04/21/2011 11:25AM

Kafwain beginning to bloom as a California sire


In March, Kafwain sired the winner of the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, Daisy Devine, a candidate for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6.

On April 5, a Kafwain filly was purchased for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale of 2-year-olds in training. On Monday, a Kafwain filly was purchased for $200,000 at the first session of Ocala Breeders’ Sales’s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Kafwain himself is standing at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., but he is lonelier than farm owner Tom Stull would prefer this spring.

“He’ll probably get, I’m hoping, 50 mares, which is ridiculous in my opinion,” Stull said.

Ideally, Kafwain would get at least twice that, Stull said, but attracting large books of mares to California stallions is difficult in a state that has seen sharp declines in the number of mares being bred in recent seasons.

Kafwain, an 11-year-old by Cherokee Run, ranks second among California’s sires in progeny earnings this year, with $854,615, trailing only Unusual Heat ($877,456). Kafwain stands for $5,000. Unusual Heat, who stands for $20,000, has led the state’s stallions in progeny earnings for the last three years.

Daisy Devine, who has won 3 of 5 starts and $359,788, is Kafwain’s leading money winner this year. She was second in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds in January before her win in the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks. She is working at Keeneland for trainer Andrew McKeever.

Kafwain arrived at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in late 2009 and is in his second stud season at the farm this year, having previously stood at Hurstland Farm in Kentucky. His first California-breds arrived this spring. Last year, Kafwain was bred to 57 mares, according to Jockey Club records.

This year, Kafwain has sired two stakes winners, including Twelve Twenty Two, the winner of the Harry Henson Stakes at Sunland Park in March. Twelve Twenty Two could run at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby weekend.

With the success of Kafwain offspring on the racetrack and the sales ring, Stull said there has been an uptick in mare bookings in recent days.

“We’ve gotten four booked in the last few days,” Stull said. “I’m hoping to get more. I spent a lot of money to bring him into California.”

In a California-based racing career, Kafwain won 4 of 11 starts and $715,848, highlighted by two stakes wins at 2 – the Grade 3 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar and the Grade 2 Norfolk Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. He was later second to the champion Vindication in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Arlington Park. At 3, he won the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes and was third in the 2003 Santa Anita Derby, his final start.

California horsemen saw one of Kafwain’s best colts to race in The Pamplemousse, who won two major stakes for 3-year-olds in the winter and spring of 2009 – the Sham Stakes and San Rafael Stakes – before being sidelined by injury. The Pamplemousse entered stud this year at Rancho San Miguel in California.

Stull is certain that Kafwain’s book will grow in 2012, citing the promising start for his racehorses this season and a commitment the farm owner will make with his own mares. Tommy Town Thoroughbreds has six stallions, including Ministers Wild Cat. Kafwain has the highest advertised stud fee.

“This year, I’m pretty confident that people will realize that he’s thrown some nice horses,” Stull said. “I’ve supported Minister this year. Next year, I’m going to give [Kafwain] everything we’ve got. He’s for real.”

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