The Belmont Stakes (gr. I) might be referred to as the Test of the Champion, but how many winners of the 1 1/2-mile classic go on to become champion sires? That figures to be on the minds of some with the recent retirement of 2006 Belmont winner Jazil to stud at Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm near Lexington, Ky. A 4-year-old son of Seeking the Gold out of the graded stakes-winning Deputy Minister mare Better Than Honour, Jazil raced for Sheikh Hamdan.
A quick look at some of the Belmont winners standing at stud today reveals the names of more stallions who have struggled than succeeded. But the list of the former group contains some impressive names. In what should come as no surprise, their main contribution to a pedigree is stamina.
The overwhelming leader of the group is 1992 Belmont winner A.P. Indy, who is going for his second consecutive leading sire title and his third this decade. His 2007 progeny earnings are $7.5 million. A.P. Indy's daughter Rags to Riches, a half-sister to Jazil, won this year's Belmont.
Like Jazil, A.P. Indy's sole classic score came in the Belmont, but unlike Jazil, A.P. Indy achieved major success before and after the race. The son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew won the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) and Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) before and the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) after. He was voted 1992 Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.
A.P. Indy, whose $50,000 fee was the highest for an incoming stallion in 1993, impressed right away, getting 13 stakes winners from his first crop. His fee shot up to its current $300,000 this decade.
Today, A.P. Indy ranks as North America's premier stamina stallion, siring numerous major winners, including 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and last year's champion 3-year-old male Bernardini. The newest of A.P. Indy's 107 stakes winners, Majestic Warrior, won the seven-furlong Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) for 2-year-olds in such a way that added distance should be no problem.
A.P. Indy stands at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Lemon Drop Kid , the 1999 Belmont winner and another Lane's End stallion, is enjoying his best year yet. The son of Kingmambo ranks 10th by progeny earnings, with $4.4 million, and is represented by 11 stakes winners, including grade I winners Christmas Kid and Citronnade. Like A.P. Indy, Lemon Drop Kid achieved grade I success before and after the Belmont, specifically as a 4-year-old, when he won two grade I stakes and was voted champion older male.
Lemon Drop Kid, whose fee started at $100,000, stood for $20,000 in 2007.
Thunder Gulch, the 1995 Belmont winner, also won the Kentucky Derby and was voted champion 3-year-old male. The son of Gulch got off to a huge start at stud, with 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given (a Belmont and Preakness winner) and major distaffer Spain coming from his first two crops.
Thunder Gulch, who commanded as much as $80,000, but stood for $30,000 in 2007, has sired 60 stakes winners. He stands at John Magnier and partners' Ashford Stud near Versailles.
Point Given and Touch Gold , the 1997 Belmont winner, commanded hefty fees of $30,000 in 2007. Point Given, who began his stallion career for $125,000, stands at Robert N. Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. This year, he ranks seventh among third-crop sires by progeny earnings.
Touch Gold, a son of Deputy Minister, has sired four grade I winners among his 20 career added-money winners. He stands at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Kentucky near Paris.
Victory Gallop, the 1998 Belmont winner and champion older male the following year, continues to have somewhat of an impact. The son of Cryptoclearance has sired 20 stakes winners. He stands at Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles. His 2007 fee was $10,000.
Winning the Belmont doesn't always translate into sire success. Winners such as Hansel and Commendable ended up overseas after enthusiasm for them gradually wore off. But anytime a Belmont winner enters stud, it's always a good reason to see what happens.