01/20/2017 12:10PM

Frosted returns home to start his second career

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Barbara D. Livingston
Frosted, who raced as a homebred in Godolphin blue, returns home to Darley in Kentucky to begin his stud career. He is the highest-priced new stallion of 2017.

Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can’t go home again – but no one bothered to tell Frosted.

Born in Kentucky, Frosted went on to carry the blue colors of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin operation around the globe, successfully campaigning in New York, Dubai, and elsewhere. The multiple Grade 1 winner now returns to Kentucky to launch his stud career at Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley at Jonabell Farm near Lexington, Ky., as one of the most highly anticipated new stallions of 2017. The son of three-time reigning leading sire Tapit starts with an advertised fee of $50,000, the highest for a newcomer in Kentucky. Right behind him is Darley’s other new addition, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, with the co-second-highest fee at $40,000.

“It’s very special to retire a horse of Frosted’s caliber but even more so in that he accomplished so much as a homebred, racing in Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin silks,” said Dan Pride, chief operating officer of Darley’s American operations. “His Metropolitan Handicap was one for the ages, and add to that his great pedigree and tremendous physical appearance and you’ve got all the pieces in place for a sire of the future.”

:: Read the full 2017 Kentucky Sires and New Stallions supplement | California Chrome enters stud | Download 2016 Beyer Sire Performance Standings ::

A Grade 2-placed juvenile and a Grade 1 winner at 3, Frosted blossomed to post his best season in 2016, for which he is an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding older dirt male. His signature triumph came in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, as he romped by 14 1/4 lengths in the historic, sire-making event. His final time was 1:32.73, missing the track record by two-fifths; he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 123, not only the top number of the year, but also the top number of sire Tapit’s stud career.

Frosted also won the Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga and the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in Dubai in 2016. Campaigning against some of the best talent of the modern era in American Pharoah and California Chrome, he concluded his career with five stakes wins and six additional placings, including a runner-up effort in the Belmont Stakes, for earnings of more than $3.9 million.

Nyquist followed in the footsteps of his sire, Uncle Mo, by earning a divisional Eclipse Award for an unbeaten juvenile campaign, culminating with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Darley announced that it had acquired the colt’s stud rights two days later, then watched him go on to win the Kentucky Derby last spring. Nyquist suffered a setback in preparations for his first season at stud when he underwent colic surgery in late December, in which a slight twist to his intestine was repaired. Pride expects him to be fully recovered and ready when the breeding shed opens in February.

Nyquist is one of two Grade 1 winners from Uncle Mo’s breakout first crop entering stud this year – giving the latter an early opportunity to begin proving himself as a sire of sires, and also, perhaps, providing a value point opposite his $150,000 stud fee. The other retiree is Wood Memorial winner Outwork, standing at WinStar Farm. He is one of four newcomers on that operation’s steadily expanding roster, along with Preakness winner Exaggerator (by Curlin), with a division-leading three Grade 1 wins in 2016; Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tourist (Tiznow); and Grade 3 winner Speightster (Speightstown). Speightster is one of two high-profile sons of Speightstown going to stud this year, along with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz at Shadwell.

Joining WinStar and partners in Tourist’s stud career is Liliana Solari and Carlos Heller’s Don Alberto Corp., a major Chilean operation that established a Kentucky presence with the purchase of the former Vinery in Kentucky in 2013. The partnership on a prominent young stallion is another major foray into the U.S. stallion market for Don Alberto, which partnered with Gainesway to repatriate Empire Maker in 2015. Meanwhile, another multinational outfit, China Horse Club, is involved in three prominent newcomers for 2017, including Exaggerator. The lifestyle group also has a share in California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit), one of four new stallions at Taylor Made for 2017. The 2014 Horse of the Year enters stud alongside Grade 1 winner Mshawish (Medaglia d’Oro) and graded winners Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway) and Protonico (Giant’s Causeway).

China Horse Club also is one of four major entities partnering on the career of globetrotting multiple Grade/Group 1 winner Flintshire (Dansili). The horse will stand at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in partnership with breeder Juddmonte Farms, China Horse Club, and S.F. Bloodstock – all of which have deep broodmare bands.

“This is an exciting group that has come together to support and stand behind an incredible international star who brought his best race to every corner of the globe and distinguished himself truly as a horse of the world,” Hill ‘n’ Dale president John G. Sikura said. “The fact that Juddmonte is staying in and has committed mares to him says a lot about their belief in the horse to become a great sire. I believe Kentucky needs to become more global again in attracting international stallion prospects. Look at the success of [turf sires] War Front and Kitten’s Joy. We should be embracing these kinds of opportunities in order to be relevant to all marketplaces. I have been waiting for the right horse to stand that fits this mold. I believe Flintshire is the one.”

This year’s two new arrivals at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky also have a distinct international flavor – and both were standout juveniles, displaying precocity that is valued in the American market. Australian champion juvenile Vancouver (Medaglia d’Oro) will be standing his first Northern Hemisphere season, while Air Force Blue (War Front), by a popular commercial sire, was an outstanding runner in Europe.

Spendthrift Farm also has a standout juvenile by War Front entering stud in Hit It a Bomb, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The historic Spendthrift operation, which has grown by leaps and bounds with its breeder incentives like “Share the Upside” for young stallions, multiple Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause (Giant’s Causeway), and Grade 3 winner Cinco Charlie (Indian Charlie) to the roster. Dual Eclipse Award finalist Lord Nelson (Pulpit) was also to stand at Spendthrift, but will miss his first breeding season after developing laminitis as a secondary complication to the infection in his leg that knocked him out of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup.

Two other historic Kentucky farms have multiple new stallions, each including an Eclipse winner. Champion sprinter Runhappy (Super Saver) enters stud at Claiborne Farm, moving into the famous stall in its main stallion barn that once housed Bold Ruler, Secretariat, Easy Goer, and Unbridled. Further illustrating Claiborne’s long history, its other newcomer for 2017 is Grade 2 winner Ironicus (Distorted Humor), a homebred for the farm’s longtime and most well-known clients, the Janney and Phipps family.

The iconic Calumet Farm establishment, which found new life when owner Brad Kelley purchased it, adds five new stallions to its still-nascent roster, led by Eclipse Award outstanding turf horse Big Blue Kitten (Kitten’s Joy).

“Our roster features a wide variety of bloodlines possessing soundness, conformation, and a propensity to winning classic two-turn races on both dirt and turf,” said Eddie Kane, Calumet Farm general manager. “We are focused not only on building long-term relationships with breeders but also sharing in the commercial and racing success of our stallions.”

Calumet shopped aggressively to support its stallions at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, one of the final opportunities to purchase a broodmare before the start of breeding season in February. Likewise, the partners behind 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red (Afleet Alex) were moving to fill his book at that sale. Texas Red is one of two major acquisitions this year for Crestwood Farm, along with 2015 Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line (Line of David).

Also visibly shopping at Keeneland January were the connections of Not This Time, Protonico, Flintshire, and Grade 2 winner Anchor Down, who will stand alongside his sire, Tapit, at Gainesway.