Mr. Greeley’s reputation as an international sire is growing. During the Tattersalls Craven breeze-up sale in England, April 16 and 17, his daughter out of Silver Kestrel became the highest-priced filly ever sold at the auction when she brought the sale-topping price of 540,000 guineas. Three other Mr. Greeley offspring joined her on the list of the auction’s top 10 most expensive horses.
“This is clearly a horse that is very unique,” said Michael Hernon, the director of sales for Gainesway Farm, where 16-year-old Mr. Greeley stands in Central Kentucky. “Very few stallions can sire grade I winners in the U.S. and group I winners in Europe. He’s a flagship horse.”
Mr. Greeley showed early in his stud career that his impact as a stallion wouldn’t be limited to this country. In addition to 2002 Humana Distaff Handicap (gr. I) winner Celtic Melody, the chestnut stallion’s second crop of foals included European standout Reel Buddy, who scored in the 2003 Sussex Stakes (Eng-I).
But it took the sensational performances of two fillies last year to really establish Mr. Greeley as an important sire of European runners. Finsceal Beo became a champion while capturing the Stan James One Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), Boylesports Irish One Thousand Guineas (Ire-I), and Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium Des Pouliches Royal Barriere de Deauville (Fr-I). Saoirse Abu, meanwhile, scored in the Independent Waterford Wedgewood Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) and the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I). Both fillies were in the stable of Irish trainer Jim Bolger.
“Clearly, last year was a pivotal year for Mr. Greeley in Europe, and his appreciation in the marketplace there certainly was bolstered by the performance of the Bolger-trained fillies,” Hernon said. “With the currency differentials now as signifcant as they are with the pound sterling and the euro, Mr. Greeley is a most appealing horse to the Europeans. He is fully booked for 2008 at the price of $125,000, which rapidly is appearing to be a bargain.”
Based on The Jockey Club’s data, Mr. Greeley covered 158 mares last year, and the stallion will cover about that many this year, according to Hernon.
“He did breed a number of mares from Europe last year, but in light of his success there in 2007, there is a noticeable increase in the demand for the horse in 2008,” Hernon said. “The number of very high-quality mares from Europe visting Mr. Greeley this year is somewhere in the region of approaching 40. Because a number of his progeny will be dropped in Europe and will be raced by owner-breeders or will go into the European market, the American market will not be overcrowded with his foals of 2009.”
Mr. Greeley’s sire, Gone West, also has enjoyed success in Europe with his progeny, which include English and French champion Zafonic and European group winners such as Aboline, Dazzle, Muqtarib, Raah Algharb, and Saddad.
“Gone West has had very signficant success in Europe, and Mr. Greeley has shown the ability to carry that forward,” Hernon said. “Mr. Greeley dominates his mares and many times they produce a very similar type of horse. His offspring generally are big, bold, athletic, good-moving, correct horses with great physical appeal.”
Mr. Greeley had sired of 40 stakes winners as of April 19. Among his standout runners in this country are 2002 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) winner Nonsuch Bay, 2002 Futurity Stakes (gr. I) winner Whywhywhy, and 2000 Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) winner El Corredor. Whywhywhy sired last year’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow, and El Corredor sired 2005 Frizette Stakes (gr. I) winner Adieu.
“Mr. Greeley’s horses move so well that they tend to be adaptable,” Hernon said. “With the advent of Polytrack, we should see some of his more turf-oriented horses in this country competing effectively in races contested on synthetic surfaces.”
A Mr. Greeley – Win My Heart colt, now named Kinsella, topped last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearing auction when Gaineway, as agent, sold him for $2.2 million to Team Valor International. Another Mr. Greeley offspring, Thabit, who is out of Matsue, brought $800,000 from Shadwell Estate Co. at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Earlier this year, a daughter of Mr. Greeley out of Bacardi Cat was the most expensive filly at the this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. select juvenile auction, commanding $550,000. Her buyer, Kentucky horseman Tom Gentry, said she would be sent to Bolger.