We won’t be looking at any bargains today whether in real life or in the SIM. Today we will be looking at those stallions which likely none of us would ever be able to breed to in real life. These are the ones who fuel our fantasies in the SIM. There are currently 17 Stallions in the US who stand for $75,000 or higher. I’m going to look at them going from lowest (though I’m not sure you can call $75K low) to highest with some thoughts about their progeny in real life and then take a look at their current four year old class in the SIM. I use the current 4yos because, well it is February so 2yos are out and most of the 3yos have not yet peaked so the 4yo class (2016 season) has gone through their youth and the classic season so we have a good indication of what that group has done.
$75,000 – More Than Ready: The dual surface stallion is producing some of his best offspring at the moment with two Breeder’s Cup winners last season and a potential Derby horse this year with Remsen Stakes winner Catholic Boy. Can produce both sprinters and routers, dirt and turf. 2016 SIM numbers:
166 runners, 91.6% winners, 14 SW, 8.4% SW, 1 GW, 0.6% GW. #20 SIM rank. More Than Ready in this class makes me think of the phrase correlation does not equal causation. 10 of his 14 SW are from Unbridled’s Song or AP Indy (or his sons) mares. Can MTR only sire SW from these lines or are SIM players zoned into this trend and are breeding him to these lines? MTR had a peak of 176 runners in 2015, a year in which he had a 16.5% SW rate.
$75,000 – Giant’s Causeway: Another dual surface stallion he usually gets a couple big horses each year (who usually get hurt). He once stood in the 125K-150K range but market has trended downward for the son of Storm Cat primarily because he doesn’t produces stallion prospects. If you aren’t named Shamardal, you likely have not been a successful GC at stud. That doesn’t mean breeders don’t keep trying though as recently retired son Carpe Diem is breeding to over 140 mares a year.
280 runners, 88.2% winners, 25 SW, 8.9% SW, 5 GW, 1.8% GW, #2 rank. GC is a prime example of why breeding shares need to be limited. 280 runners (and over 300 in 2017) is absurd and should be scaled back. It’s also clear GC is far more popular in the SIM than he is in real life. He currently has over 72 bids on him. As we can see there isn’t much difference between GC and MTR. Both have an almost identical SW %, MTR throws less bad horses and GC throws more GW. GC is good with just about any type of mare you throw at him and with about 300 mares going to him every year people have tried a lot of different things.
$75,000 – Malibu Moon: Extremely consistent son of AP Indy gets big horses every year. His current two big 3yo G1 winners are both fillies in Heavenly Love and Moonshine Memories. Had Gormley on the Derby trail last year and he eventually won his G1. Sired a KY Derby winner in Orb who stands for the highest stud fee $25,000 of all his 16 sons currently at stud. Progeny prospects are unclear for continuing his line but he can and does get you a G1 winner.
154 runners, 81.8% winners, 8 SW, 5.2% SW, 5 GW, 3.2% GW. #31 rank. MM has a somewhat odd class, rather poor in winners and ranked low but maybe they are late bloomers as he is pretty consistent as a top 15 sire finishing 14th twice and 9th once in recent history. Like real life, he is getting big time winners this class powered by the formidable Treacherously and Malibu Tempest. His number of runners is all over the place, 187, 214, 154, 167 indicating that breeders are hot and cold on him. He strikes for over 3% GW every year which is outstanding. High reward possibility stallion and he appears to perform in the SIM exactly how he does in real life.
$75,000 – Arrogate: The big grey at one time possible super horse has just gone to stud so he has no offspring in real life and won’t for several years. How do you rate a stallion that was being compared to Secretariat then went on a three race losing streak that left us wondering what happened? Some still claim it is was the dreaded Del Mar track, some claim it was Baffert, maybe he just peaked in Dubai. Unbridled’s Song sons have not fared well at stud despite many of them going off with spectacular Beyer times under their belts. There are 74 Unbridled’s Song sons at stud and only two have stud fees over $10,000 – Liam’s Map who doesn’t have runners yet and Will Take Charge, neither of whom have runners on the track yet. Arrogate will be fighting against these trends. That isn’t to say he can’t over come them but buyer beware. Luckily he was priced to sell at $75,000 which is actually surprisingly cheap for a horse who everyone thought was like Ghostzapper and Secretariat rolled into one.
No SIM numbers yet.
