Prominent California stallion Benchmark, sire of champion Points Offthebench and several other grade I winners, has been pensioned from stud duty due to fertility issues, Ballena Vista Farm announced April 21.
Initially, the farm thought Benchmark was physically and reproductively capable of another season and was bred to a handful of mares the first two months of the 2014 season. The 23-year-old son of Alydar failed to impregnate them and will now join Beau Genius as a fellow retiree at the Ramona, Calif. farm.
Throughout his stud career Benchmark has been a stalwart of the California breeding industry. He had nine consecutive years of more than $2.3 million in progeny earnings and has total progeny earnings of $30.1 million through April 20. His 41 stakes winners and 10 graded stakes winners from 742 foals in 13 crops of racing age, include 2013 champion sprinter Points Offthebench as well as grade I winners Brother Derek, Idiot Proof, and Silent Sighs.
Upon his retirement from stud, Benchmark is the leading son of Alydar by progeny earnings. He currently ranks sixth on the California general sires list and topped the state's sire list by number of winners in 2009 and 2010.
Benchmark was a multiple graded stakes winner for owner Martin and Pam Wygod. He posted a 7-2-4 record from 16 career starts while earning $636,707. His record includes three grade II wins in 1997: the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap and San Bernardino Handicap. He also placed second or third in four other graded stakes including the 1998 Triple Bend Invitational Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I).
Benchmark was bred in Kentucky North Central Bloodstock out of the graded stakes-placed Danzig mare Winters' Love, a half sister to 1983 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Caveat. He is a half brother to grade I winner Tranquility Lake, the dam of grade I winners Courageous Cat and After Market and group II winner Jalil.