Finding Stallion Prospects: It's Not Always About Money

When searching for a stallion prospect, it helps to
have a lot of money. Because of the downturn in the Thoroughbred marketplace for
several years recently, top candidates don't sell for as much as they used to,
but they're still expensive in the scheme of things.

Many farms, however, don't have the resources to be
able to afford the very best in terms of pedigree and racing accomplishments.
Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud in Central Kentucky discussed earlier this year about how
the nursery goes about finding attractive horses to stand at stud while lacking
the biggest pocketbook:

"We want to be the best, and that's a very difficult
thing to do because we are a bit handcuffed financially. We have to sort of
find creative ways to find stallions that we really believe in and think have a
shot, but wouldn't necessarily go to the guys who write the bigger checks. Dad (former
Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones) has been very successful in doing that and
my job is to help him with that.

"If you go through our stallion barn, pretty much
every horse fits the same description, for the most part. Our biggest criterion
is that the horse has shown a level of brilliance and shown ability that we
believe he can pass on. It's a commercial market, so physically any prospect we
bring in here really needs to be one that the breeders can come out, see, and
instantly get excited about. It's a bit unfair that some stallions don't get a
better opportunity than they do because it is a bit of beauty contest.

"But the brilliance is really the most important
thing to us. You know it when you see it. Majesticperfection is a great example.
And so was Harlan's Holiday, whom we were proud to have developed. He didn't
have an enormous female pedigree and if he did, he would have been three times
more expensive, but he had that brilliance.

"Not to be crude, but brilliance is that ‘holy crap!'
moment when you're watching  race and you
see a horse that has the type of acceleration that makes you say, ‘That was
something pretty special.'

"Indian Charlie was another great example. He had a
California pedigree that Kentucky breeders didn't, quite honestly, know a whole
lot about. But if you watched his races, he was a tremendously talented
racehorse and he took that brilliance and ascended to being one of the top
stallions in the country. He started off with a low stud fee and did it the
hard way.

"I think Brother Derek is very much in that same
mold. It was a little tricky trying to sell the California pedigree to the Kentucky
breeders, but at the same time, he is putting out a foal (with the appeal
physically) that is beginning to get them excited. We had some very smart
people buying them in September (at the Keeneland yearling sale). We think he
is another one that had the brilliance on the track that will translate to
success at stud."




Leave a Comment:

Karen in Indiana

I can think of 2 very nice California horses have positive traits and deserve a chance at stud: Acclamation & Bold Chieftain. Both have been very dependable and have done well in good company. Bold Chieftain has been the very definition of sturdy at a high level. With Seattle Slew & Icecapade, he should mix with with a wide range (would like to see him tried with Wild Agains). Acclamation has performed very well this year on turf and synthetic and beat Twirling Candy & Game On Dude convincingly in the Pacific Classic. He's one of the few entire horses from Unusual Heat, who has proven himself as a consistent sire of very good horses.

20 Dec 2011 3:46 PM
Pedigree Ann

Karen, I couldn't agree more. Neither horse has a fashionable pedigree, but both have proved they are genuine racehorses. In the 'glory days' of the sport, horses who won one or two big races but couldn't stay sound weren't as esteemed as those who raced a lot, won some and lost some, but kept their form over full campaigns.

Bold Chieftain is inbred to My Charmer (dam of Seattle Slew) 3x3 and Nearctic 4x4, while his dam has Nearctic's son Northern Dancer 3x4. No Raise a Native in the pedigree; good for outcrossing with Mr. P-inbred mares.

Acclamation has outcross written all over him, yet the outcross elements are all from first class animals. Unusual Heat's dam, Scandinavian champion and US G1 winner Rossard has Euro bloodlines that aren't common in the US. And Acclamation's damsire Silveyville was a G1 winner who raced for 8 seasons, standing at stud as well for the last 3. He has old-style French and German classic elements in the pedigree. Total outcross for Seattle Slew and Mr. P horses, only one cross of No. Dancer.

If only the commercial Kentucky breeders would take their blinders off and see that one can't keep breeding back to Storm Cat, Unbridled, and that lot forever. One would think that the success of Tiznow would wake them up, but no, they run back to the same old heavily advertized bloodlines whenever possible. Sad for the breed, sad for the sport.

22 Dec 2011 10:49 AM
Your Only Friend

Kentucky may not like some of the Stallions from Outwest because do not like the competition....thinking if you ain't from Kentucky you ain't nothing.......perhaps they maybe wrong.....some nice horses are running that were bred out west.

01 Jan 2012 7:30 PM
Your Only Friend

Why would anyone be surprised with top stallions out west.....just because they ain't from Kentucky does not mean they ain't anygood and cannot produce......sounds like breeders in Kenutcky are worried about loosing their foothold.....there is more too breeding good stock other than bloodlines of Mr. Prospector/Seattle Slew.

01 Jan 2012 8:07 PM
Your Only Friend

Kentucky breeders believe there are no other stock like theirs....all the bloodlines flow too Mr. Prospector/Seattle Slew.....where I believe some new blood is starting too come around out West....Kentucky breeders better pay attention....they ain't the only game in town anymore.....

02 Jan 2012 8:49 AM
Your Only Friend

Kentucky Breeders better get use too other Stallions out West coming to the forefront....Kentucky Breeders are all hungup on bloodlines of Mr. Prospector/Seattle others are showing up , they better get use too looking at other lines. Understand its their livihood in tough business that is hard too survive.

02 Jan 2012 12:59 PM
Your Only Friend

Good stallion can come from anywhere.....Kentucky Breeders are hungup on the Mr. Prospecter,Seattle Bloodlines.....some good lines are coming from overseas and out West.... Kentucky Breeders are very aware of this and their investment.

04 Jan 2012 10:43 AM
Your Only Friend

Fashionable Pedigree in Kentucky ...bloodlines too Mr.Prospector/Seattle........there are other lines that are very attractive /West Coast/Europe.....Kentucky Breeders seem too have mind set / start looking further into other lines . Any business that has closed mind eventually fails.

05 Jan 2012 10:25 AM

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