2016 First-Crop Sires - Eleven Developing Leaders

2016 First-Crop Sires - Eleven Developing Leaders
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

The 2016 Triple Crown is in the history books. The Three-Year-Olds will continue to battle each other and older horses throughout the year.  Meanwhile, the 2017 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks hopefuls are preparing for their racing careers. The more precocious two-year-olds have made their debuts, and some have compiled stakes earnings.


The freshman sires' offspring are emerging, and the leading first-crop sire list is beginning to take shape. The list will undergo some changes by year-end as the later maturing pedigreed foals gain ground on the precocious types. 

There are various ways to look at sire lists, by earnings, winners, repeat winners, and stakes horses. Each category shows a different story. Let’s review the current top five first crop sires by earnings and by winners.


Stallions by Earnings:  


Mission Impazible freshman sire1. Mission Impazible (Unbridled's Song - La Paz, by Hold Your Peace)

 Stands at: Sequel Stallions New York, NY   Stud fee:  $7,500

 Current 2YO: 48

 Runners:  3

Winners: 2 (66% winners/starters)/Stakes winners: 1 / Stakes placed: 0

Profile: Mission Impazible is leading the Freshmen Sire list by earnings. During his racing days, the pretty gray stallion earned victories from 4 ½ furlongs to 1 1/8 miles over the dirt, although 1 1/8 miles wasn’t an optimal distance for him. The very precocious Mission Impazible won his debut in an April maiden race at Keeneland and just two weeks later, placed third in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes (G3). Mission Impazible showed a strong affinity for the Fair Grounds dirt course. He twice raced in the New Orleans Handicap (G2), winning once and placing second.  He also won the Louisiana Derby and placed in the Mineshaft Handicap (G3). Mission Impazible was second in the Donn, Stephen Foster, and Clark Handicaps, all Grade 1 events. Mission Impazible is a half brother to Del Mar Futurity hero Forest Camp (Deputy Minister) and three other stakes earners. Their dam is also a multiple stakes winner.


Offspring: Mission Impazible’s highest earning son Silver Mission captured the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10. He ran away from three over-matched rivals by 6 ¼ lengths getting the 5 ½ furlongs in a blazing 1:03.78, barely a second off of the track record of 1:02.26 set in 2004.  The track at Belmont was extremely fast during Belmont Stakes weekend, and we saw a number of new stakes and course records. Mission Impazible’s other maiden winner, Proud Mission, captured her 4 ½ furlong debut at Lone Star. Mission Impazible’s offspring will be win-early speedsters with distance limitations. Some less precocious types might handle 1 1/8 miles in the right circumstances.   


Bodemeister freshman sire2. Bodemeister (Empire Maker - Untouched Talent, by Storm Cat)

Stands at: WinStar Farm, KY   Stud fee: $30,000

 Current 2YO:  131

 Runners:  3

Winners: 1 (33% winners/starters) / Stakes winners: 1 / Stakes placed: 0

Profile: Bodemeister was a phenomenal blip on the 2012 racing scene. After made six starts in five months, he trotted off to the breeding shed. During those five months, Bodemeister won the Arkansas Derby (G1) and was beaten by a neck in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He also placed in the San Felipe Stakes. The late-developing son of Empire Maker developed a shoulder injury a shoulder injury that would have required a 60-day layoff, but since the stallion deal was done, Bodemeister was retired. Bodemeister’s preferred running style was to lead the field on a merry chase. He won at a mile and 1 1/8 miles and placed at distances ranging from 5 ½ furlongs and 1 ¼ miles. Bodemeister’s half sister Fascinating (Smart Strike) placed in the Del Mar Debutante.  His first five dams all own blacktype. His fifth dam Bitty Girl was a Champion Two Year Old in England.

