Another member of the old guard has been pensioned. Three Chimneys announced yesterday that Rahy has retired from stud service due to declining fertility. As a representative of several good historic bloodlines -- Blushing Groom (FR), Wild Risk (FR), Halo, and Herbager, for example, and from the immediate family of Glorious Song and Ballade -- while being free of the current "big three" (Seattle Slew, Mr. Prospector, and Northern Dancer), Rahy was an important contributor to diversity in Thoroughbred pedigrees.
Rahy was not especially successful as a sire of sires -- Lewis Michael (SRO), who stood alongside his sire this year and now replaces him at Three Chimneys, will probably be the sole male-line heir -- but he remained a commercially viable stud because he consistently produced solid runners. With more than 78% of his progeny running and 70% winning, he's achieved a remarkable 16.3% rate of producing stakes horses (8.5% stakes winners). and average earnings approaching $66,000 (age 3+), Where many stallions don't beat 4% stakes winners, Rahy boasts 4.4% graded stakes winners from foals (and 8.2% graded winners from all winners).
The Nasrullah line continues through four sons: Red God, Grey Sovereign, Never Bend, and Bold Ruler. A.P. Indy (SRO) ensures that the Bold Ruler branch will continue for several additional generations. In Excess (IRE) (SRO) appears ready to take the helm of Grey Sovereign and is aided in that responsibility by a few fine sons of Cozzene. The Never Bend line continues mostly in Europe and mostly through grandsons of Shirley Heights (GB). In the U.S., Red God's line (through Blushing Groom) has been reinvigorated recently with multiple sons and grandsons of Runaway Groom and the importation of such South American standouts as Invasor (ARG) (SRO) and Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) (SRO).
While Rahy's sons are not prominant in large numbers, his legacy undoubtedly will be felt strongly in future generations of Thoroughbreds: he's established a dominant role as a broodmare sire of sires. From the entry of Giant's Causeway (SRO) in 2001 to Harlington (SRO)'s first year in 2009, daughters of Rahy have produced a slew of good sire sons year after year. (To see more stallions with Rahy as a damsire, run a quick search by broodmare sire on the Stallion Register Online.) Interestingly, the bulk of his good sires (as a damsire) are sons of Storm Cat -- an example of a cross that nicks to create prepotent sons.
Oddly -- considering the obvious importance of this stallion as a damsire -- Rahy's progeny auction results (yearlings) were skewed in favor of fillies for most of the 1990s but shifted towards the colts around 2003. His sons earned $138,000+ on average while daughters took in under $75,000 -- but the fillies earned about 26% more per start: they just ran a lot less. Combined, Rahy progeny have a 2.44 AEI -- how many stallions can improve on a 2.05 lifetime CI?
I think Rahy was often overlooked in a market that prizes big precocious types -- at an optimistic inch over 15 hands, he surely didn't meet too many mares that he would upgrade in size. But Rahy is perhaps the perfect stallion to take over for Northern Dancer, who for several decades has been the go-to horse used in the argument that small horses could produce big results.
Rahy, you've earned your retirement. But you will be missed.
Related: I wrote an article about Justenuffheart -- who produced juvenile champion Dreaming of Anna and promising young sire Lewis Michael to the cover of Rahy -- for The Blood-Horse MarketWatch this past spring. View the article here: This Is a 'Dam Good' Story.