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Bill's Columns
FASIG 2 DAYS: $29 MILLION
Date: July 17th, 2018
This article originally appeared in BloodHorse Daily.
By Bill Oppenheim
In the July 3 Blood-Horse Daily I wrote: “one good thing about projections is they give us a standard against which to measure the actual results, so the real question will be how close or far the July [Yearling] sale is from a $20 million gross and $100,000 average. Before the fact, those look like optimistic targets”. Considering the gross was $19,762,500 and the average was $100,829 we can definitely say the Fasig July yearling sale finished up right at the top end of our pre-sale projections. There were 50 more (+17%) yearlings catalogued than last year, of which 11% more sold, so the clearance rate from the catalogue dropped 3%, from 58% to 55%. The gross was up by 22% ($3.6-million); and the average was up by 7%. When we add in the figures from the July 9 Horses of Racing Age sale, Fasig Kentucky’s two days in July grossed $29,080,500, almost a $5-million increase (+20%) from corresponding 2017 figures. They must be pretty satisfied with those numbers.
Sire averages are more or less irrelevant at a Horses of Racing Age sale, but of course they are vital at the yearling sales, especially for younger sires. Claiborne’s Flatter had the Fasig sale-topper at $520,000 and another colt sell for $190,000 so does have the highest average with two sold averaging $355,000. Darley’s Street Sense similarly had a $350,000 colt bought by Godolphin and another $100,000 colt for a $225,000 average for two. Bur probably of more significance are sires, particularly younger sires, which had three or more sell. Three Chimneys’ two sires with 2-year-olds occupied two of the top three spots on that list, as Will Take Charge had four sell for an average of $232,500, and Strong Mandate had three average $220,667. Splitting them was Spendthrift’s Into Mischief, with five averaging $222,000. He has proven to be truly a superior sire. Because his first four crops totaled only 140 foals, approximately the same number as are in his fifth (now 4-year-olds) and sixth (now 3-year-olds) crops he is at a significant statistical disadvantage against other sires whose sixth crops are 3-year-olds but have a more even distribution of foals per crop. There is some evidence which suggests if Into Mischief had the same sort of crop distribution as his contemporaries, he would be rated a top-four U.S. sire, alongside Tapit. War Front, and, yes, the late lamented Scat Daddy. His final crop are now 2-year-olds, though. Into Mischief, who currently sits #4 on the North American General Sire List, incidentally has 13 catalogued at Saratoga.
Eleven sires in all had three or more sell and averaged $100,000 or more at Fasig-Tipton. Three Chimneys had a massive sale, because besides Will Take Charge and Strong Mandate, their Palace Malice was the top first-year sire, with four selling for an average of $187,500. He was a seriously good horse from Curlin’s first crop who win the G1 Belmont S. and G1 Met Mile. Second among first-year sires with three or more sold was Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Bayern (three, averaged $115,000), third was WinStar’s Constitution, winner of the 2014 G1 Florida Derby and 2015 G1 Donn H. (defeating Lea). Five yearlings by Constitution averaged right at $100,000.
Two sires with their first 3-year-olds (F2015) joined the two with first 2-year-olds and three with first yearlings in averaging $100,000+ with three or more sold, meaning seven of the eleven sires with six-figure averages were from the three youngest crops of sires with runners. The F2015 sires were Take Charge Indy, who had three average $123,333; and Ashford’s Shanghai Bobby, who had six yearlings sell for an average of $118,333. Two sires with first foals 2012 (F2012) were among the 11. Ashford’s Munnings, who now has his second three-figure crop since having three straight crops under 60, had five yearlings average $144,000, and is one to keep an eye on in September: this group of yearlings are out of the best-bred mares he’d ever covered, and his 2018 crop are out of even better mares. Darley’s Midshipman, also with first foals 2012 and a good sire at a four-figure fee, had three average $111,667 at Fasig. The only sire who had his first foals before 2010 who averaged over $100,000 with three or more selling at Fasig was Spendthrift’s Malibu Moon, who had four average $147,250.
A total of 13 F2017 sires with their first yearlings 2018 had three or more sell at Fasig. Besides the three mentioned above (Palace Malice, Bayern, Constitution) who averaged $100,000+, these included three from Spendthrift, two more from WinStar, and two from Darby Dan. Spendthrift’s three were: Palace (as distinct from Palace Malice; 5 sold, impressive $86,100 average); Race Day (4 sold, average $63,750); and Wicked Strong (3 sold, averaged $57,667). Besides Constitution, WinStar also debuted Daredevil (3 sold, averaged $63,000) and Commissioner (7 sold, averaged $60,714). Darby Dan had the buzz horse Tapiture (6, averaged $55,833) and Sky Kingdom, who had three Fasig yearlings average $53,333. Only three other farms were represented by F2017 (first-crop yearling) sires with three or more sold: Ashford’s Competitive Edge (8, averaged $68,750); Airdrie’s Summer Front (5, averaged $57,400); and Buck Pond’s Conveyance (4, averaged $45,000).
