02/14/2014 12:45PM

Dunkirk: Leading freshman sire by earnings, average earnings, stakes winners

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Coolmore Stud
Dunkirk stands at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.

Leading Kentucky freshman sire by earnings, average earnings, stakes winners, and stakes wins

Unbridled’s Song, who sired multiple champions, died last July at age 20. However, the continued prominence of Taylor Made’s flagship sire in the North American stallion ranks is more than assured, as he left behind a number of sons at stud. And judging by the dominance of this group on the 2013 Kentucky freshman sire list, that trend is poised to continue.

Dunkirk, standing at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, led Kentucky’s freshman sire list by both total earnings and average earnings per runner. The 8-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song sired 14 winners in 2013, led by Grade 1 winner Havana and Grade 3 winner Dunkin Bend, for total earnings of $1,112,446 and an average of $23,669. That total bankroll was enough to easily outpace the WinStar Farm duo of Pioneerof the Nile and Colonel John, whose runners earned $726,220 and $674,800, respectively.

Two other stallions by Unbridled’s Song also finished in the top 10 in both total and average earnings among Kentucky freshman sires, making the late sire the only horse to be represented by multiple sons on those lists. Multiple Grade 1 winner Zensational, who stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky., was fifth by total earnings and ninth by average earnings. Grade 2 winner Old Fashioned, who stood alongside his sire at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., checked in seventh by total earnings and eighth by average earnings.

The top half of Dunkirk’s pedigree is not the only attractive aspect of his page, as he hails from a deep female family that helped make him a top sales yearling in his own right. Bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish, James Elkins, and W. Temple Webber Jr., Dunkirk is out of the millionaire A.P. Indy mare Secret Status, who captured the 2000 Kentucky Oaks and Mother Goose Stakes for the same breeders. She won or placed in six other graded stakes, including a runner-up effort in the Alabama Stakes and a third-place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks, both Grade 1 events. Out of the stakes-winning and Grade 1-placed Alydar mare Private Status, Secret Status is a full sister to Grade 3 winner and sire Alumni Hall, as well as a half-sister to stakes winner and producer Private Gift.

Those bloodlines were enough to make Dunkirk North America’s highest-priced yearling of 2007, with Demi O’Byrne, as agent for the Coolmore team of Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith, going to $3.7 million to acquire the colt at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Dunkirk had a brief racing career, never landing a stakes but competing well against the best males of his crop. Unraced as a juvenile, he won his first two starts, a maiden and an allowance, at Gulfstream by a combined 10 1/2 lengths. Second in the latter was eventual Grade 1 winner Warrior’s Reward. Dunkirk then was the runner-up to Quality Road in the Florida Derby, earning a shot at the Kentucky Derby, where he finished 11th after stumbling at the start.

Dunkirk then finished second to Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes, outgaming Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird for the place. However, he emerged from the race with a condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone that ended his season and, eventually, his career. His retirement was officially announced the following January, and he entered stud at Ashford for an advertised fee of $10,000.

The star of Dunkirk’s first crop has been Havana, who bankrolled $708,000 in his juvenile season. The colt, a $575,000 purchase by O’Byrne for Coolmore at the 2013 Barretts March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training, was turned over to Todd Pletcher, who also trained his sire. Havana won his debut at Saratoga last August and in his next start took the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont, edging the well-regarded Honor Code by a neck. He then finished second to New Year’s Day in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

Havana could kick off his 3-year-old campaign in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes on March 1 at Gulfstream Park.

Dunkirk’s other first-crop standouts include Dunkin Bend, who won the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park as a juvenile and was second in the Big Drama Stakes last month at Delta Downs in his 2014 debut.

Dunkirk also is the sire of winners Conniption Fit, Silver Screen Lady, Blacksilkstockings, and Bad River Belle, all of whom were stakes-placed as juveniles last year.

Dunkirk will stand the 2014 season at Ashford for an advertised fee of $15,000.