02/13/2015 3:22PM

Leading Kentucky sires: Into Mischief

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Barbara D. Livingston
Into Mischief stands at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Leading Kentucky general sire by average earnings

Into Mischief is a young stallion with many years remaining in the breeding shed, but he is already putting himself in elite company.

The 10-year-old Harlan’s Holiday horse, who stands at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., led all Kentucky stallions by average progeny earnings last year. Into Mischief’s runners won an average of $69,497, easily outpacing breed-shaping sire A.P. Indy – pensioned in 2011 – whose progeny averaged $56,371. Rounding out the top five by average earnings were Ghostzapper, leading sire Tapit, and Pioneerof the Nile, all of whom were represented by Eclipse Award winners in 2014.

From his first three crops of racing age, Into Mischief was represented by 52 winners from 76 starters through Jan. 29, a 68 percent strike rate. With 10 stakes winners and five additional stakes-placed runners, he has 29 percent stakes horses from winners. His average progeny earnings stand at a healthy $121,330 per starter.

Into Mischief’s rise has been fueled by a number of top-level runners who have turned in consistent, productive campaigns season after season. Goldencents, Vyjack, and Sittin At the Bar, all standouts from the stallion’s first crop that debuted in 2012, were all stakes winners last season.

“That’s been the thing we’re so excited about,” Spendthrift stallion sales manager Mark Toothaker said. “[Into Mischief’s runners] seem to just keep sound and just keep at it. He tends to throw horses with great minds and a lot of durability. You watch horses like Goldencents come along from August of his 2-year-old year, and he campaigned pretty much without a lot of time off all the way through.”

Goldencents capped his career with a second consecutive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, pushing his career earnings past $3 million. The horse’s first Grade 1 victory came in the 2013 Santa Anita Derby, stamping him among the standouts of his crop; however, he finished unplaced in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Cut back to shorter distances, he finished first or second in nine of his 10 remaining starts, all at a mile or less. In addition to his second Dirt Mile win, Goldencents’s 2014 highlights included a track-record-setting performance in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar and a runner-up effort to classic winner Palace Malice in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

Into Mischief’s other millionaire is Vicar’s in Trouble, who fashioned a productive campaign against a solid group of 3-year-olds last year. The colt won the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Grade 2 Super Derby, and Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, and he placed in four other graded stakes. His season ended when he was eased after pushing Goldencents early in the Dirt Mile, later being diagnosed with a lateral condylar fracture to his left front fetlock.

The third multiple stakes winner for Into Mischief in 2014 was Sittin At the Bar, who captured three of her four starts. The Louisiana-bred mare is a multiple stakes winner in each of her three seasons of racing, now owning nine triumphs at that level.

Vyjack, a multiple graded stakes winner in 2013, captured the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap last year and is hovering just under the million-dollar mark in earnings entering his 5-year-old season. Other standouts for Into Mischief last year included Grade 3 winner Can the Man and stakes winners Miss Mischief, Best Behavior, Holiday Mischief, and Lotsa Mischief.

Into Mischief, a $180,000 purchase by Spendthrift as a juvenile, won 3 of 6 starts, including the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity, during his racing career and never finished worse than second. The half-brother to Spendthrift’s multiple Eclipse Award winner Beholder was among North America’s most popular sires last year, covering 203 mares. As his star continues to rise, the stallion is likely to be similarly busy in 2015.

However, Into Mischief is also getting some company on the Spendthrift roster in Goldencents, who arrived shortly after his second Dirt Mile victory. Into Mischief is priced at $35,000 for 2015, with Goldencents entering stud at $15,000.

“It certainly gives us a couple of different price points,” Toothaker said. “That was right along with our thinking when we got [Goldencents].”