Several Sires Buck Downward Trend of Stud Fees

by Greg Melikov

posted on December 10, 2009 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

The declining U.S. economy has impacted the horse racing industry in many areas, especially when it comes to breeding. Stud fees that began falling in 2007 continued this year.

Citing the economic situation that face breeding and sales in North America and Europe, Sheikh Mohammed’s operation at Darley, Ky., recently announced fees for 37 of its 40 stallions on both continents would remain unchanged or decrease next year.

One of the exceptions is the hot U.S. sire Medaglia d’Oro that was acquired from Stonewall Solutions in June. The purchase price was not disclosed. He had been standing for an advertised stud fee of $40,000 at Stonewall, but by the time of his sale that had jumped to $60,000.

Medaglia d’Oro’s fee rises again to a whopping $100,000 next year, prompted by super filly Rachel Alexandra, who whipped the boys in the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward en route to possible Horse of the Year honors.

The Kentucky-bred has been most successful off the track — the leading second-crop sire through Dec. 6 with 70 winners and earnings exceeding $9 million, according to His fillies have been a hot commodity with the majority of first-crop stakes winners being females.

“Sheikh Mohammed has been following Medaglia d’Oro’s stud career with great interest,” chief Darley bloodstock adviser John Ferguson said, “and has been most impressed not only by the likes of Rachel Alexandra and many other exciting prospects in his first crop, which are now 3-year-olds, but also by the quality of yearlings that we have seen at public auction.”

During his racing career, Medaglia d’Oro banked more than $5.7 million, winning eight of 15 starts. He captured the Jim Dandy and Travers in ’02, the Whitney in ’03 and the Donn in ’04.

The multiple Grade 1 winner also was runner-up in the ’02 Belmont, the ’02 and ’03 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the ’04 Dubai World Cup.

The 10-year-old’s sire also was pretty good breeding winners. El Prado, who passed away at age 20 in September, arrived in this county for a stud career as a relative unknown despite being a 2-year-old Irish champion in his racing days.

But that changed mainly because of Medaglia d’Oro’s performances. He made the Top 5 general sires index from ’02 through ’05. His most accomplished siblings included ’04 champion turf horse Kitten’s Joy.

Stud fees for two sires standing at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky., also will jump in ’10:

Tapit, runner-up to Medaglia d’Oro in the second-crop category, goes from $35,000 to $50,000. The son of Pulpit this year has 71 winners and registered more than $8.86 million in earnings.

Birdstone, fifth on the list, goes from $10,000 to $30,000. He has produced 33 winners and has $6.17 million in earnings.

Tapit produced the second consecutive winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies this year. The son of exceptional sire Pulpit was the leading freshman sire in ’08.

Birdstone, son of ’96 Kentucky Derby champ Grindstone that captured the ’04 Belmont Stakes, sired this year’s Derby winner Mine That Bird and Belmont victor Summer Bird.

Empire Maker, the leading third-crop sire with 87 winners and earnings topping $10.21 million, will stand in ’10 for $50,000, down from $75,000. The son of Unbridled is at Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms near Lexington.
Juddmonte also reduced fees for Mizzen Mast ($15,000 from $17,500), First Defence ($12,500 from $17,500), and Aptitude ($7,500 from $10,000).