02/08/2018 11:56AM

New York stallions: Stud farms team up for a more efficient operation

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“If you can’t beat them, join them” has been a theme in the stallion industry in recent years, with farms and breeding operations joining their business forces to best promote and support stallions.

Joining that trend is Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions LLC, which emerged from a landmark merger for New York breeding programs to hold what will be one of the strongest hands in the state for 2018. The operation, which is supported by another prominent group in Sunrise Stallions, has assembled a seven-horse roster, including three of the top four active general sires in the Empire State.

The stallions will be at Rick Burke’s Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater, less than 15 minutes from Saratoga Race Course. Stallion manager Bill Leak, who also is known in New York for developing Sez Who Thoroughbreds, will continue in his role managing the stallions and the breeding shed. Michael Lischin and Anya Sheckley of Dutchess Views will handle the marketing and management functions of the combined operation, including contracts, service certificates, reports, and billing.

“We are excited about the potential of standing so many top-quality stallions and combining forces with Irish Hill,” Lischin said.

The stallion roster includes two horses who were already standing at Irish Hill Century; three making the trip upstate from Dutchess Views in Pine Plains, about two hours north of Belmont and Aqueduct; one relocating from another farm; and one newcomer.

Bellamy Road and Big Brown, who rank second and third on New York’s general sire list, trailing only perennial leader Freud, key the group relocating from Dutchess Views. Bellamy Road’s first New York crop consists of yearlings, while Big Brown will have juvenile runners this year. Both have sired national-level performers in recent years. Bellamy Road was led in 2017 by Grade 1 winner Diversify, while Big Brown’s top runner is classic-placed Grade 1 winner Dortmund.

Big Brown keys a trio of stallions relocating to Irish Hill & Dutchess Views for Andy Cohen’s Sunrise Stallions, which has thrown its support behind the new venture. The operation also will move prominent juvenile sire Frost Giant from Keane Stud and 2017 freshman Heavy Breathing from Dutchess Views to stand upstate.

“We are enthusiastic about standing our stallions with Irish Hill & Dutchess Views Stallions near Saratoga Springs and believe the new operation will offer breeders a first-rate experience and the best chance at getting an outstanding foal,” Cohen said in a press release.

Frost Giant finished fifth on New York’s general sires list for 2017, behind Freud, Bellamy Road, Big Brown, and Hold Me Back. Hold Me Back, who stood at Irish Hill Century in 2017, shuttled to Chile for the Southern Hemisphere season and will not return to New York for 2018.

The relocated stallions join Grade 2-winning millionaire Zivo and Grade 2 winner Desert Party in their Irish Hill stallion barn. The newcomer on the roster is Market Rally, a Group 3 winner in Dubai who enters stud this year.