First Round of Classics Dominated by Proven Sires

In My Opinion

The first four classics May 4-5, at Churchill Downs and Newmarket, did not move the needle too much on the lists of North American and European second- and third-crop sires. 

The only significant mover, at least as a result of classic action, was North American third-crop sire Tapizar Gainesway's son of Tapit  whose top 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl was a convincing winner of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) in spite of breaking from the outside post 14. Tapizar now moves from 10th to eighth by cumulative progeny earnings for North American third-crop sires, and from fifth to third by 2018 earnings.

How the form horses handled the sloppy Churchill surface and managed to run 1-2-3 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1)—courtesy of Justify, Good Magic, and Audible—is a mystery, but in doing so they credited their respective sires Scat Daddy, Curlin , and Into Mischief  with yet more accomplishments.

The second- and third-place finishers in the Kentucky Oaks were Wonder Gadot (by Medaglia d'Oro ), and Midnight Bisou, by the resurgent Midnight Lute . From the standpoint of sire appraisal, it's perhaps notable that three of the four Kentucky classic placings went to 3-year-olds from the sixth crops of their respective sires, all of whom had their first foals in 2010—Curlin, Into Mischief, and Midnight Lute. The Derby winner was from Scat Daddy's seventh crop, the Oaks winner from Tapizar's second crop of 3-year-olds.

The Newmarket classics were also dominated by proven sires. Plenty has been written about the growing international influence of Deep Impact, sire of impressive QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1) winner Saxon Warrior (as well as a promising Derby type in Study of Man, in France), who is out of the top-class Galileo mare, Maybe.

The placings in the Two Thousand Guineas were filled by Tip Two Win, by the accomplished sire, Dark Angel, and Bet365 Craven Stakes (G3) winner Masar, by yet another F2010 sire in New Approach.

Tip Two Win was 50-1 at Newmarket, but his runner-up finish was nothing compared to the 66-1 of QIPCO One Thousand Guineas (G1) winner Billesdon Brook, who is from the fifth crop of her sire, Champs Elysees, a full brother to Dansili—who is now a dual-purpose sire at Coolmore—covering mostly National Hunt mares. Laurens, a group 1-winning 2-year-old last year by the top French sire (F2012) Siyouni, was a close second, ahead of favored Happily, by Galileo.

But the fact that second- and third-crop sires went only one-for-four in the first round of classics doesn't mean there hasn't been plenty of action among these groups of sires, because there has, notably among second-crop (first foals of 2015) European sires.

Coolmore's Camelot, the only one of the four Investec Epsom Derby (G1) winners by his sire, Montjeu, to win a mile classic in the English Two Thousand Guineas, continues his surge toward the top spot among this group. Moving up to second from third by cumulative progeny earnings, reaching just under $750,000 this year, he has produced 23 winners and eight black-type horses in 2018.

The other big mover is Intello, the 2013 Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) winner by Galileo. He has alternated at stud between England's Cheveley Park Stud and France's Haras Du Quesnay, and he is back at Cheveley Park this season. He had two group 3 winners this week, is third among European F2015 sires by 2018 earnings, and has moved from ninth to fifth among this group by cumulative progeny earnings.

There was further important action from European second-crop sires May 13, as Declaration of War  is the sire of the Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poluains (French Two Thousand Guineas, G1) winner Olmedo, and Dabirsim sired the Emirates Poule d'Esaai des Pouliches (French One Thousand Guineas, G1) runner up Coeur de Beaute. Their earnings will be reflected in next week's review of these sires.

There's been no change in the ranking of the top 10 European third-crop sires by cumulative progeny earnings. The 1-2-3 remain Helmet, sire of Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1) winner Thunder Snow; Nathaniel, sire of 2017 European Horse of the Year, Enable; and Frankel, now the sire of 22 black-type winners and 17 grade/group winners.

Among North American third-crop sires, three horses have more than $7 million in cumulative progeny earnings: Bodemeister , Dialed In , and Union Rags . Dialed In went into last weekend with a narrow lead by 2018 earnings over Creative Cause , who moved into fourth on the cumulative list for North American third-crop sires.

Take Charge Indy continues to set the pace among North American second-crop sires, and though his runners in the Derby and Oaks didn't trouble the judge, both Noble Indy and Take Charge Paula are graded stakes winners. Only two other second-crop sires have two graded winners thus far: Spendthrift's Jimmy Creed , who has had two grade 2 winners in California, the filly Spectator as a 2-year-old last year and the colt Kanthaka this year; and Ashford Stud's Declaration of War, who had his third group winner and first group 1 winner in Olmedo.