recently named one of Dr. Roman’s dosage chef-de-races, in the Intermediate/Classic category.

Awesome Again stands at Adena Springs. His 2014 fee is $75,000.

December 20th, 2013

Indubitable Dubawi

By Elaine Belval.

The best racing last weekend was in Hong Kong, an exciting international exhibition that showcased four Group 1 races, including the 2000-meter (approximately 1 1/4-mile) Hong Kong Cup, which was won by the Hong Kong-based but British-bred Akeed Mofeed. Akeed Mofeed was bred by Rabbah Bloodstock and he is owned by Pan Sutong and trained by Richard Gibson.

Akeed Mofeed originally raced in Ireland, winning the Platinum S. (LR). He was sold to Pan Sutong (for a reported approximately $2.5 million), for whom he won the Hong Kong Derby before winning the Hong Kong Cup.

Akeed Mofeed is by Dubawi and out of a granddaughter of the great producer Whakilyric (dam of Classic winner Hernando and G1 winner Johann Quatz). Dubawi is a son of the top-class, prematurely deceased Dubai  and G1 Classic winner Zomaradah (by Deploy), meaning that he shares the female family of sires In the Wings and High-Rise.

Dubawi won the G1 National S. at the Curragh at two and returned to win the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas at three. He also finished several lengths behind Motivator in the G1 English Derby before winning the Prix Jacques Le Marois over eight furlongs in Deauville, finishing his career with a second behind Starcraft in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Newmarket.

Dubawi was a homebred for Darley (Godolphin) and he retired to Dalham Hall Stud in England at the end of his career. He has proved a more than able replacement for his sire, who left behind only one crop of foals.

Dubawi’s first foals raced in 2009 and included the Group stakes winning two-year-0lds Poet’s Voice (who would return at three to win the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot) and the speedy filly Sand Vixen (winner of the G2 Flying Childers S.).

Dubawi has over 60 SWs (an astonishing 14% SWs to foals, one of the  highest percentages in the world). Over 40 of those SWs are GSWs, including at least 10 G1 winners. Dubawi is probably best-known in North America as the sire of Dubawi Heights, winner of two G1 grass races in California in 2011.

Sons and daughters of Dubawi have won Group or Graded stakes races all over the world. Akeed Mofeed is not even Dubawi’s first G1 winner in Hong Kong — the great sprinter Lucky Nine (who raced as Luck or Design in Europe) won the G1 Hong Kong Sprint. Dubawi spent several years shuttling to Australia, where his best runner is G1 winner Secret Admirer.

Dubawi’s best runners perform on turf, but he has had several winners on the artificial surfaces, including Dubawi Gold who won two stakes on the all weather at Lingfield before going on to win the prestigious G2 Celebration Mile on turf at Goodwood. Hunter’s Light is a four-time all weather stakes winner — in Dubai, England, and Turkey. His wins in Dubai were in a G1 and a G2; he is also an Italian G1 winner on the turf.

Dubawi stands at Dalham Hall Stud in England, where his 2014 fee is £100,000.

November 26th, 2013

Power Broker has the potential

By Sid Fernando

When Claiborne’s Pulpit died unexpectedly last December at the age of 18, North America lost one of the strongest and most influential sons of A.P. Indy—the quintessentially classic domestic sire (148 SWs) who had carried on the legacy of his own sire, Seattle Slew (114 Sws), before being pensioned in 2011.

This year Pulpit is represented by 13 SWs and the earners of almost $6 million, and to date he’s responsible for 63 Sws, a number that will increase as his last few crops make it to the races.

More importantly, perhaps, is Pulpit’s own legacy as a sire maker. By A.P. Indy out of Preach, by Mr. Prospector, Pulpit is the sire of numerous successful young sires at various levels,  but all the way at the top is his son Tapit, who will stand for $150,000 at Gainesway in 2014 after covering mares the last two seasons at $125,000 live foal.

Tapit’s ascension to the elite ranks is notable because he entered stud duty for a fee of only $15,000 live foal. A winner of three of six starts, Tapit won the G3 Laurel Futurity at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at 2, and at 3 his only win came in the G1 Wood Memorial at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. All told, he earned $557,300.

In some ways, Tapit’s race record was similar to his sire’s. Pulpit also made only six starts, winning four races and earning $728,200—all on dirt. Like Tapit, Pulpit won only two stakes races, also at 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 miles—the G2 Fountain of Youth and the G2 Blue Grass. Unlike Tapit, he didn’t race at 2 or win a G1 race.

Power Broker

Pulpit’s son Power Broker, whose dam is the Wild Again SW Shop Again, will enter stud next year at Hill ‘n’ Dale for $10,000, and we are bullish on him for several reasons.

