02/16/2012 4:27PM

Uncle Mo leads new class of Kentucky sires

Barbara D. Livingston
Uncle Mo, the champion 2-year-old male of 2010, has big shoes to fill after the December death of his sire, Indian Charlie. Uncle Mo stands at Ashford Stud for $35,000.

As Bernardini steps in to replace his sire, A.P. Indy, in the $150,000 stud fee bracket, stallion managers know that while a top proven sire can still command a high price tag, even the best of the new stallions aren’t able to crack that upper market like they used to.

Curlin was the last big score, retiring to stand in 2009 at $75,000, and Big Brown and Henrythenavigator were at $65,000 that year. With a depressed economy and a lack of male superstars − the boys have been overshadowed by females such as Zenyatta, Rachel Alexandra, and Havre de Grace − the 2010 new stallions were led by Zensational at $25,000, and the 2011 group was led by Blame, Quality Road, and Lookin At Lucky at $35,000.

For 2012, there are 23 new profiles in the Kentucky stallion lineup. Twenty are horses retiring off the track, and three are stallions who are already in service and have shown enough to be sent to the grand stage of Kentucky.

Uncle Mo leads this new group by fee, retiring to Ashford Stud for $35,000. A sensational champion at 2, Uncle Mo whipped up excitement as he headed into the spring classics in 2011. Unfortunately, his superstar status sagged when he was scratched from the Kentucky Derby and was out for several months recovering from liver disease.

[MIDWEST STALLIONS 2012: More news, statistics, leading sire profiles]

Uncle Mo made a strong return in the King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga – losing by a nose to Caleb’s Posse – and put in a spectacular performance in the Kelso Handicap. It was disappointing to see him run out of the money in the Breeders’ Cup Classic when he perhaps should have run in the Dirt Mile, but Uncle Mo will still go down as a great 2-year-old who matured into a gifted miler at 3.

As he retired, Kentucky was rocked by the death of his sire, Indian Charlie, from cancer at age 16. Indian Charlie had become one of the best stallions in the world and was to stand for $75,000 in 2012. Hopefully, Uncle Mo can fill those big shoes. Indian Charlie was a great outcross, and his son, out of a mare by Arch, has a similar background, free of Mr. Prospector, Seattle Slew, and Storm Cat.

Australian-bred Lonhro joins the Darley America stallions at $30,000, a bargain, considering his fee in Australia is almost $80,000. He sired 20 stakes winners in his first two crops and was Australia’s leading sire for 2010-2011. His best runner, Denman, is a Grade 1-winning sprinter, and speed and precociousness appear to be his progeny’s strengths. Darley believes Lonhro can get quality dirt runners here, and with 35 starts to his credit, he is being promoted for his soundness as well. Lonhro is expected to shuttle back to Australia when the Southern Hemisphere’s breeding season begins.

Lonhro’s sire, Octagonal, was a great runner by Zabeel, by Sir Tristram, by Sir Ivor, to get back to a more familiar name. His dam is by American-bred Straight Strike, by Mr. Prospector out of a Never Bend mare. In Australia, he is crossing with Canny Lad and Vain as well as Night Shift, Danehill, and Sadler’s Wells. Lonhro also looks like a great cross with El Prado.

Tizway, coming in just below Lonhro at $25,000, is one of Spendthrift Farm’s four new stallions for 2012. By Tiznow, Tizway is a more elegant, compact horse than his sire. Tizway placed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 4 and won the Kelso Handicap at 5. At 6, he won the Metropolitan and Whitney handicaps in remarkable form before an injury short-circuited his career.

He is out of a mare by the Danzig sprinter Dayjur from the classy Willamae family. He looks like a horse who would do well with Roberto, Seattle Slew, and Fappiano bloodlines.

It would be hard to find a more versatile horse in this group than Gio Ponti ($20,000 at Castleton Lyons). A stakes winner from 2 to 6, he won on turf and synthetics, from seven to 11 furlongs. Although probably at his best as a turf miler, he ran second to Zenyatta in her Breeders’ Cup Classic, earning champion older male honors in 2009 in addition to his first of two turf titles.

