Published in the Nov. 23 issue of The Blood-Horse
Brereton Jones, constantly on the lookout for a new stallion for his Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky., always pays particular attention to the Met Mile (gr. I). "It is no secret the best milers frequently make the best sires," Jones said from his farm office Nov. 15. "You can argue that certain races seem to produce good stallion prospects, but I think the single most definitive race for a stallion is the Met Mile." Two years ago, Jones flew to New York to watch the Met Mile because he was interested in one of the runners as a potential stallion. He came away impressed with another horse--the winner. "He blew them away," Jones said of Yankee Victor. "It was an awesome race. I started analyzing his pedigree, and then of course got very excited about him. "I feel like we've got to get horses we can breed to the Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer cross that we've done 28 different ways, and with a great deal of success. But at some point the inbreeding will destroy the soundness of the breed." Yankee Victor, a son of Saint Ballado (by Halo), was one of 40 stallions with first-crop weanlings offered at the recent Kentucky breeding stock sales. There was much anticipation over the first weanlings sired by Coolmore stallions Fusaichi Pegasus and Giant's Causeway, but several of the other sires, such as Yankee Victor, made a favorable impression on the buyers. While both Fusaichi Pegasus and Giant's Causeway had weanlings that sold well, the former curiously had 10 of 17 foals scratched, and the latter's four sold averaged just 1.66 times his stud fee. The top price for a weanling by any first-crop sire, and second-highest price among all sires, was the $725,000 paid for a colt by Fusaichi Pegasus. Bred by Rancho San Peasea and consigned by Three Chimneys, agent, the colt is out of the graded stakes-winning Alleged mare Party Cited. He was purchased by agent John McCormack, who said the bay colt will be pinhooked to a 2003 yearling sale. "He was just a very nice colt," Three Chimneys general manager Dan Rosenberg said. "Composure's performance certainly helped." Party Cited is the dam of Composure (by Touch Gold), who since the catalogue was printed had won the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. II) and run second to Storm Flag Flying in the Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The top Giant's Causeway foal was a colt who is the first foal produced from the A.P. Indy mare Downshift. Bred by Premier Bloodstock and consigned by Eaton Sales, the colt's granddam is grade I winner Easy Now and his third dam is champion runner and producer Relaxing. He was purchased by Left Side Farm for $290,000. War Chant, who stands at Three Chimneys Farm, had five foals sell for an average of 3.25 times his stud fee. Among them was a filly sold by Three Chimneys that certainly had sentimental meaning to farm owner Robert Clay. The filly is out of the Fappiano mare Bright Feather and was bred by the trust of Clay's father, Albert Clay, who died earlier this year. Bright Feather has produced three stakes winners, including Albert the Great, the grade I winner named for Albert Clay. The War Chant filly brought $610,000 from Irv Cowan, while Bright Feather, in foal to Giant's Causeway, was purchased by Overbrook Farm for $1.3 million. "It was very, very emotional to be selling Albert Clay's horses," Rosenberg said. "I felt myself that those prices were a fitting tribute to Albert Clay's breeding program. "We're very excited about the War Chant foals," Rosenberg continued. "He is really stamping them. It is the most outstanding crop of foals that I've seen." Yankee Victor had the most weanlings of any first-crop sire to be offered, but that didn't hurt his average. With 15 offered at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton Kentucky and 13 sold, the group averaged $83,231, which is 5.55 times his $15,000 stud fee. Interesting about the Yankee Victor foals was how they sold in the latter stages of the 10-day sale, where normally the prices drop accordingly each session. The top Yankee Victor was a colt that realized $320,000 on the fifth day of the sale. Consigned as agent by Bluewater Sales, the $320,000 colt is out of the stakes-placed Farma Way mare Far Away Kisses, who is the dam of stakes winner Secret Lover. Bred in Florida by Glen Ridge Farm, the colt was purchased by Athens Woods Farm. The colt was the highest-priced horse sold--including broodmares--during the Friday session. Equally as impressive was a Yankee Victor foal that sold for $100,000 on the second to last day of the sale. Bred and sold by Brookdale Farm owner Fred Seitz, the first foal out of the Affirmed mare Lahaina Lass was bought by Dromoland/Hartwell. "We knew we had some really good weanlings, but you never know how the market will respond. Obviously we were very pleased that the market shared our high opinion," said Jones, who owns 75% of Yankee Victor. The other 25% is owned by Taylor Made Farm. Of the others with 10 or more weanlings offered, Chief Seattle, who stands at Bruce Kline's Spendthrift Farm, is another whose ratio of stud fee to average was solid. With nine of the 10 offered sold, the group averaged $35,611, which is 3.56 times his $10,000 stud fee.