Mares in Foal to First-Year Sires Attract Attention

Mares in Foal to First-Year Sires Attract Attention
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

One of the most-watched sectors of the fall mixed auction market is the sales record for broodmares in foal to stallions that stood their first seasons this year.

The freshman class – stallions that serviced their first book of mares during the 2007 breeding season – is represented by 43 members in the marathon Keeneland November mixed sale. Indeed, the roster reads like a “Who’s Who” of recent major performers on the track who were retired to stud.

Tops on the list is Bernardini, the 2006 champion 3-year-old colt retired to Darley where he stood for a $100,000 fee in 2007. The son of A.P. Indywas bred to 133 mares this year and is represented by 16 in-foal mares in the Keeneland sale, all consigned to the first two days of the sale.

Giacomo, the 2005 winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), was bred to 107 mares this year while standing at Adena Springs for a $12,500 fee. At the Keeneland sale, 34 mares in foal to him will be offered.

Among the other top recent runners who stood at stud for the first time this year and have in-foal mares cataloged at Keeneland are: Bluegrass Cat, bred to 146 mares while standing at WinStar Farm for $50,000; Henny Hughes, who serviced 139 mares while fetching a $40,000 fee at Darley; and First Samurai, who stood at Claiborne Farm for a $40,000 fee and was bred to 122 mares.

If the 2006 auction record of new sires is any indication, the mares in foal to these stallions should sell well. For example, two Horse of the Year honorees stood their first seasons at stud last year and had in-foal mares sell at public auction.

Ghostzapper, 2004 Horse of the Year, covered nine mares offered for sale at public auction. Excluding the five that were bought back, he was represented by four in-foal mares who brought $2,850,000 for an average price of $712,500, more than triple his stud fee of $200,000.

Saint Liam, the 2005 Horse of the Year who stood at stud in 2006 before his death in a paddock accident, was represented by 28 in-foal mares offered at auction last year. Of those, 21 were sold for a gross of $4,687,000, with the $223,190 average representing a healthy return on his $50,000 stud fee.

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