As the midway point of the year approaches, the Lane’s End Farm stallion roster continues to see impressive results with its progeny, with five of its stallions ranked among the top 11 horses on the leading sires list.
Leading the way is veteran sire A.P. Indy, who ended last year as the leading sire by progeny earnings and again holds down the number one spot. His top earner is Rags to Riches, who won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and is a possible contender for the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The 18-year-old son of Seattle Slew stands for a fee of $300,000.
“It’s obviously very gratifying to see them all doing so well,” said Will Farish, owner of the Versailles, Ky., farm. “But, you can’t specify exactly why they are all doing well. Of course, A.P. Indy is what he is. He is a fantastic sire who is on top of his game.”
Following A.P. Indy as Lane’s End representatives in the top 11 are Smart Strike, Pleasant Tap, Lemon Drop Kid, and Langfuhr, who currently occupy the third, sixth, seventh, and 11th spots, respectively.
While Curlin’s recent success in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) can only add to the popularity of his sire, Smart Strike has been steadily improving over the years.
“Smart Strike has been a very good and somewhat unappreciated horse until now,” Farish said. “He has come into his own with Curlin, and his book has improved as he has proven himself.
“Not that he is a new sire anymore, but one of the most important things with a young sire to get them started is their original owner’s support early on. Sam-Son has done that with him.”
Some of the Smart Strike offspring campaigned by the Samuel family’s Sam-Son Farm include Soaring Free, who was the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year; Eye of the Sphynx; Portcullis; Shoal Water; and Strike Softly.
When Smart Strike retired to stallion duties in 1997, he stood for a fee of $30,000. Now the 15-year-old son of Mr. Prospector commands a fee of $75,000.
Pleasant Tap, who is now 20, has been best represented over the past several years by his grade I-winning son Premium Tap, while Lemon Drop Kid, who is a relatively young sire, seems to be improving this year with such runners as grade I winners Christmas Kid and Citronnade, who won the Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) May 28.
“Lemon Drop Kid is the same sort of thing as Smart Strike, slow to start but coming into his own,” Farish said. “With Pleasant Tap, he’s just been getting better and better. His book this year was probably the strongest it has been in the past 10 years.”
Lemon Drop Kid (by Kingmambo) stands for a fee of $20,000, while Pleasant Tap (by Pleasant Colony) stands for $15,000.
Langfuhr, a 15-year-old son of Danzig, has been represented by grade II winners Jambalaya and Lawyer Ron this year as well as stakes winners Beta Capo, Donamour, and Annie Savoy. He ended last year as the eighth-leading sire, and his fee is $25,000.
“We encourage people to breed mares who make the most sense for the stallion,” Farish said. “We have smaller books, and in very few situations breed a stallion to more than 100 to 125 mares.”
While the five stallions offer different pedigree lines, and most are well into their stallion careers, Farish said it is not any one thing that has led to their success.
“If they produce good horses and show consistency, it really wouldn’t matter if they were all by one stallion, but at the same time, it is nice they aren’t,” he said. “We are all inclined to support younger horses, but when an older horse has shown what they are capable of and is proven, breeders will still go after them.”