05/02/2016 4:04PM

Sires of the 2016 Kentucky Derby: More Than Ready

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
More Than Ready

A fair number of stallions shuttle between the Northern and Southern hemispheres during their respective breeding seasons, but few if any have done it to the degree of success achieved by More Than Ready.

The 19-year-old son of Southern Halo was the only stallion on the planet to rank in the top 25 by progeny earnings in both North America and Australia in each of the past five racing seasons, including the one currently in progress.

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With North America and Australia being so disparate in geography, philosophy, and setup, More Than Ready found success in both by nailing the fundamentals.

More Than Ready stands the Northern Hemisphere breeding season at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., for an advertised fee of $50,000. In the Southern Hemisphere, he stands at Vinery Stud in Scone, Australia, for about $50,876 ($66,000 Australian).

“Anytime you have a stallion that doesn’t have to have a niche, that can do so many things, it gives him more opportunities to have horses come up and be successful,” WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliot Walden said. “He’s right in the middle of the target as far as size and balance, so he complements both sides of that spectrum. He just has a nice balance to him.”

Domestically, More Than Ready has had a major presence in the Breeders’ Cup, taking the 2011 Turf Sprint with Regally Ready, the Juvenile Turf with Pluck, and the Juvenile Fillies Turf with More Than Real.

Though best known for his success siring turf runners, More Than Ready has had major dirt winners, led by Grade 1 winners Verrazano and Daredevil, Puerto Rican champion Forbidden Prince, Venezuelan champion An Serafini, Grade 3 winners Custom for Carlos and More Than a Reason, and Iowa Derby winner More Than Regal.

More Than Ready has shuttled to Australia every year since entering stud in 2001 and has established himself as one of the continent’s elite sires. He sired the winner of the Golden Slipper, Australia’s premier race for 2-year-olds, in two consecutive years, with Sebring winning in 2008 and Phelan Ready in 2009, both en route to Australian champion juvenile male honors.

Other Southern Hemisphere champions by More Than Ready include Australian female sprinter Samaready and South African 2-year-old filly Entisaar. He also had Australian Group 1 winners Dreamaway and Benicio.

With all of his global accolades, the Triple Crown remains a large box left to be checked on More Than Ready’s track record at stud. Louisiana Derby runner-up Tom’s Ready will be the second Kentucky Derby starter for his sire, following Verrazano, who finished 14th in 2013.

More Than Ready’s racing résumé shows as much versatility as his offspring, with Grade 1 wins or seconds at distances from seven furlongs (a win in the King’s Bishop Stakes) to 1 1/8 miles (second by a head in the Blue Grass Stakes).

His 2-year-old campaign was highlighted by wins in the Grade 2 Sanford, the Grade 3 Tremont, and the listed WHAS-11 Stakes and Flash Stakes. His effort in the Tremont set at track record of 1:02.56 for 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park.

He followed at 3 with wins in the King’s Bishop and the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes, along with runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Blue Grass and Vosburgh, and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Dwyer Stakes.

More Than Ready competed in the 2000 Kentucky Derby, where he and jockey John Velazquez held the rail in a stalking position and drew even with eventual winner Fusaichi Pegasus at the top of the stretch before fading to fourth.

“The fact that he was a good 2-year-old with balance and speed has played into both sides of the globe,” Walden said. “I think down below, Danehill’s [daughters have] obviously worked very well with him, and here he’s just so consistent as far as being able to get runners on the dirt, long, short, it doesn’t really matter.”

More Than Ready never competed on turf, but the reasons for his propensity for siring turf runners are easy to find in his pedigree.

His sire, Southern Halo, was one of Australia’s greatest sires, tied for fifth all time by Australian Group 1 winners with 46.

Woodman’s Girl, More Than Ready’s dam and a winning daughter of Woodman, is a half-sister to Bail Out Becky, a Grade 1 winner on the turf who is the granddam of Stephanie’s Kitten, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf and the 2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf.