A Stroll to the Top

It was Tax Day, and I was finishing up the MarketWatch Index calculations for the 2008 freshman sires. I re-sorted the spreadsheet so the sires would rank from highest to lowest by their MWIs, expecting to see Tapit rise to the top. But he didn't. Tapit was second to Stroll, the grade I-winning son of Pulpit who was bred and raced by Claiborne Farm. Stroll is not only the leading freshman sire, he is the leading sire by a pretty wide margin.

Stroll has an MWI of 5.02, which is the second-highest index calculated for a freshman sire since The Blood-Horse MarketWatch began publishing the MWI in its current format in 2005. The highest index belongs to Successful Appeal, who had a 5.85 as a freshman sire of 2004. Tapit has an MWI of 3.65, which is still very strong. What put Stroll on top was his 8% stakes winners (of at least $50,000) from foals and his 3% graded stakes winners from foals.

How about that, I think. The top freshmen by the MWI are both sons of Pulpit. Then I do a little research on Stroll and discover he is not standing at Claiborne anymore. He was relocated for the 2008 season to Azienda Agricola Mediterranea in Parma, Italy, where he stands for 12,000 euros. While at Claiborne, Stroll's fee started at $7,500 and dropped to $5,000 for 2007. Stroll didn't make it into our final list of leading freshman sires because he is no longer standing in North America, but it didn't take long to get reminded about why he is at the top of the list. On April 16 at Keeneland, a daughter of Stroll named Afternoon Stroll captured the grade III Applachian Stakes. It was her first start on the turf, and she went off at 50-1. Afternoon Stroll became her sire's second graded stakes winner. The first was Van Lear Rose, who won the Mazarine Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine and was Canadian's champion 2-year-old filly for 2008.

So why did Stroll leave? Well, his first obstacle as a sire in the United States was that he won all his best races on the turf. Stroll did well as a 2-year-old, finishing in the money three times out of five starts, but all his best performances, again, were on the grass. Next, Pulpit's star as a sire of sires was yet to rise. The result was 58 mares bred to Stroll in 2005, 25 mares in 2006, and 11 mares in 2007.

Now we wait to see if Stroll will join the ranks of expatriate U.S. stallions that have thrived abroad. Perhaps he'll become the Sunday Silence of Italy. Eric Mitchell


Leave a Comment:


I couldn't agree more with your comment about Stroll being very overlooked by the NA market.

We had 2 mares bred to sons of Pulpit. One was to Sky Mesa and the other to Stroll. On paper Stroll had a far superiour race record than sky Mesa but it's amazing what marketing can do for you.

Hopefully Stroll with come back to NA before it's Kentucky Horse Park time.

He has been totally under rated by the powers that be in the breeding industry.

28 Apr 2009 6:42 PM

What's wrong with breeders?  How could only 11 mares go to Stroll in 2007.  It doesn't make sense.

01 May 2009 9:26 AM

Unfortunately, breeders have to be keenly aware of the commercial market's demands. A yearling by a really good young turf sire just isn't going to be valued as high as a yearling by a hot young sire that promises to produce early runners on the dirt.

The breeders who are patient do get rewarded. Remember Dynformer stood for $5,000 his first five years at stud. Now a season is worth $150,000.

01 May 2009 8:37 PM

While I haven't seen it officially confirmed, there have been rumors that Stroll was sent to Italy on a two year lease, and will return to Claiborne next year.  The fact that Claiborne continues to feature his offspring's top performances on their websites, and even featured him in a Bloodhorse ad last year after he had left for Italy, certainly leads credence.  I hope someone tracks down the facts soon!

15 May 2009 4:24 PM

Well, in case you've missed it, and the ads would be easy to miss, Claiborne has announced that Stroll will be back in 2010.  It will be interesting how they price him, and how much he'll be affected by a small second crop, tiny third crop, and fourth and fifth crops in Italy.  He'll likely fall totally off the radar for a few years, but given how well he's done with very limited opportunities, I expect we'll see him come on like gangbusters in 2013-2014.

05 Jun 2009 12:08 PM


23 Jun 2009 1:33 PM

It will be interesting to see his fee for 2010.  He covered only 11 mares at $5,000 his last year at Claiborne, and stood for €6,000 his first year in Italy.  However, his fee was bumped to €12,000 this year (around $17,000 at current exchange rates) and according to the Racing Post he covered 120 mares in 2009!

Hopefully he'll show the same level of popularity on his return to Claiborne.

22 Aug 2009 11:25 AM


27 Oct 2009 10:41 AM

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