Their New Kentucky Homes: When Veteran Stallions Move To The Bluegrass State

Sooner or later, just about every important North American stallion ends up in Kentucky. Some just take longer to get there than others.

For some, moving to a Kentucky farm from a regional or international market is akin to a minor league prospect being called up to the majors after proving he can improve the mares in his state to produce important national runners. For others, the relocation is more transactional, with stallions moving to and from different outposts residing under the same umbrella.

Names as influential as Mr. Prospector, Fappiano, and Saint Ballado got their starts in Florida, while City Zip entered stud in New York before moving to Lane’s End in Kentucky, and Malibu Moon saw his first breakthrough as a Maryland resident.

Today’s stallion landscape is dotted with plenty of horses who earned their places on Kentucky rosters by proving themselves elsewhere.

Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa has a couple transplants in Kantharos, who stood his first six seasons in Florida; and Stormy Atlantic, who started his career at Florida’s Bridlewood Farm. WinStar Farm has Congrats, who moved to the Bluegrass State after his first Florida-sired 2-year-olds hit the track. Buck Pond Farm brought young New York stallion V. E. Day south in 2018, while Taylor Made Stallions brought Daddy Long Legs north from Chile in 2019 after he was named that country’s leading juvenile sire.

This year’s class of notable incoming transfer sires is an eclectic one, both in terms of background and the reason why they were brought to the state, but the goal remains unflinching: Take advantage of Kentucky’s unparalleled broodmare reserves to further improve their stock at stud.

The highest-profile transfer for 2021 is Laoban, a son of Uncle Mo who began his career at Sequel New York, and had three juveniles from his first crop enter Breeders’ Cup races, including Grade 1 winner Simply Ravishing. He was moved to WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., for the 2021 breeding season, where he will stand for an advertised fee of $25,000.

“It’s a new venture,” said WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden. We’re extremely excited about Laoban, and feel like the kind of success he’s had out of the mare quality in New York, and what you’d typically get in a regional market, would bode well for his future here in Kentucky. I know the mares that we’ve got marked for him so far…speaking with Becky Thomas (of Sequel New York), she said they were all better than anything he’s ever bred in his career. He’s going to get a big move up in mares, and it’s going to hopefully be a real positive for him.”

Though Laoban is the first transfer stallion WinStar has picked up in recent memory (Congrats spent time at Vinery’s Kentucky base before moving to WinStar), Walden said his team makes an annual scan of the regional stallion markets to see if anyone’s stock is rising too quickly to deny.

“It’s not something new,” he said. “You’re always looking for the next stallion that moves up his mares, and Laoban has done that.”

Ashford Stud reached out even further to add a new member to its roster for 2021, moving Group 1 winner Caravaggio from its Irish base. He will stand for $25,000.

“He was raised here at Ashford Stud, and he was such an exceptional horse,” said Ashford’s Charlie O’Connor. “Being by Scat Daddy out of an American mare (Mekko Hokte, by Holy Bull), we just thought it would be a good move to bring him back and give the American breeders a chance to breed to him. So far, he’s been very well-received.”

This is a familiar move for the Coolmore operation, which also started Giant’s Causeway and Declaration of War in Ireland before moving them stateside. Caravaggio stood his first two seasons in Ireland, putting him in the unique position of having yearlings to show potential breeders in his new locale, but no racetrack results.

O’Connor said Caravaggio’s case was advanced by a strong performance at this year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The stallion had seven yearlings go through the ring at the sale for an average price of $212,833, led by a $400,000 filly.

“They showcased themselves at the September sales,” O’Connor said. “There was a number of them on the grounds, so a number of American breeders saw them, and liked what they saw. Wesley Ward was one in particular who bought one.”

Also moving to Kentucky in 2021 is leading Washington sire Atta Boy Roy, who will stand at War Horse Place in Lexington for a fee of $7,500. The 15-year-old Tribunal horse sent Bodenheimer to this year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and he’s seen national success with the well-traveled Mr. Jagermeister.

Both horses are trained by Valorie Lund, who also conditioned Grade 2 winner Atta Boy Roy during his own on-track career. Lund recently purchased her former star runner with her sister, prompting the move.

In the past, War Horse Place brought in Kitalpha, a full-brother to Kingmambo, after standing his first six seasons in Zimbabwe, where he became the country’s perennial leading sire.

War Horse Place’s Dana Aschinger said comparing a stallion with runners in Zimbabwe and South Africa might seem like apples to oranges when stacked against American runners, but talent and speed are universal.

“When Kitalpha had the first four finishers in [the G3 Zimbabwe Guineas], my husband (the late Gerry Aschinger) always said ‘There’s still 60 seconds in a minute,’” Dana Aschinger said. “They’re running the same times there that they are here.”

Kitalpha sired multiple graded stakes winner Martini Glass after moving stateside. He died of cancer at age 13.

The post Their New Kentucky Homes: When Veteran Stallions Move To The Bluegrass State appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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