Who is the best North American sire?

Profile Picture: Rowan Ward

April 12th, 2021

With breeding season underway and the Triple Crown coming up, pedigree is on a lot of people's minds. Take a look at the highlights of some of the best sires standing in North America: horses who have sired champions and classic winners, horses whose progeny always show up in races at the top level.

Then let us know: who is the best of the best?

Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin has been a source of stamina and class since his first crop. That first crop included Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice; he has also sired Preakness winner Exaggerator and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Vino Rosso. Even with his reputation for good horses at ages three and up, he also has a Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Good Magic, and his son Palace Malice sired Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Structor. He continues to make headlines in 2021 with Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda, Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospects Malathaat and Clairiere, Santa Anita H. (G1) winner Idol, and now King Fury who upset Saturday's Lexington (G3).

Into Mischief's first crop featured two-time Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents, and it was only upward from there. He has sired the last two champion female sprinters, Covfefe and Gamine. Though many questioned his ability to get a classic star, Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) third Audible suggested it was possible. Into Mischief got his first classic winner with Authentic: Kentucky Derby winner, Breeders' Cup Classic winner, and 2020 Horse of the Year. Into Mischief is represented on the 2021 Derby trail by Risen Star (G2) winner Mandaloun and Florida Derby second Soup and Sandwich.

Speightstown epitomizes the proven stallion. The champion sprinter of 2004 turned 23 this year, but remains as relevant as ever. In 2020 he led all North American sires with four Grade 1 winners: Echo Town (H. Allen Jerkens), Charlatan (Malibu), Lady Speightspeare (Natalma), and Mozu Superflare (Takamatsunomiya Kinen). Though Speightstown shined as an older dirt sprinter, he does it all in the stud barn. His progeny run at the top level as juveniles and older horses, on dirt or turf, going short or long. And, just behind him on the 2020 North American sire list, sixth to his fifth? You find his son Munnings.

Tapit dominated the sire rankings and the top end of the auction market through the 2010s. A graded stakes winner at ages two and three, the son of Pulpit sired juvenile champions Stardom Bound, Hansen, and Essential Quality, three-year-old champion Untapable, and two-time champion Unique Bella. He has sired three Belmont winners: Tonalist (2014), Creator (2016), and Tapwrit (2017). And his son Constitution has also sired a Belmont winner, Tiz the Law. As usual, Tapit is having a say in three-year-old races: he sired top Derby prospects Essential Quality and Greatest Honour, and his son Frosted sired Oaks contender Travel Column.

Uncle Mo, the champion juvenile of 2010, exploded onto the scene when his first foals hit the track in 2015. His first crop included eventual two-year-old champion and Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist. He led all North American sires in 2020 with 14 graded stakes winners. Though Uncle Mo was a dirt horse and has sired several top-level main-track runners, his foals also shine on turf, including Hollywood Derby (G1) winner Mo Forza and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) winner Golden Pal. He is also an emerging sire of sires; his young sons Nyquist and Laoban have already sired Grade 1 winners.

Who is the best North American Sire?

Last week’s poll looked back into history and let you decide: who is the best-ever Blue Grass winner? It was a tight race between a pair of Kentucky Derby winners who won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, international supersire Northern Dancer (1964) and a horse so dominant in his time, Spectacular Bid (1979). By a margin of 42% of the vote to 33%, Northern Dancer nosed out the Bid.