The 2016 class of incoming stallions in Kentucky is a stronger group than there has been to retire the same year in recent memory, with six stallions beginning their stud careers for fees greater than $20,000.
Part 1 of this blog encompassed all of the first-year stallions at the three farms standing those six highest-priced newcomers.
Below are some observations about, and photographs of, a handful of the numerous intriguing newcomers who will cover their first books this spring for fees of less than $25,000. Any comments or questions are always welcome to [email protected].
Three Chimneys adds a pair of new stallions for 2016:
Palace Malice (2010 Curlin – Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem; $20,000)
A classic-winning 3-year-old and Grade 1 miler at 4, Palace Malice is the best son so far sired by all-time leading money winner and rising young sire Curlin.
A $200,000 2-year-old in-training purchase, Palace Malice was 2nd in his debut before breaking his maiden going 6-1/2 furlongs at Saratoga in what ended up being his final juvenile start. Off for five months thereafter, Palace Malice returned with a 2nd in a Gulfstream allowance, was 3rd in the Risen Star-G2, 7th in the Louisiana Derby-G2, and then 2nd in the Blue Grass-G1 to punch his ticket to Churchill Downs. However, with first-time blinkers, Palace Malice set ridiculous fractions in the Derby and faded to 12th behind Orb.
Palace Malice skipped the Preakness-G1, then came back to win the Belmont-G1 by 3 lengths over Orb and the Preakness winner, Oxbow, as well as eventual Eclipse Champion Will Take Charge. Palace Malice followed that up with a win in the Jim Dandy-G2 (over Will Take Charge and Moreno), then finished a troubled 4th in the Travers-G1. He closed out his sophomore campaign with a 2nd in the Jockey Club Gold Cup-G1 and a 6th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1.
Returning from a winter freshening, Palace Malice ripped off four straight Graded stakes victories to begin his 4-year-old season: the Gulfstream Park Handicap-G2, the New Orleans Handicap-G2 (by 5), the Westchester-G3 (by 10) and the Met Mile-G1 (in 1:33.56, over Goldencents). Although he only ran one more time that year (6th in the Whitney-G1 at Saratoga) he should have been the Eclipse Champion Older Male, and would have been if the criteria for the award was modified a year earlier to encompass only dirt horses.
Sportingly kept in training another year after Three Chimneys bought an interest in the colt from Cot Campbell’s Dogwood partnership, Palace Malice returned after nine months away with a solid 3rd in the Diablo Stakes at 6 furlongs, but could manage only 4th in the Alydar Stakes thereafter and was retired.
Palace Malice is a son of Curlin, who will stand for $100,000 at Hill ’N’ Dale Farm in 2016 after recently being valued at over $30 million. Curlin previously stood at Lane’s End Farm, as did his sire, two-time leading North American stallion Smart Strike. Smart Strike’s other sire sons include English Channel and Lookin At Lucky, and Palace Malice is bred similarly to English Channel in that he is out of a mare by Royal Anthem, who is by Theatrical, the broodmare sire of English Channel.
Palace Malice is inbred 5×5 to Northern Dancer, so he will not contribute any crosses of Northern Dancer in the first 5 generations of his offspring. He will give a cross of Mr. Prospector in the 4th generation. Given the success of both Curlin and English Channel with Storm Cat-line mares, that would be a must-try cross with Palace Malice, who should also benefit from additional crosses of Deputy Minister as both Curlin and English Channel have produced top horses from Deputy Minister-line mates, and inbreeding to Deputy Minister has been quite successful recently (more from Anne Peters).
A strong, well-balanced, medium-sized horse who does not look much like his significantly huskier sire, Palace Malice showed more speed and dirt inclination than his pedigree really suggested, and as such it would not be surprising to see him follow more in the mold of English Channel with successful later-maturing turf runners, as opposed to getting precocious 2-year-olds.
Fast Anna (2011 Medaglia d’Oro – Dreaming of Anna, by Rahy; $7,500)
Fast Anna lived up to his name by speeding to victories in three races from 5 furlongs to 6-1/2 furlongs, and was beaten just a neck in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga.
He won first time out in April of his 3-year-old season going 6 furlongs at Gulfstream, opening up a big early lead through fractions of :21 and 4/5, :44 and 1/5, and :56 and 3/5 before hanging on to win by 2 lengths in 1:09 and 4/5. Fast Anna didn’t run again until July, when he romped by 13 lengths going 6-1/2 furlongs in allowance company.
Jumped right into Grade 1 company after that, Fast Anna set the pace in the 7-furlong King’s Bishop at Saratoga before falling a neck short, then dueled with Favorite Tale throughout the 6 furlongs of the Gallant Bob-G3 at Parx, ending up 2nd to that rival. In the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1, Fast Anna set the early pace (including a :21 flat first quarter-mile) before hanging on for 5th.
