The best ways to bet offspring of 2018's first crop sires

The best ways to bet offspring of 2018's first crop sires
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The days may be getting shorter, but the race distances for 2-year-olds are growing longer as less precocious babies are making their appearance in the maiden ranks. These are the youngsters that may become household names on the 2019 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trails.

Longer race distances also mean a shift in the Freshmen Sire standings. The win-early, sprint-oriented stallions will slip down the ranks as the miler-middle distance types start to make their presence felt. The year-end picture may be quite different from the initial standings.

With this in mind, let’s review thirteen of this year’s freshman sires and how to bet their offspring. 

Reading the stats: Winners percentage is taken from number of starters. First Time Winners (FTW) percentage is taken from number of winners. Stats are from date of publication.

Stud Fee $20,000-$30,000

(Unbridled's Song - Take Charge Lady, by Dehere)

Stands at: Three Chimneys Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $30,000

Stats: Foals: 109; Start: 21; Win: 7 (33%); FTW: 1 (25%); SW: 1

Outlook: Champion Will Take Charge has his sire’s physical stature wrapped up in a shiny copper coat. His progeny are big, two-turn types, so it isn’t surprising to see so few starters or winners at this point of the year. Indications are good that his babies inherited their sire’s talent. His daughter Kim K won the 6 1/2-furlong Barretts Debutante at Los Alamitos. Lightscameraaction was third in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2), and two sons finished third in stakes at six and seven furlongs.

Betting: We’ll see Will Take Charge’s progeny on the track more frequently next year, and don’t be surprised to see some in Kentucky Derby preps. Bet Will Take Charge’s offspring over all surfaces, especially at longer sprints to middle/classic distances. 

(Pioneerof the Nile - Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull)

Stands at: Airdrie Stud (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $25,000

Stats: Foals:120; Start: 38; Win: 11 (29%); FTW: 9% (1); SW: 1

  The first son of Pioneerof the Nile to stand at stud, Cairo Prince is a perfect example of a quality stallion whose babies are later maturing. Cairo Prince recently got his first graded stakes winner when Cairo Cat won the Iroquois Stakes. We may be looking at next year’s leading second-crop sire.

Betting: Cairo Prince’s offspring are large, later-maturing types who will appreciate longer sprints to middle distances, and some may want to go farther. Think Derby trail types. Don’t be afraid to bet them over dirt, turf or synthetics, Cairo Prince has winners over all surfaces. Most may need a couple of starts to find the winner’s circle.

NOBLE MISSION (GB) (Galileo (IRE) - Kind (IRE), by Danehill)

Stands at: Lane's End (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $20,000

Stats: Foals:111; Start: 35; Win: 6 (17%); FTW: 3 (33%); SW: 0

Noble MissionOutlook:  A full brother to super horse Frankel, Noble Mission proved to be a top turf router in England, Ireland, and France. Lane’s End took a gamble in standing Noble Mission, since a 3/4 brother, Bullet Train, was shipped off to Ireland after failing to impress breeders in the U.S. So far, the risk is paying off. Noble Mission’s son Life Mission was recently second in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint, and we may see him take a step forward in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Betting: Yes, Noble Mission’s babies are no-brainer bets for turf, but three of Noble Mission’s six winners were successful over the dirt. As they mature into their talent, expect to see them compete at the highest levels as they stretch out to middle or classic distances.

Stud Fee $10,000-$17,500

(More Than Ready - Enchanted Rock, by Giant's Causeway)

Stands at: Ashford Stud (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $17,500

Stats: Foals: 135; Start: 32; Win: 4 (12%); FTW: 0% (0); SW: 0

VerrazanoOutlook: Skipping his juvenile season, Verrazano hit the track running as a 3-year-old. He showed his ability at the highest levels over dirt capturing a pair of Grade 1s, the Wood Memorial and Haskell Invitational. As a 4-year-old, Verrazano took on the top turf horses in England, finishing second in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes (G1) and third in the Lockinge Stakes (G1). The son of More Than Ready was capable from 6 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles. Two of his offspring hinted at future class while placing in stakes; Myhotrodlincoln was second in the Kentucky Juvenile Stakes, and King Dilly placed third in the one-mile El Joven Stakes at Remata Park.

Betting: Verrazano’s babies are later maturing, and we should see more of them in the winner’s circle in the coming year. Don’t hesitate to bet them over all surfaces, but some may need a few starts to round into form. They should handle sprints to 1 1/8 miles, with the occasional winner at classic distances, especially over the lawn.

