01/16/2016 6:10PM

Leading Kentucky sires: Medaglia d’Oro and Scat Daddy

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Scat Daddy
◗ Leading Kentucky general sire by stakes winners
Medaglia d’Oro
◗ Leading active Kentucky general sire by stakes winners
◗ Second-leading Kentucky general sire by earnings

By all indicators, the stallion industry lost something special when the young sire Scat Daddy suddenly died of a suspected cardiac event at age 11 in December. Already a successful young stallion, the son of Johannesburg was completing the best season of his career.

Scat Daddy led all North American sires with 30 individual stakes winners in 2015. Powered by his chief earner, multiple graded stakes winner and one-time classics contender El Kabeir, the stallion rose to ninth on the general sire list – the best placing yet in those ranks for the leading freshman sire of 2011. Off that success, the horse was set to join the elite with an elevated stud fee of $100,000 – a major boost from $35,000 – for 2016 at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.

“Everyone here at Ashford is very upset as he was a smashing horse with a great career ahead of him,” Ashford manager Dermot Ryan said.

Scat Daddy won multiple graded stakes in both seasons he raced, taking the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Sanford as a juvenile and the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth as a 3-year-old. He finished unplaced in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, the final start of his career. He captured 5 of 9 career starts and earned more than $1.3 million.

Scat Daddy has consistently turned out stakes horses since entering stud at Ashford in 2008. His breakout 2015 racing season was helped along by a strong juvenile crop – including Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Nickname, and Acapulco, who defeated elders in Group 2 company at the Royal Ascot meeting. Other 2-year-old standouts for their sire were multiple Grade 2 winner Pretty N Cool, Grade 2 winners Conquest Daddyo and Azar, and Grade 3 winner Harmonize. Scat Daddy finished second on the juvenile sire list for 2015, trailing only Ashford’s breakout freshman sire Uncle Mo.

During his career, Scat Daddy has sired 70 stakes winners to date, led by multiple Grade 1 winner Lady of Shamrock and Group 1 winner No Nay Never, and multiple graded/group winners Daddy Long Legs, Handsome Mike, Daddy Nose Best, Frac Daddy, and Dice Flavor. Scat Daddy also was a popular shuttle sire for Coolmore, finishing as the leading sire in Chile in 2013 and 2014 and represented by champions Il Campione, Dacita, Solaria, and El Bromista in that country. Dacita, now based in the U.S., was a graded stakes winner at Saratoga this year to bolster her sire’s résumé.

Among active Kentucky stallions of 2016, Medaglia d’Oro takes over as the reigning leader by stakes winners, as his 25 edge the 23 for top general sire Tapit.

Medaglia d’Oro, who is based at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., finished second to Tapit on the 2015 general sire list with progeny earnings of $13,014,924. After finishing fourth on the freshman list – again, to Tapit – in 2008, the stallion has been a top-20 sire every year since, finishing in the top 10 in four of seven years.

Medaglia d’Oro has been known for siring top fillies since 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra emerged from his first crop, followed two years later by another Kentucky Oaks winner, Plum Pretty. An exciting filly once again led the way for the stallion in 2015, as Songbird was considered a virtual lock to earn the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. She won all four of her starts, three of those Grade 1 events, by a combined 22 lengths, capped by a 5 3/4-length score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Medaglia d’Oro’s other top runners in 2015 included Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap winner Mshawish, who finished third in the Group 1 Dubai Turf; Australian champion Vancouver; and multiple graded stakes winners Sentiero Italia, Valid, and Lochte.

Medaglia d’Oro, a 17-year-old son of El Prado, earned top-level victories in the Travers Stakes, Whitney Handicap, and Donn Handicap during a career in which he bankrolled $5,754,720. He was runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, Dubai World Cup, and two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Classic.