We’ll be seeing a lot more by all these first-crop sires in the next couple of months. In particular, Ashford’s American Pharoah (1 sold at Fasig, $200,000), who has 15 at Saratoga; Lane’s End’s Honor Code (1 sold, $100,000; 9 at Saratoga) and Tonalist (none at Fasig, 5 at Saratoga); and WinStar’s Carpe Diem (2, averaged $100,000; 9 at Saraoga).
MID-YEAR APEX: FRANKEL IS THE NEW GALILEO
APEX (Annual Progeny Earnings indeX) sire ratings calculate the frequency with which sires’ progeny achieve certain earnings and class levels. They were developed nearly 30 years ago by our team at Racing Update in reaction to what was then big purse inflation (at the time, $2-million; now, $10-million) which distorted the average-earnings index. There are actually 17 different APEX ratings, which sounds complicated, but really it’s not as complicated as it sounds: sires are rated at three different class levels, at four different ages (2yo, 3yo, 4yo, 5yo+) and in three different regions (North America, Europe, and Japan). The class levels are earnings-based: the top 2% earners from runners in a given jurisdiction in a given year are designated ‘A Runners’; the next 2% ‘B Runners’; the next 4% ‘C Runners’; so ABC Runners combined comprise the top 8%. A table of earnings thresholds may be found with this column; note that APEX ratings are restricted to a seven-year band (so once-great sires don’t look better than they now are). They are calculated on an annual (or, in this case, semi-annual) basis, so one horse is counted as one runner each year it runs, and as an A, B, or C Runner each year it qualifies. The calculations are then indexed: for the A Runner Index, 2.00%=1.00, so if a sire has 10% A Runners, his A Runner Index will be 5.00.
Coolmore’s Galileo, indisputably the top sire of our time, doesn’t always have the highest A Runner Index, simply because he has so many runners, which we call ‘year-starters’ as one runner can count more than once. Since the beginning of 2012 Galileo has had 2,004 year-starters, an average of 286 starters a season and the most of the 437 sires which qualified for Midyear 2018 APEX ratings, which stand or stood in North America or Europe, and which had 200+ year-starters (an additional qualification for being assigned APEX ratings is sires have to have had 10 or more 3-year-olds of the last year covered [in this case, foals of 2015, 3-year-olds of 2018] – so no freshman sires, and no sires with really small crops). Galileo has a massive 5.66 A Runner Index (meaning 11.32% of his runners [227] have earned that much), but even that was not enough for him to retain his ranking as the #1 APEX sire by A Runner Index, because his son Frankel, the top-rated racehorse of all time, has 32 A Runners from 270 year-starters to date, which translates to an A Runner Index of 5.93 (11.86% of year-starters). Of course Frankel has the statistical advantage of having had only 13% the number of runners Galileo has had but even so it’s pretty hard not to speculate that Frankel is the new Galileo.
Veteran readers may notice these highest APEX ratings seem higher than usual, even for these superstars, and that does seem to be the case. We made a technical adjustment with TJCIS (The Jockey Club Information Systems), which provides all the calculations and data to my team’s specifications. One anomaly in using earnings-based statistics is that sometimes Group winners, especially European Group winners, can win a Group race but still not qualify as an A Runner based on earnings. As we are sure that Group winners in the seven countries covered (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan) are at least as good as A Runners, we went back and caught up historically to make sure all Group winners in these countries are in fact counted as A Runners. I think that account for what may seem like inflation in the indexes but really isn’t.
After Galileo & Son (or should we start saying Frankel & Dad?), Darley’s Dubawi (4.68) and Claiborne’s War Front (4.63) rank third and fourth by 2018 Midyear APEX A Runner Index, both also with relatively stratospheric ratings. Claiborne’s Ashford satellite’s Uncle Mo (3.83) is the top American-based sire whose good horses are mostly in America. Three more European sires: Ireland’s Gilltown Stud’s Sea The Stars (3.59); Juddmonte’s veteran Dansili (3.29); and Germany’s Gestiut Schlenderhan’s Adlerflug (3.17); and America’s Darley Jonabell sire Medaglia D’Oro (3.39) and Adena Springs’ Ghostzapper (3.25) round out the top ten. Spendthrift’s 11th-ranked Into Mischief (3.08) and Gainesway’s 12th-ranked Tapit (3.04) also register A Runner indexes over 3.00.
