2024 First-Crop Sire Projections    4/1/24

April 1, 2024

By The 2YO EdgeMan

As the new crop of Two-Year-Olds prepare to take center stage at Keeneland on Friday, April 5, it is always fun and important to dig into the debut sires that will be sending out their first runners. These are the guys who came off of the track and moved into the breeding shed in the spring of 2021. This class includes some exciting young sires and many are off to a fast start with their offspring in the auction ring – as weanlings, yearlings, and even as two-year-olds, as evidenced in the recently completed Ocala Breeders Sales (OBS) March Sale.

Before we analyze this year’s first crop sires, let’s take a quick look back at last year and see how we did with our predictions. Our Top 5, in order, were Mitole, Maximus Mischief, Vino Rosso, Catalina Cruiser, and Omaha Beach. I’m proud to report that we had our Top 3 exactly correct (Mitole had 34 winners, Maximus Mischief had 30 wins, and Vino Rosso produced 24 winners). Additionally, my pick for 5th most, Omaha Beach, checked in tied for third with 24 wins. Catalina Cruiser was a bit of a disappointment, putting only 12 winners on the board.

Fast forward to this year. Twelve newbie sires reported 100 or more live foals in 2022, with six more having 80+ babies. In the sales ring, only one first-crop sire boasted a sales average for his yearlings north of $200,000 (Authentic), while three others had averages of $100,000+.

So, who should we look for to end the 2024 campaign with the most winners?  Will Spendthrift Farms continue their domination in this category again this year?  Here are my Top 5 selections: 

#1 – McKinzie (Gainesway) 

McKinzie photo courtesy of Gainesway

This fella stood for a stud fee of $30,000 in his initial year back in 2021 (held the same for 2024) which represents the second-highest fee in his class (only Authentic had a higher fee, see below). His babies have been very well received at public auction with 120 sold from the 157 yearlings that went through the ring last year and they hammered down for an average of $147,744. In fact, McKinzie boasts the highest-selling yearling in 2023, a colt by Puca (full brother to the 2023 Kentucky Derby winner, Mage and standout 3YO, Dornoch) who demanded a whopping $1,200,000. This year, that first class has also sold strong – nine 2YOs have changed owners from the 13 that have gone through the sales ring and the average price has been over $209K, including a juvenile colt that went for $750K.

McKinzie, by Street Sense, was a perfect 2 for 2 as a juvenile, breaking his maiden at SA in October of his freshman year, prior to capturing the G1 Los Al Cash Call Futurity in December, both with 100+ Equibase Speed Figures.

#2 – Game Winner (Lane’s End)

Game Winner photo courtesy of Lane’s End

Speaking of precocious 2YOs, this dude sported an unblemished record of 4 wins in 4 starts, with three of those triumphs being against Grade One company. Further, he capped off that brilliant year with a victory in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Sired by Candy Ride, Game Winner demanded $30,000 for his first year of service back in 2021 and that figure has dipped slightly to $20,000 for the 2024 breeding season. He had 157 mares bred to him in 2021 with 121 live foals reported (for a strong 77% ratio).

The 73 yearlings that went through the auction ring and ended as ‘sold’ averaged nearly $95,000. And his two-year-olds have been very well-received, hamming for an average of almost $200K (seven have sold from nine offered).

#3 – Vekoma (Spendthrift)

Vekoma photo courtesy of Spendthrift Farm
Vekoma photo courtesy of Spendthrift Farm

Another stallion sired by Candy Ride, this fella broke his maiden at Belmont Park in September of his juvenile season and then took the roughly nine-mile van ride to Aqueduct where he captured the G3 Nashua Stakes in early November to close out his juvenile campaign with a swift 110 Equibase Speed Figure. 

Spendthrift set his rate at $20,000 per service during his first year at stud back in ’21, but it has since been reduced by 25% to today’s tag of $15,000. He had the second-highest number of suiters that first year (222) with the third-largest count of live foals (161). 

His yearlings were fancied by buyers last year, bringing an average of $96,825 for the 114 that sold from the 132 that were offered, which accounted for a nearly 5 to 1 stud fee-to-sales ratio. His 2YOs have also sold pretty well so far this year with nine out of 16 changing hands for an average just north of $115,000.

#4 – Complexity (Airdrie)

Complexity photo courtesy of Airdrie Farm

This guy burst onto the scene in 2018 as a two-year-old with an impressive, 4+ length, first-out maiden score at Saratoga in early September while posting a 101 EBSF. Next out he led gate-to-wire to nail down the Grade One Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October. He raised his EBSF in that one to a glitzy 110. He ended the year on a sour note, however, fading to finish 10th place vs. his class mate – Game Winner – in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Sired by Maclean’s Music, a right to bred to Complexity was offered up for the value price of $10,500 in his first year of stud duty, but it has since been bumped up to $12,500 for this year. 84 yearlings were sold by this dude last year (out of the 118 that were offered) and they commanded an average of nearly $84,000 (just shy of an outstanding 8-to-1 ratio).

His first crop has continued to sell nicely this year, as 10 two-year-olds have sold from the 16 offered and they’ve hammered for an average of $131,000. Additionally, this class had 126 live foals reported from the 158 mares that he was bred to, for a terrific 79.7% ratio.

#5 Authentic (Spendthrift)

Authentic photo courtesy of Spendthrift Farm

Lastly, we fully expect the big daddy of this class to crack the Top Five newbie sires. Authentic had 121 yearlings offered up for sale in 2023, with 92 changing owners. These yearlings sold for an average of $285,033, with a median sales amount of $230,000. His highest-selling yearling went for $900,000 (third most). He’s really turned up the dial in the sales ring this year having half of his eight 2YOs that have gone through the ring sell for an average of $480,000, which included a $1 million baby.

Trainer Bob Baffert only sent this fella into battle one time in his juvenile year of 2019, but he made it a winning one, claiming a 2YO MSW race at Del Mar in November with a 96 EBSF. Then he really matured in is 3YO season.

Further, he was bred to the most mares in 2021 (229) and the Jockey Club reported 165 live foals in his initial crop (second most). That gives him a solid 72.1% live foal to mares bred ratio.

Hopefully, this preview will help you sort out the First-Crop Sires of 2024 – enjoy and good luck!

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