01/23/2015 12:02PM

Leading California sires: Bluegrass Cat

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Rockridge Stud
Bluegrass Cat, new to Ballena Vista Farm this year, is California's leading juvenile sire.

Bluegrass Cat, already well traveled in his relatively young stallion career, will stand his first season in California in 2015 – but comes with a ready-made advertisement for local breeders.

Led by the exploits in 2014 of Story to Tell, a standout California-based juvenile, Bluegrass Cat’s 2-year-old progeny statistics place him atop all juvenile sires standing in California for 2015. The 12-year-old Storm Cat horse, set to continue his career at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona, Calif., bankrolled $1,008,039 from juvenile runners last season, easily outdistancing Papa Clem with $497,712. Bluegrass Cat’s group of 63 2-year-old starters included 21 winners, with three stakes winners.

Story to Tell bankrolled $131,100 last year, winning the W.L. Proctor Memorial Stakes, finishing second in the Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes, and third in the Speakeasy Stakes. The colt did not miss the board in four outings on dirt in 2014, his only unplaced efforts coming in a pair of graded stakes on a synthetic surface.

Story to Tell, who is out of the multiple stakes-winning Silver Deputy mare Haddie Be Good, was a $200,000 purchase by trainer Dan Hendricks for owner Cecil Peacock out of the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Bluegrass Cat’s juveniles last year included Blue Dancer, who won 4 of 5 starts – including three stakes in Canada – for earnings of $103,089. The group also included stakes winner Moon River, and stakes-placed Sandra, Honkeytonk Man, and Bluegrass Singer.

Bluegrass Cat flashed talent as a juvenile during his own racing career, winning the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes and Grade 3 Nashua Stakes. He was among the elite 3-year-olds the following season, finishing second in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes before winning the Haskell Invitational and finishing second in the Travers Stakes. An injury sustained in the latter forced his retirement, and he concluded his career with a bankroll of $1,761,280.

Bluegrass Cat, who is from the immediate family of sires such as Not For Love, Super Saver, and Private Account, began his stud career at his birthplace, WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., in 2007. He moved to Vinery’s New York base at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag, N.Y., in a joint venture with WinStar in 2012, relocated to Rockridge Stud in Hudson, N.Y., with the rest of that roster for 2014, and is now headed to Ballena Vista in California.

Whatever his location, Bluegrass Cat has consistently been a productive sire of juveniles on all surfaces, led by representatives such as Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes winner Kathmanblu and Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot winner Sabercat. He was the second-leading freshman sire of 2010, and finished among the top 10 juveniles sires the following season. He led New York resident sires in juvenile earnings in 2012 and 2014, and finished second in 2013. He also led New York resident general sires for 2013 and 2014.

From his first five crops of racing age – excluding current juveniles – Bluegrass Cat is the sire of 277 winners, including 23 stakes winners, from 411 starters, for earnings of $21,805,595 through Jan. 18.

Papa Clem, a 9-year-old son of Smart Strike standing at Legacy Ranch in Clements, Calif., was represented by 10 winners from 24 starters in 2014, led by Mischief Clem. The colt finished on the board in 4 of 5 starts for earnings of $128,880, including a third in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes.

Niassa earned $89,720 in 2014 while not missing the board in four starts, including a third in the Soviet Problem Stakes; Peradventure and Cardiac were also stakes-placed.

Papa Clem won 3 of 13 career starts, including Grade 2 triumphs in the Arkansas Derby and San Fernando Stakes, for earnings of $1,121,190. The juveniles of 2014 were his second crop to race; he finished fifth in California’s freshman sire standings for 2013.

Third in the juvenile sire standings is Cindago, who stood at Legacy but died at age 9 in 2012. The Indian Charlie horse had just eight 2-year-old starters and two winners, but one of those was Wake Up Nick, who won 5 of 7 starts in 2014. The colt defeated Story to Tell by three-quarters of a length in the Santa Anita Juvenile. He also won the I’m Smokin Stakes, Barretts Juvenile, and Graduation Stakes, and was second in the Golden State Juvenile.