Thunder Gulch, bred to a record 216 mares in 2001.

Thunder Gulch, bred to a record 216 mares in 2001.

Tony Leonard

Thunder Gulch Sets North American Record for Mares Covered

During the breeding season of 2001, the number of stallions covering 100 or more mares actually decreased, but the stud horse that mounted the most mares blew the "cover" off the record.

There is no guesswork as to where that stallion stands, since Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., is home to the top five covering stallions for the second year in a row. The division of Coolmore has taken large books of mares to new heights.

In 2000, Tale of the Cat set a new North American record by covering 176 mares at Ashford. A year later, Thunder Gulch smashed that record by covering 216 mares.

When stallions started shuttling a few years ago, breeders noted that some stallions might cover 100 mares in each hemisphere. Thunder Gulch covered 216 in one hemisphere. The year before, Thunder Gulch covered only 64 mares.

In data released by The Jockey Club, there were 182 live foal reports received regarding mares covered by Thunder Gulch, with 133 live foals.

Ashford stallion Honour and Glory covered 192 mares, followed by the farm's High Yield with 170, Louis Quatorze with 162, and Fusaichi Pegasus with 151.

The number of live foals by Kentucky stallions dropped as expected due to mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS). There were 11,697 live foals by Kentucky stallions, compared to 13,693 the previous year, a decrease of 14.6%. There were 20,598 mares covered in Kentucky.

As usual, The Jockey Club cautions the list represents only about 90% of live foal reports, only those received through Sept. 9.
Many notable stallions showed a decrease in percentage of live foals, certainly also attributable primarily to MRLS. For instance, Storm Cat, who has the highest stud fee of any stallion, $500,000, saw his live foal percentage drop from 80% to 61%.

Following Kentucky was Florida with 7,232 mares covered who produced 4,248 live foals and California with 5,696 mares covered who produced 3,806 live foals.

The number of stallions covering 100 or more mares was down from a high of 84 during the 2000 breeding season to 78 during the 2001 breeding season.

Of the stallions who covered 100 or more mares in 2001, 52 stood that year in Kentucky, 14 in Florida, three in California and Maryland, two in New York and Texas, and one each in Oklahoma and Canada.

Of the 52 in Kentucky--down significantly from 64 the previous breeding season--12 stand at Ashford. The 12 Ashford stallions combined covered 1,671 mares, or 8.11% of all mares covered in Kentucky.

Other Kentucky farms standing more than one stallion who covered 100 mares or more were: Airdrie, 5; Taylor Made, 5; Vinery, 4; Hopewell, 3; Lane's End, 3; Pin Oak, 3; Margaux, 3; Jonabell, 2; Overbrook, 2; Three Chimneys, 2; Adena Springs Kentucky, 2; and Darby Dan, 2.

Three farms in Florida and one in Maryland stood more than one stallion who covered 100 or more mares: Farnsworth, 3; Adena Springs South, 2; and Bridlewood, 2, in Florida; and Country Life, 3, in Maryland.

Date received by the industry's official registrar shows 4,445 stallions covered 63,793 mares in North America in 2001, producing 34,605 foals of 2002.

The number of stallions who covered mares (4,445), is down just slightly (2.4%) from the 4,554 reported for 2000 at this time last year. There was also a small decline in the number of mares (0.8%), from 64,338 to 63,793.

The complete 2001 breeding statistics are available alphabetically by stallion name on The Jockey Club Web Site (2001 Breeding Season Statistics From The Jockey Club).

The number of live foals by stallion location and sires bred to 100 or more mares is available online at