04/21/2014 7:17PM

California stallion Benchmark pensioned


Veteran California sire Benchmark has been pensioned at age 23 due to infertility.

The son of Alydar was to stand Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., for the 2014 breeding season at an advertised fee of $5,000. However, he did not impregnate any of the mares he covered thus far this season, and was officially retired from stud duty on Monday, according to a release from the farm.

Out of the Grade 1-producing Danzig mare Winters' Love, Benchmark won seven of 16 starts, including three Grade 2 stakes on the racetrack.

Retired in 1998, he stood his entire career in California, first at owners Marty and Pam Wygod’s River Edge Farm, and then at Ballena Vista from 2011 onward. He will be pensioned alongside fellow retiree Beau Genius at the farm.

Benchmark’s progeny have earned more than $30.8 million through April 20, and he has sired 41 winners from 742 foals of racing age. He is the sire of four Grade 1 winners, and garnered national attention last summer when his son Points Offthebench took two Grade 1 sprints in California. Points Offthebench died tragically before the Breeders’ Cup but was posthumously honored with an Eclipse Award as champion sprinter.

Benchmark’s other top-level winners are Brother Derek, Idiot Proof, and Silent Sighs. He is also the sire of multiple stakes winner and $360,000 earner Marks Mine, who is slated to start in the Spring Fever Stakes on the April 26 California Gold Rush card at Santa Anita.

Benchmark currently ranks sixth on the 2014 California general sire list through April 20 with over $737,000 in progeny earnings. He resided within the top five rankings in California from 2009 to 2013, and retires from stud duty as the leading son of Alydar as measured by progeny earnings.