First-crop yearling sires always add an element of intrigue to any sale, but the class of 2007 lends an extra amount of interest to the Keeneland September sale due to fewer stallions sporting top-racing credentials and pedigrees with commercial appeal compared to the 2006 class.
The lack of racing credentials and commercial pedigrees hasn't hurt the first-crop yearling sire class of 2007 thus far into the yearling auction season. Buyers are still lining up to check out the offspring of the new kids on the block, and the modest stud fees of most have helped breeders realize profits.
In the class of 2007, only one stallion, Smarty Jones , had a six-figure fee ($100,000) in his inaugural season, and he was the only member of his class to stand for more than $50,000. Two of the 2006 stallions with first-crop September yearlings had six-figure stud fees during their first breeding season, and four stood for $50,000 each or higher.
A 6-year-old son of Elusive Quality, Smarty Jones was the champion 3-year-old male of 2004 after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown -- the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He also won the Arkansas Derby (gr. I).
Smarty Jones was well received at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga auction as the sire of the most expensive offering by a first-crop sire, a $650,000 colt out of White Gulch.
Smarty Jones, who is the seventh-ranked leading commercial sire by average entering the September sale with three sold from four offered to average $316,667, has 54 offerings in the 15-day auction.
Medaglia d'Oro , who stood for $35,000 and has 84 yearlings cataloged in the Keeneland September sale, was the leading first-crop sire based on his progeny's average price of $150,833 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale.
Champion sprinter Speightstown , who stood for $40,000 in his inaugural season, was the leading first-crop sire at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga auction, where his offspring averaged $275,625. Speightstown will be represented by 66 yearlings at Keeneland.
Lion Heart, who stood for $30,000, was the second-leading first-crop sire at both the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July and Saratoga sales, with progeny averages of $148,667 and $224,000, respectively. His $350,000 colt out of Aim for the Moon was the most expensive offspring of a first-crop sire sold in July.
The son of Tale of the Cat led all sires during the select session of the OBS August sale, with a $99,000 average for his offspring.
Lion Heart has 95 progeny cataloged to the Keeneland September sale, more than any other first-crop sire.