Sunday, January 31, 2010

4 Young Stallions that Should Make a Big Impact on the 2010 Freshmen Sire List


Stands at Claiborne Farm for $30,000 in 2010

First Samurai was a top class 2-year-old. He was a multiple Grade 1 winner at 2, having won the 2005 editions of the Champagne S.-G 1 and Hopeful S.-G1, as well as placing 3rd in The Breeder's Cup Juvenile-G1.

His sire, Giant's Causeway, finished 2009 as the leading sire in North America, based mainly on his older progeny's earnings, but it should be noted that he sired a very respectable 23 2-year-old winners in 2009 and was actually tied for 1st with 5 2-year-old stakes winners in 2009.

I don't expect First Samurai's progeny to make a big splash early in 2010 but as the 2-year-old races in North America begin to stretch out to 5.5 and 6 furlongs his runners should start to excel.


Stands at Darley for $25,000 in 2010

Henny Hughes earned $644,820 as a 2-year-old on his way to winning both the Tremont and Saratoga Special S.-G 2. In addition, he was 2nd, at 2, to First Samurai in both the Champagne S.-G1 and Hopeful S.-G 1. Henny Hughes capped off his 2-year-old season with a near victory in The Breeders' Cup Juvenile-G 1. He had the lead at the 16th pole in the Juvenile but reluctantly let Stevie Wonderboy by him inside the last 50 yards. Had he won, he most likely would have been the champion 2-year-old in 2005 as he was able to turn the tables on his nemesis First Samurai in the race.

His race record combined with the fact that his sire, Hennessey, was a Grade 1 winner at 2 and former champion 2-year-old sire himself indicate that Henny Hughes has a great chance of topping the Freshman sire list by the end of the year.


Stands at Darley for $12,500 in 2010

Rockport Harbor was an undefeated, multiple graded stakes winner at 2 who won at distances from 5.5 to 9 furlongs.

While his paternal line isn't seen as a significant influence for early development, his sire, Unbridled's Song, is the sire of 2008 2-year-old champion Midshipman and he is out of a speedy Coplean mare.

I think you might see his progeny running, and running well, slightly earlier than the two listed above. His runners should stick around for the late summer and fall 2-year-old races too.


Stands at Three Chimneys Farm for $7,500 in 2010

I have to admit that I wasn't a big fan of Sharp Humor's when he was retired to the breeding shed, however, I have seen a great deal of his sons and daughters at the sales and have been very impressed with them physically. As I saw more of them that I liked at the sales I began to review his race record in more detail. During this process I realized that he did break his maiden at Belmont, in July, while posting a first half-mile of :44 and change and that he was champion 2-year-old in New York that year.

As it relates to becoming a successful Freshman Sire there are aspects of this guy's pedigree that I like. He is by Distorted Humor, who has sired a fair share of top-class 2-year-olds himself (Z Humor and Awesome Humor come to mind) as well as the fact that he hails from the female family of 2-year-old champion Forty Niner and Grade 1 winner at 2 Swale but I am mainly basing this one on his foals. They just look early to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Yes, It's Early but Here are 5 Horses to Keep an Eye on for The Derby.


This 3-year-old son of Stormin Fever broke his maiden at Philadelphia Park by more than 10 lengths back in November. He then came away a length and a half winner, over a sloppy track, in his 2010 debut in The Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream on January 9th at Gulfstream.

Because The Spectacular Bid is run over 6 furlongs extrapolating this horse's performance over the 10 furlong distance of The Kentucky Derby can be a little dicey but I liked his running style in the Spectacular Bid as he was content to layoff the real speed balls in the race. In addition, there are some significant stamina influences in his pedigree. His sire, Stormin' Fever, was 2nd in the Philip H. Iselin H.-G2 run over 9 furlongs and he has sired the likes Sweet Talker and Tarlow, both Grade 1 winners over 9 furlongs. The fact that he is out of an Alydar mare should help too.

The fact that A Little Warm performed so well on an off-track is no small matter either, we all know how notoriously fickle the weather can be during the first Saturday in May.

