A lot has been written about the direction of the U.S. breeding industry with regard to speed being far preferable to stamina in a future stallion. I thought the recent deals involving I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister painted an interesting example of that.
Bodemeister, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, was syndicated for $13 million to stand at WinStar Farms in Kentucky. The Bob Baffert-trained colt showcased breathtaking speed. He is sired by Empire Maker, who won the 2003 Belmont Stakes. Thus, the match of brilliant speed and a strong stamina influence should make him very popular in the breeding shed.
Meanwhile, I’ll Have Another, the colt that beat Bodemeister in the Derby and Preakness, was nearly ignored by American breeders. Reportedly his highest bid was for $3 million. Accordingly, owner J. Paul Reddam sold I’ll Have Another to a Japanese breeder for $10 million.
Why the huge disparity? And don’t dare blame the lukewarm bids on the New York Times articles on I’ll Have Another.
I’ll Have Another is sired by Flower Alley, winner of the 2005 Travers. This stamina influence too is undeniable when factored in with wins in the Derby and Preakness. But American breeders avoided him as if he had cooties.
Empire Maker had a stud fee of $50,000 when he sired Bodemeister. He then was sold to Japanese interests in time for the 2011 breeding season. Thus, American breeders can no longer get to him.
Now they have Bodemeister, a proven son of Empire Maker, as the next best thing.
Flower Alley had a stud fee of $7,500 when he sired I’ll Have Another. That has gone up, but most important is that he is still standing in the United States. So the question begs, if you like this pedigree line, why go to I’ll Have Another when you can reach his daddy, Flower Alley?
In the end, Bodemeister’s speed was sexier to breeders than I’ll Have Another, a horse that knew how to win but didn’t run great speed figures. Only time will tell which one becomes the better stallion.
■ JOCKEY CHALLENGE PROP BET – Tony Nevill, race and sports book director at Treasure Island, has posted his annual jockey challenge prop bet between the Del Mar and Saratoga riders. Team Del Mar includes Rafael Bejarano, Garrett Gomez, Corey Nakatani and Joe Talamo. Team Saratoga has Ramon Dominguez, Julien Leparoux, Rajiv Maragh and Joel Rosario.
■ AMERICAN RACING MANUAL – The 2012 Daily Racing Form American Racing Manual is available via the organization’s drf.com website. It’s a must for racing fans to follow the history of the sport while knowing everything that occurred in 2011.
■ DEL MAR CONTEST – The annual Del Mar contest at Jerry’s Nugget begins July 21. The weekly prize pool was doubled to $1,000, creating a big positive expectancy for a mere $10 entry fee.
Richard Eng’s horse racing column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @richeng4propick.