GOLDENCENTS (Into Mischief - Golden Works, by Banker's Gold)

Stands at: Spendthrift Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $12,500

Stats: Foals: 119; Start: 46; Win: 18 (39%); FTW: 9 (50%); SW: 2

Outlook:  Goldencents won from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, but he found his calling as a top-notch miler, capturing the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in back-to-back wins. Breeders flocked to Goldencents in his first year at stud; he has the third-largest number of foals and the highest number of starters and winners, putting him solidly on top of the Freshmen Sire standings. Goldencents’ daughter Silvercents captured the restricted Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes, and the precocious sire has two restricted stakes placed runners. 

Betting: Most of Goldencents’ offspring are successful on dirt within their first few starts. He’ll get the occasional winner over the lawn when there are turf affinities in the distaff line. Goldencents’ offspring may be at a disadvantage as distances stretch out, but most should be comfortable as sprinter/milers, with the occasional middle distance runner.

FED BIZ (Giant's Causeway - Spunoutacontrol, by Wild Again)

Stands at: WinStar Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $10,000

Stats: Foals: 103; Start: 30; Win: 6 (20%); FTW: 5 (83%); SW: 0

Outlook: Fed Biz showed versatility as a solid Grade 2 competitor over dirt and turf from longer sprints to middle distances. He was at the top of his game in the 2013 Pat O’Brien Stakes, beating Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Goldencents and setting a new track record of 1:21.12 for seven furlongs. Sons of Giant’s Causeway are noted for siring adaptable offspring, and Fed Biz is no exception. His offspring are precocious and are capable over dirt, mud, turf and Polytrack. His daughter Bizwhacks placed third in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf at a mile.

Betting:  Five of Fed Biz’s six winners scored in their debut. So when you see them in the PPs, bet them, and don’t worry about the surface or distance. Typical of other Giant’s Causeway sons, Fed Biz should get his share of stakes winners, and his babies should improve as 3-year-olds over all surfaces.

MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno - Ponche de Leona, by Ponche)

Stands at: Adena Springs (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $10,000

Stats: Foals: 69; Start: 25; Win: 5 (20%); FTW: 4 (83%); SW: 0

Outlook: The huge Mucho Macho Man was a fan favorite, and a fine example of a sound, competitive racehorse allowed to mature into his talent. The veteran of 25 races showed talent as a stakes-placed juvenile, finished third in the Kentucky Derby at 3, got a little closer to the winner’s circle with a second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 4, and finally won it against a stellar field as a 5-year-old. The majority of Mucho Macho Man’s babies are later maturing, but some very precocious ones have found the winner’s circle, and Mucho Unusual placed in the six-furlong Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar.

Betting: Patience, young bettor. Don’t go running to the windows to lay down your hard earned cash just yet. Give the mini-Men time to mature. Many will need a start or two (or three or four) to round into form. They’ll start to appear in the PPs at longer sprints to classic distances. Most will spend their careers on the dirt, but we’ll see the occasional turf winner, and Mucho Macho Man already has a winner over the lawn.

(Tiznow - Clear Mandate, by Deputy Minister)

Stands at: Three Chimneys Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $10,000

Stats: Foals: 82; Start: 19; Win: 6 (31%); FTW: 3 (60%); SW: 0

Outlook: As is too often the case, Strong Mandate had an abbreviated racing career, and was whisked off to stud after eight starts. Surprisingly precocious for a son of Tiznow, Strong Mandate captured the Hopeful (G1) by 9 3/4 lengths,  and was third in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile. He made three starts as a 3-year-old, hitting the board once in a runner-up finish in the Southwest Stakes (G3). At stud, sons of Tiznow aren’t setting the world on fire, but they’re useful. Most of their offspring need some time to mature and are capable over multiple surfaces. Strong Mandate’s offspring are showing the precocity of their sire. His son Policy placed in the I’m Smokin Stakes at Del Mar this summer. 

Betting: The most precocious of Strong Mandate's babies are winning at very short sprints, but the majority may prefer the 6F – 1 1/16 mile distance range. They should be capable over every surface and improve with maturity and racing.

Stud Fee $5,000-$7,500

(Speightstown - Rhum, by Go for Gin)

Stands at: McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds (N.Y.)

Stud Fee: $7,500

Stats: Foals: 74; Start: 20; Win: 4 (20%); FTW: 2 (50%); SW: 1

Outlook: Central Banker was adept over dirt and turf as a sprinter. He captured the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) and was runner-up in the Malibu (G1) and King’s Bishop (G1). He also captured the Quick Call Stakes sprinting on turf. Central Banker’s daughter Sassy Agnes won the Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes, and his son Bankit was second in the Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga.  Another son, Pay the Vet, placed in the Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes.

Betting: You couldn’t swing an empty feedbag at Saratoga this summer without hitting a Central Banker 2-year-old. Lots of runners, but so far, only four winners. The good thing is that they’re winning over dirt and turf, and may wind up to be decent restricted stakes quality runners. Bet first time starters with caution; they may be later maturing types.

