Nowhere is the impact of a $12 million race felt more keenly than on the general leading sire list for North America, where Unbridled's Song has made a meteoric rise to the top. In 1:47.61, the late son of Unbridled's progeny earnings went from $276,412 to $7,276,412.
Now with Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) winner Arrogate primed for the rest of his 4-year-old campaign with the year-end target of another run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), it is quite possible that Unbridled's Song could remain the leading sire largely off the outcome of a few races.
To further put in perspective how one race has influenced Unbridled's Song's ranking historically, his progeny earnings through Jan. 28—barely one month into the year—is more than his progeny have earned in all but three years since 2001. Unbridled's Song had his best year in 2016 with his progeny raking in $10,421,244 in purses. Arrogate was his chief earner with $4,084,600 for owner Juddmonte Farm.
Unbridled's Song previously had his second-best and third-best years by earnings in 2013 and 2008, respectively. In 2013 his progeny collected $9,509,946 led by Eclipse champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge, who won four graded stakes on his way to earning nearly $3 million. Unbridled's Song would finish 2013 ranked as North America's sixth-leading sire, the highest end-of-the-year ranking he's achieved on the general leading sire list. In 2008 Unbridled's Song was the 10th-leading sire with $7,287,632 in progeny earnings with his son Midshipman taking the title of chief earner with $1.38 million in prize money.
The sires of the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Pegasus World Cup also rose accordingly on the general leading sire's list.
Adena Springs' Ghostzapper, the sire of second-place finisher and Queen's Plate winner Shaman Ghost, is now ranked as the second-leading sire with $1,999,650. Ghostzapper (by Awesome Again) finished as the 20th-leading sire last year with $7,803,733 in earnings.
The late Harlan's Holiday, the sire of Pegasus World Cup third-place finisher Neolithic, is now the third-leading sire with $1,410,238 in earnings. Neolithic, whose best performance prior to the Pegasus World Cup was a second in the grade 3 Discovery Stakes, earned a cool $1 million for owner Starlight Racing for finishing 3 1/2 lengths behind Shaman Ghost, who was 4 3/4 lengths behind Arrogate.
One feature of the inaugural Pegasus World Cup was that all finishers from fourth through 12th received $250,000. This helped Keen Ice raise his sire Curlin's progeny earnings to $720,359 to date, good enough to put him in the fourth spot on the general leading sire list.
Arrogate's big payday had an equally powerful influence on the ranking of his broodmare sire, Distorted Humor. WinStar Farm's hallmark stallion is the leading North American broodmare sire with $7,669,535. The race bumped up Distorted Humor's lifetime average earnings index as a broodmare sire, too, from 1.63 before the Pegasus World Cup to 1.71.