Offspring: With the bloodlines of Empire Maker, A.P. Indy and Roberto in the first three generations of his pedigree, one would expect Bodemeister’s offspring to be later maturing types.  Most will be. Three of Bodemeister’s offspring have raced, one is a winner, and another has finished third in two starts. Bodemeister’s daughter Bode's Dream won her debut at Gulfstream Park, zipping 4 ½ furlongs in :51.26. Less than a month later, the well-bred filly earned the victory in the Astoria Stakes over six rivals. Expect to see Bodemeister’s babies appear at the summer race meets and they should mature into strong runners as they grow. Many will prefer running in longer sprints through classic distances.


Tapizar freshman sire3. Tapizar (Tapit - Winning Call, by Deputy Minister)

Stands at: Gainesway, KY  Stud fee:  $15,000

Current 2YO:  100

Runners: 6

Winners: 3 (50% winners/starters) | Stakes winners: 0 | Stakes placed: 0


Profile:  Tapizar made his appearance as an August two-year-old, but he didn’t earn his initial victory until late November.  Tapizar raced for three years. The distance-challenged colt was successful between a mile and 1 1/16 miles. Tapizar’s triumphs included the Sham (G3), San Fernando Stakes (G2), West Virginia Governor's Stakes and he ended his career on a high note as the victor of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Tapizar is the sole blacktype earner among his siblings. His second dam Call Now won the Del Mar Debutante. She’s a half sister to the stallion Olympio. Call Now’s half sisters and their daughters have produced a number of excellent runners, including Three Year Old Champion filly Untapable, Grade 1 winners Pyro and Cuvee and the stallion Early Flyer.


Offspring: Tapizar’s is represented by three maiden winners Draft Beer (4 ½ furlongs, Gulfstream Park); Thurman Merman (5 furlongs, Delaware Park); and Tip Tap Tapizar (5 furlongs, Churchill Downs).  Tapizar’s babies should be strong sprinter/milers, up to 1 1/16 miles. Naturally, a few may want to go longer, but they will be the exception. 



Empire Way freshman sire4.  Empire Way (Empire Maker - Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy)

Stands at: Loveacres Ranch, CA   Stud fee: $5,000

Current 2YO:  21

Runners:  6

Winners: 2 (33% winners/starters)/ Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 0


Profile:  See anything familiar about Empire Way’s pedigree?  He’s Champion Royal Delta’s little brother. A week after winning his debut as a late-maturing two-year-old, Empire Way was rushed into the Hollywood Prevue Stakes, where he finished sixth. Barely given time to get his feet under him, Empire Way was turned around three weeks after that in the Cash Call Futurity, where he finished fifth.  In his first start at three, Empire Way was second in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes but never lived up to his pedigree in California.  Empire Way raced over dirt, turf and synthetics. 


Offspring:  Empire Way is one of four Freshmen Sire sons of Empire Maker with progeny on the track this year. The stallion has a small crop of 21 foals. Two of his six starters are winners, Dutt Bart (4 ½ furlongs, Los Alamitos) and Mr. Ability (4 ½ furlongs, Santa Anita). In speed-oriented California, Empire Way was likely mated to many sprint mares. His offspring out of these types of mares will naturally be more distance challenged. However, Empire Way’s pedigree lends itself to stamina, and he could get classic distance runners if bred to the proper mares. 



creative cause freshman sire5.  Creative Cause (Giant's Causeway - Dream of Summer, by Siberian Summer)

Stands at: Airdrie Stud, KY Stud fee:  $15,000

Current 2YO:  86

Runners:  6

Winners: 2 (33% winners/starters) / Stakes winners:0 / Stakes placed: 0


Profile:  Creative Cause and his full brother Destin, who was a whisker away from victory in this year’s Belmont Stakes, are another lesson in genetics. Both are classy, pretty gray horses, but one can handle classic distances while the other couldn’t. Go figure. Interestingly, both are the only sons of Giant’s Causeway to hit the board in at Triple Crown race. Creative Cause finished third in the 2012 Preakness.  Creative Cause’s only off of the board placing in ten starts was a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby where he missed the winner’s circle by less than three lengths. His dam Dream of Summer is a multiple graded stakes winner from 6 ½ furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. She placed in three stakes at 1 1/8 miles.  


