The June issue of The Blood-Horse MarketWatch includes 10 profiles of 2009's leading first-crop yearling sires to watch, based on their 2008 weanling medians. These insightful profiles were written by pedigree expert Alan Porter and international bloodstock consultant Michael Youngs. We actually had 12 profiles to run but wound up with only room for 10 in the print edition. So we're running the other two profiles here. The first of these bonus profiles is Lane's End Farm's Aragorn.
Photo by Tony Leonard/Courtesy of Lane's End Farm
Aragorn began his career in Ireland, where he finished second in his only start at 2, and won a seven-furlong maiden and was third in a listed race in England at 3. Brought to the U.S., he won the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT). At 4, Aragorn developed into a top-class miler with a deadly turn of foot, winning the Eddie Read Handicap and Shoemaker Breeders’ Cup Mile (both gr. IT), and the Del Mar Breeders’ Cup Handicap and Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile (both gr. IIT). His only defeats that year were seconds in three graded stakes, two of them grade I, one of which was the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Aragorn’s sire, Giant’s Causeway, was the best racing son of Storm Cat, and has established himself as his sire’s best stallion son. He has sired group/grade I winners on dirt (where his best have been out of mares with speed in their background), turf, and all-weather (where they have been particularly adept). Out of a Mr. Prospector mare, Aragorn comes from a classic European family — his third dam, Valoris II, won the Epsom Oaks and Irish One Thousand Guineas and is half-sister to the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) winner Val de Loir, himself a top-class sire. Aragorn’s granddam, Savannah Dancer, a daughter of Northern Dancer, was a graded stakes winner and is granddam of French champion 3-year-old State Shinto.
Sixteen Aragorn weanlings were sold in the U.S. last year, averaging $35,169, with a high price of $100,000 realized by a colt out of Chalamont (IRE). She is a daughter of Kris (GB) (by Sharpen Up (GB), a line that has worked well under Storm Cat), out of the group I winner and producer Durtal (IRE). Chalamont has produced the black-type winner Secret Garden (IRE) and is granddam of Italian group winner Wickwing (GB). Internationally, the top price for an Aragorn weanling was the near-$330,000 achieved in Japan by a foal out of Lively Tune. She is a Dixieland Band daughter (meaning the colt is bred on a similar cross to Giant’s Causeway’s juvenile star First Samurai), and is half-sister to graded stakes winners Living Vicariously and With Distinction (by Storm Cat), and to the dam of graded stakes winner Sightseeing.
Aragorn, whose first-year fee was $30,000 at Lane’s End Farm, came good toward the end of his 3-year-old campaign and was outstanding at 4. One would generally not expect him to get early runners (although inbreeding to his broodmare sire, Mr. Prospector, might help in that regard), and his offspring are most likely to be suited by turf and all-weather tracks. — Alan Porter