03/20/2015 4:19PM

Diabolical off to fast start in New Mexico


Diabolical’s career at stud thus far has been all about starting fast.

Diabolical, a 12-year-old son of Artax, was New Mexico’s leading active sire by progeny earnings in 2014, propelled by a fleet of stakes-level 2-year-olds that made him the only North American sire standing west of the Mississippi River last year to finish in the top 50 by juvenile earnings.

Diabolical was represented by 38 winners from 64 starters last year for combined progeny earnings of $1,392,750. He trailed only the pensioned Desert God, who finished the year with 29 winners from 52 runners for $1,694,571, by progeny earnings.

Both stallions reside at Fred and Linda Alexander’s A&A Horse Ranch in Anthony, N.M. Diabolical stands the 2015 breeding season for an advertised fee of $6,000.

“It’s a dream,” Fred Alexander said “We purchased him for $100,000. That’s a lot of money for a regional horse. We stuck our neck out, and being by Artax, that was his knock. We studied his race record and saw he had a very good female family, so we took the chance, and we’ve seen it pay off.

“You sit there, and you wait, and it takes four years for him to either be a hit or flop, and he’s started out great,” Alexander continued. “We’re tickled.”

A&A Horse Ranch is home to four of New Mexico’s top five stallions by 2014 earnings, either active or pensioned, including Attilla’s Storm (fourth) and Roll Hennessy Roll (fifth).

Diabolical’s five stakes winners in 2014 won six races, all in restricted New Mexico-bred company. Four of those stakes winners were juveniles, tying him for second among North American sires behind Kitten’s Joy, Stormy Atlantic, and Scat Daddy, who each had five juvenile stakes winners. In New Mexico, his $835,582 in juvenile earnings more than tripled the second-place Quinton’s Gold, who had $259,076 in juvenile progeny earnings.

The stallion’s second crop, 2-year-olds of 2014, earned 60 percent of Diabolical’s total earnings last year, led by the three-time stakes winner Liberty Lover. The colt, out of the Forest Wildcat mare Wildcat Diva, won 5 of 6 starts last year and  earned $274,361, highlighted by wins in the colts and geldings division of the New Mexico Classic Cup Juvenile, the New Mexico Eddy County Stakes at Zia Park, and the Red Hedeman Mile Stakes at Sunland Park.

Also picking up stakes wins for the sire were Muy Rapido, Mays Or Mantle, That’s the Idea, Humarumba, Raider Red, and You’ve Been Duped. He had the exacta in the C. O. Ken Kendrick Memorial Stakes at Sunray Park, siring the winner Missing Reba and runner-up Be My Angel.

“They’re just fast,” Alexander said. “What’s cool about him is that was his second crop to race, and he’s had stakes winners from 4 1/2 furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth. He’s getting all distances from all different kinds of mares.”

Diabolical was well traveled during his racing career. He was a Grade 2 winner in the U.S., also finishing second in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, was a Group 3 winner in the United Arab Emirates, Group 1-placed in Singapore, and Group 2-placed in England. He won 9 of 32 career starts for earnings of $1,467,401.

Bred in Kentucky by Longleaf Pine Farm, Diabolical is out of the placed Dayjur mare Bonnie Byerly, whose progeny also includes the multiple French Group 3 winner What a Name and  the Irish Group 3-placed Shell House. His second dam is the Grade 1 winner Plenty of Grace, a half-sister to the champion Soaring Softly and the pivot point for runners, including the Grade 1-placed Grace Anatomy.

“When I handled the horse when we first got him, I could just tell the motor in him,” Alexander said. “Just his heart, it’s not like anything I’ve been around. That just shows what kind of racehorse he was.”