Tony Leonard

Leading Broodmare Sire 2004: Dixieland Band

A seven-year run by Mr. Prospector atop the broodmare sire rankings came to an end in 2004 as Dixieland Band moved to the fore based on the $11,948,215 earned by the progeny of his daughters. Mr. Prospector continued his imprint on the Thoroughbred breed by finishing second by progeny earnings. While Mr. Prospector had 40 more runners than Dixieland Band, Dixieland Band had four more winners on the year.

A 25-year-old son of Northern Dancer, Dixieland Band is one of five descendants of the Northern Dancer line to grace the top 12 leading broodmare sires of the year. He is joined by Sadler's Wells, Nureyev, Danzig, and Storm Bird. Northern Dancer was the leading broodmare sire once, in 1991, and was followed by a son, Nijinsky II, in 1993-94.

Dixieland Band, who has stood his entire career at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., is still quite active in the breeding shed. In 2004, he covered a reported 52 mares and has a foal crop of 51 from his 2003 breeding season. He'll stand the 2005 season for a fee of $50,000.

As a sire, Dixieland Band has been prolific, siring 100 career stakes winners from 17 crops of racing age (see page 129). As a broodmare sire, Dixieland Band hit center stage in the spring of 2001 when Monarchos (by Maria's Mon) won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In 2004, Dixieland Band was responsible for 17 stakes winners as a damsire. The leader among active broodmare sires was Sadler's Wells with 33, followed by Mr. Prospector's 26.

Dixieland Band has shown remarkable versatility as a broodmare sire as his major winners in 2004 came from all over the map: juveniles; 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail; a strong group of 3-year-old fillies; and both sprinting and stout older runners. And, as has been the case over the last decade or so, it was the crossing of the Mr. Prospector line with the Northern Dancer line that produced most of the success.

Both of his top 2-year-olds had their best efforts under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Exceptional Ride, by Mr. Prospector's late son Chester House, won the 1 1/16-mile Grand Canyon Handicap, and juvenile filly Aspen Tree, by Holy Bull, was second, beaten a nose, in the Pocahontas Stakes.

Dixieland Band was represented by two horses in the Kentucky Derby in 2004: Limehouse and Pollard's Vision, both from Mr. Prospector-line stallions. Prior to Limehouse's fourth-place finish behind Smarty Jones in the Derby, the Florida-bred son of Grand Slam won the seven-furlong Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III). A third-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) set up his run at Churchill Downs. Pollard's Vision, by Carson City, knocked down the Illinois Derby (gr. II) before the Derby, and then had a solid, year-long campaign, winning or placing in six other graded stakes. Another 3-year-old colt, Delta Blues, won the rich Japanese St. Leger (Jpn-I).

Stellar 3-year-old fillies came on both dirt and turf for Dixieland Band in 2004. Society Selection, Irving and Marjorie Cowan's homebred daughter of Coronado's Quest (by Mr. Prospector's son Forty Niner), won back-to-back grade I events at Saratoga, with a 6 1/4-length score in the seven-furlong Test, then came back to win the 10-furlong Alabama three weeks later. On the turf, River Belle, by Lahib, won the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs after placing in two other graded stakes.

Dixieland Band's older runners truly show his versatility as a broodmare sire. The stars of the year were top sprinter Champali and leading handicap runners Southern Image and Freefourinternet.

Champali won three graded stakes and became a millionaire in 2004 before being retired. A son of Glitterman (Bold Ruler line), Champali starts his stud career at Glencrest Farm for a $7,500 fee. Champali's full brother, Drexel Monorail, also was a stakes winner in 2004.

Southern Image was a top runner in the handicap division during the early part of the year, winning back-to-back million-dollar races at 1 1/4 miles and also the Pimlico Special (gr. I). Southern Image, by Halo's Image (Halo), was beaten just a nose in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) in his last start of the year while spotting the winner 11 pounds.

Freefourinternet, by fellow Northern Dancer line stallion Tabasco Cat, shook up the handicap ranks late in the season with a score in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) over Perfect Drift. The now 7-year-old Kentucky-bred became a millionaire in 2004.