03/13/2013 2:14PM

Louisiana: Songandaprayer, leading general and juvenile sire

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Songandaprayer relocated from Kentucky’s Walmac Farm to Louisiana’s Copper Crowne this year and arrived as the state’s leading general sire with 2012 progeny earnings of $6,180,000, and as their leading juvenile sire with earnings of $1,197,868. He also led North American sires by winners with 179, and he led in Louisiana by stakes winners with 11, and by stakes wins with 17.

Songandaprayer’s main flag-bearers in 2012 were Reveron, the Gulfstream Park Derby winner and runner-up to Take Charge Indy in the Florida Derby; Say a Novena, who won the Miss Woodford Stakes and also placed in two graded stakes; British Columbia Oaks winner Evelyn’s Dancer; My Dear Stakes winner Just Got In, his leading juvenile earner; and seven other stakes winners.

[MORE: See a list of Louisiana’s leading sires from 2012]

“It doesn’t hurt to get this quality of horse as your first stallion,” said Copper Crowne owner Harold Forman. “This year so far, he has five stakes horses.”

One of those was Singanothersong, runner-up to Clearly Now in the March 2 Swale Stakes. In February, Caballo del Cielo ran third in the San Vicente, and in January Celtic Chant won the Cagey Exuberance Stakes at Aqueduct. Florida-bred Song of Humor won the Grasmick Stakes at Fonner Park in February, and also that month Streakin’ Mohican, who set a track record for six furlongs in 1:07.24 at Hollywood Park last spring, took the aptly named Swift Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Songandaprayer, a 15-year-old Unbridled’s Song horse, was bred to be precocious, and so he proved in both his racing and his stud careers. In 2000, he sold for $1 million to former Duke basketball star Bobby Hurley at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida select 2-year-old auction. Songandaprayer went on to win his only two starts at two, including Aqueduct’s Huntington Stakes in his second start. At three, he stamped himself a Kentucky Derby contender with a 2 1/2-length score in the Fountain of Youth.

After a fifth in the Florida Derby, he came back to finish second behind Millennium Wind in the Blue Grass Stakes. His Florida Derby vanquisher, Monarchos, ultimately won the Derby as Songandaprayer finished 13th, and he ended his career that July with a third in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders’ Cup Stakes, bringing his earnings to $380,480.

Songandaprayer retired to stud in Florida, first standing at Marablue Farm. He moved to the Walmac Farm South division at Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds for the 2005 breeding season, just as his first juveniles were heading to the races. By mid-July that first crop had yielded four debut winners, led by graded winner What a Song, and Walmac Farm summoned Songandaprayer to Kentucky for the 2006 season.

His first crop went on to include: Grade 2 winner Songster; Grade 3 winner and track record-setter He’s Got Grit; Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Praying for Cash; multiple stakes winner and major earner Stolen Prayer; and several other stakes performers.

“He was a great spring 3-year-old, and he was by a stallion that looked like he was going to be a sire of sires though he wasn’t yet at the time,” said Walmac’s managing director, Johnny T. L. Jones III. “He was out of a Premiership mare, and if you look back, Premiership led the 2-year-old sires’ list in winners way back when.

“Songandaprayer is a strapper of a horse,” Jones added. “I’m an apples-to-apples kind of guy, and I think he needs to be bred to a pretty good-sized mare. He’s 16.3 [hands], and even though he’s a big horse that stands over a lot of ground, he’s a heavily muscled horse, too, so I wouldn’t be afraid to breed a big mare to him. If you’re going to try to get away from just having a precocious 2-year-old, you’re going to have to breed a little more stamina into him, probably.

“If you look back at the really good horses he’s had, most of them have been out of mares that were a little more stout as far as stamina in their pedigree,” he continued. “His typical thing is to get a horse smaller than he is that is very powerful and built to run early, with powerful hindquarters.”

Songandaprayer stood at Walmac in Lexington through the 2012 breeding season, when Forman spearheaded the effort to buy him. Twenty-two of the original syndicate members remain in the new syndicate, Forman said, and Songandaprayer will be the Copper Crowne operation’s first stallion. Songandaprayer stands this year for $6,000 stands and nurses or $5,000 live foal (due November 15). Copper Crowne will stand Songandaprayer at the Louisiana Center for Equine Reproduction in Sunset, La.

To Forman, Songandaprayer represents a chance for Louisiana to get a stallion with a national record at a time when slots-enriched purses are focusing more attention on the state.

“The opportunity to get ‘Song’ was to bring this quality horse that is ranked number one in the nation by winners, has very solid 2-year-olds and progeny, and has five or six horses competing that have done very well in graded races in California, at Gulfstream, and at Aqueduct,” said Forman. “It was an opportunity for us to take Louisiana to the next level.

“We’ve got probably 95 or 98 mares booked right now, and the season just started,” Forman added. Forman said Quarter Horse breeders also have expressed interest in Songandaprayer because of his speed, and, although Copper Crowne has not bred him to a Quarter Horse yet, Forman said that he is leaving that possibility on the table.

Precocity, both in the sire and his progeny, will be popular in Louisiana, Forman predicted. “[His foals are] lightning fast, and at the Barretts sale, one of his broodmares’ foals worked in :9.60 and brought $250,000,” he said, referring to an Exchange Rate--Perfect Paula colt that McCalmont Bloodstock bought at the March 4 Barretts March select 2-year-old auction. “So I think not only does he have potential as a top sire, but he’s potentially a very effective broodmare sire, also.”