Round 'Em Up: (with Video)

A key ingredient for the success of any new stallion is sufficient support from those who believe in him, and Dr. Tom Simon’s Vinery was rewarded handsomely in 2007 for its support of Posse (VIDEO), who was the year’s leading first-crop sire. In addition to the farm standing the stallion, Vinery Stables campaigns Posse’s two most successful runners, Kodiak Kowboy and Lantana Mob.

"It can’t get any better than that," said Vinery’s general manager, Tom Ludt. "We gave them both a break after they did such a great job for us. They just went back to (trainer) Steve Asmussen around the first of December. He is real happy with them, and they are doing great."

Kodiak Kowboy, who was named Canada’s champion 2-year-old male, finished the year with $544,825 in earnings and victories in the Saratoga Special (gr. II) and Bashford Manor (gr. III) Stakes. He also ran third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Lantana Mob, who won the Sapling (gr. III) and Tyro Stakes, was his sire’s second leading earner, with $219,048 to his credit.

Vinery did not breed either Kodiak Kowboy or Lantana Mob, who are raced in partnership with Fox Hill Farm. The former was purchased for $70,000 at the 2006 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s August yearling sale from Burleson Farms, agent, while the latter was bought privately. In all, the stable bought and raced 13 members of Posse’s first crop.

"Vinery almost exclusively supports its stallions at the racing end," Ludt said. "Our group goes through and we look at all the progeny, and we put our opinions on each one. We compare notes, and the consensus of the ones we all like are the ones we make a run after. We try to be very team-oriented."

In addition to his two graded stakes winners, Posse was represented by five other added-money winners. One of them, T. J.’s Posse, is also owned by Vinery, while two others, Possetothemax and Deputy Dance, are owned by Bill Heiligbrodt, who campaigned Posse to victories in the 2002 Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. III) and 2003 Riva Ridge Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) and Lafayette (gr. III) Stakes.

Posse, an 8-year-old son of Silver Deputy—Raska, by Rahy, who was bred by Robert and Lawana Low, ended the year with $1,765,638 in progeny earnings. He bred 115 mares in his first season, which produced 74 foals.

"The thing we are the proudest of is that if you look at his number of foals and his number of runners, it is off the charts compared to the horses he is competing against on the freshman sire list," Ludt said. "He has 63 named 2-year-olds, and some of the other sires have 85 or 120 2-year-olds. It is unbelievable for us to still be ahead of all those horses."

In 2007, 43 of Posse’s juveniles raced at least once, while 24 of them became winners. Thus, he had 58% runners, 32% winners, and 9% stakes winners from foals. With 40 wins and 45 placings from 176 starts to their credit, Posse’s foals won or placed 49% of the time they raced.

"They are nice-looking horses," Ludt said. "He is consistently putting a good size hip on them. With Posse running shorter distances, people want to say that they can’t stretch out, but that depends on if you breed him to a mare that has some endurance to her."

Posse has retained his popularity with breeders throughout his four seasons at stud, breeding 114 mares in 2005, 129 in 2006, and 123 in 2007.

After beginning his career at $10,000, Posse’s stud fee went up to $12,500 in 2007, and following his first crop’s performance, he will stand for $30,000 in 2008.

"We thought that was a significant jump, but we didn’t want to be overaggressive," said Ludt. "We found that we haven’t been, though, because we have been swamped with submissions.

"We can’t be any happier with him. Hopefully this next crop is just as good, and we will be on our way to having a great stallion."