Stallion of the Year
by Jordan Strickler
An incredible sales year ended as 2004 came to a close last week. With
so many sales records being set and so many progeny giving their best
performances, the stallion of the year was difficult to decide. When
considering all angles, AWESOME AGAIN (Deputy Minister) came out on top.
Standing his sixth year at stud in 2005, Awesome Again’s popularity, along with his stud fee,
has increased greatly due to the Breeders’
Cup. The 11-year-old had two Breeders’ Cup winners
at Lone Star, with Ghostzapper recording a wire-to-wire
victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Wilko surprising onlookers in the Juvenile (G1), prompting Adena
Springs to mark up his fee from $75,000 to $125,000 for the 2005 breeding
Winner of the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, Awesome Again
became the first Classic-winning sire to have a progeny follow in his hoofsteps.
Ghostzapper ended the year undefeated in four starts, including the Woodward
S. (G1), Tom Fool H. (G2) and Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup H. (G3). The
five-year-old bay, who is in a tight race for Horse of the Year honors with
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner Smarty Jones, ended
the year with a mark of 10-8-0-1 and earnings just shy of $3 million.
Wilko exits a close third to Delcan’s Moon (Malibu Moon), the leading contender
for juvenile champion, in the Hollywood Futurity (G1), his second race
since being imported from England. In his European starts, Wilko earned a runner-up finish in the Vintage S. (Eng-G1) and was a close third
in the Weatherbys Superlative (Eng-G3). His year-end record lies at 12-3-2-5
with a bankroll of $934,077.
Awesome Again is also the sire of Toccet, who completed a remarkable two-year-old
campaign in 2002, finding the winner’s circle in the Champagne S. (G1) Hollywood
Futurity (G1), Remsen S. (G2) and Laurel Futurity (G3) before being sidelined
with a pastern injury. The five-year-old recently sold for $3.35 million at the
2004 Selected Fall Mixed Fasig-Tipton November Sale.
Personal Legend is a five-year-old daughter of Awesome Again who has made a name for herself in the past year. The
chestnut earned a mark of 8-3-2-1 in 2004 with $223,330 in
earnings and owns victories in the Turnback the Alarm H.
(G3), De La Rosa S. and the Stage Door Betty H., which she captured impressively on New Year’s Day.
The improving mare also managed to earn runner-up performances in the El Encino S. (G2)
and Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup H. (G3) and is set for a strong season in 2005.
From Awesome Again’s five crops to date, three are of racing age and he’s had 76
winners from 126
starters, a success rate of 60
percent. He counts nine stakes winners so far and his progeny have produced total earnings
of $11,345,364, an average earning of $84,667 per starter.
Awesome Again has had 15 progeny sell for six figures this year, eight in excess of $200,000.
From 21 weanlings, his offspring have brought $3,406,500 in the sales ring and
he’s had 100 yearlings sell for a gross of $10,714,000.
Awesome Again stands at Adena Springs near Versailles, Kentucky.
Freshman Sire of the Year
With all of the success that Awesome Again has acquired, we cannot forget the
new stallions who are trying to make a name for themselves in the
breeding world. A number of stallions had their first two-year-olds this year, including Successful Appeal, Yes It’s True and Giant’s Causeway, but
the one we’ll tab as the top freshman sire is FUSAICHI PEGASUS (Mr.
The most prominent of Fusaichi Pegasus’ progeny so far is Roman Ruler. The dark bay won three of five
starts this year, including the Norfolk S. (G2)
and Best Pal S. (G2), and finished a close second to Declan’s Moon
in the Del Mar Futurity (G2). His juvenile season went array when he had to have
surgery for a non-descended testicle and subsequently finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,
but the colt remains eligible to bounce back strong at three and is
widely considered a very dangerous candidate for the Kentucky Derby. Roman Ruler is Fusaichi Pegasus’
leading earner to date with a $330,800 bankroll.
Another possible up-and-comer is Killenaule, who boasted wins in the Dover S.
and Storm Cat S. last year before a third in the Remsen.
Fusaichi Pegasus also has several promising maiden winners who could wind up
on the Triple Crown trail. Fusaichi Samurai, who became the highest-selling
two-year-old in training when bringing $4.5
million at the Fasig-Tipton February Select Two-Year-Old sale in February at
Calder Race Course, broke his maiden in smashing fashion in his career debut at
Hollywood Park in December and the Neil Drysdale-trained colt has received rave
reviews in the mornings from onlookers. There are already huge expectations for
Fusaichi Samurai this spring.
Andromeda’s Hero, a seven-length maiden winner the day after Christmas at
Calder, and Bandini, who rolled to an impressive four-length maiden score at
Gulfstream Park recently, are a couple of other sons who have received notice
for impressive maiden scores.
His sophomore daughter South Bay Cove, a Canadian-bred, has certainly proven herself north of the
border for conditioner William Graham. She took the Ontario Debutante S. in her
last appearance and was well in control while winning the Shady Well S. by 12
1/2-lengths at Woodbine.
The eight-year-old stallion has 272 foals in two crops, including 37 starters.
Of these 37, 17 have won, a clip of 46 percent, including five stakes winners.
Total earnings for his descendants are $1,248,823, an average of $33,752 per
Fusaichi Pegasus was also on top of the game when it came to the sales ring.
A total of 53 of his progeny left the ring having sold upward of six figures. Of
these, 12 went for more than $500,000 and two breached the $1 million mark.
This year, eight of his weanlings entered the sales ring, bringing $1,562,000
in revenue, approximately 50 yearlings brought $16,183,000 and five
two-year-olds brought $6,570,000.
These successes have prompted Ashford Stud to raise Fusaichi Pegasus’ stud fee from $100,000 to $150,000 for the
2005 breeding season.