Comparing 2014 Freshman Sires to Previous Champion First-Crop Sires

By Nicole Sauer

Trying to pinpoint which of the newest crop of sires will be most successful is a difficult proposition for even the most skilled horsemen. At this point in a stallion's career, there are few statistics that can reliably isolate the leading contenders. The size of the first foal crop, first-crop CI, and first-crop CPI are three of the main figures that breeders and buyers use to gauge the potential of a stallion's first crop.

To determine trends that might identify 2014 freshman sire standouts, MarketWatch found the minimum and average figures achieved in first-crop foals, CI, and CPI for the leading freshman sires from 2003-13.


Of 2014's 74 freshman sires, 19 met or exceeded the minimum figures. Only Eskendereya, Lookin At Lucky, and Quality Road exceeded the averages in all three categories. The table below lists each sire that met or exceeded all minimum figures. A green check indicates that the sire met or exceeded the average figure, while the red 'x' indicates that the sire fell short of the average.

Concord Point
Desert Party
Discreetly Mine
Hold Me Back
Line of David
Lookin At Lucky
Quality Road
Summer Bird
Super Saver
Tale of Ekati
Temple City
Warrior's Reward

Presumably, the sires that are above average in these categories will have an advantage as their first 2-year-olds begin racing this year, but overlooked freshman sires (Posse, Congrats, Offlee Wild, etc.) often top the year-end list. Since 2001, none of the stallions that led their crops by either CI or CPI became leading freshman sire; Blame (leader by CI) and Quality Road (leader by CPI) will look to break that trend this season.


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The apparent disparity between CI and CPI is thought provoking. At first blush one might posit that racing class of mare trumps production record. Further reflection could refute this concluding instead that it is merely a reflection of culling practices, i.e. that we tend to cull more the poorer race performers than the poorer producers. But, this is just a start, and requires more thought.

On a separate note- the more accurate are these (3) predictors of "success", the more likely the result is a consequence of either self-fulfilling prophecy or the ability of breeders to accurately identify true genetic worth, or some combination of both. The greater this "combination" weighs toward the self-fulfilling prophecy side the more harm is done to the breed by following these practices-and, perhaps, being led by the knowledge of these figures.

25 Feb 2014 11:55 AM
Ian Tapp


I think the disparity between CI and CPI shows that "racey" but young/unproven mares tend to go to first-season sires, and the proven producers go to the proven commercial sires. That's probably why you see more CPI check marks than CI check marks in the chart.

My suspicion is that these three measures aren't equally important, nor does the sire need to be above average in all categories. An Ashford stallion has been champion first-crop sire in the last three seasons: Scat Daddy was above average in crop size only; Henrythenavigator was above average in all three categories; and Dunkirk was above average in crop size only. This tells me number of first crop foals is a more important indicator for first-season sires (if the sire has more runners, then he has more chances to get multiple big earners).

If that trend holds, I wouldn't be surprised to see Munnings or Discreetly Mine be the leading first-crop sire.

Predicting the leading first-crop sire and predicting the best sire of the crop are two different things, and the latter is something we're currently researching at MarketWatch. Needless to say, the leading first-crop sire is rarely the best sire of his crop.

25 Feb 2014 3:49 PM


Re-the disparity between CI and CPI; I did, initially, consider your point (along with several other thoughts). Just a quick mention of something to keep in mind.-Total population CI must average a 1, while there is no such restriction on CPI (in the breeding population). So, all else equal, average breeding population CPI should well exceed a 1-this alone may account for much of the disparity.  

25 Feb 2014 11:48 PM

Wow! I wish I had the knowledge to provide an informed opinion. Despite my ignorance, if I had to make a guess I would select Midshipman to be leader of the group. Why? I tend to be simplistic regarding issue relating to breeding and pedigree.  

I must confess I have a bias towards the tail male descendants of Mr. Prospector. Midshipman is a grandson of Unbridled whom I consider to be the greatest extension of Mr. Prospector. Unbridled like his grandsire and a very select group of sires, is in the record books as having sired a winner of each leg of the Triple Crown i.e., Grindstone, Red Bullet and Empire Maker. He was also broodmare sire of Shackleford, Orb, Derby 3rd place finisher Dennis Of Cork and stakes winners siring machine, Tapit. That is just small portion of Unbridled’s record.

What’s the record of his tail male descendants? Unbridled Song well over 100 stakes winner; Empire Maker- Bodemeister/Royal Delta; Grindstone – Birdstone;  Birdstone- Mine That Bird/ Summer Bird.

His grandson Midshipman was lightly raced and was produced from Fleet Lady a multiple graded stakes winner of over $600K. She was sired by a son of Seattle Slew and her dam and 2nd dam were from the powerful broodmare lines of Turn–To via Roberto and Princequillo via Prince John.

Midshipman has no inbreeding in his 1st five generations. He had excellent speed as denoted by his stakes record in the BCJ. His career was plagued with unsoundness issue and that prevent the realization of his true worth on the track. He is tail male descendant of one of the most successful sire line in last 30 years. There has been tremendous success on both sides of his pedigree and I consider him the total package as a stallion.

Obviously the above has nothing to do with Foal Crop, CI and CPI and represent a simplistic view of a complex issue.


You do not have to post again that I am an idiot as it is common knowledge.

26 Feb 2014 11:30 AM


So you're working on what the clues might be for predicting BEST sire of a (sire) crop. I'll surely look forward to seeing that, but I'll guess it will prove to be a frustrating exercise. If by best sire (of each sire crop) you mean leading lifetime $-winning sire, you then have the longevity variable to deal with-so you have to draw a line somewhere to lessen its impact. If you instead try to sway away from the $-winning criteria and instead try to factor in AEI's, SSI's, etc. you open up a big kettle of worms. Take for example the crop that includes Tapit, Medaglia D'Oro, Speightstown, and Candy Ride. Who's to say which will be the $-leader in the end? I don't envy your task.  

26 Feb 2014 3:05 PM

Hip No. 139, a bay colt by first-crop sire Midshipman, sped an eighth of a mile in :9 4/5 to post the fastest work of the day at the distance.

09 Mar 2014 6:41 PM

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