01/19/2018 12:47PM

War Front can't be beat on Beyers

Barbara D. Livingston
War Front stands out on Daily Racing Form's exclusive Beyer Sire Performance Standings.

When it came to siring elite-level runners in 2017, nobody did it quite to the level of Claiborne Farm’s War Front, and it appears his run in the upper echelon has only begun.

The prominent commercial sire has backed up his six-figure stud fee and numerous seven-figure yearlings with performance on the racetrack.

War Front led all sires in 2017 by all-surface Beyer Speed Figures of 90 or more earned by his runners (88), and he tied for the most runners to achieve at least one Beyer of 100 or more (seven). On the turf, he had 30 runners earn Beyers of 90 or higher on 87 occasions, both the most of the year, while his seven runners to earn a 100-plus grass Beyer also was the top of his field.

The 16-year-old Danzig horse finished the season ranked third by North American sires by turf earnings, with 102 runners, 43 of them winners, making $6,054,318. He also was second by turf stakes winners (13) and stakes wins (18).

:: BEYER SIRE PERFORMANCE STANDINGS: Complete, sortable charts for DRF's exclusive stallion metrics ::

Despite War Front having what for many stallions would be a career year, Walker Hancock of Claiborne Farm described it as a quietly strong season. When a sire ranks 10th all time by number of Breeders’ Cup starters (32) from just eight crops of racing age, holding a position at the top can be perceived as routine. War Front’s eight Breeders’ Cup starters in 2017 was the second most in the event’s history, trailing only Galileo, who sent nine to the 2016 edition.

“A lot of stallions can only get one or two good runners a crop, but if you run 90-plus Beyers consistently, that’s pretty strong,” Hancock said. “A lot of them are international runners and they don’t have Beyer Figures over there. The fact that it’s the ones that are here, which is probably only about half the crop, the fact that he’s the number-one sire, is pretty impressive.”

Domestically, War Front’s progeny were led by Grade 1 winners War Flag, American Patriot, and Avenge; Grade 2 winner Cambodia; Grade 3 winners Lull, On Leave, War Correspondent; and Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up Lancaster Bomber.

The global Coolmore operation has been a longtime supporter of War Front at stud, often acquiring his foals in the auction ring and exporting them to Europe. War Front’s successful runners abroad include Group 1 winners Roly Poly and U S Navy Flag, Group 2 winner Spirit of Valor, and Group 3 winners Homesman and War Decree.

War Front’s top Beyer performer of 2017 was Designed for War, who earned a 104 figure for his runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes in April at Gulfstream Park. Following closely behind was Lancaster Bomber, who picked up a 103 for his second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar. The stallion’s highest Beyer in a win came from Fire Away, who earned a 102 in the Artie Schiller Stakes in November at Aqueduct.

War Front will stand for an advertised fee of $250,000 in 2018. His first foals conceived on a six-figure stud fee were juveniles of last year, meaning his pipeline of well-bred foals will only get deeper in the coming seasons. Given the foundation of success the stallion has already built, Hancock had plenty of reasons to look forward to the future.

“The really good mares are finally having their offspring hit the track,” he said. “I think we’re only going to see him continue to have some good years in the next few years.”