A son of the quick and precocious Tale of the Cat, Gio Ponti is a taller, scopier horse than his sire, thanks in part to his dam’s sire, Alydar. American speed-bred mares ought to bring out the dirt speed that is all through his pedigree, but he should also have appeal to breeders interested in exploiting his first-class form on grass.

Cape Blanco proved to be Gio Ponti’s nemesis this year, earning the champion turf male title, and he enters stud at Ashford at $17,500. A group winner at 2 in Ireland, Cape Blanco won the Irish Derby at 3 and peaked last year at 4, when he won the Arlington Million, Man o’ War Stakes, and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. He is a consummate turf performer, winning from seven to 12 furlongs, and has valuable stamina to balance his classy juvenile form.

Cape Blanco is the first son of Galileo to enter stud in America. Galileo, an English Derby winner by Sadler’s Wells out of the Arc winner Urban Sea, was famous long before his little brother Sea the Stars dominated in 2009, and he is set to take over Sadler’s Wells’s crown as the best sire in Europe. Cape Blanco’s dam is by Presidium, a son of General Assembly (by Secretariat) who was also a half-brother to Kris and Diesis, who were sons of Sharpen Up − all provide clues as to what he might work with here. Galileo has a nick with Danehill, and Danzig is an obvious cross.

Drosselmeyer enters stud at WinStar at $17,500, earning a spot in the stallion barn with his sire, Distorted Humor, after a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall. That victory reversed plans − he originally was to be sent to stud in New York, the home of his other big win, the 2010 Belmont Stakes.

Drosselmeyer is the flagbearer for Distorted Humor as 2011 leading sire. Although a sprinter, Distorted Humor always gets more than his fair share of top-class routers, such as Drosselmeyer and Funny Cide. Drosselmeyer’s dam won the Santa Anita Oaks, and although she was by the sprinter Moscow Ballet, there’s stamina such as Nijinsky II, Slew o’ Gold, and Storm Bird on the bottom. Try A.P. Indy-line mares, or introduce Storm Cat for more precocious speed.

Paddy O’Prado, standing for $15,000, is another one of Spendthrift Farm’s new sires. Probably the best turf colt at 3, Paddy O’Prado won four graded stakes on grass, was second in the Blue Grass Stakes on Poly, and third in the Kentucky Derby on dirt, behind Super Saver and Ice Box. It doesn’t hurt that he is bred on the same El Prado−Roberto cross as 2011 leading juvenile sire Kitten’s Joy.

Sidney’s Candy enters stud at WinStar at $15,000. He was the hot California 3-year-old heading into the 2010 classics, with wins in three straight graded stakes, including the Santa Anita Derby, and came back in the fall to prove himself an exceptional turf runner as well. Bred on Candy Ride’s good cross with Storm Cat, Sidney’s Candy ought to work with just about everything else but more Storm Cat (despite what the nick ratings will tell you).

Twirling Candy retired to Lane’s End alongside his sire, Candy Ride, at $15,000. A brilliant runner, Twirling Candy won the Del Mar Derby on grass, then shifted to the main track to win the Malibu Stakes and Strub Stakes. He was beaten a head by Acclamation in the Pacific Classic last year. He is out of a mare by Chester House, with 5x3 crosses of Mr. Prospector, and is available to his sire’s good cross to Storm Cat. He would be very interesting with daughters of Chester House’s brother Empire Maker.

Spendthrift Farm is standing the sleek and handsome Archarcharch at $10,000. This son of Arch broke his maiden winning the Sugar Bowl Stakes at 2 and won the Arkansas Derby at 3 before a career-ending injury in the Kentucky Derby. Out of a mare by Woodman, he is bred very similarly to Arch’s top son Blame, who is out of a mare by Seeking the Gold (like Woodman, bred on the Mr. Prospector−Buckpasser cross). Look for Seattle Slew, Northern Dancer, Halo, and other things that love Buckpasser.