He, too, has similar racing form to Tapit and Pulpit. A winner of four of 10 starts, Power Broker won his first race in the G1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on dirt at 1 1/16 miles by six and a half lengths at 2. His only other stakes win came at 3 in the G2 Indiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. He also was second to the talented Verrazano in the G1 Haskell at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. In total, Power Broker earned $865,612 for owners Gary and Mary West.

Perhaps we’re partial to Power Broker as he was one of our highest-rated  ”Best of Sale” recommendations at the 2011 Keeneland September sale. Ben Glass, racing manager for the Wests, purchased the colt for $360,000 at the sale—the second-highest price of 21 auction yearlings for Pulpit that year.  This is the same sire-line cross, by the way, that had produced G1 winner Pyro (by Pulpit out of a Wild Again mare) and future G1 winner Joyful Victory (by Tapit out of a Wild Again mare). [Full disclosure: Ben Glass and the Wests are retained clients of ours].

Click here to see what Power Broker’s catalog page looked like then. Note that his dam was a half-sister to three stakes winners, including Power Broker’s closely related G2 winner and G1-placed Tapit colt Trappe Shot—now standing for $10,000 at Claiborne.

What this page doesn’t show, however, is the depth of Power Broker’s and Trappe Shot’s female family. Note here that Power Broker’s fourth dam is the blue hen Lady Be Good, a Phipps family homebred and the ancestress of a family that has produced outstanding stakes winners and sires around the world.

This family, in particular, has crossed well with the Seattle Slew-line, and aside from Power Broker and Trappe Shot, other representatives of Seattle Slew out of mares that trace to Lady Be Good include: G2 winner Sightseeing (by Pulpit); G3 winner Serious Spender (Seattle Slew); G1 winner Awe Inspiring (Slew o’ Gold); and G2 winner Recognizable (Seattle Slew).

Interesting to note, too, that the top broodmare sire Wavering Monarch is from this family, as is young sire Motivator, whose daughter Treve won the Arc this year.

Throw in that Power Broker is standing at the same farm that made Medaglia d’Oro and Candy Ride before those two were moved, and there’s as much to like about this colt’s chances at stud as there were his prospects on the track.

October 30th, 2013

Artie’s no shill

By Elaine Belval.

In 2013, it seems as if it has been Kitten’s Joy’s world and the rest of the stallion population is just living in it. However, another son of El Prado—Artie Schiller—has been making some noise in the last few weeks.

On September 14, in just her first start, My Conquestadory won the eight-furlong G2 Summer S. over colts on the turf at Woodbine for owner Conquest Stables, breeder Paul Tackett, and trainer Mark Casse. Two weeks later, on October 4, she was back, winning the G1 Alcibiades S. at Keeneland at 8.5 furlongs on the Polytrack. The undefeated filly is scheduled to contest the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 1.

The day after My Conquestadory won Keeneland’s flagship race for 2yo fillies, We Miss Artie won the same track’s major 2yo race, the G1 Breeders’ Futurity, for owner Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, breeder Richard Lister, and trainer Todd Pletcher. The colt has two wins and a second in four lifetime starts and is entered in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 2.

As if that weren’t enough, Miss Machiavelli won the eight-furlong (turf) Pike Place Dancer S. at Golden Gate Fields for owner Big Chief Racing, breeders Shane Doyle and Penny McCarthy, and trainer Keith Desormeaux on October 26. It was Miss Machiavelli’s second victory in four starts, after breaking her maiden on the Polytrack at Del Mar.

Earlier this summer, another two-year-old of Artie Schiller’s, Hop the Six, won the 5.5 furlong White Clay Creek S. at Delaware Park.

Artie Schiller has seven two-year-0ld winners in 2013, and four are stakes winners.

Artie Schiller was a precocious sort himself, winning two of five starts at two and finishing second in the Pilgrim S. At three, he won five of eight starts and set a course record in the nine-furlong, G2 Jamaica H. At four, he won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile, defeating champion Leroidesanimaux. In all, Artie Schiller won 10 of 22 starts and placed in eight others, earning over $2 million. He did everything but win a championship in his four seasons of racing.

Artie Schiller’s female family is one of the best in the business, tracing to the elite mare Frizette through the mare Legato. His dam Hidden Light won two G1s—the Santa Anita Oaks and Hollywood Oaks. This is also the family of Horse of the Year Ferdinand.

Artie Schiller went to stud in 2007 for a modest $15,000 and proved popular, with almost 100 named foals. His first crop included five SWs, though only one of these—Anne’s Beauty—achieved that success at two. G2 winner Mr. Commons is his leading runner from those first foals.

All told, Artie Schiller has 16 unrestricted SWs, 80% of which have won on turf and 25% on artificial surfaces. He has eight male and eight female SWs.

With four two-year-old SWs already in his fourth crop, this may be his breakout year. Certainly it seems fair to suggest that bigger things can be expected from Artie Schiller, who now stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.

October 29th, 2013

Awesome Ghostzapper

By Elaine Belval.