About a quarter of the top 50 sires by Midyear 2018 APEX A Runner Index are younger sires, with first foals 2012-2014. The F2012 sire crop has always looked pretty deep, and in fact has seven representatives among the top 50: Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Florida import Kantharos (2.80) and France’s Haras de Bonneval’s Siyouni (2.80), both of whom started for four-figure stud fees, actually tie for 14th ranking. Lane’s End’s Quality Road (2.76), the acknowledged crop leader in the big class categories, is not far behind. This sire crop is also represented by Ashford’s Lookin At Lucky (2.40) and Munnings (2.23); Claiborne’s resurgent Blame (2.12); and Ireland’s Ballylinch Stud’s Lope De Vega (2.06). Three sires with first foals 2013 are in the top 50, all based in America: #5 Uncle Mo (3.83), as noted; Darley’s Lonhro (2.09), who doesn’t really count as his first Australian crop was 2004 – he spent three seasons at Darley Jonabell 2012-2014; and Lane’s End’s Twirling Candy (2.02), who has been second to Uncle Mo on almost every F2013 list since the word go. Frankel is of course the top F2014 sire (first 4-year-olds 2018); the only American F2014 sire to make the top 50 is Airdrie’s emerging leading third-crop US sire, Creative Cause (2.09).
I’ll have more APEX data and comment in subsequent columns but this is hot off the presses for our first taste of Midyear APEX 2018 ratings.
APEX EARNINGS THRESHOLDS 2012-2018 (US$)
2018 through racing of July 8
A RUNNERS top 2%
NA GB/IR FR GER JPN
2018 88,438 61,117 55,115 37,315 214,528
2017 135,185 84,416 79,693 58,610 315,974
2016 133,000 88,103 75,614 61,743 330,784
2015 134,280 97,770 79,466 54,014 289,558
2014 134,655 98,055 91,375 65,259 325,293
2013 131,410 85,511 92,160 61,617 348,782
2012 121,200 76,204 88,961 58,096 425,698
APEX EARNINGS THRESHOLDS 2012-2018 (US$)
2018 through racing of July 8
B RUNNERS next 2%
NA GB/IR FR GER JPN
2018 62,300 35,139 41,320 20,614 141,330
2017 94,440 50,450 57,002 39,484 205,964
2016 93,200 49,596 55,601 36,477 205,862
2015 93,610 56,191 58,942 34,336 187,633
2014 92,290 57,337 68,833 39,845 210,376
2013 90,760 50,997 65,405 41,680 224,614
2012 87,750 43,663 64,593 33,775 264,781
APEX EARNINGS THRESHOLDS 2012-2018 (US$)
2018 through racing of July 8
C RUNNERS next 2%
NA GB/IR FR GER JPN
2018 42,550 20,578 30,299 14,093 83,181
2017 64,025 27,672 40,786 21,001 122,094
2016 63,590 27,259 40,185 18,726 122,275
2015 63,420 30,380 41,167 20,957 111,357
2014 63,525 31,916 47,385 23,307 124,053
2013 62,256 27,684 46,386 21,246 129,200
2012 59,420 23,459 44,582 19,104 159,750
* 1st NH Season
TOP 50 NORTH AMERICAN & EUROPEAN SIRES by A RUNNER INDEX 2012-2018
SIRE YR HIS SIRE 1ST FLS ST Runners A's A Index ABC's ABC Index
FRANKEL 2008 GALILEO 2014 ENG 270 32 5.93 64 2.96
GALILEO 1998 SADLER'S WELLS 2003 IRE 2,004 227 5.66 427 2.66
