Updated on 09/17/2011 1:10PM

Freshman sires - Part 1: A-B


LAS VEGAS - Every year at this time, Pedigree Handicapping takes a sneak peek at the new class of freshman sires. It seems like only yesterday that Fusaichi Pegasus became Mr. Prospector's only Kentucky Derby winner, but his first crop of 2-year-olds will be the center of attention next year. Other high-profile freshman stallions include Giant's Causeway, Behrens, Cat Thief, Dixie Union, Golden Missile, Stephen Got Even, and War Chant. In a twist of fate, Jeanne Vance, who died on Dec. 15, will never see the first crop of her champion Lemon Drop Kid race.

There are dozens more freshman stallions who should sire some very fast and precocious 2-year-olds, including Adcat, Bernstein, Cape Canaveral, Chief Seattle, Commendable, Five Star Day, Greenwood Lake, High Yield, Intidab, Kelly Kip, Lion Hearted, More Than Ready, Old Topper, Precise End, Straight Man, Successful Appeal, Western Expression, Yankee Victor, and Yes It's True. Runners by these stallions who should offer great value sprinting from 4 1/2 furlongs to six furlongs during the first half of the "baby" season (April-August).

This is the first part of a series on the 2004 freshman sires, which number more than 75. Listed alphabetically, the sires' names are followed by their pedigree and the state where they stand.

Adcat (Storm Cat-Adorable Micol, Riverman), Florida. Just as every son of Mr. Prospector became an automatic stallion in the 90's, the same thing is now happening with sons of Storm Cat, even if they never raced. Adcat, like so many sons of the versatile Storm Cat (especially if out of mares by strong turf influences), found a home on turf, and his stakes victories came in the New Hampshire Sweepstakes and Mohawk Handicap, both on grass. Adcat's dam was a stakes winner in France and his third dam is Tempted, a champion bred by Christiana Stable. Expect his runners, especially those out of mares with speed-oriented pedigrees, to perform quite well as 2-year-olds on all surfaces.

Aljabr (Storm Cat-Sierra Madre, Baillamont), Kentucky. Aljabr has the distinction of being a Group 1 winner at 2, 3 and 4 and his best distance was one mile. His high-quality book of mares includes winners or dams of the winners of the Epsom Derby, Irish 1000 Guineas, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Yorkshire Oaks, and other top races. His runners will ultimately perform best on grass. It would, however, be no surprise to see some of Aljabr's offspring win on dirt because of Storm Cat's brilliant influence.

Badge (Air Forbes Won-Revenge Time, Raja's Revenge), New York. Badge should do well standing in New York, and his first crop of statebred foals should win early sprinting. His pedigree is top-heavy with speed, but Badge was able to stretch his speed to win the one-mile Gotham Stakes, and he also finished third behind Charismatic and Menifee in the Preakness Stakes at 1 3/16 miles.

Behrens (Pleasant Colony-Hot Novel, Mari's Book), Kentucky. Unraced at 2, Behrens was a stakes winner at 3, and developed into one of the leading older runners at 5, when he won four major stakes (Oaklawn, Gulfstream Park, Massachusetts, and Suburban handicaps) and placed in four graded stakes (Jockey Club Gold Cup, Whitney, Donn, and Broward handicaps) from nine starts. He returned at 6 for a repeat victory in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and placed in the Woodward Stakes, and Suburban, Whitney, and Donn handicaps. He is a son of Pleasant Colony, so do not expect his runners to be at their best until age 3, when they stretch out beyond seven furlongs. I have named him one of 2004's "hidden turf" sires, because although his success came on dirt, he was also well bred for turf. His runners will be live longshots on the grass.

Bernstein (Storm Cat-La Affirmed, Affirmed), Kentucky. Possessing a red-hot pedigree and standing for $7,500, Bernstein may be the big sleeper of this freshman group of sires. A group winner at 2 and 3 in Ireland, Bernstein is a full brother to stakes winners Caress (the dam of Sky Mesa) and Country Cat, and a half-brother to stakes winner Della Francesca and the unraced Emmaus (dam of Wiseman's Ferry). Bernstein's dam is a half-sister to champion 2-year-old filly Outstandingly, and his third dam is a half-sister to Buckpasser. Bernstein had quality speed on grass, and his 2-year-olds, especially if out of mares by speed influences (such as Crafty Prospector, Valid Appeal, Hold Your Peace, and Phone Trick), will offer great value on dirt as well as grass because he is unfamiliar to most horseplayers.

Best of Luck (Broad Brush-Crowned, Chief's Crown), Kentucky. By a top-class runner and from the renowned female family of Rare Perfume cultivated by George D. Widener, Best of Luck won the Peter Pan Stakes and finished second in the Wood Memorial and Withers Stakes and Discovery Handicap. His 2-year-olds should develop late in the season and be most effective at distances over six furlongs. Because of the Broad Brush/Chief's Crown cross, he is another "hidden turf" sire and his runners will be tremendous overlays on grass.

Burbank (Wild Again-Cagey Exuberance, Exuberant), Oklahoma. Burbank was unraced at 2, but was a throwback to yesteryear's Thoroughbred, making 46 starts from ages 3-7. A winner of seven stakes, he placed in 13 other stakes, all on turf. His dam was a major sprinter-miler, and Burbank's 2-year-olds should be very effective on all surfaces.