Courageous Cat joins his full brother After Market at Lane’s End Farm at $10,000. He is more of a miler than his brother, with four graded wins, including the Shoemaker Mile on turf. Courageous Cat is one of the last Storm Cats going to stud in Kentucky. His dam is the grand turf mare Tranquility Lake, by Rahy, so he is bred on a similar cross as Giant’s Causeway. Look for Mr. Prospector, especially Fappiano, which works well with Giant’s Causeway. After Market’s stakes-winning daughter Lady of Fifty is out of a mare by Maria’s Mon, and that might work here, too.

Haynesfield retires to Airdrie Stud for $10,000. He proved more versatile than his sire, sprint champion Speightstown, stretching out to upset eventual champion older male Blame in the 2010 Jockey Club Gold Cup at 10 furlongs. Haynesfield is a bigger horse than his sire, probably from the Deputy Minister cross through his dam’s sire, Tejabo. Try A.P. Indy, Nureyev and Sadler’s Wells mares here.

Shakespeare started his career in Kentucky in 2008 before going to Florida for 2010. Lane’s End returned the turf star to Kentucky, thanks in part to Shkspeare Shaliyah, a Grade 3 winner from his first crop of juveniles, but it didn’t hurt that his half-sister Perfect Shirl won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Shkspeare Shaliyah is out of a mare by Clever Trick, and Perfect Shirl is by Perfect Soul, by Sadler’s Wells, so there are two clues about the kind of mares to breed to him.

Trappe Shot retired to Claiborne Farm for $10,000 his first season. A sprinter-miler, he’s probably better going short. Next to Hansen, he is probably the best son of Tapit so far, which makes him highly desirable, and he is out of the blue hen Shopping by Private Account. Trappe Shot is available for most of his sire’s good crosses, including Storm Cat, and he ought to appreciate returns of Mr. Prospector and Buckpasser.

Millennium Farm retired Giant Oak to stand for $7,500. Five years of racing and 31 starts tell us he was sound, and he has two Grade 1 wins at nine furlongs on dirt. Although he is out of a mare by Crafty Prospector, this son of Giant’s Causeway is a big, strong-looking horse with tremendous bone. He should do well with returns of Blushing Groom and Mr. Prospector.

Ice Box is the first new stallion in about a decade to stand at iconic Calumet Farm. His fee is $7,500. Winner of the Florida Derby and second in the Kentucky Derby, he is very appealing as a sire of classic potential. He has the pedigree to back it up, too, being by Pulpit out of a Grade 2 winner by Tabasco Cat, second dam by Alysheba from the family of Spend a Buck. Bred similarly to Sky Mesa (also Pulpit/Storm Cat), his pedigree suggests Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer line mares will work well.

Misremembered retires to Hill ’n’ Dale Farm for $7,500. He won the Swaps and Indiana Derby at 3, the Santa Anita Handicap at 4 and the Santana Mile at 5, winning out to 10 furlongs, on dirt and Poly. He is a big, lengthy horse by Candy Ride out of a graded stakes-winning mare by Quack, and is a wonderful outcross to most of the bloodlines out there.

Regal Ransom enters stud at Darley for $7,500. A son of Distorted Humor out of a Red Ransom mare, he won the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby, then brought his form home and won the Super Derby. He looks like a great cross for mares with Northern Dancer and Seattle Slew strains.

In Wilburn, Spendthrift introduces the first son of Bernardini to stud at $6,500. Out of a good Carson City mare, he beat Shackleford in the Indiana Derby. He should also like his sire’s taste for Northern Dancer, especially Deputy Minister.

American Lion, who retires to Darby Dan for a $5,000 fee, won the Hollywood Prevue at 2 and the Illinois Derby at 3. He is bred on that good Tiznow/Storm Cat cross and looks like he might do well with Mr. Prospector and In Reality blood.

Buck Pond is bringing in Fort Prado to take advantage of the success of sons of El Prado such as Medaglia d’Oro, Kitten’s Joy, and Artie Schiller. A very tough Grade 3 winner on grass, he retired at age 8 with 59 starts. Fort Prado entered stud in Illinois two years ago, and this year he stands for $5,000.

