Right or wrong, the first-crop sires standing in Central Kentucky tend to attract the most attention in the sales arena, but pinhookers have noticed progeny of several sires standing in Florida and New York that deserve watching throughout the 2-year-olds in training season.
Uncaptured, an 8-year-old son of Lion Heart out of the Arch mare Captivating, won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) and Iroquois Stakes (G3) at 2, along with three other black-types stakes at Woodbine Racecourse. He was named Sovereign Award champion 2-year-old and Canadian Horse of the Year in 2012 and went on to win the Prince of Wales Stakes Canadian classic at 3. He retired with a 7-3-3 record out of 18 starts and earned $1,065,147.
"He's one capable of surprising a few people," said Ciaran Dunne of Wavertree Stables, which was the second-leading 2-year-olds in training consignor by gross sales in 2017. "We have one for Barretts that we are particularly high on and a filly that will show up in OBS April. He may not have been one they were talking about in July, but I really think he's a horse they will be talking about in the future."
Uncaptured was the ninth-leading sire of his class by the 2017 yearling average, with 19 averaging $47,880. His top seller was a $170,000 filly named Catherinethegreat, who Turtle Pond Farm sold to John Oxley at the Ocala Breeders' Sales October sale. Oxley campaigned Uncaptured.
Steve Venosa, who sells as SGV Thoroughbreds and is among the top-10 2-year-olds consignors by cumulative average price from 2013-17, also expects Uncaptured's progeny to make a good showing.
"I have two we're really high on, and I know of one going to Barretts that can really run," he said. "They are doing everything right and look very precocious."
Runners by He's Had Enough, a grade 1-placed son of Tapit who finished second in the 2012 Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1), also got Venosa's attention early on.
"I like this sire so much I am breeding a mare to him," Venosa said. "The one I have has a great mind, trains well, he's got good bone, and he does everything right. The way he's been training, I didn't hesitate to book a mare to the stallion. I like to support the Florida sires, and he looks like he's going to be alright."
Eddie Woods, the leading 2-year-old consignor of 2017 by gross sales, said the progeny by He's Had Enough could be "sleepers" at the sales.
"I have a couple and I've seen several others, and I would say they are horses to watch," Woods said. "They're really nice horses that are going really well and are good-moving horses."
He's Had Enough was represented by 25 sold at last year's yearling sales that averaged $32,417. His top seller was a $105,000 colt named Elgin Escape, who Alfred Kales bought at the OBS October sale out of The Acorn consignment.
John Gleason, manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds training center near Reddick, Fla., said he has two juveniles by He's Had Enough in his barn, one bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds and one for a client.
"The colt we bred is a big, robust, strong horse, who trains really well and forward. He moves well," Gleason said. "I think him being grade 1 caliber on the dirt at 2 and being out of a Dixieland Band mare will put a bit more bone and little more substance into them than maybe some of the other Tapit sons. I expect this colt will be a 2-year-old runner for sure."
Central Banker , who stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in New York, is another freshman sire whose progeny have pleasantly surprised pinhookers.
The 8-year-old son of Speightstown was stakes-placed at 2 and placed in two grade 1 races at 3, getting second in the Malibu Stakes (G1) and third in the Foxwoods King's Bishop Stakes (G1). At 4, he captured a graded stakes in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2).
"We broke Central Banker, and now have a couple of his who are training forwardly," said Nick De Meric, the third-leading consignor of 2-year-olds by gross sales in 2017. "We have been watching his babies that are very much in the mold of Central Banker—blocky, strong, stoutly made horses, and look like they will be precocious. They are good-minded and like to train."
Central Banker was the 10th-leading first-crop sire by yearling average last year, when he was represented by 25 that averaged $44,060. He had two yearlings bring $110,000—a colt named Money in the Bank, who PTK bought from Woods Edge Farm at the Keeneland September yearling sale, and a colt named Centennial Banker, who Alex and Jo Ann Lieblong bought from McMahon at Saratoga Thoroughbreds through the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.
"I'll tell you what, these Central Bankers really are right," said Venosa, who has three of the sire's progeny in his barn. "One I have here is an interesting cross because (Central Banker) is a son of Speightstown and this colt is out of a Colonel John mare. He not only looks like he has speed, but I expect he'll be able to run a route of ground as well. He's a really well-made horse with a great disposition and very, very athletic."
More in-depth statistical information for all the freshman sires is available in the BloodHorse MarketWatch section of the March 10 BloodHorse magazine.