Offspring:  Creative Cause is off to a strong start at stud. His first winner, Milton Freewater, set a new track record at Los Alamitos for 4 ½ furlongs in :51.37, beating only three other entrants. A month later on the other side of the country at Gulfstream Park, Creative Cause’s daughter Theonewewaitedfor won her 4 ½ furlong debut in :51.97.  Creative Cause’s offspring should handle sprints through 1 1/8 miles, depending upon the stamina in the distaff line.


Stallions by Winners:

Astrology freshman sire1.  Astrology (A.P. Indy - Quiet Eclipse, by Quiet American)

Stands at: Taylor Made Stallions, KY  Stud fee: $6,500

Current 2YO: 84

Runners: 7

Winners: 4 (57% winners/starters) / Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 0


Profile: Astrology was a later-maturing two-year-old.  Getting his initial victory out of the way in September, A.P Indy’s son continued on to win the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and just miss the win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) by one-half length. Astrology recorded second place finishes in the Sunland Derby (G3), Jerome Stakes (G2) and third, beaten less than two lengths, in the Preakness (G1).  Astrology is a half-brother to three stakes winners, G3 winner Lunarpal, Lunarlady, and Lunargal.


Offspring:  Astrology’s babies are showing precocity uncommon for sons of A.P. Indy. Surprisingly, his highest earner, Capt. Grider, who is out of a Dynaformer mare, won at first asking in late April at Keeneland. Given his pedigree, one would think Astrology’s would prefer longer distances. Expect them to win at sprints through 1 1/16 miles. 1 1/8 miles and even classic distances, given the right pedigree, aren’t out of the question.


Shackleford freshman sire2. Shackleford (Forestry - Oatsee, by Unbridled)

Stands at: Darby Dan Farm  Stud fee: $20,000

Current 2YO:  119

Runners: 6

Winners: 3 (50% winners/starters) /Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 0


Profile:  Every year, racing fans select an unofficial favorite, due to the horse’s exploits on and/or off of the track. Shackleford was a big fan favorite in 2011 – 2012. The brilliant Chestnut with the white blaze tried hard in every race. As a son of Forestry, one would think that Shackleford would have been a precocious sprint type. Nope. He took after his damsire, Kentucky Derby hero Unbridled. Shackleford was a late-maturing juvenile and made only two starts in the fall. After winning an allowance race in February, Shackleford began his Triple Crown journey. Forestry’s son just missed the Florida Derby victory by a head, then gave a good account in Kentucky, completing the Derby Superfecta. Shackleford played the spoiler in the Preakness, denying Animal Kingdom a shot at Triple Crown fame. After a hand-full of runner-up placings in various graded stakes through the rest of his three-year-old and early four-year-old season, Shackleford earned back-to-back victories in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and Metropolitan Handicap (G1). He retired after a earning his last win in the Clark Handicap (G1).


Shackleford has one of the best pedigrees of this year’s stallion crop. Half of his dam Oatsee’s ten starters are stakes winners, four of them earned graded stakes wins, including Alabama Stakes (G1) heroine, Lady Joanne (Orientate). Shackleford sisters are bearing blacktype earners, among them, multiple G3 winner Florida One and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Uncle Lino. Oatsee is a blue hen (superior female). Shackleford’s fourth and fifth dams, Taminette and Tamerett are also blue hens.


Offspring: The majority of Shackleford’s offspring will likely be mid-to-late developing two-year-olds who will mature with age. Many will be distance challenged beyond 1 1/8 miles, but yes, Shack could get some classic runners with stamina on the distaff side.  Shackleford has two winners over Polytrack, Shackin Up (Arlington Park) and Oxblood (Woodbine). His son Little Nappy held on to win his debut by a head on the Gulfstream Park dirt. All victories were at 4 ½ furlongs.