Here's a video link for the race


The 3-year-old bay gelding's performance 2 weeks ago in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park was impressive. In the end he won by 2 1/4 lengths over hard charging Pleasant Storm but jockey Calvin Borel had this race in the bag as soon as they turned for home. Another factor working in Dryfly's favor is that he has already won at Churchill Downs, taking an allowance race back in November, and as many of you know some horses just don't take to the surface there. Ask Holy Bull and Skip Away.

From a breeding perspective the Lynn Whiting trainee is bred to run all day. The average winning distance for his sire (Jump Start) and broodmare sire (Topsider) progeny, in non restricted, stakes races are a whopping 8.29 and 8.21 furlongs respectively so I don't think the Derby distance will be a problem for this guy.

Here's a link to his effort in The Smarty Jones S.


OK, so I'm a Jackson Bend homer because of his connection to Pocket Aces Racing but this horse made a real believer out me with last week's effort in the Holy Bull S.-G 3. Beating up on state breds in The Florida Stallion Series is one things but finishing an ultra game 2nd, despite a 4-5 wide trip the entire way, in a Graded stakes race is another.

This colt's performances over 2 turns indicate 10 furlongs shouldn't be a problem.

Here's a link to The Holy Bull S.-G 3


The Kentucky Derby never lacks for pace which is why top class closers like Ron The Greek seem to always have a chance in the race. I suspect The Lecomte S.-G 3, which this 3-year-old son of Full Mandate won last out, was run a lot like The Derby will be run. A lot of pace up front with an exaggerated stretch run both setting up perfectly for the pressers and closers. If the pace through 3/4 of a mile is a little too fast for the pressers a horse like Ron The Greek could be swallowing horses up late. It's a bit disconcerting that the Tom Amoss trainee began his career racing at lower level tracks like Hoosier and Delta Downs but he definitely helped solidify his class with the Lecomte S.-G 3 win.

Ron The Greek's pedigree leans toward speed but he didn't seem to have any trouble with two turns in The Lecomte S.-G 3 and his one run style should help him get the 10 furlong Derby distance.

Here's a link for the 2010 Lecomte S.-G 3


As we stated earlier the racing surface at Churchill Downs is very peculiar and any horse running there for the first time has to prove he can adapt, however, this won't be any problem for Super Saver as evidenced by his impressive victory last November in The Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G 2 at Churchill. The 3-year-old bay colt might have the "human connections" edge on the field too as he is trained by Todd Pletcher; owned by Winstar and ridden by Calvin Borel (I haven't heard anything from Calvin in the press but I would think that Super Saver is the early favorite to be his mount in The Derby).

Super Saver's breeding and race record indicate that he shouldn't have any problem with The Derby distance.

Here's a link to last November's Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G 2.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jackson Bend 2nd in Hotly Contested Holy Bull S.-G 3

Despite a wide trip Jackson Bend finished a game 2nd, beaten by only 3/4 of a length, in Saturday's Holy Bull S.-G 3 at Gulfstream Park. This was also the 3-year-old Hear No Evil colt's Graded Stakes debut and first start in over 90 days.

Jackson Bend broke alertly as the 8/5 favorite however an early speed dual between horses to his inside forced him to remain 4-5 wide down the entire backstretch. On the far turn he began to gain some ground and as they straightened up from the quarter pole it looked as though Jackson Bend had the measure of the leaders as he began to reel in Homeboykris and Thank U Philippe but it was becoming apparent that the layoff and wide trip were conspiring against Jackson Bend as he started to look a bit leg weary. Just as Jackson Bend may have gotten his nose in front for the first time Winslow Homer, a fresher horse, being the beneficiary of a better post position and therefore a much better trip, kicked in another gear and finally got past a very stubborn Jackson Bend in the last strides.

Jackson Bend definitely got the most out of this race and should only improve going forward and we here at Pocket Aces Racing can't wait to see what exciting updates he can bring to our filly, Dixie's Hope's, pedigree.

Here are a couple of links to a race video and chart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jackson Bend, close relative of Pocket Aces Racing's Dixie's Hope, Favored for Holy Bull S.-G 3

Nick Zito trained Jackson Bend will try to stamp himself as one of the early favorites for The 2010 Kentucky Derby-G1 as he competes against 8 others in the The Holy Bull S.-G 3 at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The 3-year-old colt owned in partnership by Robert V. LaPenta and Jacks or Better Farm, Inc., who has already bankrolled over $450,000, swept the 2009 Florida Stallion Series in the 2-year-old colt division.

