02/14/2013 4:52PM

Spring At Last: Leading sire by freshman earnings, synthetic average earnings, freshman stakes winners, freshman stakes wins

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If there’s one thing predictable about the Thoroughbred industry, it’s that it’s unpredictable. Spring At Last is a prime example. The now 10-year-old did not race at 2 and was never tried on synthetic surfaces, yet here he is, the number one Kentucky-based freshman sire of 2012 by progeny earnings and the leading sire overall by average earnings per starter on synthetic surfaces. Go figure.

While Spring At Last has made a rather unexpectedly loud noise with his first crop of precocious runners, his own racing class was never an issue. Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, he had been withdrawn from Keeneland’s 2004 September yearling sale and then from Fasig-Tipton’s 2005 Midlantic May juvenile sale before being hammered down for $675,000 to J. Paul Reddam as a promising 3-year-old at Keeneland November in 2006.

Spring At Last, who thereafter ran for the partnership of Reddam and WinStar, under the tutelage of Doug O’Neill, ultimately won five of 13 starts and $1,139,150 over three light campaigns through the age of 5. The half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sharp Lisa shipped abroad in 2007 to take the $1 million, Group 2 Godolphin Mile in Dubai, and the following year became a Grade 1 winner in his own right in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. Unbeaten at a mile (three for three) — including a 1:33.59 sizzler at Aqueduct — he ended his career a bicoastal winner from six to nine furlongs on dirt and turf. Classy, yes . . . versatile, no doubt. But Spring At Last retired leaving one question unanswered: Could he have handled a synthetic surface?

In 2009 he entered stud at WinStar, in Versailles, Ky., for a $15,000 fee, which would be cut in half for 2010, 2011, and 2012. As a Grade 1-winning son of top-notch progenitor Silver Deputy, his credentials were solid — his sire had already been represented by sons Posse and Archers Bay, leading freshman sires in North America and Canada.

Spring At Last’s debut crop hit the track running in 2012. Thirty-three of his 72 registered foals started at least once and 13 found their way into a winner’s circle. Remarkably, four became stakes winners to lead Midwestern sires, and three of those won in major graded or group company. His five stakes wins also led Midwestern sires. Two of his best won over Polytrack at Keeneland and Woodbine: Spring in the Air, nicknamed “Little Zenyatta” for her pre-race prancing antics, took the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes while Spring Venture captured the $205,362, Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes.

The young stallion is earning an early reputation as a sire of fillies; nine of his 13 winners were fillies, as were all four of his stakes winners. In addition to the synthetic stakes winners Seaneen Girl won the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes on Churchill Downs’ dirt track, while A Lover’s Question won her stakes on the grass at Colonial Downs. Nearly 83 percent of Spring At Last’s 2012 progeny earnings were banked by that talented female quartet — $979,767 of $1,181,230 — and 90 percent of the overall total was gleaned by fillies.

Although Henrythenavigator edged Spring At Last by $50,153 in year-end progeny earnings, Henrythenavigator’s removal to Ireland for 2013 has dropped him from the Kentucky sire standings. Even if he had remained in the bluegrass, Spring At Last would have outranked him by both number of stakes winners and graded stakes winners (two) and tied him along with Midnight Lute for most stakes horses (six). It is also worth noting that Spring At Last was the only freshman sire represented last season by graded or group winners on all three major racing surfaces.

Due to his spectacular launch as a sire of classy runners, Spring At Last’s fee has been returned to its original level of $15,000 for 2013. While his offspring have not, for the most part, been habanero-hot in the auction ring — 35 of his first-crop yearlings averaged slightly less than his initial advertised fee — that could soon change. His runners have not only performed well over any surface, but the best of them have also shown a willingness to go beyond sprint distances, which should serve them well as purses get bigger as the races get longer.

Next in line are 56 Spring At Last 2-year-olds of 2013, colts and fillies who will have pretty big shoes to fill in keeping up with their older paternal siblings.


Leading Kentucky freshman sires by 2012 progeny earnings

RANK NAME (BORN, SIRE, FARM) 2013 STUD FEE RNRS WNRS 2012 EARNINGS
1 Spring At Last (2003, Silver Deputy) WinStar Farm $15,000 32 13 $1,181,230
2 Into Mischief (2005, Harlan's Holiday) Spendthrift Farm $10,000 21 8 $1,171,578
3 Majestic Warrior (2005, A.P. Indy) Ashford Stud $12,500 69 30 $1,065,051
4 Street Boss (2004, Street Cry IRE) Darley $10,000 54 20 $866,019
5 Midnight Lute (2003, Real Quiet) Hill 'n' Dale Farms $15,000 41 11 $695,571
6 Tiz Wonderful (2004, Tiznow) Spendthrift Farm $12,500 40 13 $639,818
7 Curlin (2004, Smart Strike) Lane's End $25,000 47 15 $606,364
8 Run Away and Hide (2006, City Zip) Darby Dan Farm $5,000 27 9 $597,246
9 Big Brown (2005, Boundary) Three Chimneys Farm $35,000 33 16 $588,363
10 Sightseeing (2004, Pulpit) Richland Hills $7,500 27 10 $585,592


