By Elaine Belval
Haynesfield easily won the G2 Suburban H. last weekend, spoiling the return of 2009 G1 winner I Want Revenge. Haynesfield is the ninth individual unrestricted SW for Champion Speightstown in 2010. Also winning over the long holiday weekend was the Speightstown colt Essence Hit Man, winner of a second Woodbine stakes.
This could easily be a breakout year for this third-crop sire. Speightstown is the second-leading third crop sire of 2010 (behind Medaglia d’Oro) and is among the top 15 sires on the General Sire List. Of his nine 2010 SWs, six are new SWs in 2010 (second only to the same farm’s Distorted Humor with 10). And, so far in 2010, his leading earner has less than 10% of his total earnings, indicating he is siring a wide range of high-quality horses.
Speightstown is a rare, and lucky, individual. His owner, Eugene Melnyk, never gave up on him. As an attractive individual by leading sire Gone West out of the Champion Silken Cat, by Storm Cat, he sold for $2 million at the 1999 Keeneland July Sale. He made one start at 2 and showed some promise at 3, winning at maiden at Gulfstream Park early in the year and finishing second in the G2 Amsterdam S. to City Zip. However, minor ailments kept him off the track his entire 4-year-old season and into much of his 5-year-old year. With his pedigree, Speightstown could have been sold as a minor stallion prospect. But, Melnyk allowed the horse time, and was rewarded by a 6-year-old campaign that included five victories in six starts, including the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and a track-record-equaling performance in the G2 Alfred Vanderbilt H. at Saratoga.
Speightstown retired to WinStar Farm in 2005 for a solid fee of $40,000 considering his race record and pedigree. His first crop had 21 individual winners, including two SWs. One of the more surprising aspects (at least to this analyst) is Speightstown’s success in Europe. One of his two SWs in 2008 was G2 Mill Reef S. winner Lord Shanakill (he would add the prestigious G1 Prix Jean Prat at age 3). And despite Speightstown’s never racing on turf, four of his SWs have won on the surface (including Bridgetown – second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf). Another four SWs have won on artificial surfaces.
From 195 foals of racing age (not including 2010 2YOs), Speightstown has more than 80% starters and more than 50% winners (which is remarkable considering his oldest progeny are only four!). He has 16 unrestricted SWs (an excellent 8% SWs to foals). However, it should be noted, from his 100 2YOs of 2010, he already has 15 starters and four individual winners.
It speaks to both careful management and excellent stud fee evaluation that despite the overall drop in stud fees over the last few years, Speightstown stood for $35,000 in 2010. Click here for his sire stat page, courtesy Thoroughbred Times.
(Elaine Belval is senior pedigree analyst at WTC.)