William de Burgh has announced that his grade I winner Heatseeker will begin his stud career in 2009 at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington. The farm has purchased a significant interest in Irish-bred Heatseeker, who will stand for $20,000 live foal.
“We feel Hill ‘n’ Dale is a great fit for Heatseeker,” de Burgh said. “They have a staff of great horsemen and always service their customers in a first class manner. We have watched the success of (farm stallion) Stormy Atlantic and the rest of their stallion roster and have been very impressed by the entire operation.
Like his sire, English and Irish champion Giant’s Causeway, Heatseeker began his racing career in his Ireland, where he won his first two races as a juvenile before placing in the Laing O’Rourke National Stakes (Ire-I) behind George Washington.
In the U.S., Heatseeker developed into one of the nation’s top older runners, with wins in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and Californian Stakes (gr. III), the latter by 5 1/4 lengths. He set track records in both races and was a four-time track-record setter in all, with one of the efforts coming in 1:20.90 for seven furlongs last year.
“Heatseeker was a racehorse of great versatility and always ran in elite company,” said John G. Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale. “He had a ton of speed and could carry this speed over any distance of ground. He is a robust, clean-legged horse with great power and balance from a pedigree that boasts 35 stakes horses and quite a few champions in the first three dams. We think he is a tremendous stallion prospect who should have enormous international appeal.”
Bred by Richard F. Barnes, Heatseeker retired with seven wins from 17 races and earnings of $1,177,776. He is out of the Defensive Play mare Rusty Back.