Wildcat Heir Off to Fast Start as a Stallion

Son of Forest Wildcat has 11 winners in his first crop.

Wildcat Heir, who was fast enough to win the six-furlong Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (gr. I) in 2004, is getting off to a fast start as a stallion in 2009. As of July 17, there were already 11 winners in the first crop sired by the 9-year-old Forest Wildcat horse, which stands at Brent and Crystal Fernung’s Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla.

“Wildcat Heir is doing an amazing job,” Brent Fernung said. “He’s getting winners from Hollywood, to Woodbine, to Gulfstream, to Arlington, to Monmouth. They’re winning everywhere. I just need one of them to jump up and win a stakes.”

Wildcat Heir’s first winner, Kitty in the Bag, scored at Santa Anita Park April 1. The stallion’s other winners since then include Always Wildcatin’, who finished third in the Colin Stakes at Woodbine.

Wildcat Heir entered stud at John Sykes’ Cloverleaf Farms II near Reddick, Fla., in 2006 as the property of Eb Novak’s New Farm (which bred and raced the horse), Taylor Made Farm, and WinStar Farm. Fernung served as Cloverleaf’s general manager at that time. After Sykes decided to relocate his operation to Kentucky, Wildcat Heir moved to Journeyman.

During his first season at stud, Wildcat Heir stood for $8,000. His 2009 fee was $6,500.

“I thought he was just a natural for Florida,” Fernung said. “He had that natural precociousness, and he got the kind of support down there that a horse needs to make it. He had 122 babies in that first crop. He’s had 20 starters already and they’re all very competitive.”

Wildcat Heir proved to be very popular when he started his breeding career.

“I must have had 300 applications to him that year,” Fernung said. “What I was looking for was basically a typical Florida mare, a big, stout mare with a lot of bone that probably had been through a 2-year-old sale and had early speed. I just think those big, stout mares that had some talent always make good broodmares.”

This year, according to Fernung, Wildcat Heir covered more than 100 mares.

“When they (Wildcat Heir’s offspring) started winning, we were very busy with the horse,” Fernung said. “He had a book of around 65 mares and then, after April 1, it doubled, and he ended up with 130 mares. If they had started 2-year-old racing in February, I don’t know how many mares I could have bred him to.”