11/18/2011 4:16PM

Aging sire Unusual Heat will not be overbooked


Unusual Heat, California’s leading sire by progeny earnings since 2008, will stand for $20,000 at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., to a book of approximately 60 mares in 2012, a stud fee unchanged from 2011.

The fee was announced earlier this week. Madeline Auerbach, part of the stallion’s ownership group, said on Thursday that the stallion’s book will be limited again this year.

“I hope we’ll be close to last year when we had 60,” Auerbach said. “Between 50 and 60 mares are good.”

Unusual Heat, 21, is the most expensive stallion in the state. Auerbach said that a larger book of mares, which is customary at some farms in Kentucky, does not suit Unusual Heat.

“I don’t think it’s healthy,” she said. “We did it at 60 and his fertility is good. I don’t want to mess with it.”

Through Thursday, Unusual Heat led California’s stallions with 2011 progeny earnings of $4,070,623, more than $1 million ahead of runner-up Tribal Rule ($3,056,572). Unusual Heat’s total so far this year is close to his 2010 year-end total of $4,342,128, but well shy of his 2008 mark of $5,827,513, an all-time record for a California-based stallion.

This year, Unusual Heat’s leading money-earner has been Acclamation, who has won three Grade 1 races – the Charles Whittingham Handicap, Eddie Read Stakes, and Pacific Classic. Acclamation has earned $1,126,000 this year. Acclamation won two other stakes earlier this year, including the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Turf Championship at Santa Anita in October, but did not start in the Breeders’ Cup because of a bruised foot.

Despite his absence from the Breeders’ Cup, Auerbach argues that Acclamation, who is owned by a partnership that does not include her, should be part of the Horse of the Year debate along with the multiple stakes winning 4-year-old filly Havre de Grace.

“He belongs in the discussion,” Auerbach said of Acclamation “I know people have said he didn’t win outside of California, but the others did not race in California. So what’s the point? Nothing. Havre de Grace is a wonderful horse.”

Aragorn moves to Tommy Town

Aragorn, the winner of five stakes in California in 2005 and 2006, will stand the 2012 breeding season at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, the farm announced earlier this week.

Aragorn, 9, will stand for $4,000 in 2012. He formerly stood at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky. Aragorn’s 2011 stud fee was $5,000.

An Irish-bred by Giant’s Causeway, Aragorn’s oldest foals are 3-year-olds of 2011. This year, Aragorn has been represented by the two-time West Virginia stakes winner Paco Smart. In 2010, the Aragorn colt Fort Hastings was third in a Group 3 stakes in Germany. Fort Hastings is currently in training in Southern California with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

On the track, Aragorn won 6 of 14 starts and $1,529,325. His 2006 campaign was highlighted by wins in two Grade 1 races – the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park and Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar – and a second to Miesque’s Approval in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.