11/11/2011 3:46PM

Ashford Stud sets Uncle Mo's fee at $35,000

Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo will stand for $35,000 next year at Ashford Stud.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Ashford Stud has put a $35,000 stud fee on 2010 juvenile champion Uncle Mo for his first year at stud.

The 3-year-old Indian Charlie colt will stand at Ashford, Coolmore Stud’s American division in Versailles, Ky. Campaigned by Mike Repole, Uncle Mo earned more than $1.6 million, won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Champagne Stakes in 2010, and was only out of the money once in eight lifetime starts. This year, his two wins included the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap. He’s a son of the Arch mare Playa Maya.

Repole sold Coolmore an undisclosed percentage of Uncle Mo’s breeding rights in October. After finishing third in the Wood Memorial, Uncle Mo took time away from the track this spring when he was diagnosed with the liver disease cholangiohepatitis, an inflammation of the liver and bile passages that Dr. Doug Byars told Repole is not a heritable condition. Uncle Mo came back in August and finsihed just a nose behind Caleb’s Posse in the King’s Bishop before winning the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap. He most recently finished 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Ashford also will introduce Cape Blanco this year. The 2010 Irish Derby winner, by Galileo, will stand for $17,500.

Most of the rest of Ashford’s 13 stallions will keep the same fees they had in 2011, including the farm’s priciest sire, $85,000 Giant’s Causeway. The only one to get a fee hike for 2012 is Scat Daddy. The 7-year-old Johannesburg horse climbs from $10,000 to $17,500. His first crop this year produced graded winners Daddy Long Legs, Finale, and Shared Property, and graded-placed Daddy Nose Best, Force de la Nature, and Mystic Mama.

Three Ashford horses will have smaller fees this year. They are Henrythenavigator, whose price goes from $35,000 to $25,000; Grand Slam, who drops from $15,000 to $12,000; and Munnings, who falls from $12,500 to $10,000.

The others remain the same, as follows: Dunkirk, $10,000; Fusaichi Pegasus, $15,000; Lookin At Lucky, $30,000; Majestic Warrior, $10,000; Tale of the Cat, $30,000; and Thunder Gulch, $10,000.

Tapit’s stud fee rises to $125,000

Gainesway will jump Tapit’s stud fee up to $125,000 in 2012, after standing him for $80,000 this year.

The Pulpit horse’s 2-year-old son Hansen won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and his daughter Zazu won a pair of Grade 1 races and finished second in two more this year. He’s also the sire of Travers runner-up Rattlesnake Bridge, Mother Goose runner-up Joyful Victory, Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Headache, True North winner Trappe Shot, Sham Stakes winner Tapizar, and the Japanese graded winner Testa Matta.

The other Gainesway sire getting a fee raise for 2012 is new to their roster – Hat Trick, who relocated from Walmac Farm, where he stood for $6,000. He will have a $15,000 fee next year. Gainesway has bought a significant, but unspecified interest, in the Sunday Silence horse.

Four Gainesway stallions will take fee cuts in 2012. They are Afleet Alex, who goes from $25,000 to $20,000; Afleet Express, from $10,000 to $6,500; Birdstone, from $20,000 to $10,000; and Corinthian, from $25,000 to $17,500. Orientate and Smoke Glacken will stand for the same fees in 2012 as they had this year at $7,500 and $10,000, respectively.

Study: Ky. increases market share

A Kentucky legislative study has found that, despite out-of-state competition and the recent economic downturn, the percentage of U.S. mares bred in Kentucky has risen. Forty-three percent of mares bred in the United States last year were bred in Kentucky, according to the report presented Thursday to the Program Review and Investigations Committee.

“A few other states are also gaining a share of the nation’s breeding activity, but they are relatively small compared to Kentucky,” the report said.

