Our latest Leading Sires 2006 2YO Winners chart shows that four of the top seven North American stallions are freshman sires. At the top of the list with 13 winners each are freshman sires Johannesburg and Officer, along with Hill ‘N’ Dale Farms Stormy Atlantic (absolutely one of the best stud fee values in Kentucky at the moment) and California’s perennial juvenile leader Swiss Yodeler. With 10 winners are freshman sires Graeme Hall (FL) and Yonaguska (KY), as well as Grand Slam.
As WTC clients have known since he first went to stud, we have been extremely high on Johannesburg since the day he retired to Ashford Stud in Kentucky for just $30,000 live foal (and reduced to $25,000 this year). Based on his stats that already includes four SWs, three of them graded, plus two others who are stakes-placed, you can bet the ranch that his $25,000 stud fee is history. To Ashford/Coolmore’s credit, they almost always underprice their new stallions as well as adjust stud fees quickly as market conditions dictate, leaving money on the table for breeders.
In the 4/18/06 Thoroughbred Daily News’ annual Freshman Sire Edition, I wrote:
” my choice as 2006’s leading freshman sire based on long-term success is also my selection to top the standings on December 31, 2006. That stallion is Ashford Stud’s Johannesburg. There isn’t much more you could ask for in a stallion prospect. He was an undefeated in seven starts at two, six of those stakes wins. He won Group/Grade 1 races in FOUR different countries as a juvenile and was named champion 2-year-old colt in Ireland, England, France, and the United States. And, he capped off his 2-year-old campaign with an electrifying victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on the dirt at Belmont Park!
“By Hennessy, one of Storm Cat’s top sons as both a runner and a sire, Johannesburg is out of the Ogygian mare Myth, a half sister to G1 SW Minardi and GSW winner Tale of the Cat. Myth descends from one of the great Claiborne families, tracing back to Monarchy. I find it incredible that breeders only had to pay $25,000 to breed to him in 2006. Considering his outstanding race record and female family, Johannesburg‘s stud fee would almost certainly have been $100,000 or more were he sired by Storm Cat, A.P. Indy or Mr. Prospector. But with Hennessy an unproven sire of sires, the market will not support such a stud fee yet! Hennessy has, in my opinion, an outstanding chance to make his mark as a sire of sires with Johannesburg showing the way.”
Gainesway Farm’s Officer, the other freshman sire tied for the lead, was a different story. I had liked the fact that he was a precocious and talented 2yo (four stakes victories including the G1 Champagne Stakes) as well as having a pedigree free of Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer (making him a strong outcross for much of the broodmare population). But I was concerned that his sire, California stallion Bertrando, is an unproven sire of sires that descends from the once powerful but now waning In Reality line. In addition, his pedigree only commanded a $15,000 stud fee (quite low for a stallion with his race record). Consequently, I had been taking a wait-and-see attitude with him. With just 86 named foals to date, he has over 15% 2yo winners already, three of them are stakes winners and two others stakes-placed! And, two winners including one of the SWs are in Europe! I have waited and I have seen. All I can say is submit your mares early for 2007! – Jack