It’s never too early to start thinking ahead to next year’s mating plans, and as we get ready to head to Keeneland next week for the start of their marathon September Sale, we’re looking forward to checking out some of the first yearlings by a pair of exciting young stallions who are on our early shortlist for 2018.
In addition to being interesting prospects in and of themselves, recent results for runners from their sire-lines have highlighted the stallion potential of both Fed Biz (at WinStar) and Strong Mandate (at Three Chimneys).
Fed Biz is a son of three-time leading sire Giant’s Causeway, out of a mare from the female family of leading sires Pulpit, Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg (the latter two of which are also from the Storm Cat sire-line). Trained by Bob Baffert, Fed Biz broke his maiden going a mile in his second start at 2, was a stakes winner at 3, set a new track record for 7 furlongs at Del Mar in winning the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes (over Goldencents) at 4, when he also won the Grade 2 San Fernando, and at 5 Fed Biz set a new track record for a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Del Mar in winning the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. Fed Biz also placed in Grade 1 races on both dirt and turf.
As a $950,000 yearling purchase, Fed Biz is, unsurprisingly, an attractive horse – he has plenty of leg and length, and is more muscular than Giant’s Causeway himself. He showed good tactical speed on the track, though that speed was more effective going a mile or more, and in his seven-furlong victory he came from well off the pace. And he was a winner at 2, though he progressed with maturity before obtaining his highest status at 4 and 5.
Always popular at stud, he covered 147 mares in 2015 at $12,500, then 128 in 2016 at $12,500, before WinStar reduced his fee in 2017 to $10,000, resulting in his biggest book yet. Of his first foals, 22 were offered for auction last year and 20 of them sold for an average of $65,200 and a median of $48,500 – both perfectly respectable for a $12,500 fee. His top sellers included a colt for $230,000, a colt for $170,000, and a filly for $160,000.
Fed Biz’s first crop has found even more favor so far this year at the select yearling sales, where 19 have sold (from 22 offered) for an average of $87,105 and a median of $75,000. He has 45 cataloged at Keeneland September, including two in the first week.
As mentioned, Fed Biz is sired by Giant’s Causeway, whose other sire sons include the workman-like First Samurai (at Claiborne), the now-exported Eskendereya, Creative Cause (at Airdrie), Giant Gizmo (at Adena Springs in Canada), Giant Surprise (at Rockridge in New York), and Giant Oak (formerly at Millennium before his untimely death). He also has Carpe Diem, Brody’s Cause, Not This Time and Protonico in Kentucky with foals younger than those of Fed Biz, and his first-crop son Shamardal is a leading sire in Europe.
First Samurai was recently profiled by Robert Fierro for the Blood-Horse, and we discussed him in more detail when we bred Hula Skirt to him in 2016. First Samurai has been back in the news recently as the sire of recent Grade 2 Del Mar Derby winner Sharp Samurai, Grade 2 Gazelle winner Miss Sky Warrior, and recent 2-year-old stakes winner Bal Harbour. Plus, his own son Justin Phillip already has a first-crop stakes winner to his credit.
Eskendereya was exported to Japan after the 2015 breeding season, just before his best runner came to the fore: Mor Spirit, who won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity at 2, and was a brilliant winner of this year’s Grade 1 Met Mile as a 4-year-old. Eskendereya also has Graded winner Eskenformoney at the races in 2017.
Creative Cause just picked up his sixth stakes winner from his first two crops when Pavel romped in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones this past weekend, while Giant Oak’s daughter Vertical Oak won her second Graded stakes when she took Saratoga’s Grade 2 Prioress this past Saturday. Giant Surprise and Giant Gizmo are both successful young sires in their respective regional markets.
We think there’s every chance that Giant’s Causeway’s status as a sire-of-sires is only going to improve, thanks in no small part to Fed Biz himself.
Strong Mandate became only the second Grade 1-winning juvenile by his sire, Tiznow, when he won the Hopeful at Saratoga by the largest margin in history for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Strong Mandate broke his maiden at Saratoga over Tapiture prior to the Hopeful, and was also third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and second in the Grade 3 Southwest (at 3) before a knee chip forced his retirement.
Strong Mandate’s first three dams are all Grade 1 winners, while he’s a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Newfoundland and Grade 1 sire Full Mandate. He was a $200,000 sale yearling, and is a large, gorgeous, well-balanced horse, whose precocity was somewhat surprising given his size and his pedigree. Had a heavy racing schedule not led to his early retirement, more success could have been expected as he matured.
Perhaps at something of a disadvantage given his spring retirement from the races, nine months or so prior to the next breeding season, Strong Mandate covered 110 mares in his first book. He got 78 in his second book, and more than that this past spring after folks got a look at his first foals. He has stood for $10,000 since his retirement.
Of his first crop foals, 21 were offered last year as weanlings, of which 17 sold for an average of $52,265 and a $37,000 median. This year, Strong Mandate scored huge with an $825,000 yearling filly at Saratoga, which has helped him to an average of $127,083 and a median of $63,500 for 12 sold from 17 offered. And even without that one big money filly, his other 11 sold averaged $63,636 and included a $240,000 colt and others for $95,000 and $90,000, which are strong enough numbers for a $10,000 stallion.
Strong Mandate has 38 more yearlings cataloged at Keeneland, including one in the first week.
Strong Mandate’s sire, Tiznow, is the only two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and was the champion first-season stallion of his year, thanks to the exploits of champion juvenile filly Folklore. Always a solid sire, marketed as “Big Horse Sire” thanks in part to his noteworthy size (which Strong Mandate has inherited), Tiznow is having a bit of a renaissance recently, thanks to the Breeders’ Cup Mile win by Tourist last fall, the success of Grade 2 winner Irap this spring on the Triple Crown Trail (and thereafter, he was also just 3rd in the Grade 1 Travers), and this past weekend’s Grade 1-winning 2-year-old Sporting Chance (from the same connections as Strong Mandate).
Tiznow has also had a great year at auction in 2017, with his $2,450,000 juvenile son Conquistador topping the OBS April sale (highest of all juvenile auction prices this year), plus a $850,000 juvenile colt and yearlings for $500,000 and $450,000 already.
Tiznow’s sons have also had a good bit of success, even if it has been somewhat under the radar and a tad unappreciated: Tiz Wonderful picked up his second winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga this past weekend, when
Lady Ivanka joined Condo Commando on the honor roll for that historic race; Colonel John has Graded winner Colonelsdarktemper this year after a solid 2016; Gemologist was the #6 first-crop sire of 2016 when Theory and Yellow Agate won Graded stakes at Belmont, prompting a stud fee raise to $25,000 this year; Tizway has ten stakes winners so far to his credit; Morning Line is currently #15 on the first-crop sire list this year, with stakes winner Surrender Now to his credit; and Pennsylvania stallion Bullsbay has accounted for three juvenile stakes winners so far. Unfortunately, Tiz Wonderful, Colonel John and Tizway have all been exported from the U.S.
Still, one of these days, Tiznow is going to come up with a top-notch sire son, and Strong Mandate has every right to be the one, especially since Strong Mandate’s pedigree is free of both Storm Cat and Seattle Slew, mares from the lines of both of which have had excellent success when crossed with Tiznow and his sons.