Every few years there's a new stallion prospect(s) that gets the world of horse racing excited. Think back to the 1970s; Triple Crown winners Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed, along with Affirmed's rival Alydar, immediately come to mind. Then there is the 1980s with Spectacular Bid, Conquistador Cielo, and Devil's Bag, followed by Easy Goer in 1991 and Cigar in 1997. This time, it's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus, who seems as good a bet as any to ensure excitement once he starts his new career at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., in February. A top-priced yearling, he carries the title of "Mr. Prospector's only Kentucky Derby winner" at stud.
Unlike some of racing's stars who enter stud each year, 3-year-old Fusaichi Pegasus was retired with perhaps his best racing days ahead of him. Few thought his losing effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) was indicative of his overall ability, and he was retired sound after starting only nine times during his 11-month racing career. Who knows what a winter's rest could produce as a 4-year-old?
Many believe it was his estimated value, between $60 and $70 million, that convinced his connections it would be best if he were hustled off to stud. A victory in the Classic might have been worth a $200,000 stud fee, but his price of $150,000 is $100,000 more than what last season's highest-priced incoming stallion, Forestry, commanded at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky.
The second-highest-priced stallion entering stud in 2001, grade I winner Lemon Drop Kid, put in a full campaign as a 4-year-old and will stand for $100,000 at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky. Behind Lemon Drop Kid in price is 3-year-old War Chant, who will start at $75,000 at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky.
Like Fusaichi Pegasus, War Chant was lightly raced, with only seven starts, and many feel his best racing days are still ahead of him. His dramatic come-from-behind win in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) in only his second start on grass greatly increased his stallion value and left his fans hoping he would run as a 4-year-old. Instead, they will have to cheer for him at stud.
Overall, there are 37 horses entering stud in 2001 who will stand for $10,000 or more, or who achieved the status of grade I/group I winner, millionaire, or champion. The number of select stallion prospects for the 2000 breeding season was 19, and the year before, it was 34.Continued . . . .