07/16/2013 6:00PM

Leading New Mexico sire Desert God pensioned


Desert God, the sire of regional legend Peppers Pride and New Mexico’s leading general sire of the past three years, has been pensioned from stallion duty due to age and declining fertility.

A 22-year-old son of Fappiano, Desert God last stood at Fred and Linda Alexander’s A & A Ranch in Anthony, N.M., for a private fee. He was retired to owner Joseph Allen’s farm in Abeline, Texas.

“We attempted to [breed mares] early on, and we realized right off the bat it just wasn’t going to work, so we decided we should let him live the rest of his life,” Fred Alexander said. “He doesn’t have to work anymore. He’s on a big ranch out there enjoying life.”

Desert God had been struggling recently, only getting two mares in foal in 2012 after his season was derailed by illness.

Bred in Virginia by Morven Stud, Ltd., Desert God is out of Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom, who produced nine winners from 11 foals to race. Desert God went unraced, failing to match the on-track résumés of his siblings, Grade/Group 2 winners Smolensk and Better Than Honour and Group 3 winner Turnberry Isle.

Where Desert God stacked up favorably with the talents of his kin was in the breeding shed, as a half-brother to 2007 Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour and six other stakes producers.

Desert God was the most notable stallion from the produce of Blush With Pride, with 18 crops of racing age to date. He has been New Mexico’s leading sire every year since 2010.

While he had a long stallion career, Desert God is represented by only 264 foals, largely due the slow start he had to his vocation, as he spent his first eight years at stud at the University of Arizona’s breeding program. He was purchased by Allen in 2001 and sent to A & A Ranch.

As the first stallion under the A & A banner, Alexander said Desert God was one of the foundations of the farm. Building his reputation was a slow process, but when the runners started to come, so did the breeders.

“He meant everything to us,” Alexander said. “He started us out.”

Desert God garnered national attention with the success of his most famous runner, Peppers Pride, who went undefeated in a record 19 career starts racing on the New Mexico circuit. Fourteen of those wins came in stakes competition, earning her $1,066,085 over four seasons of racing.

Other leading runners by Desert God include multiple stakes winners Our Choice, Fullofenergy, Rose’s Desert, Train Rider Blues, Iplaytricks, Attitude E Racer, On Down The Road, and Desert Hennessy. Ten percent of his racing-age foals have been stakes winners.

Desert God is represented by 22 winners thus far in 2013, led Rose’s Desert, winner of the La Coneja Stakes at Sunland Park, and Attitude E Racer, who won the New Mexico State University Stakes, also at Sunland.

“He’s just a special horse to be around,” Alexander said of Desert God. “The way he improves his mares is unbelievable. He was bred well enough, he could have stood in Kentucky. We’re just very, very fortunate to have someone as well-bred as him in this part of the country. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”