With the 2-year-olds sale season kicking off at Ocala Breeders' Sales March 13, BloodHorse MarketWatch editor Eric Mitchell contacted some of the leading pinhookers and breaking and training outfits to collect their insights on the progeny of this year's freshman sires.
Steven Venosa, who sells as SGV Thoroughbreds and is among the top 10 2-year-old consignors by cumulative average at sales from 2013 through 2017, doesn't typically target specific first-crop sires at yearling sales. He said he looks at them all and then starts narrowing his focus if he keeps short-listing ones by the same sires.
"I might target a sire after I've looked at a bunch of them and keep falling back on one. I think that says a lot about whether they'll make it," Venosa said. "Strong Mandate was one of them. He seemed to stamp them, and they performed well at the sales."
Standing at Three Chimneys Farm, Strong Mandate is a 7-year-old son of Tiznow out of multiple grade 1 winner Clear Mandate (by Deputy Minister). The stallion was bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey, who sold him as a yearling for $200,000 to Robert Baker and William Mack. In the care of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Strong Mandate won the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1). At 3, he raced exclusively in graded company and was runner-up in the Southwest Stakes (G3). He was retired midway through his 3-year-old year due to a chip in his right knee with $529,566 in earnings.
His first crop of yearlings were well-received last year, making Strong Mandate the fourth-leading sire of his class by average. He was represented by 46 yearlings that averaged $86,174 at the summer and fall yearling sales. The sire's top yearling was a filly out of Graeme Six now named Royal Mandate, who Live Oak Plantation bought for $825,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select sale out of the Baccari Bloodstock consignment.
"He has really taken us by surprise," said Ciaran Dunne with Wavertree Stables, which was the second-leading 2-year-olds in training consignor by gross sales in 2017. "They look like they're very, very precocious. Nice, big, strong horses that move really well across-the-board."
Niall Brennan, a regular among the top-five 2-year-old consignors by gross sales, said he has two in his barn that are "very sharp, racy types."
"Even though Strong Mandate is by Tiznow, he was a good 2-year-old, and these look like earlier types to me, summer 2-year-olds," Brennan said. "The filly is very athletic and very feminine, but very powerful on the racetrack. The colt is a very powerful, muscular, masculine horse. They are more sprinter-types."
During the next few days, BloodHorse Daily will continue profiling other freshman sires whose juveniles are standing out ahead of the 2-year-olds in training sales. Still to come are profiles of Verrazano and Will Take Charge . Some of the regional stallions attracting attention will be profiled as well and include Florida sires He's Had Enough and Uncaptured and New York sire Central Banker . More in-depth statistical information for all the freshman sires will be available in the BloodHorse MarketWatch section of the March 10 BloodHorse magazine.