08/02/2016 7:16AM

Animal Kingdom, Orb, Oxbow head first-year yearling sires

Barbara D. Livingston
The 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb is among the first-year sires represented at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale.

A solid and sizeable group of first-year yearling sires in North America includes three classic winners – one an Eclipse Award champion – a juvenile champion, a sprint champion, a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, and a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner. The ontrack earnings of these seven horses alone total more than $21.2 million. And that’s not even factoring in about two dozen other Grade/Group 1 winners who will be represented nationwide in the next three months.

While these young stallions may have proven themselves against their peers on the track, they’re now stepping into another arena, competing against established stallions in what has been a very selective commercial market.

First-year sires will get big chances to establish themselves at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale, the first “boutique” sale of the year in the category; and the bellwether Keeneland September yearling sale, the catalog for which is released in early August.

:: DRF BREEDING LIVE: Real-time coverage, including live streaming, of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale

This year’s first-year stallions are headlined by 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, 2013 Derby winner Orb, and 2013 Preakness winner Oxbow.

Orb was foaled and raised at Claiborne Farm and returned there for stud duty after a racing career in which he won the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby and finished third in the Belmont Stakes. The son of Malibu Moon made a solid showing in the weanling market last year as 16 youngsters from his first crop were sold for an average price of $120,313. His lone offering at the Fasig-Tipton July selected yearling sale, the category’s kickoff auction, was a $190,000 colt purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbreds. He has three selected yearlings in the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga catalog, led by a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Funny Moon – who is by Orb’s sire, Malibu Moon.

Animal Kingdom was one of the most versatile runners of recent years; in addition to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, the champion placed in multiple Grade 1 stakes on turf, including a runner-up effort to two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and won a Grade 3 race on Polytrack. These are Animal Kingdom’s first Northern Hemisphere yearlings as the Darley stallion began his career on Southern Hemisphere time in Australia before standing in Kentucky for the first time in 2014. The son of Leroidesanimaux had 12 weanlings sold last year for an average of $99,696 and was represented by a $145,000 filly, also purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbreds, at Fasig-Tipton July.

Animal Kingdom has three Saratoga selected yearlings, all well bred: a filly out of graded stakes winner Garden District, who is a half-sister to classic-placed Medal Count; a filly out of graded stakes winner Four Gifts; and a colt out of a full sister to the champion Peaks and Valleys.

The gritty Oxbow, a son of Awesome Again standing at Calumet Farm, won the Preakness and was second in the Belmont Stakes while competing in the same crop as Orb. His five weanlings sold last year averaged $89,000, and he continued along with strong results at Fasig-Tipton July. The stallion had five sold in July, four for six figures, for an average price of $137,000. He was led by a $220,000 colt sold to Lane’s End Bloodstock. Oxbow has three selected yearlings in Fasig-Tipton Saratoga.

Also with his first yearlings this year is Spendthrift Farm’s Awesome Patriot, Oxbow’s full brother. Popular Grade 1 winner Paynter, who stands at WinStar Farm, is from the same family and is one of two well-bred Grade 1-winning first-year sires representing WinStar this season, along with Take Charge Indy. Paynter’s representatives in the Saratoga selected sale include half-siblings to the champion She Be Wild and Grade 1 winner Peace and War. Take Charge Indy – a son of A.P. Indy and the blue hen Take Charge Lady – is represented by a half-sister to the classic-placed Cherry Wine.

Grade 1 winner Violence is from the same crop as the three aforementioned classic winners – and, in fact, defeated Orb in the debut for both. The Medaglia d’Oro horse, who stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, had a wild coming-out party at Fasig-Tipton July, putting two yearlings among the top 10 prices against established sires. Violence had six of his eight yearlings offered sell, for an average price of $119,833. The group was led by the third-highest price of the sale, a colt sold for $335,000 to the partnership of Robert LaPenta, Bridlewood Farm, and Three Chimneys. He also was represented by a $235,000 filly sold to Eclipse Thoroughbreds.

Violence has three yearlings at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga; two are half-siblings to stakes winners, while the third is out of a stakes winner.

Other standouts represented for the first time this season are Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion Shanghai Bobby, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud; Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, who began his stud career for Adena Springs in Kentucky before shifting to Florida; and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, who adds to Hill ‘n’ Dale’s hand. Shanghai Bobby, in particular, is poised for success with seven selected offerings cataloged at Saratoga, including a yearling who got a big update when half-brother Fish Trappe Road won the Grade 3 Dwyer Stakes in his most recent outing.

Other first-year sires with yearlings selected for the boutique Saratoga sale include Declaration of War, Fast Bullet, Flat Out, Graydar, Liaison, and Point of Entry.

Declaration of War, whose first crop was European-conceived before he moved to Ashford, will be among the international stallions represented at the Keeneland September yearling sale, which tends to draw buyers from a number of jurisdictions and markets over its two weeks. Other major European stallions with their first yearlings this year include multiple classic winner Camelot; champion juvenile and Irish 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach; multiple Group 1-winning juvenile Reckless Abandon, by the late U.S. sire Exchange Rate; champion older horse Farhh; Italian Derby winner Worthadd; and Dubai Duty Free winner Cityscape.

But sales all across the United States, including statebred auctions, also are important as they can showcase new regional stallions. After the Saratoga selected sale, the yearling calendar continues with the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale later in the week. The Lumber Guy, the New York-bred Horse of the Year in 2012, returned to stand for Spendthrift at Keane Stud upon his retirement; he has three from his first crop in that regional sale. Other first-year New York sires this year include champion sprinter Trinniberg and Grade 1 winner Emcee.

At the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s August yearling sale, Florida-based Grade 1 winners Currency Swap, Poseidon’s Warrior, Treasure Beach, and Turbo Compressor, along with versatile graded stakes winner Soldat, will be represented. The state also has two first-year sires from stallion-making pedigrees in City Wolf, a half-brother to Ghostzapper and City Zip; and Brethren, a half-brother to Super Saver from the family of Not For Love, Rhythm, and Bluegrass Cat.

California has attracted some solid new sires in recent years, and two Grade 1 winners, Champ Pegasus and Ultimate Eagle, have their first yearlings at the Barretts August select yearling sale. The state also has multiple Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger in its ranks.

Other Grade 1 winners represented by their first crops this year include Data Link, I Want Revenge, Jimmy Creed, Morning Line, Overanalyze, and Power Broker.