01/14/2016 12:23PM

Top sires for first-time starters in 2015

Courtesy of Darley America
Bernadini led all sires with 17 first-time starter wins in 2015

To my mind, the Debut Reports are among the most interesting features of DRF Plus. These reports provide details by calendar year on how trainers, sires, and dam sires have fared with first-time starters. With 2016 just two weeks old, let’s look back at the results from 2015 and see which sires stood out with first-out winners.

Bernardini (A.P. Indy - Cara Rafaela, by Quiet American; stands at Darley in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 93-17-10-5 (18 percent win rate, $1.20 return on investment)
The first stallion on this list had more debut winners in North America than any other stallion in 2015; his $1.20 ROI also represents the lowest return of any of the sires listed here. That’s because only two of those 17 winners paid more than $10 to win, and only one other paid more than $8. Unsurprisingly, the list of trainers who won with Bernardini firsters in 2015 looks like a who’s who in racing, led by Kiaran McLaughlin with five wins and followed by Todd Pletcher with three. Notably, all but one of those 17 winners came on dirt.

Bustin Stones (City Zip – Shesasurething, by Prospectors Gamble; stands at Waldorf Farms in New York)
2015 Debut Stats: 31-6-4-4 ( 19 percent win rate, $3.94 ROI)
His 19 percent win rate in debuts outperformed the 13 percent rate he had with all starters in 2015. The healthy ROI was buoyed largely by a $79 winner in December at Aqueduct.

E Dubai (Mr. Prospector - Words of War, by Lord At War (ARG); stands at Elite Thoroughbreds in Louisiana)
2015 Debut Stats: 24-7-1-3 (29 percent win rate, $4.63 ROI)
That 29 percent win rate was nearly double the rate E Dubai had with all starters in 2015, and the $4.63 ROI was helped by two $20-plus winners, including one that paid $58 to win.

Exchange Rate (Danzig - Sterling Pound, by Seeking the Gold; deceased, Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 44-9-3-10 (20 percent win rate, $4.17 ROI)
Sadly, Exchange Rate was euthanized just days ago, and his offspring did well in their debuts in 2015, outperforming his 15 percent win rate with all runners and posting a strong ROI that was boosted by three winners that paid more than $30.

In Summation (Put It Back - Fiesta Baby, by Dayjur; stands at Ocala Stud Farm in Florida)
2015 Debut Stats: 45-11-5-1 (24 percent win rate, $5.25 ROI)
The ROI shot through the roof with one single winner – Formal Summation paid $152.60 to win in July at Gulfstream Park – but even without that one, In Summation debuters were often solid bets. The 24 percent win rate was as good as any sire that had more than 40 first-time starters in 2015.

Kittens Joy (El Prado (IRE) - Kitten's First, by Lear Fan; stands at Ramsey Farm in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 72-15-6-4 (21 percent win rate, $2.32 ROI)
The 21 percent win rate for Kittens Joy was well above his 13 percent rate for all runners. Better yet, if you were betting on Kittens Joy’s offspring first out, you probably did well as they returned a 16 percent flat-bet profit, led by $52.20 debut winner and future stakes winner Divisidero.

Lemon Drop Kid (Kingmambo - Charming Lassie, by Seattle Slew; stands at Lane’s End in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 61-11-3-10 (18 percent win rate, $3.14 ROI)
The offspring of Lemon Drop Kid showed not just precocity in 2015, but versatility as well. His first-time starters won their debuts sprinting and routing, on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces.

Midshipman (Unbridled's Song - Fleet Lady, by Avenue of Flags; stands at Darley in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 54-11-6-11 (20 percent win rate, $3.49 ROI)
Although he did have a longshot debut winner at 1 1/16 miles – Jacques Cartier, who paid $77.20 in March at Tampa Bay Downs – and he also had win in a sprint at Arlington Park on Polytrack, it’s worth noting that nine of Midshipman’s debut winners in 2015 came sprinting on dirt.

Speightstown (Gone West - Silken Cat, by Storm Cat; stands at Taylor Made/WinStar in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 66-14-8-8 (21 percent win rate, $2.99 ROI)
Speightstown debuters posted nearly a 50 percent flat bet profit in 2015, nearly twice the $1.52 ROI that all Speightstown runners returned. Perhaps unsurprisingly, every Speightstown first-time starter to hit the board in 2015 was sprinting, and most of his winners came on dirt, although two of those 14 wins came on turf.

Square Eddie (Smart Strike - Forty Gran, by El Gran Senor; stands at Ocean Breeze Ranch in California)
2015 Debut Stats: 27-6-2-1 (22 percent win rate, $5.89 ROI)
Square Eddie may have had fewer first-time starters than any other sire on this list, but his $5.89 ROI is eye-ctaching. All six of those debut winners won sprinting on dirt and all were trained by either Doug O’Neill or Eddie Freeman (three winners each). Bettors take note: all three of Freeman’s winners paid more than $30.

Tizdejavu (Tiznow - Remember When, by Dixie Brass; stands at Crestwood Farm in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 25-5-2-2 (20 percent win rate, $6.39 ROI)
The son of Tiznow was a profitable bet with all runners in 2015 (33 for 203 for a $2.55 ROI), but his first-time starters were especially live, regardless of distance, surface, or post-time odds. They won sprinting on dirt, they won routing on turf, and four of those five winners paid double digits.

Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie - Playa Maya, by Arch; stands at Ashford Stud in Kentucky)
2015 Debut Stats: 69-16-8-10 (23 percent win rate, $2.10 ROI)
It’s not surprising that the top freshman sire of 2015 also was proficient with first-time starters. He is another sire who had debut winners on all three surfaces as well as winners sprinting and routing, although his live runners were often bet heavily. Five of those 16 winners were odds-on favorites, and none of the other 11 paid more than $20 to win. Still, those runners won regularly enough that a win bet on all of them returned a modest 5 percent profit.

Unusual Heat (Nureyev - Rossard (DEN), by Glacial (DEN); stands at Harris Farms in California)
2015 Debut Stats: 30-6-3-1 (20 percent, $3.22 ROI)
A perennial top sire in California, it may not be too surprising that Unusual Heat first-time starters performed well in 2015. Considering how successful those progeny have been on the grass, it might be a bit surprising that three of those six winners came sprinting on dirt.

U S Ranger (Danzig - My Annette, by Red Ransom; stands at Rancho San Miguel in California)
2015 Debut Stats: 67-9-3-7 (13 percent, $7.25 ROI)
The 13 percent win rate may not catch your eye, but that $7.25 ROI should; U S Ranger had the highest ROI of any sire to have more than 20 horses debut in 2015. Despite one of those winners only returning $2.60, his ROI was helped by having two winners that returned more than $140 and another that paid $98.40.