Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Stallion: Hakassan

A notable import to the stallion ranks this year is Millennium Farm’s freshman sire Hakassan, a top racehorse in Chile.

A champion in his home country he was the winner of five of his seven starts. Showing his versatility, the 7-year-old won Group 1 races in the country from eight to 11 furlongs with a Group 3 win at 7 ½ furlongs and another victory at 6 ½ furlongs just for good measure. 

Hakassan’s score in three Group 1s at Hipodromo Chile not only won him champion 3-year-old honors, but also added a Triple Crown victory to his resume. That crowning achievement caught the attention of Green Hills Farm owner Leo Liaskos who imported him to the United States in 2013.

Hakassan never raced in the United States and was retired to Millennium Farm in late January to enter his first season at stud.  While his race record was an attraction for the farm, his conformation and pedigree sealed the deal. 

“He’s a very attractive horse and obviously from the Seattle Slew and Lomond. He really kind of checks all of the boxes. He’s a multiple Grade 1 winner, he’s a Grade 1 winner at a mile, he had tactical speed, he was forwardly place, he’s really the consummate breed-to-race horse. If you’re looking at a sire that you say ‘I want a sire that I can breed to and raise a racehorse’ to us he really looks like that horse,” said J. Ted Neel, Millennium’s Business Manager. “If you print a five-cross or a six-cross and you keep going, you’ve got Sadler’s Wells and all those but you also have Buckpasser, Halo, it’s just almost a who's-who of big time stallions in decades of the industry.”

Video courtesy of  Hipicachilena

Hakassan is by Sir Cat, the sire of seven Chile champions and 36 stakes winners as of April 20, 2016. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, Sir Cat was a multiple graded stakes winner with his wins coming on both dirt and turf. The stallion stood at Gainesway for many years and shuttled to Chile for two seasons before remaining in the country after the 2005 U.S. breeding season. 

A son of leading sire Storm Cat (Storm Bird), Sir Cat is out of the unraced Private Account mare Desert Run. His dam is out of the three-time champion April Run (Run the Gantlet), who is also the granddam of multiple graded stakes winner Weekend Madness (Dance of Life).

While most of his success as a sire has come in Chile, Sir Cat may be most known in the United States for siring Stormy Sunday, the dam of 2011 champion 2-year-old Hansen (Tapit).

Hakassan’s dam is the unraced Fusaichi Pegasus mare Fusaichi’s Angel. From the Kentucky Derby winner’s second crop Fusaichi’s Angel has had a lot of success with Sir Cat with three of her four most accomplished foals coming from that sire. Overall, three of her five foals to race are winners.

Fusaichi’s Angel brings more international blood to the table with her dam the Irish-bred Sadler’s Wells mare Sand Pebbles. Only raced once, the mare produced five winners and is a full sister to Group 2 Royal Lodge winner Desert Secret. Sand Pebbles’ stakes placed dam Clandestina had an impact of the stakes results in multiple countries with branches of her family winning stakes in Chile, New Zealand, England, Australia, France, Germany and Argentina with her great-granddaughter Little Colony (New Colony) producing two-time Uruguay Horse of the Year Relento (Fahim).

Hakassan’s fourth dam will be the most familiar to U.S. breeders looking at the stallion. My Charmer (Poker) was a stakes winner who produced 1978 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew (Bold Reasoning), 2,000 Guineas winner Lomond (Northern Dancer) and multiple Group 2 winner Seattle Dancer (Nijinsky II).

Hakassan has Northern Dancer in both his fourth and fifth generations with Secretariat doubled up on both sides of his family in the fourth generation. With Storm Cat and Mr. Prospector close up in his family (in the second and third generation, respectively), the pedigree is familiar enough that breeders shouldn’t have many issues trying to figure out what may cross well with him. An extra perk to the stallion is his body type, according to Millennium’s Liam O’Rourke.

“He can work with such a wide range of phenotypes. He’s medium sized, he’s the ideal size for a stallion in that way. You can send him big mares, you can send him small mares, light mares, heavy mares. You can really send a lot of stuff to him. Like J. Ted said, he’s got such a litany of really good stallions in his pedigree,” he said. “One thing that’s kind of cool is that you look under his first three or four dams and the stakes winners come from England, Ireland, France, New Zealand, Australia, South America, United States so that kind of tells you that that pedigree is very cosmopolitan. It’s going to work hopefully with a lot of sirelines. To zone in on one particular type of mare, we probably don’t know that yet but we think he’s very useful.”

O’Rourke says that while Hakassan probably won’t be one of the busiest first year stallions in Kentucky, he has received a nice book of mares from both in house and outside breeders in 2016. Green Hills is sending the stallion Grade 1 winners with Millennium also supporting the stallion with notable mares. 

While Hakassan’s fee this year is private, it looks to be a bargain if the stallion passes his versatility on the track and good looks to his offspring.

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