Shadwell retires Donn Handicap and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus, standing free to approved mares. He is a talented runner by Albert the Great out of a Forty Niner mare. If Shadwell thinks he deserves a chance, he’s probably worth a shot.

Don Gato is a son of Storm Cat out of a Mr. Prospector mare and is a half-brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly. An $800,000 Keeneland April 2-year-old in training in 2008, he placed at 3 and enters stud at Royal Pegasus, with special consideration to approved mares.

New Kentucky stallions

Albertus Maximus 2004 Albert the Great - Chasethewildwind by Forty Niner Shadwell Farm 1m 1m 1/8 65 103
American Lion 2007 Tiznow - Storm Tide by Storm Cat Darby Dan Farm $5,000 7f 1m 1/8 90 98
Archarcharch 2008 Arch - Woodman's Dancer by Woodman Spendthrift Farm 10,000 6f 1m 1/8 88 98
Cape Blanco (IRE) 2007 Galileo (IRE) - Laurel Delight by Presidium Ashford Stud 17,500 1m 1m 1/2 n/a 105
Courageous Cat 2006 Storm Cat - Tranquility Lake by Rahy Lane's End 10,000 7f 1m 1/8 65 108
Don Gato 2006 Storm Cat - Here I Go by Mr. Prospector Royal Pegasus Private n/a   n/a 77
Drosselmeyer 2007 Distorted Humor - Golden Ballet by Moscow Ballet WinStar Farm 17,500 1m 1m 1/2 87 104
Fort Prado *1 2001 El Prado (IRE) - Fort Pond by Fortunate Prospect Buck Pond 5,000 5f 1m 1/8 66 100
Giant Oak 2006 Giant's Causeway - Crafty Oak by Crafty Prospector Millennium Farms 7,500 1m 1m 1/8 90 105
Gio Ponti 2005 Tale of the Cat - Chipeta Springs by Alydar Castleton-Lyons Farm 20,000 7f 1m 3/8 87 110
Haynesfield 2006 Speightstown - Nothing Special by Tejabo Airdrie Stud 10,000 6 1/2f 1m 1/4 93 111
Ice Box 2007 Pulpit - Spice Island by Tabasco Cat Calumet Farm 7,500 1m 70y 1m 1/8 68 100
Lonhro (AUS) *2 1998 Octagonal (NZ) - Shadea (NZ) by Straight Strike Darley America 30,000 5 1/2f 1m 1/4 n/a  
Misremembered 2006 Candy Ride (ARG) - Beyond Perfection by Quack Hill ‘n' Dale Farm 7,500 1m 1/16 1m 1/4 n/a 106
Paddy O'Prado 2007 El Prado (IRE) - Fun House by Prized Spendthrift Farm 15,000 1m 1/8 1m 1/4 76 103
Regal Ransom 2006 Distorted Humor - Kelli's Ransom by Red Ransom Darley America 7,500 7f 1m 1/8 93 110
Shakespeare *3 2001 Theatrical (IRE) - Lady Shirl by That's A Nice Lane's End 10,000 1m 1m 1/2 n/a 108
Sidney's Candy 2007 Candy Ride (ARG) - Fair Exchange by Storm Cat WinStar Farm 15,000 5f 1m 1/8 99 105
Tizway 2005 Tiznow - Bethany by Dayjur Spendthrift Farm 25,000 7f 1m 1/8 62 113
Trappe Shot 2007 Tapit - Shopping by Private Account Claiborne Farm 10,000 6f 1m 1/16 62 112
Twirling Candy 2007 Candy Ride (ARG) - House of Danzig by Chester House Lane's End 15,000 6 1/2f 1m 1/8 85 108
Uncle Mo 2008 Indian Charlie - Playa Maya by Arch Ashford Stud 35,000 6f 1m 1/16 108 118
Wilburn 2008 Bernardini - Moonlight Sonata by Carson City Spendthrift Farm 6,500 6 1/2f 1m 1/16 n/a 103
*1 Relocating from Hill 'n' Dale, Ill.              
*2 Relocating from Darley Australia              
*3 Relocating from Signature Stallions, Fl.            
† Complimentary to approved mares