Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Keeneland September First Crop Sires: Bodemeister

When looking at the freshmen sires in this year's Keeneland September sale, the number of yearlings by those stallions is staggering. Freshmen sires are represented by over 830 foals during the two week sale, a little over 20 percent of the catalog. That group is led by Bodemeister with 83 yearlings scheduled to sell from the stallion's first crop.

As mentioned in my previous blog, 98 Bodemeister foals have sold or will sell at this year's summer Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland sales with the majority coming in this sale. To put the number of Bodemeister yearlings to sell at Keeneland into prospective, 61 percent of his first crop will be entering the Keeneland pavilion (before outs) in the first five books of the sale (Bodemeister has none cataloged in Book 6, which is the final two sessions of the sale).

However, when looking at Bodemeister this interest in his yearlings makes sense.

One of the most popular (if not the most popular) stallion prospects to retire for the 2013 breeding season, Bodemeister was bred to 174 mares in his first crop at a fee of $30,000. The super speedy son retired to WinStar as the only Empire Maker son on their roster (he was joined by Pioneerof the Nile a few months later before the start of the 2013 season) and possibly the most brilliant son of Empire Maker to run.

Breaking his maiden by 9 1/4 lengths in his second start, trainer Bob Baffert stepped him up to stakes right away. After a second in the San Felipe, people were able to see how fast Bodemeister was when he led wire-to-wire in the Arkansas Derby to win by another 9 1/2 lengths.

Video courtesy of NTRA Horse Racing

Even though he lost the Kentucky Derby, it may have been the best performance of his career. Bodemeister blasted through opening fractions of 22.32 and 45.39 and looked like he may take the Derby in just his fifth career start. I'll Have Another nipped him in the stretch (and spoiled his party in the Preakness as well) but if breeders and others who watch racing weren't paying attention to him before that performance, they were planning to send mares to him after that.

Video courtesy of Kentucky Derby

Unfortunately, Bodemeister was retired that summer with a shoulder injury that kept him from racing after the Preakness, so we didn't get to see his full range of talent. However, as said above, it didn't keep breeders from sending him mares with the 174 in his first season at stud and 176 last year.

Fittingly, his graded stakes winning dam's name is Untouched Talent.

Untouched Talent herself was lightly raced with four runs between July and October of 2006 being the only ones on her resume. She did put together an impressive string of runs during that time period with a win in the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes and second place finishes in a Grade 1 and a Grade 2. In the breeding shed, four of her seven foals have raced with all four of those winning.

Other than Bodemeister, Untouched Talent's top foal at the moment is Fascinating. Like her dam, Fascinating was second in the Del Mar Debutante during her career. Fascinating raced until early in her 4-year-old year, putting in multiple runs last fall and retiring in February of this year after a third place finish before being bred to War Front.

Bodemeister's page under his first dam only looks to get stronger with the 2-year-old Finnegan (IRE) an exciting prospect for Wesley Ward next year. 
Finnegan in April 2015
Out of the multiple graded stakes winning mare Parade Queen, Untouched Talent is a half-sister to the Grade 2 placed Top Billing and stakes winning King Gulch. Under Bodemeister's third and fourth dams there are an additional seven stakes winners, giving him strong female family influence to compliment Empire Maker. 

An interesting note about Bodemeister's pedigree is that he is from the same successful Unbridled x Storm Cat cross as Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (by Pioneerof the Nile) among others.

As one of the two best sons of Empire Maker at stud, Bodemeister gives breeders and buyers an Unbridled cross through a line other than Unbridled's Song. Bodemeister also has the chance to pass on some extra speed that it doesn't seem Empire Maker was able to give to many of his offspring unless bred to fast mares.

Bodemeister in January 2014

In relation to the Keeneland sale and buyers, Bodemeister is the best opportunity buyers have to add Empire Maker blood to their racing stables this year. Pioneerof the Nile is represented by the second most yearlings of Empire Maker sons with 44 but including those yearlings, there are only 46 Empire Maker grandget who aren't by the subject stallion.

While Pioneerof the Nile will be the Empire Maker son to get the biggest boost from American Pharoah's Triple Crown win, it can be expected that Bodemeister's stock will also be up due to the win. 

With a yearling average of $228,750 so far this year, according to Thoroughbred Daily News, it looks like September could be a banner month for Bodemeister's first real journey back into the public eye since his outstanding 2012 Triple Crown run.

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