09/11/2015 2:38PM

Keeneland September: The Factor among first-crop stallions to watch

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Barbara D. Livingston
The Factor, a multiple Grade 1 winner, was a breakout success story with his first yearlings as the boutique season began in August.

Of the 25 stallions to enter stud in Kentucky in 2013, 16 (or about three-fifths of the group) were Grade 1/Group 1 winners – and, rightfully, they attracted stellar books. Two years later, the resulting foals are adding spice to a resurgent yearling market.

Among that standout group of Kentucky’s first-year yearling sires, The Factor was the breakout success story of the August Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale, the first boutique auction of the yearling calendar. The stallion now gets another chance to prove himself at the bellwether Keeneland September yearling sale, which tests a wide swath of the market across two weeks.

The Factor, from the first crop of popular commercial sire War Front, was a five-time graded stakes winner, highlighted by scores in the Grade 1 Malibu and Grade 1 Pat O’Brien, both seven-furlong events in California. He retired to stud at Lane’s End in Versailles for the 2013 season and came out of the gate firing at Fasig-Tipton, averaging $386,667 from six yearlings sold. His results were led by a $750,000 colt purchased by Willis Horton which ranked among the top yearlings at the sale – the seventh highest, behind only yearlings by established sires Tapit, Street Cry, and Malibu Moon. The Factor also was represented by a $600,000 colt.

The Factor has 65 yearlings cataloged at the Keeneland September sale, including seven in the auction’s premier Book 1 portion from Sept. 14-16, and 23 as the sale moves on to Book 2. His Book 1 group is highlighted by a pair of half-siblings to Grade 1 winners, with Penn Sales, as agent, consigning a half-brother to So Many Ways, and Van Meter-Gentry Sales, agent, offering a half-sister to Declassify.

Along with The Factor, Lane’s End holds a strong hand in the first-year sire ranks with Union Rags (by Dixie Union). That horse, along with Bodemeister (Empire Maker), now standing at nearby WinStar Farm, was among the standout 3-year-olds of 2012. Bodemeister romped in the Arkansas Derby and finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Union Rags, a Grade 1-winning juvenile, stepped back up to win the Belmont Stakes. Both horses shone in the early touchpoints of their stallion careers, ranking among the leading covering sires and sires of weanlings at the fall sales in 2013 and 2014. Both also did well at the Fasig-Tipton selected sale. Yearlings by Bodemeister there averaged $328,125 from eight sold, led by a $500,000 colt, and Union Rags yearlings averaged $240,000 from six sold.

Union Rags’s 16 yearlings cataloged in the Keeneland September yearling sale’s Book 1 include a half-brother to Canadian champion Grand Adventure consigned by Summerfield, agent.

Bodemeister leads all first-year stallions in Keeneland September offerings, with 83 yearlings cataloged, 26 in Book 1. That group is led by a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and to multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan. The filly is consigned by Betz Thoroughbreds, as agent, which also brings in a colt out of Grade 1 winner Meadow Breeze, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Overanalyze. Bodemeister is also represented by a colt consigned by Taylor Made whose dam is a full sister to champion Wait a While, from the immediate family of champion Lookin At Lucky.

Grade 1 winner Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway) garnered an outstanding first book of mares, with the benefit of support from Brereton C. Jones’s broodmare band at his Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky. Airdrie’s offerings by the young stallion at Keeneland September include a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can; a colt out of stakes winner and stakes producer Exclusive Rosette, the second dam of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah; a half-sister to Canadian champions Biofuel and Tu Endie Wei; and a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Include Me Out and Check the Label. 

The popular Shackleford (Forestry) captured the 2011 Preakness Stakes and the Grade 1 Clark Handicap the following year, yet was also brilliant enough to go one turn, winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at a mile as well as the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs over sprint champion Amazombie. His offerings at Keeneland September are led by a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Majestic Harbor and Danza, consigned by Brandywine Farm.

Shackleford anchors a trio of Grade 1-winning first-year yearling sires for Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, along with Dialed In (Mineshaft) and Jersey Town (Speightstown).

Gainesway in Lexington stands a pair of Grade 1 winners in To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tapizar, a son of the farm’s reigning leading sire Tapit. Among the other young stallions trying to capitalize on Tapit’s popularity is juvenile champion Hansen, a son of Tapit who stood his only U.S. season at Ashford Stud in Versailles before being exported to Korea.

Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse (Posse) and versatile Grade 1 winner Brilliant Speed (Dynaformer) both began their stud careers in 2013 at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway. Other notable first-crop stallions in Kentucky include Grade 1 winners Stay Thirsty (Bernardini) at Ashford, Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic) at Crestwood, and Gemologist (Tiznow) at WinStar.