DUBAWI 2002 DUBAI MILLENNIUM 2007 ENG 1,313 123 4.68 284 2.70
WAR FRONT 2002 DANZIG 2008 KY 1,037 96 4.63 222 2.68
UNCLE MO 2008 INDIAN CHARLIE 2013 KY 587 45 3.83 104 2.21
SEA THE STARS 2006 CAPE CROSS 2011 IRE 668 48 3.59 110 2.06
MEDAGLIA D'ORO 1999 EL PRADO 2006 KY 1,447 98 3.39 240 2.07
DANSILI 1996 DANEHILL 2002 ENG 1,262 83 3.29 194 1.92
GHOSTZAPPER 2000 AWESOME AGAIN 2007 KY 1,171 76 3.25 201 2.15
ADLERFLUG 2004 IN THE WINGS 2011 GER 205 13 3.17 23 1.40
INTO MISCHIEF 2005 HARLAN'S HOLIDAY 2010 KY 877 54 3.08 146 2.08
TAPIT 2001 PULPIT 2006 KY 1,938 118 3.04 339 2.19
CURLIN 2004 SMART STRIKE 2010 KY 1,045 59 2.82 188 2.25
SIYOUNI 2007 PIVOTAL 2012 FR 554 31 2.80 82 1.85
KANTHAROS 2008 LION HEART 2012 KY 410 23 2.80 62 1.89
SCAT DADDY 2004 JOHANNESBURG 2009 Died 2015 1,477 82 2.78 203 1.72
QUALITY ROAD 2006 ELUSIVE QUALITY 2012 KY 689 38 2.76 116 2.10
SPEIGHTSTOWN 1998 GONE WEST 2006 KY 1,546 85 2.75 256 2.07
KITTEN'S JOY 2001 EL PRADO 2007 KY 1,928 103 2.67 268 1.74
SHAMARDAL 2002 GIANT'S CAUSEWAY 2007 IRE 1,409 75 2.66 211 1.87
ENGLISH CHANNEL 2002 SMART STRIKE 2009 KY 996 52 2.61 141 1.77
DARK ANGEL 2005 ACCLAMATION 2009 IRE 1,336 69 2.58 175 1.64
TEOFILO 2004 GALILEO 2009 IRE 1,204 62 2.57 175 1.82
GIANT GIZMO 2004 GIANT'S CAUSEWAY 2011 ON 319 16 2.51 39 1.53
FASTNET ROCK 2001 DANEHILL *2011 IRE 741 36 2.43 94 1.59
SQUARE EDDIE 2006 SMART STRIKE 2011 CA 330 16 2.42 50 1.89
LOOKIN AT LUCKY 2007 SMART STRIKE 2012 KY 563 27 2.40 67 1.49
SMART STRIKE 1992 MR. PROSPECTOR 1998 Died 2015 1,441 69 2.39 225 1.95
BERNARDINI 2003 A.P. INDY 2008 KY 1,381 64 2.32 176 1.59
INVINCIBLE SPIRIT 1997 GREEN DESERT 2004 IRE 1,759 81 2.30 236 1.68
UNUSUAL HEAT 1990 NUREYEV 1999 Died 2017 788 36 2.28 129 2.05
CANDY RIDE 1999 RIDE THE RAILS 2006 KY 1,637 74 2.26 238 1.82
GIANT'S CAUSEWAY 1997 STORM CAT 2002 Died 2018 1,964 88 2.24 266 1.69
MUNNINGS 2006 SPEIGHTSTOWN 2012 KY 537 24 2.23 71 1.65
SOLDIER HOLLOW 2000 IN THE WINGS 2009 GER 522 23 2.20 75 1.80
STREET SENSE 2004 STREET CRY 2009 KY 1,303 57 2.19 181 1.74
CHOISIR 1999 DANEHILL DANCER 2004 AUS 479 21 2.19 52 1.36
HARLINGTON 2002 UNBRIDLED 2010 KSA 304 13 2.14 35 1.44
BLAME 2006 ARCH 2012 KY 567 24 2.12 78 1.72
NEW APPROACH 2005 GALILEO 2010 ENG 885 37 2.09 111 1.57
LONHRO 1998 OCTAGONAL *2013 AUS 358 15 2.09 38 1.33
CREATIVE CAUSE 2009 GIANT'S CAUSEWAY 2014 KY 263 11 2.09 28 1.33
WEIGELIA 2001 SAFELY'S MARK 2010 PA 216 9 2.08 33 1.91
OASIS DREAM 2000 GREEN DESERT 2005 ENG 1,499 62 2.07 206 1.72
PIVOTAL 1993 POLAR FALCON 1998 ENG 1,234 51 2.07 176 1.78
LOPE DE VEGA 2007 SHAMARDAL 2012 IRE 582 24 2.06 90 1.93
LEMON DROP KID 1996 KINGMAMBO 2002 KY 1,473 60 2.04 175 1.49
MOTIVATOR 2002 MONTJEU 2007 FR 737 30 2.04 79 1.34
SILENT NAME 2002 SUNDAY SILENCE 2009 ON 570 23 2.02 78 1.71
TWIRLING CANDY 2007 CANDY RIDE 2013 KY 347 14 2.02 63 2.27
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