Few stallions have had such redemption as Ghostzapper: Retired to stud with a $200,000 fee and a huge reputation, it was only a few years ago that his fee had tumbled to $20,000. But good things often come to those who wait, and breeders should never count out the uncanny ability of the people at Adena Springs (owned by Frank Stronach) to “make” stallions.

The first weekend of October, Better Lucky won the G1 First Lady at Keeneland at one mile on the turf.. She is owned by Godolphin Racing, bred by Darley Stud, and trained by Thomas Albertrani. On that same card, Judy the Beauty won the G2 Thoroughbred Club of America S, at six furlongs on the Polytrack.  She was bred by Adena Springs and is owned and trained by Wesley Ward.  Then a week later, Za Approval won the G3 Knickerbocker at nine furlongs on the turf at Belmont. He is owned/bred by Live Oak Stud and trained by Christophe Clement.

So far in 2013, Ghostzapper has two G1 winners among his 14 individual SWs, with has almost $7 million in progeny earnings.

Ghostzapper’s progeny statistics are absolutely fantastic. Not counting 2013 two-year-olds, Ghostzapper has 75% starters, 58% winners, and an amazing 11% SWs. His progeny’s average earnings are $93,000 and his median earnings are $47,000. Almost 40% of his progeny’s stakes wins have come on the turf—his best such runner being the aforementioned Better Lucky—and almost 22% on artificial surfaces, including G1 winner Stately Victor. Three of his four G1 winners are fillies. His progeny show incredible versatility and have been successful at distances from five to 11 furlongs.

Among the runners Ghostzapper could have on 2013 Breeders’ Cup weekend include Starship Truffles (a 2013 G1 winner) and Judy the Beauty in the F/M Sprint; Moreno in the Classic; and Za Approval in the Turf.

Ghostzapper has proven to be an exceptional and worthy successor to his sire Awesome Again, alongside whom he stands in Kentucky at Adena Springs—proud breeder of both stallions.

October 29th, 2013

Inspired motivation

By Elaine Belval.

Treve absolutely dominated in what was supposed to be a truly competitive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, easily defeating Japanese Champion Orfevre (by five lengths), along with French Derby winner Intello, Japanese Derby winner Kizuna, three-time G1 winner Al Kazeem, English Derby winner Ruler of the World, and St. Leger winner Leading Light. And the Arc was Treve’s fifth win in only her fifth lifetime start.

Treve won a Longchamp maiden race in September of her two-year-old season, her only start. At three, she returned in May at Saint-Cloud to win the equivalent of an allowance race and won the G1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in June followed by the G1 Prix Vermeille in September as her Arc prep.

Treve was bred by Haras du Quesnay, is owned by Sheikh Joann Bin Hamad Al Thani, and trained by leading French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek. Treve was the Sheikh’s first win in the Arc, but he also owns Style Vendome, winner of the prestigious Prix de la Foret on the Arc undercard. Treve was originally raced by her breeder, but the Sheikh purchased her in July, after her impressive victory in the Diane.

Haras du Quesnay stands the sire of Treve, English champion Motivator.

Motivator won both his starts at two, including the prestigious G1 Racing Post Trophy at Newmarket. He went on to win or place in four of five starts at three, including his Derby prep—the Dante—and then the English Derby (defeating Dubawi). He then finished second to Oratorio in two G1s: the Irish Champion S. and the Coral Eclipse S.  His only unplaced effort was a respectable fifth, beaten less than five lengths, to Hurricane Run in his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe attempt.

Motivator is a son of the leading European sire Montjeu out of the stakes-winning Gone West mare Out West. His third dam is Uncommitted, the dam of Wavering Monarch and daughter of the elite mare Lady Be Good (the family of G1 winners Squander, Goodbye Halo, etc.).

Motivator has 17 SWs, with his best runners being his two G1 winning fillies, Treve and Ridasiyna (winner of the Prix de l’Opera on the Arc undercard in 2012). His first runners were foals of 2007 and included the GSWs Pollenator (winner of the G3 May Hill S. at Doncaster at two) and Skia.

The Racing Post stallion notes say this about Motivator: “gets late season 2YOs; progeny progress, inc. Treve.” Motivator’s 17 SWs have an average winning distance of just over 10 furlongs. It is clear Motivator is continuing his sire’s legacy of a classic/solid influence. And with Motivator’s 2009 and 2010 crops producing Ridasiyna and Treve, respectively, it is not an exaggeration to say that Motivator is currently one of the best stallions standing in France.

Motivator’s 2014 fee at Haras du Quesnay has not been announced.


Headshot of Jack WerkJack Werk (1944-2010)
Jack founded Werk Thoroughbred Consultants, Inc. From 1987 to 2000, he published OWNER-BREEDER, the highly acclaimed, first-ever journal dedicated to thoroughbred pedigree analysis, theories and trends. After a six-year hiatus from writing, he returned with this blog Who's Hot, Who's Not.

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