02/15/2013 4:45PM

Ministers Wild Cat takes early lead on California’s sire list

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Courtesy Tommy Town ThoroughbredsMinisters Wild Cat

Early season stakes results have left Ministers Wild Cat as the top-ranked stallion in California, and one very much in demand at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in Santa Ynez, Calif., this breeding season.

Through Thursday, Ministers Wild Cat led the state’s stallions with $494,298 in 2013 progeny earnings, leading a top five that includes Bertrando, Unusual Heat, Tribal Rule and Benchmark. Unusual Heat and Tribal Rule were the top two stallions of 2012.

While the season may be quite young, the success has given Ministers Wild Cat a higher profile with mare owners, Tommy Town farm manager Mike Allen said on Thursday.

“We have 42 mares booked and we hope to be around 60 or 65,” Allen said. “I’m hopeful. It’s been consistent in the last few weeks, booking one or two mares a day.”

The stallion’s position at the top of the standings can be attributed to 3-year-old Tiz a Minister’s score in the $300,500 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. Tiz a Minister earned $165,000 for the win, and is Ministers Wild Cat’s leading earner so far this year, with $171,000.

Ministers Wild Cat’s profile could grow in stature if Tiz a Minister runs well in his next scheduled start, the $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, a Grade 2 over 1 1/16 miles on March 9. The San Felipe is a pivotal prep race for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

A winner of two of nine starts and $246,780 overall, Tiz a Minister races for Stephen Young and is trained by Paul Aguirre.

Bred by Dahlberg Farms, the colt was claimed for $40,000 from a maiden race at Del Mar last summer after finishing second in his second career start. For his first two starts, Tiz a Minister raced for Simon Hudy, who bought the colt for $6,500 at the 2011 Barretts October yearling sale.

Ministers Wild Cat, a 13-year-old by Deputy Minister, won six of 20 starts and two stakes races for earnings of $368,729 while racing from 2002 to 2005. He is out of the Kris S. mare Hollywood Wildcat, voted champion 3-year-old filly in 1993. Hollywood Wildcat, who died last summer, was also the dam of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner and Three Chimneys Farm stallion War Chant, by Danzig, and Group 2 winner and Grade/Group 1-placed Ivan Denisovich, by Danehill.

Last year, Ministers Wild Cat was bred to 28 mares. His current group of top racehorses includes Going for a Spin, a 5-year-old mare who won the Cat’s Cradle Handicap at Betfair Hollywood in November; and Doinghardtimeagain, a 3-year-old filly who won the Soviet Problem Stakes at Hollywood in December.

Going for a Spin was entered for Saturday’s $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita, while Doinghardtimeagain was entered for the $75,000 Sweet Life Stakes on the same day. They have contributed to interest in Ministers Wild Cat as well.

“We’ve gotten a lot more calls and people are coming out to see him more than in the last three years,” Allen said. “The big races certainly help. I don’t think there is anything better than that.”

Ministers Wild Cat has other promising horses on the horizon.

Allen said that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has two unraced 3-year-olds by Ministers Wild Cat in training at Golden Gate Fields that will start later this winter or in early spring—the filly Trust in Tebow and the colt Tebows Big Play.

Allen said he has seen support for the other stallions at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, which is owned by Tom and Debra Stull. Over the course of the breeding season, which begins in earnest this weekend, Allen is hopeful that Ministers Wild Cat and the other stallions—Kafwain and Old Topper—will gain further support.

“Old Topper has more [mares] this year than last year,” Allen said. “Kafwain has 50 mares. All three have gotten quite a lot of interest. Tom always supports his stallions and we’re getting outside mares.”