|One of Animal Kingdom's first yearlings|
With multiple classic and Breeders’ Cup winning racehorses retiring to stud in 2014, there were many choices for breeders when making breeding decisions for their mares. This year, they’ll be able to see if they made the right decisions when that group of stallions have their first runners on the track.
Here are a few of those freshmen sires in North America you may want to keep an eye on this year and next as their first runners get rolling on the track.
Animal Kingdom – Animal Kingdom has already had some success with his first crop of 2-year-olds in Australia and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue in the United States. According to The Jockey Club, he has 110 northern hemisphere 2-year-olds in this year and his average at this early season 2-year-olds in training sale sits at $288,750, with his top priced horse being a $550,000 colt from four sold. While they started winning fairly early in Australia, I expect them to be better as late 2-year-olds or 3-year-olds when they have more opportunities for longer races.
Data Link/Declaration of War – Two Grade/Group 1 winning sons of War Front will have their first juveniles hitting the track this year, giving us more information on how good a sire-of-sires War Front may become. Data Link may have the upper hand here as he stood his first season in the U.S. while Declaration of War was in Ireland that year, though a fair amount of Declaration of War horses have made their way to North America so he should have a nice bit of representation here. War Front has made an early reputation for himself as a 2-year-old sire and The Factor showed he could sire good 2-year-olds last year with a Grade 1 winner so it will be interesting to see if these two continue the trend.
|A Data Link yearling|
Flat Out – Flat Out has every reason to be a better sire as his runners hit three and four years of age but his 2-year-olds showed at the sales this spring that they may be more precocious than this author originally thought they would be. He has 109 2-year-olds according to The Jockey Club and the most expensive of the six to go through the ring this year sold for $400,000. These guys still should get better with age so he may be better off in the second or third crop standings than the first.
Graydar – The hopeful heir apparent to Unbridled’s Song at Taylor Made, so far people seem to love the Graydars. All eight of his 2-year-olds this year sold for an average of $81,375, up from the $54,465 average for 45 sold as yearlings and the $65,851 average of 27 weanlings sold in 2015. Graydar has 102 2-year-olds with some of the best trainers in the nation and has the support of some of the biggest owners so he’ll have a big chance as a stallion.
New Year’s Day – This Street Cry son wasn’t seen a lot on the track with just three starts in his career and all of them coming between Aug. 17 and Nov. 2, but one of those was a 1 ¼ length win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He only has 52 2-year-olds but they were well received at the sale with his top yearling last year bringing 10 times his stud fee. He was more popular his second and third years at stud than he was his first, which is a good sign for him.
Orb – The Orbs have developed well with age, getting better reception every year they’ve hit the ring. Most recently, he improved from a $125,000 median on his yearlings last year to $380,000 for his 2-year-olds including a $1.25-million colt. He had no lack of support in his first season with Claiborne limiting his book to about 120 mares with 101 producing foals. He definitely should be a contender for the first season title with the support behind him as one of the top horses of his generation.
Shanghai Bobby – The horse who seems to be talked about the most is Shanghai Bobby, who has been popular since his first season when he bred 160 mares (for 115 live foals). His most expensive to go through the ring was a $575,000 yearling last year while they also seemed to impress at the weanling sales in 2015 with a $190,000 colt and $180,000 filly and a $280,000 weanling filly last year. From five to go through the ring this year as 2-year-olds, his top priced buy is a $485,000 colt. With the support of Coolmore behind him and his precociousness as a 2-year-old, don’t be surprised if his 2-year-olds come out running.
|Shanghai Bobby's $575,000 colt|
Violence – The most in demand stallion of any listed here, Violence bred 181 mares in 2014 for 127 live foals according to The Jockey Club. At every stage of his foals going through the ring, Violence has had a horse sell for at least $200,000 including at the weanling stage. Violence won every race he ran in at two, including a Grade 1 and Grade 2 and was second in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth the following year before being forced into retirement by injury. Between the number of runners he has and the talent he showed himself, he looks like he’ll be another sire with foals who come out running fairly early in the 2-year-old season.
|A $335,000 Violence colt|