Pocket Aces Racing, L.L.C will be rooting for Jackson Bend has he is closely related to their 3-year-old filly, by Cozzene, Dixie's Hope. Dixie's Hope is training well with Joe Deegan in LaGrange, Ky and is currently on track to make her debut at the Keeneland April meet.

Jackson Bend, who will break from the 9 hole, has been established as the 5/2 morning ling favorite for the One Mile event and will be piloted by Jeremy Rose.

Everyone at Pocket Aces Racing wishes Jackson Bend and his connections the best of racing luck!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

5 "Best Value" Kentucky Stallions for 2010

Here's a little background on how I selected these 5 stallions. First and foremost I was looking for dual threats, stallions that provided commercial breeders and those who breed to race an equal opportunity at success. There are a plethora of stallions whose fees represent excellent value if you are breeding to race, however, with the vast majority of those stallions the breeder is giving up any chance of a profitable sale. To be a true value I felt as though the selection must represent value to both types of breeders. I also avoided stallions in the $50,000+ stud fee range and stallions without any crops of racing age. Using very expensive and very young stallions, especially under the right circumstances, isn't necessarily a bad idea, it's just that the speculative nature of the game makes it difficult to call them a bargain .

So, without any further adieu, here are the 5 "Best Value" Kentucky Stallions for 2010

SKY MESA Stands at Three Chimneys Farm

Stud Fee $25,000

He is already the sire of 8 individual Graded Stakes winners from just 3 crops!!! He was the leading 2nd crop sire in 2008 and the 2nd leading 3rd crop sire in 2009. His progeny earned over $4.6 Million on the track for 2009. At auction his yearlings averaged nearly $90,000 apiece in 2009, with individuals fetching as much as $260,000.

FORESTRY Stands at Taylor Made Stallions

Stud Fee $17,500

Stud fees, like stock prices, are cyclical and just like the most profitable stock deals (buy low/sell high)purchasing seasons when an established stallion is experiencing a "lull" can often provide the best return on the track and in the sales ring. Currently things are pretty quite for this son of Storm Cat however from his 7 crops of racing age his progeny have earned $24,064,442 for an average earnings per year of $3,437,777. In addition he has sired 12 Graded Stakes winners, 3 of which Discreet Cat, Diplomat Lady and Forest Danger are Grade 1 winners. In 2007 he stood for $125,000, fresh from a 2006 year that saw one of his sons set a world record auction price of $16,000,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Calder 2-year-old in-training sale, the progeny from those mares bred in 2007 will be 2-year-olds of 2010.

SUCCESSFUL APPEAL Stands at Walmac Farm

Stud Fee $17,500

His progeny earned over $3.6 Million in 2009 with 9 of those individuals being stakes winners. He also has Grade 1 winning Appealing Zophie and Kentucky Derby-G 1 runner up Closing Argument to his credit. His yearlings averaged nearly $50,000 in 2009 with selected individuals selling for $400,000, $150,000 and $100,000. Great value for $17,500.

YES IT'S TRUE Stands at Three Chimneys Farm

Stud Fee $17,500

The 20th ranked sire in North America with progeny earnings in excess of $5.6 Million in 2009 and he stands for only $17,500. The average stud fee for the other 19 stallions in the top 20 is $69,583. They sell well too. The average price for his yearlings in 2009 was more than $53,000 with 8 individuals selling for 6 figures + and 2 selling for $200,000 apiece. That's value.

DEVIL HIS DUE Stands at Marguax Farm

Stud Fee $3,500

There aren't a lot of stallions in the lower stud fee ranges that give you an opportunity to breed a "big" horse but this is one. Devil His Due is the sire of Roses in May who won The Dubai World Cup-G 1 and Whitney H.-G 1 on route to earning over $5.4 Million for his career. He is also the sire of Grade 2 winner She's a Devil Due. His progeny's performance on the track continued to be solid in 2009 as well with 8 stakes wins and earnings of nearly $3.5 Million. While his sales results are modest, $18k yearling average in 2009, he does give breeders a chance at a big return too with individuals selling for as much as $35K to $60K.