It would take a full blown posse to find the last freshman sire to be represented by as many as five stakes winners this early in the year. A quick check going back to the mid-1990s failed to come up with one, so it’s probably safe to say that 7-year-old Posse, who stands at Dr. Tom Simon’s Vinery near Lexington, ranks as the record holder since then.
“It’s incredible,” said Vinery stallion administrator Patrick Morell. “He’s really stamping his foals. They’re big and have a great stride.”
Posse’s meteoric stallion career parallels that of his early racing career for Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s racing stable. The son of Silver Deputy was a 13 1/2 length winner at 2 at the Keeneland spring meeting and took the Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III) that May at Churchill Downs. An attempt to win at a mile that year proved less than rewarding.
At 3, Posse concentrated on sprinting and won such stakes as the Riva Ridge Breeders’ Cup (gr. II), Lafayette (gr. III), and Matt Winn Stakes, plus the Thanksgiving Handicap. He set a track record of :57.35 for five furlongs at Fair Grounds. Posse entered stud in 2004 as the property of the Heiligbrodts and Vinery with a record of seven wins from 18 races and earnings of $662,841.
Posse has shown an affinity for siring good colts. All five of his stakes winners—Deputy Dance, Kodiak Kowboy, Lantana Mob, Possetothemax, and T. J.’s Posse—are colts, and so is Law Enforcement, who came close to equaling a track record at Belmont Park in July in his first start.
Kodiak Kowboy was the first of the stakes winners. He won the June 17 Victoria Stakes at Woodbine and then captured the July 7 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. He was scheduled to run in the Aug. 16 Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II).
“He dominated in the Bashford Manor,” Morell said about the 1:09.15 effort for six furlongs. “His daddy definitely stamped him. He tries hard all the time and doesn’t want anyone passing him.”
T. J.’s Posse was Posse’s most recent stakes winner. Unbeaten in two starts, he won the Aug. 7 Jamestown Stakes at Colonial Downs.
Like many stallions, Posse has enjoyed success with mares that have Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer in their pedigrees.
“He has an affinity, as he has proved already, with mares from the Mr. Prospector sire line and with mares whose second dams are from the Northern Dancer line,” Morell said.
Posse himself has both prominent stallions in his pedigree through Silver Deputy, thus a mating to a mare with Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer in her pedigree results in an inbred offspring. Silver Deputy is a great-grandson of Northern Dancer and is out of a Mr. Prospector mare.
“Posse also lends a lot to a pedigree by virtue of his conformation,” Morell said. “He’s menacing and huge, with a great shoulder and an incredible hip.
“A lot of European breeders like him as much as the Americans. To the American, he looks very “Quarter Horsey” in the shoulder, hip, and chest—very broad, very wide. But he also has some range and scope to him because his back is a little bit longer. Not long in a bad way, but long in a good, Thoroughbred way.”
Posse, who is out of the Rahy mare Raska, also ranks atop both the first-crop and sires of 2-year-olds lists by number of winners (13) and progeny earnings (more than $670,000).