02/17/2011 4:47PM

Leading synthetic sire of 2010: Bold Executive

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Bold Executive, North America’s leading sire of runners on synthetic surfaces last year, is still going strong at age 27.

A powerful, 15.3-hand son of Bold Ruckus, he has been Canada’s leading sire twice, in 2003 and 2004, and was an Ontario breeding stalwart well before there were synthetic surfaces and slot machines at Woodbine. The slots, in particular, have helped boost Bold Executive’s stock recently as racehorse breeders and owners look for lucrative places to run their horses in the struggling economy.

“He just bred his first Indian Charlie mare this week,” said Dr. Michael Colterjohn, owner of Paradox Farm, which stands the syndicated stallion at the former Gardiner Farms in Ontario. “You don’t see too many of those dropping by, not in Ontario. He bred a Dixie Union mare, a sister to a Grade 1 horse, the other day, too. He’s hanging around with chicks he never even thought he’d get to meet before.”

Bold Executive never won a graded race but was a three-time Canadian stakes winner (and seven times stakes-placed) who earned more than $365,000 between 1986 and 1988. But his pedigree had some classy highlights. He is a full brother to Highland Ruckus, a six-time stakes winner who earned $484,308, and a half-brother to multiple stakes-placed Barbeau.

Bold Executive entered stud in 1989 during the last major bloodstock industry contraction, and mares and racehorse buyers were scarce. His first crop, bred on a $3,500 stud fee, included Detroit stakes winner Allanite and Canadian stakes-placed Gentle and Bold. But the relatively low purses and poor breeding economy did little to help Bold Executive’s first few years at stud.

What did help, though, were the breeders who had shares in the stallion, Colterjohn said. Their support kept putting a consistent stream of Bold Executive runners on the track. Over the years, as Ontario’s breeding program grew, Bold Executive has paid his shareholders back handsomely in increased stud fee values and, more recently, Ontario-bred awards. In January, he topped the Ontario Sires Awards rankings with North American progeny earnings of more than $3.7 million and picked up a stallion award of $50,000. He was represented by 67 winners from 121 runners last year, including Grade 3 winner Sand Cove; dual stakes winner Jacally; and stakes-placed Legal Move, Sans Sousi, and Arepeatee, among others.

“He’s a Bold Ruckus that can get you a horse that goes six furlongs, but the other side of the coin is that he can get you a horse that will keep going and make a mile and a sixteenth, like Sand Cove,” Colterjohn said. “And they’ll run on anything. You could put golf shoes on them and run them on the ice.

“The best of Bold Ruckus came through him,” he said. “One of the greatest things about Bold Ruckus was that he was a good, solid-framed horse that threw you a baby the same way. You could breed him to a mare that was kind of refined that had had trouble with progeny showing what they could do because they were on the fragile side and get something a little special. It’s the same story with Bold Executive, and what’s happening now is he’s getting these better mares that have some real ability, genetically. He gives them some leg and substance.”

In 2011, Bold Executive stands for $15,000. His libido is fine, Colterjohn said, but the syndicate likes to keep the stallion’s book relatively small now.

“We don’t want him to breed much more than 35 mares,” he said, adding that about 60 percent of those will be shareholder mares.

Colterjohn, a veterinarian, said he believes generally conservative books and the fact Bold Executive never shuttled are factors in the horse’s longevity.

“Every year, we start him up hoping he can still breed mares,” Colterjohn said. “The fact is, his libido and semen quality are just fine. As long as they do, we’ll give him a chance. He’s a real blue-collar guy, and everyone who ever came across him made money with him. You can’t say that about too many horses in this world.”