Updated on 09/15/2011 1:35PM

Turf (plus dirt) genes on rise


Florida breeding accentuates the 2-year-old market. Consequently, sires who are basically turf stallions have, until recently, found better support elsewhere. This is changing because more and more stallion managers are willing to stand sires who made their mark on the turf, but have some main-track genes in their pedigree as well.

Sean Kelly of Wycombehouse Stud sees the stallion with both dirt and turf elements as a wave of the future, which is why he has no qualms about standing Worldly Manner, by Riverman, and others like him.

Robert Slack of Stoneriggs Farm is of a like mind. He stands stallions such as Greenwood Lake (Meadowlake), who made his mark running on the dirt and graded stakes-winner Sir Cat (Storm Cat), who made his reputation on the turf after winning his maiden on the dirt. Mike Sherman's Farnsworth Farms has teamed with Gallagher Stud to stand Adcat (Storm Cat), a graded stakes winner, whose career was similar to Sir Cat's.

There are no big guns on turf currently racing anywhere that are by resident Florida sires. The top five stallions by turf earnings for 2001 are: Sword Dance, by Nijinsky II; Robyn Dancer, by Crafty Prospector; Jeblar, by Alydar; Absent Russian, by Nijinsky II; and Lucky North, by Northern Dancer.

Sword Dance, with $11 million in progeny earnings, is the sire of multimillionaire Marlin and millionaire Blazing Sword. Marlin was a grass specialist while Blazing Sword was better on the main track.

This year, Sword Dance has three turf stakes winners and total progeny earnings of approximately $800,000. Sword Dance will be 18 in 2002. He stands at Gil Campbell's Stonehedge Farm, South - with private terms.

Farnsworth Farms stallions Robyn Dancer and Jeblar, second and third, respectively, on the roster of Florida's turf stallions, are both versatile stallions whose get are basically sprinter-milers. Robyn Dancer is currently Florida's leading sire of winners in 2002 and Jeblar is close behind him. The fact is, however, the majority of their get rarely race on turf.

Robyn Dancer stands for $5,000 and Jeblar for $2,500, both live foal guaranteed.

Triple E. Farm's Absent Russian is, as one might expect from Nijinsky II's influence, a turf sire. There's considerable turf prowess in his family as well. Most Florida breeders are wary of taking the get of a predominant turf sire to the 2 year-old sales, so Absent Russian has pretty much had to make it with his owner's broodmares. This, his fourth crop to the races, is by far his most successful. His fee is $1,500 life foal.

Rounding out the current top five turf sires in Florida is the 20-year-old Lucky North. A son of Northern Dancer, Lucky North is one of two Northern Dancer stallions standing in the Sunshine State. He and 21 year-old Eskimo are both at Franks Farms, South. Both stallions share comparable data and both stand for $2,500 live foal.

o With the former Mockingbird Farm sires Valid Expectations and Open Forum having relocated to Texas, the competition for Florida's leading freshman sire is wide open. Lost Soldier (Danzig) at Franks Farms, South is the current leader in money won with well over $400,000 earned.