3.  Tapizar (see above).


Algorithms freshmen sire4.  Algorithms (Bernardini - Ava Knowsthecode, by Cryptoclearance)

Stands at: Claiborne Farm, KY  Stud fee: $5,000

Current 2YO:  88

Runners: 5

Winners: 2 (40% winners/starters) /Stakes winners: 0 /Stakes placed: 0


Profile:  Algorithms won his debut as an early June two-year-old. He was shelved for six months, then raced twice more, earning victories in an allowance race and the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) before fracturing a splint bone.  After being rehabbed, the colt was injured again and retired.  Algorithms descends from a stakes winning family. His older half-brother, G1 hero Justin Phillip, will have his first offspring on the track next year.  Algorithms’ half-brother Keyed Entry stood for four years in Florida and now stands at stud in Saudi Arabia.  Algorithms full brother Greenpointcrusader was briefly on this year’s Triple Crown trail.  

Offspring:  Algorithms carries some precocity through his distaff line, so it is no surprise to see his babies winning early.  Most will be sprinter/miler types while some may handle middle distances in the right circumstances. Algorithms’ son  Recruiting Ready put on a show at Pimlico on May 28, finishing a zip code ahead of six over-matched colts. Recruiting Ready stopped the clock in :51.78, just a tick off of the track record of :51.50 for 4 ½ furlongs. Algorithms’ other winner is Storm of Race, who earned a victory in Russia.


Hansen freshmen sire5.  Hansen (Tapit - Stormy Sunday, by Sir Cat)

Stands at: Republic of Korea  Stud fee: N/A

Current 2YO:  102

Runners: 4

Winners: 2 (50% winners/starters) / Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 0


Profile:    Hansen won his September debut and followed up with victories in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  He earned 2011 Champion 2 Year Old Colt honors.  At three, Hansen won the Gotham (G3) and placed in the Holy Bull (G3) and Blue Grass Stakes (G1) before suffering his first loss in the Kentucky Derby, where he placed ninth.  Hansen raced only two more times. He earned a victory in the Iowa Derby (G3) and retired after finishing fourth in the West Virginia Derby (G2).  Hansen stood at Coolmore's Ashford Stud for a year before being sold to South Korea.

There is very little blacktype in Hansen’s pedigree.


Offspring:  Hansen’s babies should be racy, precocious types with distance limitations. Some may earn victories at middle distances, but that won’t be typical of the majority. Hansen has two winners from four starters. His son Hansen’s Victory was his sire’s first winner, at Hastings Park. Hansen’s daughter Platinum Spark recently won at first asking in a 5 ½ furlong maiden event at Belmont Park.


stay thirsty freshmen sire6.  Stay Thirsty (Bernardini - Marozia, by Storm Bird)

Stands at: Ashford Stud, KY   Stud fee: $10,000

Current 2YO:  91

Runners: 5

Winners: 2 (40% winners/starters) /Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 1


Profile:   Stay Thirsty showed average precocity and class as a two-year-old. Earning his maiden prize in August and following up with a second place finish in the Hopeful Stakes (G2). He finished off of the board in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Stay Thirsty needed time to mature through the early spring of his three-year-old season. Although he won the Gotham (G3), he was off of the board in the Florida and Kentucky Derbies.  Stay Thirsty rebounded in the Belmont Stakes and missed the victory by less than a length. He picked up victories in the Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers Stakes (G1) before falling off form with a third-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Stay Thirsty hit the board in three of five starts as a four-year-old and went out on a high note, earning the trophy in the Cigar Mile Handicap (G1).


Stay Thirsty’s half brother Andromeda’s Hero was also second in the Belmont Stakes. That one’s full brother Superfly was third in the Champagne Stakes (G1). Their second and third dams are Grade One placed. 


