There’s always a lot of buzz about which sires might gain that elusive upgrade every year. Players look for value, buying shares low before upgrades are announced and using the shares after. Most sires on the upgrade list see their prices increase, sometimes only temporarily other times for good. Mike often mixes top-level upgrades with some sires further down the line. What gets a horse on the upgrade list? That’s the million dollar question that only Mike can answer. Often a sire with solid career statistics can get overlooked for a sire with a major champion or grade one winner. Young sires often have to prove themselves over time before getting boosted. Of course thousands of sires are adjusted up and down every year but only the major moves are announced. There are eleven sires I have identified as being potential upgrades for 2018. In this column I’ll highlight the older sires due an increase and in a following column I’ll layout the cases for some younger stallions.
Quality Road – This son of Elusive Quality has been a rock solid sire since his first two year olds hit the track. As a racehorse he won four grade one races. He currently has four crops of racing age and is ranked eleventh on the North American sire list. He’s scored with five individual grade one winners and recently was represented by his second Breeders’ Cup winner in Juvenile Fillies winner Caledonia Road who may become his first champion. If she does it will just be by a few minutes as his three year old daughter Abel Tasman is expected to claim that championship off her win in the Kentucky Oaks and runner up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Two of his grade one winners raced on turf so he shows the versatility of his sire. His 2017 fee was $35,000 that doubles to $70,000 for 2018. In the game he is the 99th ranked leading sire. He has only produced three grade one winners with eleven other graded winners. His current price is N/A credits and 481 bps.
Street Boss – This is a sire I think has been knocking on the door for a while. Last year he sired three individual grade one winners and I hoped that would be enough to get him rated a little higher than 255th place on the leading sire list. Like all the sires on this list he has sired more grade one winners in real life than he has in the game. In the game he has sired seven graded winners but again in real life he more than doubles that number. Street Boss is one of the top (if not the best) son of his sire Street Cry. His stud fee is going up from $17,500 in 2017 to $20,000 in 2018. It’s a modest increase for a horse who has not had a super year (although he does have the nice three year old Hence). Street Boss will probably be passed over again when the upgrades are passed out but he’s a solid sire who could use a break in the game. He is currently priced at 138 credits and 138 bps.
Flatter – Talk about injustices – this son of A.P. Indy has sired just two graded winners in the game (both grade three). The real Flatter is credited with siring four grade one winners including explosive 2017 three year old (and likely champion) West Coast. He’s had over a dozen graded winners and his fee for 2018 goes up from $35,000 this year to $40,000. Flatter entered stud with modest expectations. Unraced as a two year old he only managed six starts of which he won four. His highest level of accomplishment was a third place finish in a grade two. Flatter is ranked 487th in the game. He currently costs 382 credits and 201 bps.
Iffraaj – Ranked just a bit higher than Flatter at 495 on the sim sire list Iffraaj has not been well used in the game. Over the past five seasons he has an average foal crop size of 47.8. His only graded winner is grade two winner Izaguirre and he only has four stakes winners of any kind. Only two of those stakes winners have come in the last five seasons. Meanwhile the son of Zafonic has been siring some seriously talented horses in Europe and Australia. Leading the pack is Ribchester who has won four grade one races this year. Ribchester has a shot at becoming the fourth champion for his sire after Chrisseliam, Rizeena and Wootton Bassett. Iffraaj has sired eight grade one winners and twenty five graded winners. Iffraaj was a multiple grade two winner on the racecourse. His 2018 fee is 40,000 pounds. He’s a steal in the sim at 102 credits or bps.
I Am Invincible – This stud is ranked 625th on the sim sire list. He’s sired two graded winners in the game. In 2013 I Am Invincible was bred eight times. That jumped to ninety four foals in the 2016 foal crop but he’s only at forty one for 2017. I Am Invincible entered stud with modest expectations for a fee of $10,000 (AUS). He was the leading freshman sire of 2013 – 2014 and currently has two grade one winners and twelve graded winners. The son of Invincible Spirit has also been a knockout at the major sales in Australia. His fee for 2017 was $110,000 (AUS). What I really like about him is that the foals conceived after his breakout season are just now two year olds in the Southern Hemisphere. It is likely that they are bred from better quality mares than his original foal crops. He’s a horse who could explode over the next few years and maybe the next Snitzel or Fastnet Rock. He’s also a great price 91 credits and bps.
Snitzel – The 2016-2017 Australian Champion Sire was this son of Redoute’s Choice. He was previously given an upgrade in 2014 but his sim stats and his real life performance are too far apart for him not to get a boost. In the game Snitzel has produced one grade one winner and a total of six graded winners lifetime. The real Snitzel is the sire of twelve grade one winners and forty six total graded winners. He sired four first-time grade one winners over the course of a seventeen day period this spring. He lead Australia’s general sire list as well as sires of two year olds and sires of three year olds. Already in the 2017-2018 season his progeny have earned over eleven million Australian dollars. Expect a huge boost for this sire who is currently ranked 202 in the game. Savvy players are aware of his status and he is currently priced at N/A credits and 899 bps.