03/07/2014 12:12PM

Leading Florida sires: With Distinction

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Barbara D. Livingston
With Distinction is Florida's leading returning sire for 2014.

With Distinction continued his ascent in the Florida general sire rankings in 2013, moving up from third in 2012 to first in earnings among sires who are standing in the state this year. The 13-year-old son of Storm Cat, who stands at Randy Hartley and Dean De Renzo’s Ocala, Fla., operation, finished last year with $4,589,241 in progeny earnings, more than $280,000 ahead of Journeyman Stud veteran Wildcat Heir.

Champion Leroidesanimaux stood at HallMarc Stallions in Florida and amassed more than $7.4 million in progeny earnings during 2013, with $6 million coming from Animal Kingdom’s win in the Dubai World Cup. The stallion relocated to Lanwades Stud in England after the breeding season.

With Distinction also led Florida sires in 2013 juvenile earnings with $984,784. Overall, he sired five stakes winners last year. His biggest earner, Merit Man, won the Spectacular Bid Stakes as a 3-year-old and later finished third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby behind Orb and Itsmyluckyday. The colt, bred by Hartley/De Renzo and Stephen Barberino, was sold for $75,000 at the 2012 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of select juveniles. Later that year, Merit Man won a listed stakes and finished a nose behind Hightail in the now-discontinued Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.

The Hartley/De Renzo stallion also was represented in 2013 by such quality runners as Distinctiv Passion, who won the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita and then finished third to champion Points Offthebench and Goldencents in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, and Off the Jak, who won the Sunshine Millions Sprint. Off the Jak, a 6-year-old gelding who earned more than $280,000 in his career, suffered a catastrophic injury in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Calder last summer and was euthanized.

With Distinction’s best juvenile of 2013 was My Brown Eyed Guy, who won two restricted stakes for Florida-breds at Calder.

These racehorses come from decent female families that lack graded-stakes star power, which is typical for the contemporary Florida market but also positive testimony to their sire’s ability. With Distinction’s most accomplished performers also have been sprinters, emulating his own proclivity on the racetrack.

Bred in Kentucky by Bill Farish, With Distinction raced for Robert and Beverly Lewis and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, transferring to the family trust after Robert Lewis died in 2006. With Distinction was very active in three seasons, making 29 starts and winning six of them, with nine runner-up efforts and two thirds, for $447,717 in earnings. His lone stakes win came in the Grade 3, 5 1/2-furlong El Conejo Handicap as a 5-year-old in 2006, and he placed in six stakes during his career. With few exceptions, such as a second in the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 2 San Antonio Handicap, his best performances came in sprints.

With Distinction has stood his entire career at Hartley/De Renzo and should continue to perform well in the Florida market. His status as a son of the recently departed Storm Cat enhances his value, and he has a good immediate female family with stamina influences to boot. His unraced dam, Extravagant Woman, by Alydar, also produced Grade 2, 1 3/8-mile Brooklyn Handicap winner Living Vicariously as well as Resort, who placed in the 1 1/2-mile, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Resort is the dam of Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes winner Sightseeing and Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes runner-up Sea Island.