Fast Anna didn’t run again until the following June, when he went wire-to-wire while carrying top weight in the Sawgrass Handicap at Gulfstream going 5 furlongs on turf. He followed that up with 3rd-place finishes in the Hockessin and Tale of the Cat Stakes, and concluded his career with a 10th in the Phoenix-G3 at Keeneland behind Runhappy.
Fast Anna is by Medaglia d’Oro, whose son Warrior’s Reward got off to a very fast start with his first crop 2-year-olds in 2014 when his first five runners each won (more from Nancy Sexton), and another son of Medaglia d’Oro, Violence, will have his first yearlings this year after putting up strong weanling sale numbers in 2015. Fast Anna was not as accomplished on the track as either of those, but had more speed than both and a pedigree to compare with either.
Fast Anna’s dam was Eclipse Champion 2-year-old filly Dreaming of Anna, who is a half-sister to a pair of Graded stakes winners. They are out of the stakes-winning Justenuffheart, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Precious Kitten (the dam of Grade 3 winner Divining Rod), as well as to leading North American sire Kitten’s Joy (by El Prado, the sire of Medaglia d’Oro).
Fast Anna himself is an outcross through 5 generations, and will contribute a cross of Northern Dancer in the 5th generation of his foals. Kitten’s Joy has had success with foals inbred to Northern Dancer and Roberto/Hail To Reason (who each appear in the 5th generation of Fast Anna’s bottom line, read more from Joe Nevills), so mares carrying Northern Dancer and Hail To Reason should fit Fast Anna well also.
A long-bodied colt with powerful hindquarters from which he derived his speed, Fast Anna was bred to run farther than he did, and could sire runners that tend to favor conditions suggested by his pedigree rather than his racetrack accomplishments.
Claiborne adds a homebred stallion to the roster for 2016:
Lea (2009 First Samurai – Greenery, Galileo; $12,500)
Lea was one of the most versatile runners of his generation, proving a top-class competitor on both turf and dirt from a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter.
Despite being by the high-class 2-year-old First Samurai, Lea didn’t make his debut until June of his 3-year-old season (which ends up not being surprising given First Samurai’s stud record, read more from Anne Peters here.) After a 2nd place finish in his first start, he reeled off back-to-back wins at Saratoga before stepping up to Graded stakes company.
He was 3rd in the Hawthorne Derby-G3T in his stakes debut, then closed out his campaign with a victory in the Commonwealth Turf-G3T (over the likes of Skyring and Finnegans Wake).
All of his sophomore starts came on the grass, but when his 4-year-old debut washed onto the main track, Lea didn’t flinch and ran off by 3 lengths going a mile in allowance company. Back to the turf, he followed up that victory with a 2nd in the Firecracker-G2T and a 3rd in the Fourstardave-G2T (both to Wise Dan), then was 4th in the Forego-G1 on dirt and 5th in the Fayette-G3 on Keeneland’s Polytrack.
Switched from the barn of Al Stall to Bill Mott for his 5-year-old season, Lea put together big efforts back-to-back at Gulfstream that winter, first taking the Hal’s Hope-G3 (by 3 in 1:35.30 over Jackson Bend), then setting a new track record of 1:46.86 for the mile-and-an-eighth of the Donn-G1 (over Will Take Charge).
A variety of illness-related issues kept Lea away from the races until the following year’s Hal’s Hope-G3, which he again won, this time in 1:35.46. He was subsequently 2nd in his attempt to repeat in the Donn-G1, then 3rd in the Dubai World Cup-G1 when stretched out to a mile-and-a-quarter. Upon his return to the States, he finished 2nd in a trio of Grade 1s: the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the Stephen Foster (both on dirt) and the Woodbine Mile (on turf).
Being out of a mare by Galileo, Lea’s success on the turf comes as no surprise. His dam is also a half-sister to a trio of Graded/Group stakes winners on turf, and grassy Grade 1 winner and sire Stroll appears under Lea’s 3rd dam. But Lea proved equally adept on dirt, including having earned a 114 Beyer in his Donn-G1 victory.
Lea carries three crosses of Northern Dancer and two of Mr. Prospector (though of those, only two of the Northern Dancer crosses will appear in the first 5 generations of his foals’ pedigrees). First Samurai has done well with mares carrying more Northern Dancer blood, and he also has stakes winners like Carve, Size, Apropos and Endless Chatter out of A.P. Indy-line mares. Given that Lea himself is a half-brother to the nice turf filly Heath, by Pulpit, and that the aforementioned Stroll is a son of Pulpit as well, this seems a cross worth pursuing are far as mates for Lea.
A muscular, well-balanced horse who does not look as tall as he is, Lea certainly stands at the right farm to have a successful stud career – presumably of more classically-oriented runners, and likely on turf.
