12/17/2007 1:00AM

Posse led the '07 pack in first-crop earnings

EmailA look at this year's top freshmen sires (according to money earned by their progeny thus far):

Posse This year's leading freshman sire, he jumped out to an early lead (as a result of his precocious babies) that was never relinquished. By Silver Deputy (a speed influence), Posse had 22 winners from 40 starters, led by Kodiak Kowboy and Lantana Mob, with an impressive seven stakes winners. His offspring may not be classics material, but they are solid sprinter/milers.

Van Nistelrooy Storm Cat's gorgeous $6.4 million sales yearling was a Group 2 winner in England and second in the Group 1 National Stakes in Ireland. He showed versatility, siring stakes winners on dirt and turf, including Set Play, Strike the Deal, and Elusive Lady. Expect his runners to only get better at 3, where most will bloom on turf. He leads all first-crop sires with 27 winners.

Proud Citizen With many impressive juveniles here and in Europe, he is the next big son of Gone West at stud (joining Mr. Greeley, Elusive Quality, and Grand Slam). Led by Proud Spell, who won the Matron Stakes and was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, he sired 18 winners, including the well-regarded English Group 3 winner River Proud. A speed influence, he should have runners who really explode at 3 when they get to try grass.

Harlan's Holiday One of the really bright young stars of this group, he has runners who include stakes winners Tasha's Miracle, Bear Holiday, and P.S.U. Grad, and stakes-placed Riley Tucker, Nite in Rome, Harlan's Song, Storm Holiday, Into Mischief, Lady on Holiday, and the well-regarded J Z Warrior.

Macho Uno The champion 2-year-old colt in 2000 and a half-brother to the top stallion Awesome Again, Macho Uno has 15 winners from 31 starters, including stakes winners Wicked Style and Swifty Victress. A son of Holy Bull, Macho Uno is another versatile sire whose runners will be adept on all surfaces.

Whywhywhy As he is a son of Mr. Greeley (Gone West), it is no surprise that his best runner was Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow. His offspring should continue to be most effective on turf.

Empire Maker Expected to sire late-maturing individuals, he had 2-year-olds who blossomed in the fall and were among the year's most impressive juveniles. Country Star, who won two Grade 1 events, the Alcibiades and Hollywood Starlet stakes, and Mushka, winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes, are just the tip of the iceberg, and Empire Maker is widely expected to be a star at stud. Generally, his offspring are bred to be best at 3 and older, where they will showcase their stamina.

Vindication A champion at 2, he had a first crop that also showed his early brilliance. A son of Seattle Slew, he sired 19 winners, including the Adirondack Stakes winner, More Happy; Maimonides, who was third in the Hopeful Stakes; and Dawn Raid, Galiano, Star Defender, and Sargent Seattle.

Hold That Tiger Another son of Storm Cat, Hold That Tiger was a champion at 2 in Europe, but he also showed good form on dirt, finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and running second to Mineshaft in the 2003 Woodward Stakes. His best runners were Old Man Buck, who won two turf stakes - the Cradle and Grand Canyon - and who also finished third in the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity over Polytrack.

D'wildcat A sprinter with uncommon speed, D'Wildcat is by Forest Wildcat, and his female family produced Deputy Minister. D'Wildcat's babies showed win-early speed as well, including stakes winners Authenicat and The Golden Noodle.

Repent Winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club and Kentucky Cup Juvenile stakes, Repent was a 42-1 overlay in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, finishing second to that year's champion, Johannesburg. At 3, he won the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star Stakes but was injured and missed the Kentucky Derby. He returned to run second to Medaglia d'Oro in the Travers, but despite his credentials he has always been underrated, both as a racehorse and as a stallion. But his first crop performed quite well, and his 16 winners include two well-regarded colts: Continental Stakes winner Atoned and Check It Twice, who recently captured the What a Pleasure Stakes.

Kafwain Winner of the Norfolk and Best Pal stakes and second to Vindication in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Kafwain is by a champion sprinter, Cherokee Run, who was a leading freshman sire in 1999. Kafwain's 12 winners include the Hollywood Prevue Stakes winner, Massive Drama, and stakes winners Yonegwa, Kadira, and Hartfelt.

Yankee Gentleman Like so many sons of Storm Cat, Yankee Gentleman had blazing speed, and his first crop also showed this speed, including stakes-winning Golden Yank and stakes-placed Dazzling Derek.

Hook and Ladder New York's leading freshman sire, he had juveniles who showed high speed, especially his stakes winners Spanky Fischbein and Big Truck. He also sired I Promise, who was second against open company in the Schuylerville Stakes.

Mineshaft His runners were slow to mature but began showing life in the fall. They include a multiple stakes winner, La Mina; Minewander, third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie; and Coal Play, who was second in the What a Pleasure. Two other well-regarded runners, Miner's Claim and Cool Coal Man, should be even better at 3.

Other freshmen sires who did well are Sunday Break, Volponi, Cactus Ridge, Sky Mesa, Flatter, Milwaukee Brew, Trust N Luck, Aldebaran, and Decarchy (Empire Maker's half-brother), who has 7 winners from just 15 California-bred starters.