Battle in the Breeding Shed: Hard Spun Vs. Street Sense

Street Sense and Hard Spun were rivals on the racetrack, and Street Sense got most of the glory. He was the champion 2-year-old colt of 2006, and he defeated Hard Spun by 2 ¼ lengths in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I). Street Sense also finished second to Hard Spun's third in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

The two hard-knocking competitors now are stallions at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation in Kentucky, and grade I winner Hard Spun (by Danzig) holds the early edge in the battle for supremacy in the breeding shed.

A recent report in The Blood-Horse MarketWatch ranked Hard Spun No. 1 among stallions that entered stud in 2008 based on a figure known as the comparable index (CI), which is a measure of mare quality. Hard Spun's CI was 3.70 while second-ranked Street Sense had a CI of 2.76. Hard Spun had the largest book of any first-year stallion, covering 181 mares, while Street Sense covered 157.

Hard Spun was the North American leader again among new sires at the end of 2008, after 14 of the mares that were in foal to him sold at public auction for an average price of $356,571. Street Sense (by Street Cry) was second again, with nine mares pregnant by him selling for an average of $322,222.

According to Charlie Boden, Darley America's stallion nominations manager, two factors helped Hard Spun get off to a faster start as a stallion than Street Sense. One was Hard Spun's strong performance in the last race of his career, and the other was his lower stud fee.

Hard Spun ran for the final time in 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic -- Powered By Dodge (gr. I) and finished second, 4 ½ lengths behind Curlin, who would be voted Horse of the Year.  Street Sense was fourth, beaten by 10 ¼ lengths.

"Hard Spun ended his career in a very courageous fashion and left a great taste in everybody's mouth," Boden said. "He also is a Danzig with speed that lasted. Street Sense, bless his heart, the Classic was the only race he ran where he was off the board, and it was on a (sloppy) racetrack at Monmouth Park that he hated. For early demand (for stallion seasons), I think people remember the last race. I have struggled with what made Hard Spun more popular early, and I think it was that last race in the Breeders' Cup against Curlin."

Hard Spun entered stud with a fee of $50,000 while Street Sense had a fee of $75,000.

"Hard Spun came in at a price that, I think, may have been a foreshadowing of things to come, in retrospect," Boden said. "We could have priced Street Sense differently, but in our minds, he deserved to be at $75,000 because he was so special and did what he did. It made great sense. But I think breeders, after the (Keeneland) September sale of that year (2007), were left with a feeling that they didn't need to breed to a real expensive stallion. The difference between $50,000 and $75,000 weeded out a lot of people (from the group considering Street Sense). From $50,000 to $75,000, at that time, was a big step, especially if it involved an unproven horse. But they both ended up with plenty of mares their first year."

Who do you think will end up being the better sire, Hard Spun or Street Sense?



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