The state government study surveyed the owners and managers of 150 Kentucky Thoroughbred farms, roughly a quarter of the state’s Thoroughbred farms, and found that the breeding industry added about 17,700 Kentucky jobs last year, generating earnings of more than $350 million. Breaking those numbers down, there were about 10,800 jobs created within the industry and another 6,900 created in supporting sectors; earnings for workers directly employed in the industry totaled about $168 million, and earnings for workers in supporting businesses were about $185 million. The average Thoroughbred in the state generates $21,690 in spending each year.

The report also estimated that Thoroughbred breeding generated about $1.58 billion in total spending in Kentucky’s economy, noting that “for every $1 in earnings paid in the Thoroughbred breeding industry, an additional $1.10 in earnings would be paid in other industries within the economy.”

The study’s authors compared Kentucky with six other competitive jurisdictions that, unlike Kentucky, have expanded gambling that supports their Thoroughbred breeding programs: Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. It did not include Ontario, Canada, another major racing jurisdiction with gaming-supported breeder incentives and purses. Collectively, their share of the nation’s annual foal crop has grown to 11 percent, but Kentucky’s has risen by 30 percent.

“The data indicate that while Kentucky has gained market share and still accounts for the largest share of the foals, its competitor states, as a group, have also gained market share,” the report said.

But funds accruing to Kentucky’s Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund have lessened due to reduced breeding activity and an in-state handle downturn. A sale tax on stud fees funds the incentive program, and a parimutuel tax funds the KTDF. Between 2006 and 2010, the incentive fund has dropped from $13 million to $9 million, while the KTDF has fallen from $8.7 million to $6 million.

The study appears as many in Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry are lobbying legislators for expanded gambling at the state’s racetracks, arguing that, without the increased breeding funds and purses, Kentucky’s Thoroughbreds will flee to states that offer richer incentives. The report came days after Kentucky’s pro-gaming incumbent governor, Democrat Steve Beshear, easily defeated the Republican state Senate President David Williams, a staunch foe of expanded gambling, in the governor’s race.

N.Y. breeders get boost from slots

Expanded gaming clearly was much on the minds of November sale buyers. New York breeders expect Aqueduct’s long-awaited slots will pump tens of millions into the breeding program’s coffers, and that has drawn a new group of stallions to the state. Among them: Girolamo, Darley Stud’s only sire in the Empire State. The Grade 1-winning A.P. Indy horse is from the family of Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

His presence, and the prospect of richer breeder incentives, pushed at least one New York breeder to spend big at Keeneland. Chester Broman paid $850,000 for the Ned Evans estate’s Touch Gold mare Spritely, and the Grade 1-placed mare will be bred to Girolamo.

“She’s in foal to Bernardini, so she’ll have a New York-bred Bernardini back on the same sire line to Girolamo,” said Becky Thomas, whose Sequel Stallions New York will stand Girolamo for Darley. “Chester’s very excited about the horse being in New York. He’s a huge New York breeder with the creme de la creme of mares. When I opened the farm in 2001 and we started with Precise End, I thought slots were going to come in way before now and we’d be able to build a clientele and hopefully eventually be able to attract a horse like Girolamo. Ten years later, it’s everything we wanted.

“It’s a huge domino effect, because when you have better mares and better stallions, you get better services following.”

At the other end of the spectrum, onetime breeding force Virginia has seen its active stallion population fall from 92 to 27 in the last decade. Active mares in the same time fell from 641 to 82. The state has no expanded gaming, but nearby states subsidize Thoroughbred racing and/or breeding with slots.

“It’s sad for Virginia, where historically you’ve had great breeders and people that are interested,” said Debbie Easter, a Virginia bloodstock agent and former president of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association. “The movement of slots in states around us and the lack of a racetrack until as late as we got one (1997) really hurt us. As soon as West Virginia and Pennsylvania got the slots, boy, the people that have bred horses in Virginia really diminished, whether from going across state lines or getting out.

“I don’t know if we all think slots are the end all, but if you let other states around you run for bigger purses than right here in your backyard, and your legislature isn’t sympathetic to the cause, it’s very difficult.”