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Of the leading freshman sires in 2023, the one that we are most surprised to see as high up the list as he has been all year is the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso, who at the time that we booked Yesshewill to him (the Thursday before the Breeders’ Cup) sat at #4 on the Leading First Crop Sires list (with two new winners later that day, he moved to #3 on Breeders’ Cup Friday, and currently sits at #2).
We say surprised not because he wasn’t an excellent racehorse with an excellent pedigree who had every right to succeed as a stallion, but because he was a very good 3YO who turned into an excellent 4YO at classic distances, and he is by a stallion who is the biggest classic influence at stud in the USA nowadays, out of a mare by a later-maturing stallion who was herself a half to a couple of graded winners at 3YO and up, one of which placed in the 12 furlong Belmont Stakes. And so we expected that perhaps the Vino Rosso offspring would be a bit slower to mature, with him finishing out the year strongly and looking poised to move forward when his first foals turned 3.
Well, we still believe that they’ll have every right to get better next year and with added distance, but Vino Rosso now has 18 winners to his credit already, including the multiple stakes winner at 6 furlongs The Wine Steward, and seven additional stakes horses (four of his stakes horses having achieved G1 black-type). He is the co-leader among all freshmen with those eight black-type runners, and at his $20,000 fee for ‘24, we believe he is going to prove to be excellent value.
In addition to his own hot start, sons of Curlin in general are on quite a roll lately — Good Magic and Keen Ice having sired the last two Kentucky Derby winners. And Vino Rosso was arguably a better runner and more commercially built than either of those.
He fits Yesshewill specifically for a couple of reasons: firstly, he has a tad more scope and stretch to him than she does, but it’s pretty much a case of like-to-like; so we like that about their physical matchup.
Then Yesshewill is a 3/4-sister (both by sons of Storm Cat and out of the same dam) to the dam of Canadian Champion 2YO filly & 3YO filly Curlin’s Voyage, by Curlin. There’s another full-sibling to that filly in the pipeline, and another half-sister to Yesshewill has three Curlin foals to come — so we think that bodes very well for this cross.
Additionally, although TrueNicks assesses the Curlin/Giant’s Causeway cross as a “D” (with G3 winner King Zachary and two additional stakes winners, plus 3 graded-placed runners), the broader cross of Curlin and his sons with Storm Cat-line mares has also produced the likes of G1 winners Rattle N Roll and Grace Adler, G2 winners Mr. Monomoy, Dubyuhnell and Diversy Harbor, plus G3 winners Ocean Knight, Current and the aforementioned Curlin’s Voyage and King Zachary. And Vino Rosso himself is already the sire of three winners from Storm Cat-line mares including Mixer, who is out of a mare by First Samurai (a son of Giant’s Causeway).
So this is a matchup that has a lot going for it, and we expect it to look even better in the future when the Vino Rossos mature and more Curlin foals from Yesshewill’s female family hit the track!