Darby Dan adds two new stallions to the roster for 2016, including:
Tapiture (2011 Tapit – Free Spin, by Olympio; $7,500)
All five of Tapiture’s career victories came in Graded stakes company from 2 through 4, good for earnings of over $1.5 million.
Tapiture broke his maiden when romping in the Kentucky Jockey Club-G2 at 2, having previously placed in the Iroquois-G3, in addition to finishing 2nd to Strong Mandate in a Saratoga maiden race on debut. As a 3-year-old, Tapiture won the Southwest-G3 and placed in the Rebel-G2 on Oaklawn’s Triple Crown trail, then returned after the classics to win the West Virginia Derby-G2 (in a very gutsy effort after a troubled trip) and the Matt Winn-G3. Tapiture closed out his 3-year-old season with 2nd-place finishes in the Pennsylvania Derby-G2 and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1. At 4-years-old, he won the Ack Ack-G3 and placed in the Oaklawn-G2 and Lone Star Park-G3 handicaps.
A son of perennial leading sire Tapit (one of at least four sons of that stallion entering the sire ranks in Kentucky for 2016), Tapiture is a full-brother to a pair of stakes winners, and he shares similarities with the well-received young Kentucky stallion Tapizar: both were top-class dirt milers by Tapit, and Tapizar’s 2nd dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Olympio while Tapiture is out of a mare by Olympio. In fact, Tapit has crossed successfully with the family of Olympio on a repeated basis (read more from Sid Fernando). Tapizar’s first 2-year-olds will race in 2016.
Inbred 5×5 to Raise a Native, Tapiture will contribute a cross of Mr. Prospector in the 5th generation of his foals, but Northern Dancer will appear no closer than the 6th generation. Especially given Tapit’s success when crossed with Storm Cat-line mares, Tapiture could also do well with mates of such descent. Mares tracing to Deputy Minister would also seem like a good bet, given that Tapizar is out of a Deputy Minister mare (as is Tapit’s Grade 1-winning son Frosted).
A refined and well-balanced horse, Tapiture has plenty of length of neck and body for a son of Tapit. Though his bottom-line is more blue-collar, there is plenty of speed there, and he could produce quick horses even though he was more of a mile / mile-and-an-eighth type of horse himself.
Airdrie adds a new sire for 2016:
Summer Front (2009 War Front – Rose of Summer, by El Prado; $10,000)
A seven-time stakes winner, Summer Front is the highest-priced son of leading sire War Front to enter stud in 2016.
Summer Front was a $475,000 2-year-old in-training purchase and finished his juvenile season at the races unbeaten, when his victories included a pair of stakes races. Summer Front added two more stakes victories at 3, including the Hill Prince-G3T. He also placed that year in the Secretariat-G1T and Jamaica-G1T on turf, and the Lexington-G3 on Keeneland’s Polytrack. At 4 and 5, Summer Front scored a trio of additional Graded turf stakes wins: the Ft. Lauderdale-G2T, Miami Mile-G3T and Cliff Hanger-G3T, along with placings in five additional Graded races, among them the Shoemaker Mile-G1T, Eddie Read-G1T and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile-G1T (at 6-years-old). He earned just over a million dollars for trainer Christophe Clement.
Summer Front’s sire War Front is probably the only stallion in the U.S. who gets mentioned in the same breath as Tapit (more from Frank Mitchell), and War Front has a pair of sons already creating waves in the stud barn based on how their offspring are selling (The Factor and Declaration of War). He also has young prospects like Data Link (first yearlings in 2016), War Command (in Europe), Soldat (in Florida) and Jack Milton (new for 2016) who will be trying to prove their worth as sires in the next few years. Probably the only thing counting against Summer Front is that he only ran once on dirt, when he came home 8th in the Peter Pan-G2 at 3.
In addition to a hot sire-line, Summer Front is from a strong female family. He is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Laragh (coincidentally enough, by Tapit), with Grade 1 winner Siphonic under his 2nd dam. His 4th dam is a half to Summertime Promise, the granddam of successful sires General Meeting and Carson City, so it’s a “sire family.” He is inbred 3×4 to Northern Dancer (though you can never have too much Northern Dancer in a pedigree it seems (more from Boojum’s Bonanza here)), and 5×5 to both Mr. Prospector and Nijinsky (meaning those names will not show up in the first 5 generations of his foals’ pedigrees). War Front has crossed successfully already with mares by A.P. Indy, and given that Summer Front has a Grade 1-winning sister by Tapit, mares from that sire-line should be given a chance with him.
A well-made, strong-shouldered horse who is perhaps just a tad light in his hindquarters, Summer Front will get every chance to succeed at Airdrie, a farm that has made some successful stallions recently without ever standing the shiniest new stud in the bunch (more from Nancy Sexton).