2023 First-Crop Sire Projections

March 30, 2023

“Monster” Mitole victorious in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

By The 2YO EdgeMan

Sire analysis is a key component in the study of 2YO MSW racing.  An important (and fun) twist that spring racing brings is the addition of group of brand new sires that will see their first crop of 2YOs debut on the track.  These stallions that moved into the breeding shed for the first time in 2020 need to be tracked closely, as breeders and farms do everything that they can to demonstrate early success for these First-Crop Sires.  As you’ll remember from our most recent article (“The Magical World of 2YO Maiden Special Weight Racing”), four of the nine (44.4%) 2YO MSW winners at Keeneland last April were sired by a First-Crop Sire.   Additionally, nearly a third (11/34; 32.4%) of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet 2YO MSW races were captured by horses sired by First-Crop Sires last year.

I can already hear you saying, “So, Mr. 2YO EdgeMan, who are the First-Crop Sires that we should we be keeping our eyes peeled for this year?”.  I’m so glad that you asked!  We’ve listed our Top Five that we think are going to win the most races in 2023.  Let’s dig in….

#1 – Mitole (Spendthrift Farm) – This Eclipse Champion Sprinter of 2019 won 10 of 14 career lifetime starts, mostly at 6f, however, he did score in both of the two races that Steve Asmussen stretched him out – one at 7f and one at a mile.  He only got one crack at competing as a 2YO and he came up short that day at Fair Grounds finishing third, but broke through in his third start on February 3, 2018 as a 3YO at Oaklawn Park winning by 10 lengths in a time of 1:09.3 for six panels.  He went on to become the Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion as a 4YO and also captured the Met Mile that year.  All told he ran 1:09 for 6f seven times, including two sizzling 1:08s. Mitole finished his racing career with a hefty bankroll north of $3 million and was never off the board.  Steve Asmussen called him “The fastest horse I’ve ever trained”.  

Three of Mitole’s youngsters recently blazed 9.4 seconds at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co (OBS) March 2YO Sale – most of any sire.  His 2YO sales average of $203,416 was the second highest of any First-Crop Sire.  This guy is going to put forward some speedballs – and we expect that that will start right away.

Maximus Mischief makes the grade in the 2019 Remsen (NYRA/Coglianese)

#2 Maximus Mischief (Spendthrift Farm) – This dude wasted no time announcing himself to the racing world as a 2YO by romping home 8 ¾ lengths clear in a 5 ½f affair at Parx Racing, stopping the timer at 1:04.81.  He went on to also visit the Winners’ Circle in both of his other two races as a 2YO, including a 2 ¼ length victory in the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct, earning an unblemished 2YO campaign.  His cumulative winning margin in his three 2YO race efforts was an astounding 17 lengths – plus, he was first at every call in these races and they were all run at different distances.  Unfortunately, MM only saw the track one time after his 2YO season, finishing third in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2).

Maximus Mischief had two 2YOs speed through ‘breezes’ of 9.4 at March OBS, so it’s clear that he’s passing along his precocity.  His offspring are definitely getting noticed at sales’ outlets all across the country putting up solid numbers including being a Top 10 Freshman Weanling Sire (including short yearlings) and Top 10 Freshman Yearling Sire.  The Jockey Club reported that he had 131 live foals from his first crop (from 198 mares bred), so I’m certain that you’ll be seeing many of them burning up the oval very soon.

#3 – Vino Rosso (Spendthrift Farm) – One of Curlin’s best, this guy was a perfect 2 for 2 at the age of two.  He then went on to win the Wood Memorial (G2) at age 3 and added three more stakes races at age 4, including a romp in the Breeders’ Cup Classic scoring by 4 ¼ lengths. Ultimately, he was awarded the 2019 Eclipse award trophy as Champion Older Dirt Male.  When his racing days finally ended, he had tallied earnings of nearly $5 million.  

Vino Rosso had 47 Weanlings (and Short Yearlings) from this class sell for an average of $90,595, making him a Top 3 Freshman Weanling sire back in 2021.  In fact, 19 of these went for $100,000+, including one colt (out of Fair Huntress, by Tiznow) who hammered down for $340,000.  In 2022, prestigious buyers such as Repole Stables, St. Elias Stables, Winchell Thoroughbreds, Albaugh Family Stables and Mike Ryan got in on the action picking up at least one VR offspring.  With a huge class of 180 reported foals, we are certain that he’ll put up a significant number of winners this year.

#4 – Catalina Cruiser (Lane’s End Farm) – This guy didn’t start until age 3, but when he finally did, he made it a winning effort right out of the gate.  He then followed that victory up with an Allowance score, stopping the timer in a flashy 1:08.3 for 6f.  This colt won three times the following year, two in G2 events.  His next and last year on the track, he again ‘cruised’ to 3 wins in 4 tries, with all of his victories coming in G2 competitions.  

Twelve of his 2YOs have been sold this year, averaging a solid $125,000+, with one colt out of a Ghostzapper mare ending with a final bid of $400,000.  Back in 2021, 24 of his Weanlings successfully sold at public auction commanding an average north of $75,000 (two ending for $200,000).  We look for good things for Catalina Cruiser’s Freshman Class of 116 youngsters.  

Omaha Beach concludes his career with a stylish win in the G1 Malibu (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

#5 – Omaha Beach (Spendthrift Farm) – Is the fourth sire on this list who hails from Spendthrift and is a gorgeous dark bay colt who stands nearly 16.2 hands tall.  He not only hit it out of the park as a racehorse, he’s also been hitting it out of the park with his freshman class in the auction ring.  Although he failed to win in three tries at age 2, Omaha Beach more than made up for that as a 3YO winning five races, four of them stakes races, including three G1s and one G2.  He also ran second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in 2019 (beaten only by Spun to Run) to cap a career of $1.6+ million dollars of total earnings.

When it comes to sales of his first class, he is miles the best.  So far in 2023, his five 2YOs that have sold have gone for an average of $326,000.  Amazingly, that is almost $125,000 more than the second-highest First-Crop Sire.  His biggest number came from a filly (out of Pacific Heat, by Unusual Heat) that sold to Kerri Radcliff for $690,000, which represented the sales topper for a freshman sire this March at OBS.  Yearlings in 2022?  How about 35 selling for $200,000+ and 11 ending at $400,000+?  Not too shabby.  Our thought is that it might take a tad bit longer for these babies to start running fast, but when they do, they could certainly be dominating.

Keep your eye out for these sires, my loyal 2YO Edgies.  More soon…

Contributing Authors

The 2YO Edge Man, Past The Wire

The 2YO EdgeMan

The 2YO EdgeMan started following horse racing when his family moved to Louisville, KY when he was 9 years old.  The story goes that he...

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@jonathanstettin another excellent day for the man who does it best. Thx Jon &@Tracking_Trips. Hoping you have some thoughts for tomorrow!

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