Now you see them, now you don't. There is nothing like the cycles of the racing and breeding industry to make one feel as if the water is careening, rather than flowing under the bridge, and it seems like only yesterday that some of the stars of the first crop of covering sires represented at the November sales—such as champions Frankel, Americain (TrueNicks), or Hansen—were thrilling us with their efforts on the racecourse. In reality, it has of course been little more than a year, and the tearing of those 12 months off the calendar is sufficient time to see the transition from the racetrack to the first entry into the sales arena.
Obviously a tremendous amount of interest is going to center on the first mares offered in foal to Frankel, who not only went undefeated for three seasons and 14 starts, establishing himself as perhaps the greatest runner of all time (certainly as far as the English turf is concerned), but who is also a son of Galileo (TrueNicks), a horse generally acknowledged as the world's leading sire. The first two mares to be offered in foal to Frankel will be grade I winners In Lingerie and Mi Sueno at Fasig-Tipton November, with four more following on at Keeneland November (where oddly enough, three of the four are out of mares from the sire line of Frankel's own broodmare sire, Danehill).
The superstar apart, there is a very wide range of bloodlines, aptitudes, and geographic influence in the other broodmare sires on display, and we'll give a brief overlook with alphabetical order forming a loose guide. Aikenite (TrueNicks), a son of Yes It's True (TrueNicks) from the "other" live branch of Bold Ruler (Raja Baba), was twice grade I-placed at 2 and became a consistent sprinter/miler, eventually gaining a pair of graded victories (one grade II, one grade III) as a 4-year-old. His stable companion Americain (Dynaformer) was a group-winning stayer in France, but did his best work in Australia, where his Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) triumph gained him a rating as world highweight in his division. By the same sire as Americain, Brilliant Speed (TrueNicks) won the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on the all-weather and the Saranac Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf, and was also third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on dirt. He's out of a Gone West mare and his second dam is a sister to Touch Gold (TrueNicks).
Undefeated Algorithms (TrueNicks) might have been anything based on his five-length win in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), but he suffered a career-ending injury shortly afterwards. He's by Bernardini (TrueNicks) out of Ava Knowsthecode, dam of four other stakes winners, three graded, including this year's grade I-winning sprinter Justin Phillip. From the same sire line and bred on the same A.P. Indy/Quiet American cross, Astrology (TrueNicks) is a 2-year-old graded stakes winner and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) third. Another by Bernardini is To Honor and Serve (TrueNicks). He had high-class form at 2 when he took a pair of graded stakes; at 3, when he captured the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) and Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I); and at 4 when he added two more graded contests, including the Woodward Stakes (gr. I).
Bodemeister (TrueNicks) took the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) by 9 1/2 lengths but is probably going to be best remembered for his two exuberant front-running efforts to gain second in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I). He is a son of the much-missed Empire Maker out of the speedy graded stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent. By the same sire, New York's Soaring Empire (TrueNicks) won three stakes events, including the Hal's Hope Stakes (gr. III), and is out of Flying Passage, an A.P. Indy mare who also produced graded scorer Hungry Island and is from a live family that also includes Verrazano.
A member of the Relaunch branch of the In Reality sire line via Skywalker, Bertrando, and Officer, Boys At Tosconova (TrueNicks) was, like his sire, very good at 2 when he won the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) and took second to Uncle Mo (TrueNicks) in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). A three-quarter brother to Frankel—he's by Sadler's Wells out of the same mare—Bullet Train (TrueNicks) did sterling service as pacemaker for his sibling, but was good enough to win the Derby Trial (Eng-III) in his own right.
Caleb's Posse (TrueNicks) was a stakes winner at 2 and stretched out to win the Ohio Derby (gr. III) at 3, but was best as a sprinter/miler that year, taking the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I), and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I). He also missed out by inches in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) and Carter Handicap (gr. I) the following year. He's by the Silver Deputy horse Posse (TrueNicks), also sire of champion sprinter Kodiak Kowboy (TrueNicks).
