Stallion Spotlight: Airdrie Stud’s Cormac Breathnach On Summer Front

Stallion Spotlight offers stud farm representatives a chance to address breeders and answer questions as they finalize their mating decisions for the 2020 breeding season.

In this edition, Airdrie Stud director of stallion nominations Cormac Breathnach provides details on Summer Front, whose first crop of 3-year-olds includes Kentucky Derby contender Ete Indien.

Summer Front
B. h., 2009, War Front – Rose of Summer, by El Prado
Race Record: 23-8-6-3; $1,077,140
Notable Wins: G2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes, G3 Miami Mile Handicap, G3 Cliff Hanger Stakes, G3 Hill Prince Stakes
Advertised Fee: $10,000

1) What is Summer Front’s strongest selling point as a stallion?

Breathnach: Thankfully, they are plentiful. But to zero in on one, I would say his versatility. Despite being a turf miler of the highest class himself, he has thrown a Kentucky Derby-contending dirt 3-year-old in his first crop. Ete Indien, his signature horse to date, won the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths. Fighting Seabee, winner of the G3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on the turf last summer was also runner-up in the Street Sense Stakes on first try on dirt. He has three other good stakes horses on grass, and a colt called Summeronsevenhills that has won his last two starts by wide margins on all-weather tracks in England. So far, Summer Front is showing that he can do it all, and that’s very encouraging for a young stallion.

2) If I’ve got a mare that needs help from the stallion on a physical characteristic, what can Summer Front best contribute to the equation?

Breathnach: Typically, he throws good-topped individuals with size, big hips and attractive heads. He tends to be a very good source of size. He stands a shade over 16 hands himself and is a very balanced and attractive horse in his own right.

3) What parts of War Front come through in Summer Front’s physical? How does his female family influence how he’s put together?

Breathnach: He provides a good blend of both sides of his own pedigree. He produces balanced and powerful progeny which is something that can certainly be expected from a son of War Front. It is likely that some of the size he provides could come from his broodmare sire, El Prado. His granddam is by a son of Pleasant Colony, and he has added size to a lot of pedigrees over the years, too. She was also the dam of some very good dirt runners, like Siphonic who won the G1 Hollywood Futurity as a juvenile, so high-class dirt performance is close up in Summer Front’s own pedigree.

4) Now that we’ve got a few crops on the ground, what can a breeder expect from a Summer Front foal as a weanling? As a yearling?

Breathnach: He stamps his progeny well – a lot of them are classic bays with a white star as he has, and are good-sized, athletic and balanced. They also walk very well. Partly for this reason, some of his foals were hotly pursued by international pinhookers, and some yearlings including Ete Indien and Summeronsevenhills were pinhooked to breeze-up sales in Europe where they sold extremely well, and have gone on to reward their purchasers. In fact, Tom Whitehead of Powerstown Stud, who pinhooked Ete Indien, returned to buy another Summer Front yearling at Keeneland last fall. We feel like he is making a name for himself abroad, as well as here in the U.S.

5) With his first runners being just 3-year-olds, a lot of Summer Front’s resume at stud remains to be written. What makes you optimistic about the stallion from what you’ve seen so far?

Breathnach: He has already sired three graded stakes horses which ties him for third among second-crop sires, behind only American Pharoah and Constitution. He is in an extremely deep class of young stallions, and to be near the top of that list in such an important category shows that he has had a very strong start to his career. Both his international results and the versatility of his progeny here at home are very encouraging for the long term. Looking forward, a lot of his progeny are continuing to be placed in the very best hands, and we regularly hear positive feedback from prestigious barns. Summer Front also received good support from breeders in his middle books and has 89 more 2-year-olds to represent him this year in this second crop.

6) Summer Front has a serious horses on this year’s Kentucky Derby trail in Ete Indien. How important is it for a young stallion’s resume to get that first crop on the Derby trail, and what have the reports been from the trainers of his first 3-year-olds on how they’re coming along?

Breathnach: Being able to sire a major Kentucky Derby contender in a first crop is a massive boost to a young stallion, especially for a stallion that some may perceive to be a “turf sire.” Derby fever drives a lot of decision making in this industry, and a first-crop horse like Ete Indien serves notice that Summer Front can sire a classic-caliber dirt horse. He was bred by Rob Tillyer and Eric Buckley out of a Mizzen Mast mare from the family of Raven’s Pass, and in the end it seems that dirt is his preferred surface.

The reports from trainers have been overwhelmingly positive about his progeny. I know that there are plenty of them sitting on “go” for when the racing calendar returns to normal, and we can see what they can do in their classic season.

7) So much of Summer Front’s own on-track success came over the turf. How much does it mean to his resume to get a serious graded stakes winner on the dirt this early on in his career?

Breathnach: It means a great deal. Opportunities for turf horses are increasing all the time, but it is gratifying to us, as well as important to the commercial market that Summer Front has immediately shown the ability to throw dirt runners. We never doubted he would be capable of this. That was one of the many things that attracted us to him so much. He’s such a well-made horse, and his pedigree blend suggests that siring dirt runners would be well within his scope. Of course his sire, War Front, was a dirt runner and had two of the best dirt 3-year-olds in the country last year, so that added to our hope and confidence in Summer Front. So while it is not surprising to us, it is exciting and does build his resume.

8) What’s something about Summer Front that you think goes overlooked?

Breathnach: The majority of the best stallions started out at or around the $10,000 stud fee. I think it’s easy for people to lose sight of that, but many of the really expensive and successful stallions, like War Front himself, Tapit, Into Mischief, etc., started at around that stud fee. Hopefully Summer Front is putting himself on the right track to eventually command a much higher fee, and reward all of his supporters. He has got a strong syndicate of shareholders behind him, and is building a fan base with some of the best agents and trainers, so we feel that he is being given every chance.

9) Summer Front stands for $10,000. What makes him a standout in that price bracket?

Breathnach: He was a top-class millionaire miler, and is by a rapidly emerging sire-of-sires in War Front. His female family is outstanding also. His dam, Rose Of Summer traces to a deep Rokeby Stables family. Apart from Summer Front, who was undefeated at two, she produced a Grade 1-winning juvenile in Laragh, and is a half-sister to another Grade 1-winning juvenile in Siphonic. And with three stakes winners and three graded horses on dirt and turf already in his first crop, his early results speak for themselves. It is hard to get all of those credentials at the $10,000 price point.

10) What else should someone considering Summer Front for their mare know before making the call?

Breathnach: We often hear how much people like his conformation photo. But we think he is even nicer in person. He’s also a lovely horse to be around, and we look forward to getting back to hosting breeders and visitors again in person.

To learn more about Summer Front, click here.

The post Stallion Spotlight: Airdrie Stud’s Cormac Breathnach On Summer Front appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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