As soon as Housebuster crossed the state line, he became the leading sire in Virginia and, according to Robert Levy, perhaps the leading sire in the mid-Atlantic. For many who attended the open house at Blue Ridge Farm on Sunday, it was the first time for them to see and welcome Housebuster back to America from Japan.
"We were sorry to see him go to Japan but we're happy he's home," said Levy, who campaigned Housebuster and is part of the group that brought the stallion to Virginia. "He's the best stallion certainly in this part of the country. Everybody wanted this horse when they heard he was coming home, but he's here and that's what counts."
The dark bay/brown horse sired by Mt. Livermore out of Big Dreams by Great Above won 15 of his 22 starts including 11 graded stakes races. He finished out of the money only 3 times and earned over $1.2 million during his three-year racing career from 1989 to 1991. His stakes wins include the Jerome Handicap (gr. I), Vosburgh (gr. I), Carter Handicap (gr. I), Forego (gr. II) and Withers (gr. II).
The Eclipse Award winner is owned by Donna Hayes' The Stallion Company, and is standing for a stud fee of $7,500.
Housebuster, who entered stud at John A. Bell III's Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Ky., was represented by only a handful of stakes winners when he was shipped to East Stud on the Japanese island of Hokkaido following the 1998 breeding season. The sale came as no surprise because two of his offspring had been sent to Japan and developed into graded stakes winners. Since then, Housebuster is up to 24 stakes winners and has progeny earnings of $19 million. His last U.S. crop before his departure, 2-year-olds of 2001, has yielded grade II winner Buster's Daydream. Housebuster's progeny has earned over $1.7 million in 2001.
"His horses will go all day," Levy said. "I mean if this is a question being either sprinters or milers they'll go a mile-and-a-eighth or a mile-and-a-half and that's the thing that's amazing. He would have too," said Levy, who resisted the temptation to run Housebuster in the Kentucky Derby after his victory in the Derby Trial.
Levy believes his stud fee in other markets would be substantially higher. When asked about his value as a stallion, Levy replied, "He's standing at a price that in today's world is an absolute bargain. If he were in Kentucky he'd be standing for twice this price. He started out at $20,000 and had full books."
Housebuster was the second attempt by a group of breeders in Virginia to bring an impact stallion to the state. Last year, Lost Code had to be euthanized while traveling to cover his first mare shortly after being brought to Virginia by The Stallion Company.