03/14/2013 10:31AM

Oklahoma: Toccet, leading general sire


Toccet arrived in Oklahoma for the 2012 breeding season carrying a portfolio with a coast-to-coast reach, having sired stakes winners from Tampa to Vancouver during his first seven seasons at stud. Standing at Dr. Warren Center’s Mighty Acres in Pryor, Okla., Toccet finished last year as the state’s leading general sire with $2,069,883 in earnings, more than $200,000 ahead of Latent Heat.

The 13-year-old son of Awesome Again also led Oklahoma-based stallions with four stakes winners and six stakes wins among his progeny in 2012. His leading performers for the year included Canadian Derby winner Toccetive, Pacific Northwest mainstay Winning Machine, and Arizona-based stakes winner Az Ridge, along with a bushel of winners mainly from the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest circuits.

[MORE: See a list of Oklahoma's leading sires from 2012]

Toccet was recruited to Mighty Acres in order to serve as a stalwart presence for the farm, which stands four young stallions—Air Commander, Save Big Money, Ra Ra Superstar, and The Visualiser—and welcomes back former Oklahoma top sire Kipling for 2013. Toccet fit that role perfectly in 2012 and quickly became one of the most popular stallions in the state. He was bred to 52 mares last year according to The Jockey Club, second only to Mr. Nightlinger’s 57 in Oklahoma, and Mighty Acres manager Randy Blair expects a similarly sized book in 2013.

“We’ve had several babies by him already this spring, and they’re all looking really nice,” Blair said. “Most of our clientele are people that are breeding to race, and, you know, he’s a proven sire, he’ll get you a racehorse.

“Oklahoma still has a lot of Quarter Horse background, and [the breeders] want an early-maturing horse that can get a winner at 2 or at least early on in their 3-year-old career,” he added. “That’s what Toccet was himself, and that’s what he seems to be producing.”

Toccet indeed was one of the best 2-year-olds of his crop, and memories of his racing career recall both his explosive talent and his owner’s confidence in running him early and often. Out of the stakes-placed Cozzene mare Cozzene’s Angel, Toccet was bred by owner Dan Borislow, who made a fortune in the telecommunications business during the late 1990s and now owns the Internet long-distance phone device magicJack. Toccet remains Borislow’s most successful runner, breaking his maiden by 10 lengths in his second career start in August 2002 and then winning an allowance by 8 1/2 lengths.

Then came a 1 1/2-length score in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, which led to a start in the 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Arlington Park, but Toccet disappointed in a ninth-place finish. Borislow then drew attention by taking out an ad in Daily Racing Form to challenge Padua Stables, the connections of Juvenile winner Vindication, to a rematch. Although that never took place, Toccet won three more graded stakes over the next eight weeks, culminating in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity.

That brief span turned out to be Toccet’s career peak as a racehorse, although Borislow kept him busy with 15 starts at ages 3 and 4 despite nagging injuries. He won only one more race, retiring in October 2004 with seven wins from 23 starts and $931,387 in earnings. Dr. Tony Ryan’s Castleton Lyons in Lexington, Ky., promptly bought Toccet for $3.35 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale for stud duty, and over the next half-decade he developed a solid reputation for siring versatile runners without ever coming up with a breakthrough Grade 1 horse, his arguable best being Grade 2 winner Ventana and Winning Machine.

Toccet departed Castleon Lyons for Gayle Gerth’s Dana Point Farm in Lenhartsville, Penn., in 2010 and stood two seasons there before Dr. Center bought him in the summer of 2011. Toccet’s brilliance on the racetrack as a 2-year-old, the popularity of Awesome Again as a sire of top-class racehorses, and the stallion’s own solid record made him appealing, and Blair sees Mighty Acres’s acquisition as a cog in the farm’s continued growth for 2013 and beyond.

“We wanted to bring in an established horse when we bought Toccet, because so many people here breed to race, and they like an older, more proven horse,” Blair said. “That’s why we brought Toccet to Oklahoma, and we’re very pleased with the response we’ve had.”