Offspring: Stay Thirsty has two winners from five starters. Not surprising, since many of his babies will be mid-to-late season types and round into shape as three and four-year-olds. Their distance scope will be sprinters through middle distances, and some may prefer running longer. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see some of Stay Thirsty’s offspring on the Triple Crown trail.  Stay Thirsty’s son Thirstforlife made his debut in the five-furlong Kentucky Juvenile Stakes three days before the Kentucky Derby. The colt finished third but came back to win at the same distance a month later.  Stay Thirsty’s daughter Cheval Blanche gave the stallion an international presence when she bested a field of maidens running six furlongs on the lawn at Redcar Racecourse in England. 


Honorable Mention:

Union Rags freshmen sireUnion Rags (Dixie Union - Tempo, by Gone West)

Stands at: Lane’s End   Stud fee:  $35,000

Current 2YO:  106

Runners: 5

Winners: 2 (40% winners/starters) /Stakes winners: 0 / Stakes placed: 0

#6 by earnings; #7 by winners


Profile:   Union Rags could have been the 2011 Two Year Old Champ instead of Hansen, but fell a head shy in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after a four-wide trip. Union Rags entered the Breeders’ Cup with three victories under his girth, including the Saratoga Special (G2) and Champagne Stakes (G1).  The large, muscular colt raced four times as a three-year-old. His only off of the board finish was seventh in the Kentucky Derby, after winning the Fountain of Youth and finishing third in the Florida Derby.  Union Rags rebounded with a gutsy neck victory over Paynter in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Union Rags was injured after the Belmont Stakes and retired a month later.


Union Rags is the only son of Dixie Union to win a stakes race beyond 1 1/8 miles. The large 16.2 ½ hands high stallion physically resembles his damsire, Intermediate/Classic Chef-de-race Gone West. Union Rags descends from a distaff line of champions.  His half sister bore England’s 2013 Champion Older Male Declaration of War. We’ll see his babies on the track next year.   Union Rags’ second dam was a long-winded turf router who set course records at 11 and 13 furlongs. His third dam was an Irish Juvenile Filly Champ.


Offspring:  Dixie Union’s sons haven’t set the breeding shed on fire. Gone Astray and High Cotton are decent Florida studs.  Dixie Chatter gets the random winner in California and….that’s it.  Union Rags is the most accomplished of Dixie Union’s sons on the track.  Will he pass that talent to his offspring?  Buyers hope so, especially Charles Chu's Baoma Corp and Bob Baffert, who spent $975,000 on a colt now named Dre Dan after he breezed in :10 1/5 at the March Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale. 

Union Rags’ two precocious daughters, Lady Stardust and Silver Threads, won their 4 ½ furlong debuts at Aqueduct and Monmouth, respectively. Silver Threads’ dam Golden Mean is a half-sister to the dam of one of Tapizar’s first winners, Tip Tap Tapizar.


Other stallions with debut winners include Eye of the Leopard, Dominus, and Indian Firewater, who just happens to be a half brother to Union Rags’ sales topper, Dre Dan.


The Freshmen Sire scene will undergo changes throughout the year as later maturing stallions are represented by more offspring on the track. So far, there’s no super-sire like Uncle Mo in this group. I’ll go ahead and predict that the top five stallions, in no particular order will be Union Rags, Creative Cause, Shackleford, Bodemeister, and Tapizar. Mission Impazable could certainly hold a top ten rank. To Honor and Serve, Stay Thirsty, The Factor and Gemologist may hit the top twenty.

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 Pedigree Analyst – Bruno With The Works 

 ThoroFan Advisory Board Member

 Member – NTWAB

Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 

I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
Facebook: IMTBreds
LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

Top Stories

Peter Brant’s Raging Bull , winner of the Shoemake...
Vekoma moved from eighth to third and received num...
Perry Ouzts turns 66 today. That would be rather u...
West Point Thoroughbreds president Terry Finley wa...
Uncle Chuck is the latest sensation to watch from...