01/17/2013 4:17PM

California's leading juvenile sire, Tribal Rule passing speed to his progeny

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Lori Zelepsky/Coady Photography
Eternal Rule, an Ontario-bred, earned $292,350 in 2012 to become Tribal Rule's top earner on the year.

In his brief four-race career, Tribal Rule’s raw speed carried him to two emphatic wins in sprints in Southern California.

At stud, he has passed that talent along to his progeny. In 2012, Tribal Rule led California’s sires in juvenile earnings for the second consecutive year.

A 17-year-old by Storm Cat, Tribal Rule had progeny earnings of $3,865,413 in 2012, second in the state to Unusual Heat ($4,610,915). In races for juveniles, Tribal Rule’s progeny earned $838,767, well clear of Swiss Yodeler ($604,262) and Unusual Heat ($562,616).

Not surprisingly, those statistics made Tribal Rule one of the most popular horses at stud in California. According to Jockey Club statistics, Tribal Rule was bred to 108 mares in 2012, second among the state’s sires to Lucky Pulpit, who was bred to 114.

“He’s going to do the same thing this year,” said Marty Wygod, who bred and campaigned Tribal Rule with his wife, Pam.

Wygod retains an ownership share in Tribal Rule, who stands at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif.

“You can see that every year he’s improved with his progeny,” Wygod said. “They’ve got a lot of speed and they’re very competitive. He’s a great stallion for California.”

This year, it will be more expensive to breed to Tribal Rule than in past seasons. His advertised fee is $6,500, compared to the $5,500 fee for part of the 2012 breeding season. Early in the season, his stud fee was discounted.

Tribal Rule was booked full by March 2012, according to Jeanne Davis, who manages sales and marketing for Ballena Vista. She added that Ballena Vista will try to keep Tribal Rule’s book at 110 mares in 2013, on the recommendation of farm manager Manuel Ochoa.

Tribal Rule’s top earner in 2012 was Eternal Rule, an Ontario-bred who earned $292,350 and won two stakes at Presque Isle Downs. Tribal Rule’s leading 2-year-old was Strong Wind, a California-bred who won the Graduation Stakes at Del Mar in August and earned $141,360.

Heatseeker leading freshman sire

California’s leading freshman sire in 2012 was Heatseeker, whose progeny earnings of $415,412 was the highest in that category since Old Topper’s progeny earned $498,815 in 2004.

Council Member was second on the freshman sire list, with earnings of $139,410, followed by McCann’s Mojave at $93,543.

Grade 1 winner Heatseeker, who stands for $5,000 at Harris Farms, sired 32 runners, 12 winners, and one stakes winner in Surtsey. The winner of the Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine, Surtsey earned $126,171.

Heatseeker, a 10-year-old by Giant’s Causeway, began his stud career in Kentucky and was relocated to California for the 2012 breeding season.