Giant's Causeway (TrueNicks) is turning into a promising sire of sires, and he has another with a shot in Creative Cause (TrueNicks), who took a pair of graded stakes including the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I) at 2, and the following year added the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) and was second, beaten a nose, in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and third in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). He's out of the grade I-winning millionaire Dream of Summer. By the same sire is [Santiva], who won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) at 2 and is out of a daughter of champion sprinter Safely Kept. From a different branch of the Storm Cat line is Stormy Atlantic (TrueNicks)'s son Get Stormy (TrueNicks), who won nine stakes races including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT), Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT), and Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT).
Dialed In (TrueNicks) came from the clouds to take his only start at 2, then at 3 he captured the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) and ran down Shackleford to add the Florida Derby (gr. I). He's by Mineshaft (TrueNicks) and his dam is a multiple stakes producer who is by Storm Cat out of champion 2-year-old filly Eliza.
Dominus (TrueNicks) is by Smart Strike (TrueNicks), whose young sons Curlin (TrueNicks) and English Channel (TrueNicks) both have classic winners in their first crops. He took the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) on the dirt at 3 and the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) on turf at 4. He's out of Cuando, a multiple stakes winner who is a half sister to turf ace Honey Ryder.
Gemologist (TrueNicks) is one of the growing number of young Tiznow (TrueNicks) sons and is one of the most talented, a winner of his first five races, including the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) and Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I). He's got the right stallions in the distaff side of the pedigree, as the dam is by Mr. Prospector out of a graded stakes-winning Northern Dancer mare.
This is likely to be the only U.S. crop of Hansen, who has now been sold to South Korea. The son of Tapit (TrueNicks) was an unbeaten champion at 2, when he went three-for-three including a very courageous win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). He added the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and a runaway win in the Iowa Derby (gr. III) at 3.
Jersey Town (TrueNicks) is by one of the sires of the moment, Speightstown (TrueNicks), out of the Acorn (gr. I), Mother Goose (gr. I), and Test Stakes (gr. I) victress Jersey Girl. Jersey Town lived up to his pedigree with wins in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) and Cigar Mile (gr. I).
The once-raced Maclean's Music (TrueNicks) scored a record-for-a-debut 114 Beyer Speed figure, and the son of Distorted Humor (TrueNicks) out of the graded stakes-winning Forest Music has the sort of profile seen with Danzig, Red Ransom, and Malibu Moon (TrueNicks). Maclean's Music's dam is by Unbridled's Song, and one of the more durable sons of that sire is New York-based Mission Impazible (TrueNicks). He won the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) and was graded stakes-placed from five to 9 1/2 furlongs, including seconds in three grade I races.
On the score of durability, however, you'd have to go some way to catch Musketier (TrueNicks), a German-bred son of Acatenango (a son of the great stallion Surumu). He was a six-length winner of the Prix de Conde (Fr-III) in France at 2, and was still winning graded races at age 10, when he captured the Singspiel Stakes (Can-IIIT). He captured five other graded stakes in between, three of them as a 9-year-old, when he was champion Canadian turf horse.
Shackleford (TrueNicks) was a formidable front-runner who defeated Animal Kingdom (TrueNicks) for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at 3 and added the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) and Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at 4. He's by the Storm Cat son Forestry (TrueNicks), whose other very talented son Discreet Cat (TrueNicks) has started well as a sire, and he's out of the super-producer Oatsee (from the same family as Gone West).
One of the first indicators to the phenomenon that War Front (TrueNicks) has become was The Factor (TrueNicks), who showed electrifying pace at times, winning five graded stakes including the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) and Pat O'Brien Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs, and also carrying his speed to take a strongly-contested Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at 8 1/2 furlongs.
Although he never earned a championship, there were times at both 2 and 3 that Union Rags (TrueNicks) gave the impression that he may have been the best of his generation. At 2 he took his first three starts, including the Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II) and Champagne Stakes (gr. I), and missed to Hansen by a head in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I). The following year he earned a classic triumph on his final outing, taking the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The leading son of Dixie Union, he's a half brother to the dam of 2013 European star Declaration of War (TrueNicks).