Stallion Spotlight: Airdrie Stud’s Cormac Breathnach On Upstart

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 discusses Upstart, a Grade 2 winner whose first foals are 2-year-olds of 2020.

Upstart
Dk. b. or br. r., 2012, Flatter x Party Silks, by Touch Gold
Race Record: 15-4-3-4; $1,732,780
Notable Wins: G2 Holy Bull Stakes, G3 Razorback Handicap, Funny Cide Stakes
Advertised Fee: $10,000

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

Breathnach: Right now, I’d say it is his value. His first group of juveniles averaged over 26 times his stud fee, in this challenging market, and I think that speaks for itself. We have just had our first peek under the hood to see what his progeny have, and the initial impressions are overwhelmingly positive. They’re fast, they’re fluid movers and they caught the attention of the leading agents and trainers in the game.

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

Breathnach: He throws a leggy, athletic individual. In a word, they are racy. We heard several comments from buyers at OBS March that they were consistently attractive, athletic, two-turn types of horses. And those juveniles were out of mares from a broad range of broodmare sires – Bernstein, Candy Ride, Out Of Place, Yankee Gentleman, U S Ranger and Majesticperfection. So, that seems to be Upstart’s contribution, that he throws two-turn athletes with leg and scope.

3) What parts of Flatter come through in Upstart’s physical? How does Upstart’s female family influence how he’s put together?

Breathnach: He is a big handsome horse, a dark bay who fills the eye, but he is also leggy and a little more refined than the Flatter/A.P. Indy sire line can sometimes produce. That may be coming from his female family, which is a strong commercial family, especially since Upstart made his mark.

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

Breathnach: The Upstarts sold very well as weanlings and yearlings, averaging over 6 times their stud fee at each stage. He throws leggy, quality offspring that move well, and for the most part they are very correct. Upstart’s first-crop weanlings had the highest average of any first-year stallion standing at up to $20,000. One weanling colt, out of Joyous Music, was purchased by Brian Graves and re-sold to Team Casse for $510,000 at last summer’s Saratoga Select Sale. He was a very special individual bred by St. Simon Place.

5) Upstart’s first foals are 2-year-olds of 2020, and they performed well at the OBS March sale. What have been some of the common themes among the reports from people breaking and starting his foals?

Breathnach: We have received over-the-top reports from people about their Upstarts all winter long. It began with how athletic and straightforward they are, and as they stepped up their training we started to hear how impressed they were with their strides, and their speed and endurance. We don’t expect them to be whizz-bang sprinters. Essentially all of the reports have been that they act like mid-to-late summer 2-year-olds that will go on to thrive around two turns. The fact that many of them breezed a quarter at OBS reinforced that. They showed that long, fluid action that lends itself to two-turn performance, but still clocked extremely fast times.

6) Upstart stands over a lot of ground, and did his best work around two turns during his own career. Did it surprise you to see one of his foals get a quarter-mile in :20 4/5 seconds during the OBS March under-tack show?

Breathnach: It is always exciting when they show that kind of ability. But Upstart himself had speed to burn. He broke his maiden at Saratoga as a 2-year-old by 5 1/4 lengths. So, even though he is bred and built to be a classic distance horse, he had that speed that separates the top class runners. Seeing that displayed by his progeny in the first 2-year-old sale is extremely gratifying.

7) Upstart maintained steady high-level form during each of his campaigns from two to four. How much can a stallion’s own consistency and will to win be conveyed onto his foals?

Breathnach: Personality traits are heritable too, just like conformation traits or racing ability. I don’t think anybody knows how reliably they are transmitted, but the best stallions appear to pass on their desire and determination along with the talent. You need it all to be a top stallion, and Upstart had all of those qualities as a racehorse, which is a main reason that we put him in the Airdrie stallion barn. He had precocious speed to go with a classic pedigree and physical, and he was a dual Grade 1 performer at two, three and four. Everything he is doing to date indicates that he is capable of passing along all of those traits to his offspring – the speed, the athleticism and the mind – and we can’t ask for more than that.

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

Breathnach: He ran a 102 Beyer as a 2-year-old which is a rare thing. For a son of Flatter out of a mare by a Belmont Stakes winner (Touch Gold), he had a great blend of speed/precocity with the durability to remain a top-class performer through his 4-year-old year. Ultimately, speed is the limiting ingredient in racing and Upstart combines a great deal of that with classic pedigree and performance.

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

Breathnach: For that stud fee, his upside is tremendous. He is already helping breeders and pinhookers hit home runs in the sales arena. He had 15 individual six-figure yearlings last year, and his reputation has continued to build since then. And he is getting strong support from Mr. [Brereton] Jones and his syndicate again in 2020.

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

Breathnach: Upstart has 101 first-crop juveniles out there, and plenty of others that are extremely highly-regarded. Reports are that the March 2-year-olds have come out of sale very well, and we have spoken to other leading consignors who are equally excited about what they have for when the sales season resumes.

To learn more about Upstart, click here.

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

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