The early identification of good young broodmare sires is an important endeavor for many breeders. Having a broodmare sire that is in vogue is certainly something than can influence mare buyers or even yearling buyer to make that extra bid at the sales. Our list of stallions are all foaled on or after 2000 and all have had at least 100 starters so far. But while it may be easy to come by the data for such a ranking, it’s different matter entirely to draw conclusions from it.
Generally speaking, good sires tend to make good broodmare sires, simply because good sires tend to have built their reputations on good books of mares. Therefore, it is no surprise to see a stallion like Bernardini on top of our ranking. Right from the outset of his career, Bernardini was bred to some of the best mares in America. In his first three years his mares were so good that they would have produced 16.4% stakes winners when mated with other sires. So it is these pedigrees together with Bernardini’s own influence that is shining through. Over 10% stakes winner to runners is very good for a sire and phenomenal for a broodmare sire. Predictably, his sire line works well with most in America. His top horse is the GI Hollywood Derby winner Mo Town, by Uncle Mo. Bernardini will almost certainly struggle to maintain this output, although it must be said that breeders have supported him with quality mare throughout his time at Darley.
Ghostzapper, with 13 stakes winners, is marginally behind Bernardini with 9.6% stakes winners. And it has to be said that, so far, Ghostzapper’s stakes winners are in a different league to most. The brilliant undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify is one of three Grade I winners among the early runners of Ghostzapper’s daughters.
Ghostzapper was a brilliant racehorse who was beaten only twice in a relatively short 11-race career that extended from two to five. After winning the 6 1/2-furlong GI Vosburgh S. later in his 3-year-old season, Ghostzapper went unbeaten in five more races including the 10-furlong GI Breeders’ Cup Classic and finished his career winning the GI Met Mile–brilliance no matter what the distance. No wonder Timeform rated him as high as 137. The son of Awesome Again–as his 2018 fee of $ 85,000 suggests–has also been an outstanding sire. Sixty-four stakes winners at an impressive rate of 11.1% to starters clearly testifies to this. Moreover, he outscores his opportunities, producing graded stakes winners at a rate of 5.9% compared to his runners’ sibling score of 4.7%.
But here’s the thing about Ghostzapper. Though he hasn’t been bred to the same quality of mare as the likes of Bernardini (15.8% versus 9.6%), he’s more likely to sire good racemares. Daughters like Better Lucky, Judy The Beauty, Paulassilverling and Contested are perhaps his best racehorses period. Not only that, his ratio of stakes-winning fillies to starters is a massive 12.9% compared to his sons’ score of 9.5%. In fact he’s carrying on where his sire and grandsire, Awesome Again (6.7% stakes winners as a broodmare sire) and Deputy Minister–who has 235 Stakes winners (7.7%) as a broodmare sire–left off. Could he one day rival the famous Deputy Minister, whose daughters produced Curlin, Frosted, Rags To Riches, Abel Tasman and Tapizar to name but a handful of his 25 Grade I winners?
It’s no surprise to see the Seattle Slew line featuring heavily in our broodmare sire ranking–his line offers get outcross opportunities. A son of the Seattle Slew sire A.P. Indy leads the way and we have a grandson in third place. No not Tapit, but Sky Mesa, whose 14 Stakes winners have been produced at an excellent rate of 7.2% to starters, despite his own output as a sire being considerably lower than Tapit’s. Like Ghostzapper, he’s had to call upon the late Scat Daddy to produce his best runner (Grade I winner Harmonize) as a broodmare sire. But we can expect Tapit to improve on his 3.6% as we move forward. He’s a stallion that has built his reputation the hard way starting out at $ 15,000 and as his daughters with superior pedigrees start retiring to the breeding shed we should see a vast improvement in his strike rate as a broodmare sire. As is always the case, pedigree counts for everything, including it seems in the making of a top-class broodmare sire.