$80,000 – Candy Ride: Breeders seem to have finally figured out what do with this stallion as he has produced a steady stream of Derby trail horses like Twirling Candy until he really hit it big this past year with Gun Runner. His top 3yo is a filly named Seperationofpowers who was last year’s G1 Frizette winner. Candy Ride joins Scat Daddy and War Front in suddenly they have sons at stud everywhere. Recent stallion prospects Gun Runner (70K), Unified (10K), Mastery (25K), and Twirling Candy (25K) all are over standing for higher fees than you’d expect. He has become a mainstay on the leading sires list and after Gun Runner’s win in the Pegasus Cup that won’t change in 2018.
143 runners, 86% winners, 2 SW, 1.4% SW, 0 GW, #40 rank. Candy Ride had a huge strike against him coming into the SIM as he doesn’t have a draft sexy pedigree. Ride the Rails x Candy Stripes x Farnesio is a bargain bred pedigree. As he has not gotten a listed upgrade despite his on track success, he hasn’t produced well despite breeders sending him good mares. 2 SW from his entire class is obviously awful and if you are looking for a GW don’t look here. He does get winners though that might speak to the quality of mares breeders are trying to get him to work with. He does have G1 winners in the SIM so it isn’t impossible but stable owners must tread carefully here and realize what they are getting.
$85,000 – Bernardini: I was looking the other day and wondering how Bernardini ever lost the Breeder’s Cup Classic. He lost to Invasor which is a huge upset upon reflection. His ad tells me that he is only behind the great Tapit in graded stakes winners on the dirt over the last three years. He has four horses who have made $2 million dollars. He has multiple classic winners. Despite this he feels like something of a disappointment. His AEI has never been that great and I’m left thinking yes, he has been good but never great. I think his mares are going to end up being better than his sons, he already has horses on the Derby trail with Bernardini as their dam sire and when you consider his bloodline plus some of the mares he was bred to I think that is ultimately where he will leave his mark.
173 runners, 90.2% winners, 18 SW, 10.4% SW, 2 GW, 1.2% GW, #24 rank. The high SW % immediately jumps out. If you have a 10% chance to get a SW that’s not too bad. Low on GW this year but that seems atypical. He has ranked as high as #4 in the SIM. While I have not had any graded success with him he has thrown some useful horses. A fair value in the SIM with high upside for broodmares.
$85,000 – Empire Maker: Over-rated his entire career you could argue. Royal blue blood pedigree got beat in the Kentucky Derby by Funny Cide then flopped so badly at stud he was sent to Japan. Was purchased back after Pioneerof the Nile sired American Pharoah. Not an issue to worry about in the SIM but the alarming factor with Empire Maker is that so few of his runners ever even make it to the track. His best 3yo right now is the winner of a maiden claimer. I’m not making this up. Extremely over-priced. Should be standing for $30,000 (at best).
157 runners, 79% winners, 10 SW, 6.4% SW, 4 GW, 2.5% GW. #30 rank. He produces GW so you have to consider him in the SIM. He has always had a high rating in the game and in that is much like Giant’s Causeway where we get the version of the horse we wish was real versus what actually is real. Has 3 SIM Hall of Fame horses. Can get you a monster. Does well with Giant’s Causeway and Indy line sons (among others).
$85,000 – Ghostzapper: He was almost impossibly fast on the track. I joke around and say the reason SIM SFs rose so much was because of this beast who threw out 120s like he was showing off. Started out a big rocky at stud as breeders needed to time to find their footing with him. Not an easy horse to pair up. Since steady, but lukewarm start, he has excelled getting big horses such as Shaman Ghost. He has a cluster of 2nd tier horses on the Derby trail but a lot can happen in 3 months and one of those could step up. Getting the job done now year after year and seems like he is worthy of being included in the group of stallions here. Was a touch and go thing but seems like he is going to make it.
174 runners, 89.1% winners, 12 SW, 6.9% SW, 3 GW, 1.7% GW. #17 rank. Black type wise he is almost identical to Empire Maker but he gives you a full 10% more winners. Has been highly rated in the SIM then maybe got a nerf then pushed back up. He has had an up down ride much like real life. Has two SIM Hall of Famers. He works well with Unbridled line mares and Indy line. A very safe option for the price and something breeders can have a certain degree of confidence in.
This concludes part one of my look at the high end American stallions. I have used all of these guys except for Arrogate. I have been most disappointed with Empire Maker, Candy Ride and Bernardini from this group. I probably should have had better More Than Ready’s from the number I have bred but I’m not going to knock a stallion who has gotten me graded winners. Right now from this group I like Malibu Moon and Ghostzapper the best. I think Giant’s Causeway is perfectly fine and he has given some some good horses I just think it is unrealistic to have so many of his offspring so I can’t fully get behind him at this stage of his SIM existence, it’s like rooting for the Patriots. Next time we get into the $100K club.