CROSS TRAFFIC (Unbridled's Song - Stop Traffic, by Cure the Blues)

Stands at: Spendthrift Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $7,500

Stats: Foals: 89; Start:32; Win: 11 (35%); FTW: 6 (60%); SW: 3

Cross TrafficOutlook:  Cross Traffic raced one season – as a 4-year-old – but what a season. He captured the Whitney (G1) and placed in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Westchester Stakes (G3), both at a mile. Cross Traffic is one of this year’s bargain buys at stud. Unbridled’s Song was noted for siring large bodied slower maturing offspring, and most of his sons follow suit at stud. Other than his pretty gray coat, Cross Traffic is physically more refined, and his babies are more precocious than expected. He’s sired three restricted stakes winners – Jaywalk, Dancin’ Shoes and Dame Plata – along with a couple of stakes placed runners, Can't Crosstraffic and Raising the Ante

Betting: When you see Cross Traffic’s babies entered first time out in a sprint, bet them. Six of his 11 winners were successful first time out. Three of the 10 are restricted stakes winners, and two others are stakes placed. Cross Traffic’s offspring will likely be sprinters to middle distance runners and have won over every surface.

UNCAPTURED (Lion Heart - Captivating, by Arch)

Stands at: Ocala Stud (Fla.)

Stud Fee: $6,000

Stats: Foals: 77; Start: 14; Win: 4 (33%); FTW: 50% (2); SW: 2

Outlook: Every year, a couple of Florida-based stallions sneak onto the Top 10 first-crop sire list. This year, Canadian 2-year-old champ Uncaptured is showing early promise. The son of Lion Heart won six of seven starts as a juvenile, including the Iroquois (G3) and Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), along with a trio of stakes races in Canada. He didn’t show the same brilliance at 3, victorious only in the Prince of Wales Stakes at 1 3/16 miles, and placed in Grade 2 and Grade 3 events from a mile to 1 1/8 miles. Standing for $6,000 in Florida doesn’t attract the same quality of mares as a stud in Kentucky, yet Uncaptured is showing early promise. His daughter Catherinethegreat captured the Schuylerville (G3) at Saratoga and another daughter, Capture Your Dream, won the Desert Vixen Stakes, the first leg of the Florida Sire Series Filly Division.

Betting: Is Uncaptured another Kantharos? Too soon to tell, but bet his babies over all surfaces as sprinter/milers. Doubtful we’ll see many compete beyond 1 1/16 miles.

(War Pass - Runup the Colors, by A.P. Indy)

Stands at: WinStar Farm (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $5,000

Stats: Foals: 84; Start: 19; Win: 6 (31%); FTW: 5 (83%); SW: 1

Outlook: Revolutionary won or placed in 10 of 13 starts, including victories in the Louisiana Derby and Pimlico Special, plus a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby behind Orb. Revolutionary offers a lot of pedigree for the money. His second dam, English/Italian Champ Up the Flagpole and third dam, The Garden Club, are Rene-de-course mares. This is the family of Horse of the Year Mineshaft, multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Tomisue’s Delight, and sire Top Account. Revolutionary’s daughter Maiden Beauty won the 6-furlong Lynbrook Stakes at Belmont and placed in the Seeking the Ante Stakes at Saratoga.

Betting: Revolutionary won from a mile to 1 3/16 miles. His offspring will prefer longer sprints to classic distances and should be capable over all surfaces.

FLASHBACK (Tapit - Rhumb Line, by Mr. Greeley)

Stands at: Hill 'n' Dale Farms (Ky.)

Stud Fee: $5,000

Stats: Foals: 105; Start: 19; Win: 5 (26%); FTW: 4 (83%); SW: 0

Outlook: Flashback captured his sole start at 2, and was on a fast track to the Kentucky Derby after winning the Robert B. Lewis (G2), and placing in the San Felipe (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1). The pretty gray colt missed the Kentucky Derby due to a knee chip. He returned to place in two of three starts at four, before being retired. Flashback’s daughter Boujie Girl was third in both the Sorrento (G2) and Del Mar Debutante (G1).

Betting: Flashback’s offspring will be strongest between sprints to 1 1/16 miles. He may get the occasional winner at longer distances. Bet them over all surfaces.

Next year, look for Cairo Prince and Will Take Charge to vie at the top of the second-crop leaderboard. Noble Mission and Goldencents should continue their strong showing. Verrazano, and Mucho Macho Man, and Fed Biz should climb in the rankings for Top 10 spots. 

Meet Laurie Ross

 HRN Pedigree Analyst 


 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan 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
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LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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