Leading Kentucky sires by 2012 average synthetic earnings per starter

RANK NAME (BORN, SIRE, FARM) 2013 STUD FEE RNRS WNRS 2012 AVG. EARNINGS
1 Spring At Last (2003, Silver Deputy) WinStar Farm $15,000 13 4 $41,518
2 Even the Score (1998, Unbridled's Song) Millennium Farms Kentucky  $12,500 35 15 $38,334
3 Bowman's Band (1998, Dixieland Band) Died 2008 20 7 $33,218
4 First Samurai (2003, Giant's Causeway) Claiborne Farm $10,000 31 14 $32,187
5 Awesome Again (1994, Deputy Minister) Adena Springs $75,000 48 14 $27,222
6 English Channel (2002, Smart Strike) Lane's End $25,000 42 11 $26,590
7 Speightstown (1998, Gone West) WinStar Farm  $60,000 59 21 $26,357
8 Giant's Causeway (1997, Storm Cat) Ashford Stud $85,000 61 18 $26,005
9 Sky Mesa (2000, Pulpit) Three Chimneys Farm $25,000 42 13 $24,836
10 Medaglia d'Oro (1999, El Prado IRE) Darley $100,000 55 16 $21,546

*Minimum 10 starts
 

Leading Kentucky freshman sires by 2012 number of stakes winners

RANK NAME (BORN, SIRE, FARM) 2013 STUD FEE RNRS WNRS SW
1 Spring At Last (2003, Silver Deputy) WinStar Farm $15,000 32 13 4
2 Into Mischief (2005, Harlan's Holiday) Spendthrift Farm $10,000 21 8 3
3 Ready's Image (2005, More Than Ready) Walmac Farm $5,000 21 7 2
4 Big Brown (2005, Boundary) Three Chimneys Farm $35,000 33 16 1
4 First Defence (2004, Unbridled's Song) Juddmonte Farms $7,500 28 8 1
4 Horse Greeley (2004, Mr. Greeley) Claiborne Farm $2,500 21 4 1
4 Lewis Michael (2003, Rahy) Three Chimneys Farm $5,000 13 7 1
4 Magna Graduate (2002, Honor Grades) Darby Dan Farm $5,000 22 9 1
4 Midnight Lute (2003, Real Quiet) Hill 'n' Dale Farms $15,000 41 11 1
4 Notional (2004, In Excess IRE) Spendthrift Farm $7,500 16 6 1
4 Run Away and Hide (2006, City Zip) Darby Dan Farm $5,000 27 9 1
4 Sightseeing (2004, Pulpit) Richland Hills $7,500 27 10 1
4 Street Boss (2004, Street Cry IRE) Darley $10,000 54 20 1
4 Street Hero (2006, Street Cry IRE) Vinery Kentucky $5,000 20 8 1
4 Student Council (2002, Kingmambo) Millennium Farms $7,500 26 8 1
4 Tiz Wonderful (2004, Tiznow) Spendthrift Farm $12,500 40 13 1
4 War Pass (2005, Cherokee Run) Died 2010 20 9 1


Leading Kentucky freshman sires by 2012 number of stakes wins

RANK NAME (BORN, SIRE, FARM) 2013 STUD FEE RNRS WNRS SWINS
1 Spring At Last (2003, Silver Deputy) WinStar Farm $15,000 32 13 5
2 Into Mischief (2005, Harlan's Holiday) Spendthrift Farm $10,000 21 8 4
3 Ready's Image (2005, More Than Ready) Walmac Farm $5,000 21 7 2
3 Sightseeing (2004, Pulpit) Richland Hills $7,500 27 10 2
5 Big Brown (2005, Boundary) Three Chimneys Farm $35,000 33 16 1
5 First Defence (2004, Unbridled's Song) Juddmonte Farms $7,500 28 8 1
5 Horse Greeley (2004, Mr. Greeley) Claiborne Farm $2,500 21 4 1
5 Lewis Michael (2003, Rahy) Three Chimneys Farm $5,000 13 7 1
5 Magna Graduate (2002, Honor Grades) Darby Dan Farm $5,000 22 9 1
5 Midnight Lute (2003, Real Quiet) Hill 'n' Dale Farms $15,000 41 11 1
5 Notional (2004, In Excess IRE) Spendthrift Farm $7,500 16 6 1
5 Run Away and Hide (2006, City Zip) Darby Dan Farm $5,000 27 9 1
5 Street Boss (2004, Street Cry IRE) Darley $10,000 54 20 1
5 Street Hero (2006, Street Cry IRE) Vinery Kentucky $5,000 20 8 1
5 Student Council (2002, Kingmambo) Millennium Farms $7,500 26 8 1
5 Tiz Wonderful (2004, Tiznow) Spendthrift Farm $12,500 40 13 1
5 War Pass (2005, Cherokee Run) Died 2010 20 9 1

 

 

Nathan More than 1 year ago
let me understand this. 13 of 72 foals won at 2 and this is good? unbelievable. biggest sucker game ever devised. what happens in 5 years when the shale makes the u.s.a. a net EXPORTER of oil? the arabs are in trouble and kiss the u.s breeders goodbye.