Updated on 09/15/2011 1:36PM

First-crop crew of '02:


LAS VEGAS - As January approaches, attention turns to the freshman stallions of 2002, sires whose first foals will be racing at 2. The marquee sires are Awesome Again, Coronado's Quest, Deputy Commander, Favorite Trick, Gentleman, Grand Slam, Lil's Lad, Skip Away, Swain, Tale of the Cat, and Will's Way. While some sires should get off to a fast start, others will be better as their runners mature late and be better at longer distances or on turf. Because of the voluminous number of new stallions, this is the first article in a series that will analyze next year's first-crop sires and how to bet their offspring.

Acceptable (Capote). Acceptable is best remembered for his game runner-up finish by a neck to Boston Harbor in the 1996 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. A three-time stakes winner at 4, Acceptable is out of a dam who is a half-sister to Will's Way, Willa on the Move, Lady Reiko, and stakes-placed Citidancer and Sweet Willa. His runners should fare well at distances up to nine furlongs, and should also do well sprinting at 2, mainly because of the brilliant influence of Acceptable's sire, Capote.

Allied Forces (Miswaki). While his runners may win on dirt, they will be better suited to turf. Miswaki was a versatile sire, getting winners on dirt like Black Tie Affair, but many of his top runners were champions in Europe on turf, such as Urban Sea. Allied Forces has also achieved success on grass, hardly surprising since he inherited additional turf breeding from his damsire, Sharpen Up. Allied Forces' pedigree has deep roots to the Kentucky Derby, as his dam is a half-sister to the dam of Real Quiet, and his second dam is a full sister to Majestic Prince.

Anet (Clever Trick). Like most sons of Clever Trick (Phone Trick, Tricky Creek, Hadif), Anet was blessed with speed and should pass this on to his runners. Anet was able to stretch his speed to middle distances on dirt and turf, and whether his offspring can be effective beyond sprints will depend greatly on the damsires of mares to whom he is bred. For example, if Anet's juveniles are out of mares from the Mr. Prospector line (Carson City, Crafty Prospector, Conquistador Cielo, etc.), they will be best under one mile. Conversely, if they are out of mares from stamina influences such as Silver Hawk, Nijinsky II, or Pleasant Colony, they may negotiate middle distances.

Announce (Forty Niner). Announce is a half-brother to five stakes winners: Region, Double Feint, Dibs, and Narrate, the dam of Preach. Pulpit, Tale of the Cat, Minardi, and Northcote Road come from this line, and Announce's second dam, Monarchy, is a full sister to Round Table. His runners should be effective from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles on all surfaces.

Anziyan (Danzig). There isn't a better-bred stallion standing in the United States than Anziyan. While he was not a stakes winner and won just two of 12 starts, his bloodlines assure him of success, but only if his runners are given the chance to perform on turf. Anziyan is a full brother to Danehill, one of the world's great stallions, and he is also a full brother to stakes winners Eagle Eyed, Harpia, and Shibboleth. He is inbred to the legendary Natalma, 3x3, making him an exquisite example of the Rasmussen Factor (being inbred to a superior female within five generations through different individuals). Since he stands in California, most of his runners will appear in statebred races, but they should specifically be played on turf.

Arch (Kris S.). Like many runners by Kris S., Arch matured late and won the Super Derby at 3. Expect his runners to be better at 3 as they mature and stretch out in distance, on dirt and turf. With Kris S. on top and Danzig on the bottom, Arch is an example of the "hidden turf" sire. Although he achieved success on dirt, Arch was superbly bred for turf, and his runners should be very effective on grass. Because he is not associated as a grass sire, his offspring should pay handsome dividends on that surface.

Awad (Caveat). Awad made 70 starts from age 2 to 8, mainly on turf, and is by a Belmont winner, Caveat, who became a source of stamina on the turf. Awad's juveniles will be at a disadvantage sprinting on dirt, but will assert themselves stretching out on grass later in the year.

Awesome Again (Deputy Minister). Awesome Again, a half-brother to Macho Uno, is one of the stars of this year's freshman stallions. A winner of the Queen's Plate Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic, both at 1 1/4 miles, Awesome Again attracted mares of high quality, and while his runners should have speed, they should really be effective over seven furlongs. Pay particular attention if his runners appear on turf as Awesome Again is another "hidden turf" sire. By Deputy Minister out of a Blushing Groom mare, Awesome Again was bred to be a monster on turf and his offspring should love grass.