(Originally from the June 1, 2013 issue of The Blood-Horse)
by Anne Peters
Sires and sire lines are a big part of Thoroughbred breeding lore, but broodmare sires are often an overlooked part of the conversation. It's not uncommon for a leading sire to become a leading broodmare sire, and recent North American title holders in both divisions include Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, Deputy Minister, and Storm Cat. Their genetic superiority combined with the elite broodmares bred to them almost guarantees daughters with impeccable credentials.
The leading broodmare sires so far for 2013 reflect the big purses earned in Dubai. At the top is the great German runner and stallion Acatenango, dam sire of Animal Kingdom (by Leroidesanimaux) and two other stakes winners. As good a sire as Acatenango was in Germany, he wouldn't be anywhere near this position internationally without Animal Kingdom's win in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I).
Second on the list is Darshaan, whose top earner in 2013 is Sajjhaa (by King's Best), winner of the Dubai Duty Free Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I). Unlike Acatenango, Darshaan (Shirley Heights—Delsy, by Abdos) has been a perennial leading broodmare sire in Europe, and Sajjhaa is one of eight stakes winners from his daughters already in 2013.
Currently third on the broodmare sire list is America's own Storm Cat. His daughters have produced 16 stakes winners so far in 2013, more than any other broodmare sire this year, and these include graded stakes winners Close Hatches, Govenor Charlie, and Tapicat. Storm Cat was the leading broodmare sire of 2012, and his leading earner last year was grandson Bodemeister (by Empire Maker ), who won the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) and ran second in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He's serving his first year at stud at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Storm Cat will no doubt continue to dominate as a broodmare sire for years to come as he was bred to only the crème dela crème of broodmares for most of his 21 years at stud.
Following Storm Cat on the 2013 broodmare sire list by earnings come heavyweights Unbridled, A.P. Indy, Giant's Causeway , Deputy Minister, Sadler's Wells, Seeking the Gold, and Dixieland Band. With the exception of Giant's Causeway, none of these are a real surprise, and Deputy Minister, Sadler's Wells, and Dixieland Band are past leading broodmare sire title holders. Their daughters are generally golden, and they cross with a variety of bloodlines.
Giant's Causeway, a son of Storm Cat, is an up-and-comer in this category, currently sixth by earnings. Foaled in 1997, he's the youngest horse in the top 100 broodmare sires. Although his oldest daughters are only 11, they've produced 27 stakes winners already, six so far in 2013, including the grade I-winning 3-year-old Verrazano (by More Than Ready ). Giant's Causeway mares have also produced group/grade I winners Planteur, Evening Jewel, Eden's Moon, and Loch Garman.
Unbridled's Song, foaled in 1993, is the next youngest broodmare sire currently in the top 15 on the earnings list. His chief earner so far this year is Southwest Stakes (gr. III) winner Super Ninety Nine , by Pulpit (by A.P. Indy). Unbridled's Song's daughters have quickly become some of the most effective broodmares in the business, with at least 60 stakes winners to their credit, such as grade I winners General Quarters, The Lumber Guy, Unbridled Command, Warning Flag, J. B.'s Thunder, and Rolling Fog. Unbridled's Song is playing a fierce game of catch up with his own sire, Unbridled (foaled 1987), who has 68 stakes winners as a broodmare sire, including this year's Derby winner Orb .
Dehere, foaled in 1991, currently 19th on this list, is another sire whose daughters quickly made his reputation as a broodmare sire. They've produced 66 stakes winners to date including this year's stars Graydar , So Many Ways, Take Charge Indy, and his half brother Will Take Charge ; and past performers such as champion sprinter Midnight Lute (the second-leading second-crop sire), Friesan Fire , and More Than Real.
Some old timers such as Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, and Danzig are still strongly represented on the broodmare sires list, born in the golden era of the 1970s. Other powerful names from this decade include Deputy Minister, Nureyev, Miswaki, Valid Appeal, Conquistador Cielo, Clever Trick, Kris S., and Crafty Prospector.
The 1980s produced top broodmare sires such as the already mentioned Dixieland Band, Storm Cat, and Unbridled; as well as Woodman, Royal Academy, Seeking the Gold, Rahy, Carson City, Gone West, Broad Brush, Wild Again, Capote, A.P. Indy, Silver Deputy, Dynaformer, and Belong to Me.
Many of these still have producing daughters in their prime, and a few still have daughters racing, such as A.P. Indy and the late Dynaformer. Belong to Me is still in service, for someone wanting to breed his or her own broodmare.
This group also includes European-based sires such as Darshaan, Sadler's Wells, Danehill, Rainbow Quest, Night Shift, Green Desert, Linamix, and Indian Ridge. By virtue of having North American-raced descendants, both Sadler's Wells (in 2008-10) and Danehill (in 2011) have earned North American broodmare sire titles.
Stallions born in the 1990s are making the newest generation of top broodmare sires. Besides Giant's Causeway, Unbridled's Song, and Dehere, some of the more successful include Kingmambo, Thunder Gulch, Gilded Time, French Deputy, Smart Strike, Holy Bull, Maria's Mon, and Wild Rush. Younger broodmare sires (1994 and later) Awesome Again , Tale of the Cat , Touch Gold, Boston Harbor, Coronado's Quest, Pulpit, Grand Slam, and Arch are showing that their daughters can be great broodmare investments.
European-based Anabaa, Halling, Peintre Celebre, and Stravinsky are also making a good early showing. The common factor is that these sires are all consistent sires of class, even those who haven't left a strong legacy of sire sons, such as Miswaki, Affirmed, Woodman, and Crafty Prospector. Keep their names in mind when shopping for broodmares because it's hard to reach the top with lower class pedigrees.