Derby Winner in First Crop Big for Sire

Obviously, siring a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner is a positive for any stud horse. But for a first crop sire, it can be huge. After all, by the time a stallion's first crop are 3-year-olds, he is covering his fifth book of mares.

Though entries are not taken until May 1, it appears Deputy Commander and Indian Charlie are the two first-crop stallions who will have runners in this year's Derby. Deputy Commander is the sire of Ten Most Wanted and Brancusi, while Indian Charlie is the sire of Indian Express.

Several other first-year stallions could have representatives in the Preakness (gr. I) or Belmont (gr. I), among them Touch Gold, the sire of Midas Eyes, and Partner's Hero, sire of New York Hero.

Both Deputy Commander and Indian Charlie stand at Brereton Jones' Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., though Indian Charlie began his stallion career at Vinery.

"My feeling is (the Deputy Commanders) will be better horses at Saratoga than they will be the first Saturday in May," Jones said. "Having a Derby winner would be great, but I won't be discouraged.

"Quite frankly, he doesn't have to have a Derby winner. We're thankful for the success he has had and will continue to have. You have to remember he didn't even run in the classics. He wasn't classic material the first Saturday in May, yet in the Travers he showed he was (classic material).

When Grindstone won the 1993 Derby for W.T. Young, it no doubt helped along the stallion career of his sire, Unbridled. From the first crop of now deceased Unbridled, Grindstone stands at Young's Overbrook Farm near Lexington.

"It has to be, if not the most significant progeny happening, certainly one of the most significant. It resurrected his career," Ric Waldman, who manages the Overbrook stallions, said of Unbridled. "It certainly was a large contributing catalyst to his syndication and movement to Claiborne."

Though a Derby winner in a sire's first crop may help persons selling yearlings, weanlings, or mares in foal to that sire this year, Waldman said the real payoff comes the following year. "For the auction ring, so much depends on the market. It is so fickle. The real upside is in the demand of the following year's (breeding) services. You are almost assured of a larger book of mares than in his fifth book, and at a higher stud fee."

There have been other well-known first crop Derby winners that assuredly helped their sires' stud careers. For instance, Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was from the first crop of Bold Reasoning. Bold Forbes (by Irish Castle), Canonero II (by Pretendre), and Northern Dancer (by Nearctic) were also first-crop Derby winners.

Going back a bit in history, Gallant Fox was from the first crop by Omaha, and Tom Fool from the first group sired by Tim Tam.

The most unique distinction is that Ponder was from the first crop by Pensive, and Needles from the first crop by Ponder.