02/17/2011 4:33PM

Leading turf sire of 2010: Dynaformer

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Dynaformer always demands respect, and 2010 was no exception. The exploits of his progeny led him to his fifth leading turf sire title in the last decade, with his previous championships coming in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2009. Dynaformer’s offspring are so classy and reliable in grass routes that it is often unwise to throw them out in the betting, and they often reward their backers by hitting the board, often on top.

His leading turf earner for 2010 was the talented filly Harmonious, who won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October and the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood. She was also second in the Del Mar Oaks to Evening Jewel. Harmonious started 2011 with a close second at Santa Anita in the Grade 2 Robert J. Frankel Stakes.

Dynaformer’s other big turf performers last year included one of the top English juvenile fillies, White Moonstone, whose victories included the Group 1 Meon Stud Fillies Mile at Ascot. An even more high-profile runner was Americain, who won stakes in France, including the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay at Deauville, and ventured to Australia to win the coveted Melbourne Cup. He was also represented by graded or group winners Temple City, Bearpath, Dynaslew, Rainbow View, Le Grand Cru, Haka, and It’s Tea Time.

“He’s a big, strong, workmanlike individual, and his offspring seem to share their father’s size, soundness, and desire to win,” said Jen Roytz, marketing director at Three Chimneys Farm, where Dynaformer stands.

At 26, Dynaformer is bucking the trend of stallions in the twilight of their career showing a noticeable decline in the caliber of their runners, Roytz said, pointing out that Dynaformer led North American sires in graded stakes winners and Grade 1 winners last year.

Dynaformer was part of Epsom Derby winner Roberto’s 1985 foal crop. The crop included three big, plain colts, all descending from one of Darby Dan Farm’s foundation female lines, going back to the Hasty Road mare Golden Trail. The first to make a name for himself was Brian’s Time, a dirt specialist who won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Pegasus Handicap at 3. His Darby Dan stablemate Sunshine Forever won five graded stakes in 1988, including three Grade 1’s against older horses, and ended the 1988 season as the champion turf male. The third horse in this triumvirate was Dynaformer, a Grade 2 winner on dirt and turf, his biggest win being the Jersey Derby on grass.

Roberto died Aug. 2, 1988, and Sunshine Forever was chosen to be his successor at Darby Dan but disappointed. Brian’s Time was sold to interests in Japan, where he became one of that country’s leading sires year after year.

Dynaformer was not in great demand initially and went to stud on the low end of the Kentucky market at $5,000. His first crop included Blumin Affair, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the next year was second in the Arkansas Derby and third in the Kentucky Derby. At 4, he won the Grade 3 San Diego Handicap, but by then, Dynaformer had been resyndicated and moved to Three Chimneys Farm for the 1995 season.

The rest is history. Dynaformer’s stud fee climbed steadily, and he now stands for the highest advertised stud fee in North America, $150,000. While Blumin Affair was a dirt horse, Dynaformer started to gain a reputation as a turf specialist, with Grade 1-winning fillies such as Critical Eye, Starrer, Riskaverse, Film Maker, and Sand Springs.

“While many of his most notable runners have shown a propensity for the turf, Big D isn’t a one-trick pony,” Roytz said.

The stalwart gelding Perfect Drift reminded us that Dynaformer could still get a good dirt runner, and then Barbaro came along, shifting from turf to dirt and dominating his crop right up through the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

Dynaformer’s more recent runners include Lucarno, an English St. Leger winner; Weiner Walzer, a German champion; Rainbow View, a European champion 2-year-old filly; and Americain. He can sire a big horse to win the big races on the grass. This is what Dynaformer has become most famous for, and it is why breeders have made him one of the hottest commodities in international breeding.