Among the most-watched statistics at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale is that of leading covering sires, which are those stallions represented by mares sold in-foal from their matings earlier this year.
Generally, there is a strong correlation between the leading sire lists and the list of stallions commanding the highest stud fees and the leading covering sires at the top North American mixed sale.
Former leading sire Storm Cathas been the leading covering sire at Keeneland eight times since 1996, a string that was interrupted by Gone West (1997), Seeking the Gold (2001), and A.P. Indy (2004), who has emerged again atop the list this year.
According to statistics compiled as part of BloodHorseNow.com’s Data Digest, A.P. Indy was represented at Keeneland by six in-foal mares who sold for an average price of $2,491,667. Based on the 2007 stud fee of $300,000 for last year’s leading general sire who stands at Lane’s End Farm, the final prices commanded by his in-foal mares represent a healthy return on breeders’ investments.
A.P. Indy, who was bred to 94 mares this year, was fourth-leading covering sire at Keeneland last year with seven mares selling for an average price of $1,339,286. Last year’s leader, Storm Cat, had three in-foal mares average $2,666,667.
The covering sire statistics are among the data from the Keeneland November sale compiled by Scot Gillies, director of digital media research for BHNow, and published in the exclusive Data Digest that is available as a downloadable PDF for BHNow subscribers.
Another Lane’s End stallion, Kingmambo, was second-leading covering sire this year, with six in-foal mares averaging $1,991,667. Playful Act, the $10.5-million sale-topper who was one of 65 mares bred to the 17-year-old stallion this year, was not in foal; otherwise, Kingmambo would have had a sale-topping $3.2-million average. Kingmambo’s 2007 stud fee was private, and he is listed at a fee of $250,000 for 2008.
Bernardini, the 2006 champion 3-year-old colt who entered stud this year at Darley, ranked third on the covering sire list and was tops among first-year covering sires at the Keeneland sale. According to Data Digest, the 10 mares in-foal to Bernardini averaged $1,152,000. Bernardini was bred to 133 mares during the 2007 breeding season while standing for a fee of $100,000.
Previous leader Storm Cat, who serviced 96 mares at a $500,000 stud fee at Overbrook Farm this year, had two mares average $1,030,000 during the Keeneland sale, placing him fourth on the covering sire list.
The top five on the covering sires list is rounded out by yet another Lane’s End stallion, Smart Strike, who is the leading general sire of 2007. Of the 133 mares bred to the son of Mr. Prospector who stood for $75,000 in 2007, there were eight sold at Keeneland for an average price of $844,375.