Declaration of War Rises as a Sire

In My Opinion

Declaration of War , from War Front 's second crop, became one of his sire's leading standard-bearers as a 4-year-old in 2013. After winning both his starts at 2 in France for breeder-owner Joseph Allen and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget, the Coolmore partners bought into him and sent him to the U.S. to be trained by Todd Pletcher.

However he sustained a training injury and was then sent to Ballydoyle, where he started out for trainer Aidan O'Brien in September of his 3-year-old year, winning the Diamond Stakes (G3) over 10 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather at Dundalk in the third of his three starts that season. 

Declaration of War really came into his own at 4, winning the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) going one mile at Royal Ascot and the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1) over 10 1/2 furlongs at York, and placing in the group 1 Coral Eclipse and Qipco Sussex stakes before making an assault on the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Park. He finished third, beaten a half-length by Mucho Macho Man  and Will Take Charge  in that effort.

That was all very strong form, and after standing at Coolmore in Ireland for his first year at stud in 2015, Declaration of War, like Giant's Causeway had been, was transferred to Ashford Stud in Kentucky to stand the 2015 season.

Because he now stands in Kentucky, Declaration of War is classified as a North American sire for the purposes of leading sires tables. He ranks ninth among North American second-crop sires by cumulative progeny earnings, inches behind Animal Kingdom, with progeny earnings totaling $1,470,882 through May 19. 

Declaration of War's son Olmedo won the May 13 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French Two Thousand Guineas, G1) bumping the sire's progeny earnings in Europe. If the stallion were classed as a European sire, having sired his first crop there, he would now rank No. 2 in Europe, behind only the ill-fated sprint sire Society Rock, who died at Ireland's Tally-Ho Stud in 2016 after siring three crops. This would put Declaration of War just ahead of his former Coolmore barn-mate Camelot ($1,365,914).

In terms of 2018 earnings, Declaration of War ($883,186) would edge Camelot ($824,451) for the top spot, but as the lists are determined by where the horse now stands, Camelot is the leading European second-crop sire by 2018 progeny earnings.

Declaration of War is the leading second-crop sire on either continent by number of group/graded stakes winners with three. Besides Olmedo, who ironically was winning his first stakes race in the 'Poulains' (after finishing second to the Coolmore filly Happily in the grade 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium in 2017), Declaration of War has sired two group 3 winners—the filly Actress in Ireland, and the colt Speed Franco, in the U.S. This all adds up to Declaration of War being off to a really good start, and he is the only North American or European second-crop sire, thus far, to have sired a classic winner.

Society Rock, a dual group 1-winning sprinter by Rock of Gibraltar, was Europe's 2017 leading freshman sire, with his top performer Unfortunately, winner of the Prix Robert Papin (G2) and the Darley Prix Morny (G1). But Society Rock is running a distant second to Camelot on the European second-crop table so far this year. Camelot now has a total of 12 black-type performers, seven of them at the group level, and now looks odds-on to have group 1 horses added to his portfolio sooner rather than later.

A clear third on the European second-crop sire list by cumulative earnings is the top French 2-year-old of 2011, Dabirsim, who is from the first crop by Sunday Silence's son Hat Trick. Dabirsim was No. 2 on the European first-crop sires list last year, when his star was group 3 winner and Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes (G1) runner up Different League. He was also represented by the classic-placed Coeur de Beaute, who finished second in the May 13 Emirates Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French One Thousand Guineas, G1) this year. 

England's Tweenhills Stud's Havana Gold (by Teofilo) retains his position in fourth, while moving up to fifth is Cheveley Park Stud's Intello (by Galileo), whose first 3-year-olds include two recent group 3 winners. Two other notable sires from this group are Darley Kildangan's Dawn Approach (by New Approach), who's had two promising stakes winners this year, and England's Overbury Stud's unheralded Cityscape (by Selkirk), who had his third stakes winner and second group 3 winner this year when his filly Give And Take won the Musidora Stakes (G3) at York. He is a revelation.

Other than Declaration of War moving from 13th to ninth on the North American cumulative second-crop list there were no significant changes in the last week or so. Former (and likely future) WinStar stallion Take Charge Indy (by A.P. Indy) maintains a lead of nearly $250,000 in cumulative progeny earnings over Hill 'n' Dale Farms' Violence  (by Medaglia d'Oro ). Last year's leading freshman sire, WinStar's Overanalyze  (by Dixie Union) is third, while Spendthrift's Jimmy Creed  (by Distorted Humor), who is third by 2018 earnings, is fourth. Ashford's Shanghai Bobby  (by Harlan's Holiday) is edging in front of WinStar's Paynter  in fifth and sixth. The top four sires each have five black-type winners so far; Darley's Animal Kingdom  (by Leroidesanimaux) and Declaration of War have four each.

The top three European third-crop (first foals of 2014) remain miles clear of the competition. Darley's (Dalham Hall) Helmet (by Exceed and Excel), sire of 2018 Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1) winner Thunder Snow, is almost $3 million ahead of 2017 European Horse of the Year Enable's sire, Nathaniel (by Galileo). The mighty Frankel (by Galileo) is still third by cumulative progeny earnings (Japanese earnings are adjusted to a U.S. scale). But Frankel is now up to 22 black-type winners, of which 17 are group/graded winners, which puts him way ahead of his contemporaries by those standards. Nathaniel is second by number of black-type winners with seven, while Darley's Sepoy is second by number of group winners, with three.

There is a similar story among North American third-crop sires. In fact since Gainesway's Tapizar  (by Tapit ) moved up to eighth by cumulative earnings after Monomoy Girl won the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), there have actually been no changes in the top 10 from two weeks ago.

WinStar's Bodemeister  (by Empire Maker ), Darby Dan's Dialed In  (by Mineshaft ), and Lane's End's Union Rags  (by Dixie Union) all have cumulative progeny earnings of more than $7 million, with Airdrie's Creative Cause  (by Giant's Causeway) hot on their heels in fourth. Dialed In, Creative Cause, and Tapizar are 1-2-3 by 2018 progeny earnings, followed by Bodemeister and former Lane's End (now Japanese) sire, The Factor  (by War Front).

The Factor leads this group by cumulative number of black-type winners, with 10, followed by Creative Cause (9), Union Rags, and Hill 'n' Dale's Maclean's Music , with eight each. Union Rags has four grade 1 winners and is the only North American third-crop sire with more than one.