03/12/2016 7:23PM

Leading New York sires: Giant Surprise


Giant Surprise was a scintillating winner in his racing debut at Saratoga on July 30, 2011, romping by 4 1/2 lengths and running six furlongs in 1:10.23. He never made it back to the winner’s circle. Pulled up while galloping out and vanned off the track, he was diagnosed with a non-displaced condylar fracture to his left foreleg and was subsequently retired.

Exactly four years later at Saratoga, Giant Surprise was represented by his first starter, Sudden Surprise, who promptly became his first winner, rolling by 2 3/4 lengths for owner Mike Repole, trainer Todd Pletcher, and jockey John Velazquez – the connections of Giant Surprise. Sudden Surprise kicked off an outstanding season on the track for his sire, who had some of his unfulfilled potential displayed by his progeny.

Giant Surprise, a 7-year-old Giant’s Causeway horse standing at Rockridge Stud in Hudson, N.Y., was represented by five winners from 12 starters in 2015 for earnings of $819,662. That was enough for him to far and away reign over New York’s small group of freshman sires. His closest pursuer was Dublin, standing for Spendthrift at Keane Stud in Amenia, N.Y., with five winners from 23 starters for $279,651.

More impressively, Giant Surprise’s bankroll was enough for him to lead New York’s juvenile sire list, despite having far fewer foals on the ground than the established stallions who were his closest rivals. New York newcomer Bellamy Road, standing at Dutchess Views, was represented by 12 winners from 39 starters and earnings of $793,041. Perennial Empire State leading sire Freud had 11 winners from 37 starters and progeny earnings of $747,561.

Giant Surprise’s leading earner is Sudden Surprise, who following his debut win immediately graduated to statebred stakes company, capturing the Funny Cide at Saratoga and the Bertram F. Bongard at Aqueduct. Later in the season, he won the New York Stallion Series Stakes and the Notebook, both at Aqueduct.

Giant Surprise also is represented by Super Surprise, winner of the Maid of the Mist Stakes and second in the Seeking the Ante Stakes, and the stakes-placed winners Taken by Surprise and Surprise Cameo. Repole has continued to strongly support his stallion, campaigning Sudden Surprise and Taken by Surprise as homebreds, purchasing Super Surprise as a yearling, and purchasing Surprise Cameo as a 2-year-old.

Repole purchased Giant Surprise for $130,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. The stallion is one of several sons of Giant’s Causeway on the New York juvenile sire list, with Frost Giant, standing at Keane Stud, seventh, and the late Noble Causeway, who stood at Sequel Stallions, 16th. Freud is a full brother to Giant’s Causeway.