02/14/2014 12:30PM

Illinois: Road Ruler is top returning sire

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There are changes in store for the top of the Illinois stallion market.

Shore Breeze led the state’s general sire list for three straight years from 2010-12, and his progeny earned $976,722 in 2013. However, the son of Danzig has departed to stand at Iowa State University in 2014. Among the remaining stallions who stand or last stood in Illinois – including those deceased or pensioned – the late Cherokee Rap led the way in 2013, followed by Road Ruler, the state’s top returning stallion for 2014.

Cherokee Rap, who last stood at Wildwood Stable in Bellevue, was represented by 31 winners in 2013 and progeny earnings of $831,156. Road Ruler, who stands at JB Stables in Burnt Prairie, was represented by 18 winners and earnings of $680,623.

[To view the complete list of leading sires in Illinois, click here]

Cherokee Rap, who was Illinois’s leading freshman sire and juvenile sire in 2010, died in 2012 at the age of 11. However, his runners have continued to give back to William P. Stiritz, who purchased the horse for $35,000 following his racing career at the 2006 Keeneland November mixed sale. Stiritz has bred and raced many of the stallion’s top runners, including his two 2013 stakes winners: Our Domain captured the Bungalow Stakes at Fairmount Park, and Win’em All was beaten a half-length in the Lady Riss Stakes at Fairmount but was elevated to first following a disqualification.

Stiritz bred and races Cherokee Rap’s all-time leading earner, Nagys Piggy Bank. The gelding, who has bankrolled $236,660, won the Pete Condellone Memorial Stakes at Fairmount by 4 1/4 lengths in 2012. He was second in the same event last year; third was stablemate Garland’s Spirit, another son of Cherokee Rap. Stiritz also campaigned Cherokee Rap’s other two career stakes winners, Rocket Professor and Cool Greta.

Racing as a homebred for the late Edward P. Evans, Cherokee Rap won five of 13 career starts, earning $186,240. Trained by Mark Hennig in New York, he finished second in the 2004 Manila Stakes at Aqueduct. The son of champion sprinter Cherokee Run ran best at middle distances, winning races ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

Out of the stakes-placed Pleasant Tap mare Rap and Dance, Cherokee Rap was a half-brother to stakes winner Rap Tale. Second dam Dance Review’s many stakes winners and producers include Grade 1 winner Another Review, Grade 1 winner and stakes producer No Review, Grade 2 winner and stakes producer Dance Colony, and multiple stakes producer Promenade Colony.

According to Jockey Club statistics, Cherokee Rap was represented by 10 live foals in 2013, his final crop.

Road Ruler was represented by his first stakes horse in 2013, as the juvenile Church Road finished third in the All Sold Out Stakes at Fairmount. The 12-year-old Unbridled’s Song horse is the sire of 19 career winners from 26 starters, for total earnings of $721,981.

Road Ruler, who won four of 15 career starts over three seasons, was bred in Kentucky by Taylor Made Farm – which stood his late sire – and Brian Kahn. Out of the stakes-placed Strawberry Road mare Stephanie’s Road, he is a half-brother to stakes winner Drill Hall.