Later this week we'll be talking about sire prospects -- those top-performing colts from the past year who are likely to enter stud service in 2010. But after this weekend's Breeders' Cup, I felt inspired to look through the winners list for the event's most likely stallion candidates.
Usually it's a no-brainer. In any given year, if the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) was won in convincing style, that was the colt to watch.
This year's results included such an odd mix of longshots (Juvenile, Dirt Mile, Sprint), geldings (Dirt Mile, Sprint, Turf Sprint), fillies (Classic, Mile), and European horses (Marathon, Juvenile, Juvenile Turf, Turf) that identifying a top prospect for a 2010 U.S.-based stud career is more than a challenge -- it might be impossible. I wonder if this will be the first Breeders' Cup without any American stallion prospect to emerge from the group of winners.
I won't be surprised to hear of interest in Marathon winner Man of Iron from some of the Kentucky farms, but the truth of the matter is, his talents are more valuable (and certainly more appreciated) in Europe. No doubt we'll be hearing about him in the future, even if it's just for Rasmussen Factor opportunities when his progeny are crossed with all of Better Than Honour's other world-beaters.
Repeat Turf winner Conduit (IRE) would be a nice influx of Shirley Heights (GB) and Sadlers Wells blood to a U.S. breeding program, but he's already headed to Japan.
Even if American breeders tend to love precocity, I doubt too many will have their eyes set on Juvenile victor Vale of York (IRE), who came in as winner at the longest odds in this year's Breeder's Cup. While Vale of York has a fascinating pedigree with full brothers Kris (GB) and Diesis (GB), plus a grandsire and granddam bred on the same sire-line cross, the pedigree is distinctly European and unlikely to appeal to American mare owners.
That leaves Juvenile Turf champ Pounced, who like Man of Iron is a Kentucky-bred based in Europe. While his male lineage would be good for diversity in U.S. breeding (I commented a while back that there's only one likely stallion in the U.S. right now to carry on Rahy's sire line), many factors point towards stud duty in Europe. (In addition to his breeding, those factors include his ownership and turf orientation, by the way -- but the biggest indicator to me is seeing Ela-Mana-Mou (IRE) as his second damsire. How many U.S.-based stallions have this "Professional" or stamina-oriented Chef-de-race stallion in their pedigrees?!?)
What an odd Breeders' Cup.