12/23/2015 10:36AM

Bluegrass Cat makes himself at home in the Golden State


Bluegrass Cat began his stud career in Kentucky and stood at two different farms in New York before relocating to Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., for the 2015 season. He is California’s leading active resident by progeny earnings – and, judging by his immediate popularity in the Golden State, he may have finally found a long-term home.

Bluegrass Cat, a 12-year-old son of Storm Cat, covered 70 mares in his first California season, according to statistics from The Jockey Club – among the larger books in the state, and ranking ahead of reigning leading sire Lucky Pulpit (63 mares bred), champion Acclamation (54), and perennial leading sire Unusual Heat (46). Those breeders struck ahead of the curve, as Bluegrass Cat’s progeny enjoyed a solid 2015 season on the track, with his 141 winners through Dec. 15 easily outpacing all other California stallions and bankrolling $5,171,546.

Leading the way for the sire this year was Bluegrass Singer, who has banked nearly $250,000 in career earnings while enjoying a productive 12-start campaign in 2015. The gelding won the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Parx Derby in Pennsylvania. He also finished third in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes, behind Upstart and Frosted, both major players on the national 3-year-old scene.

Go Blue Or Go Home won the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes at Woodbine, establishing a course record in the process, while Flexibility finished second to Mohaymen, a leading Kentucky Derby contender, in both the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 2 Remsen stakes. Bluegrass Cat also was represented in 2015 by multiple stakes winners Bluegrass Angus, Champion Risk, and Blue Dancer, and stakes winner Mountain Music Man.

Classic-placed Grade 1 winner Bluegrass Cat, from the immediate family of such sires as Not For Love, Super Saver, and Private Account, began his stud career at his birthplace, WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., in 2007. He moved to Vinery’s New York base at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, N.Y., in a joint venture with WinStar in 2012, and relocated to Rockridge Stud in Hudson, N.Y., with the rest of that roster for one season before moving to California. He had already established himself as a standout regional sire, topping New York’s general sire list for 2013 and also leading that list at the time of his move. His 29 career stakes winners are led by North American graded stakes winners Sabercat, Kathmanblu, Go Blue Or Go Home, Teeth of the Dog, and Blue Laser.

Among active California stallions with state-sired progeny, Lucky Pulpit, who stands at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif., once again was near the top of the list. His 56 winners contributed toward progeny earnings of $3,945,027 in 2015, placing him behind Bluegrass Cat and the late Tribal Rule on the state’s general sire list.

Lucky Pulpit was once again led by reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome, who finished second in both his 2015 starts before his campaign was derailed due to injuries. The now-4-year-old colt chased champion Shared Belief home in the Grade 2 San Antonio Invitational Stakes before running a creditable second in the $10 million Dubai World Cup to pick up the bulk of his earnings. California Chrome is expected to return to action in the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes in January at Santa Anita before once again targeting the Dubai World Cup, meaning Lucky Pulpit will likely again be a major factor in the 2016 California sire standings.

Lucky Pulpit also was represented in 2015 by Floating Feather, who won three stakes and placed in two others at Les Bois Park in Idaho.

Next on California’s general sire list came perennial leading sire Unusual Heat, also standing at Harris Farms; Eddington, who stands alongside Bluegrass Cat at Ballena Vista; and leading juvenile sire Square Eddie. Decarchy, Ministers Wild Cat, Vronsky, and Street Hero round out the top 10.