Updated on 09/17/2011 11:59PM

Less talent, but better sire


LAS VEGAS - My series on the 2006 freshman stallions will continue next week. This week, I'll take a look at this year's leading sire, Saint Ballado, in relation to his full siblings Devil's Bag and Glorious Song. Below are some examples of full siblings and how they fared in their breeding careers:

Saint Ballado, Devil's Bag, and Glorious Song (Halo-Ballade, by Herbager): Saint Ballado died in 2002 at age 13 after a highly successful career at stud. As a racehorse, Saint Ballado won the Arlington Classic and Sheridan Stakes but was not nearly as talented as his older full brother Devil's Bag, a champion at 2, or his full sister Glorious Song, a Horse of the Year in Canada and outstanding broodmare (dam of Singspiel, Rahy, and Rakeen). But at stud it was a different matter.

Devil's Bag was expected to be a major stallion, but it turned out that Saint Ballado far exceeded him at stud. Devil's Bag was a good sire, but considering the Who's Who of broodmares that were sent to him, expectations fell short.

Saint Ballado did not receive the same quality of mares early in his stud career but still sired quality individuals. He is the sire of a dozen stakes winners this year, led by Saint Liam, Ashado, Lord of the Game, and Saint Augustus, a member of his final juvenile crop. Saint Ballado's first crop yielded Captain Bodgit, who won the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial and finished a head behind Silver Charm in the Kentucky Derby and third behind Silver Charm and Free House in the Preakness.

Graustark, His Majesty (Ribot-Flower Bowl, by Alibhai): Throughout racing history, there have been many Thoroughbreds who might have been "one of the ones" had their careers not been cut short by injury.

While there are countless examples, those that come immediately to mind are Gen. Duke (by Bull Lea), Sir Gaylord (Turn-to), Raise a Native (Native Dancer), Hoist the Flag (Tom Rolfe), and Graustark (Ribot). Gen. Duke was a member of one of the most important foal crops in history, one that included Bold Ruler, Round Table, and Gallant Man. But Calumet Farm's Gen. Duke, who was withdrawn on the eve of the 1957 Kentucky Derby because of a bad foot, may have been the best of that illustrious group. On the morning before the 1962 Kentucky Derby, pre-race favorite Sir Gaylord (a half-brother to Secretariat) fractured his right fore fetlock in a half-mile work and never raced again. Raise a Native was unbeaten and untested in just four starts as a 2-year-old in 1963 but was retired because of an injury in early summer. As the sire of Mr. Prospector, Alydar, and Majestic Prince, Raise a Native became one of the most important stallions of the last century. Hoist the Flag had a similar fate. A brilliant champion at 2, he broke down in a workout before the Gotham Stakes but was saved for a highly successful career at stud.

Then there are the full brothers Graustark and His Majesty. While Graustark never achieved the kind of success as his contemporary Buckpasser, many observers considered Graustark to be the better animal. Graustark was undefeated in seven starts leading up to the 1966 Blue Grass Stakes and was the heavy favorite to win the Derby in Buckpasser's absence (due to a quarter crack). Over a deep and muddy surface in the Blue Grass, Graustark went lame but nevertheless just missed running down Abe's Hope by a nose, the only blemish in his eight-race career.

His Majesty, five years younger than Graustark, won the 1971 Everglades Stakes and was stakes placed in numerous races, but was not in the same league as Graustark as a racehorse. As good as Graustark was at stud, however, he was overshadowed by His Majesty, whose daughters made him one of the most successful broodmare sires in history.

Bold Lad, Successor (Bold Ruler-Misty Morn, by Princequillo): While Bold Lad and Successor were champions at 2, these full brothers could not have been any different, both in looks and running style. Their dam, Misty Morn, was a champion at 3 and was a necessary source of stamina for Bold Ruler, a speed influence. Before there was Secretariat, the most famous Bold Ruler-Princequillo cross, there was Bold Lad. In fact, Bold Lad and Secretariat looked so similar they could have been twins. Bold Lad was a strikingly handsome chestnut with four white stockings who was a standout at 2, setting stakes records in the 1964 Hopeful and Futurity stakes. He was so dominant, he was assigned 130 pounds on the Experimental Free Highweight, one of only a handful of 2-year-olds receiving more than the customary 126. Bold Lad had an abbreviated campaign when he was injured at 3, but returned to his former brilliance at 4, winning the Metropolitan Handicap under 132 pounds.

Bold Lad inherited tactical speed from Bold Ruler, but Successor, two years his junior, was only like Bold Ruler in appearance. A dark, plain, rangy bay, Successor was more Princequillo (stamina) than Bold Ruler. While narrowly best at 2 (over Dr. Fager, In Reality, Bold Hour, and Damascus), he never developed like others from his foal crop. He managed to win at routes such as the 1 5/8-mile Lawrence Realization Stakes. Successor had only two stakes winners from 62 foals, dying in 1971 at age 7.

Bold Lad had minor success at stud in this country but was very successful in Europe. He produced French 2-year-old filly champion Bold Fascinator, Irish 2-year-old filly champion Marble Arch, and English and Irish 2-year-old filly champion Gentle Thoughts. His best offspring was Sirlad, a champion at 2 and 3 and Horse of the Year in Italy. Sirlad equaled the nine-furlong Hollywood Park track record on grass (1:47) and established a Hollywood turf course record for 1 1/2 miles (2:24) in the Sunset Handicap. His most memorable race, however, came in the 1979 Hollywood Gold Cup, where he finished second to Affirmed. Bold Lad also produced On to Glory, a half-brother to Ruffian; Mudville, dam of Naevus; and Bold Example, whose descendants include Zilzal, Polish Precedent, Culture Vulture, and Awe Inspiring.