Orb, Animal Kingdom among first-crop sires to watch at Fasig-Tipton

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 11th, 2016

An enduring highlight of the summer yearling sales season is seeing how the first-crop sires are received. Tuesday’s July Selected Yearlings Sale at Fasig-Tipton is a treasure trove in this regard – so much so that it’s not easy to whittle down the list to manageable proportions.

The obvious starting point is furnished by Kentucky Derby (G1) winners Animal Kingdom (2011) and Orb (2013), who have two yearlings apiece in this sale. Despite their very different profiles, both stallions have already posted promising sales results with their initial babies.

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have the usual pedigree of a Derby winner, or a typically fashionable North American stallion, but thankfully that hasn’t stopped him so far. His outstanding versatility at the highest level on the racecourse, and his physique, have seen to that. And for breeders desiring an outcross for the ubiquitous Mr. Prospector and the common strains of Northern Dancer, his genetic diversity is a plus.

By the Blushing Groom-line champion Leroidesanimaux and out of Group 3 heroine Dalicia (by Acatenango and from a productive German family), Animal Kingdom displayed world-class ability on all three surfaces. He proved his dirt prowess in the Derby, and when a half-length second to Shackleford in the 2011 Preakness (G1); on turf, he was a flying if troubled runner-up to Wise Dan in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1); and on Meydan’s old Tapeta, he dominated the 2013 Dubai World Cup (G1).

Entering stud at Arrowfield in Australia in the second half of 2013, Animal Kingdom had his first crop of yearlings sell reasonably well Down Under. According to Kelsey Riley of Thoroughbred Daily News, he recorded an average yearling price of A$113,429 – considerably higher than his A$38,500 stud fee.

Animal Kingdom’s first North American crop was foaled in 2015, and as weanlings at the sales last fall, reports they sold for an average of $110,778. His initial North American yearling to go through the auction ring commanded $150,000 at Keeneland January, which is quite a nice price for a “short” yearling who hadn’t even reached her physical first birthday. Animal Kingdom, who is not shuttling to Australia this year, stands at Darley near Lexington, Kentucky, for $35,000.

Of his two daughters cataloged Tuesday, Hip No. 133 is especially intriguing as a lovely bay out of a half-sister to Midway Road from the family of Buddy’s Saint and Island Fashion.

Orb fairly screams commercial success, with his blueblood American pedigree accompanying his classic success on the track. A Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable homebred, the son of Malibu Moon hails from the potent A.P. Indy sire line. His female line is no less compelling, for he’s out of an Unbridled mare from the family of Ruffian, Icecapade, and Coronado’s Quest.

Peaking at just the right time, Orb compiled a five-race winning streak featuring the 2013 Fountain of Youth (G2) and Florida Derby (G1) on the way to Kentucky Derby glory. He was whisked off to stud at the end of his 3-year-old season, his potential stallion value too great to risk. Orb stands for $25,000 at Claiborne Farm near Paris, Kentucky.

Orb’s offspring have justified lofty expectations in the sales ring. According to Claiborne, he ranked as the leading first-season covering sire in 2014 (i.e., mares sold in foal to Orb brought more than mares in foal to other first-season sires at auction), and as the top first-crop weanling sire (by average and median) in 2015. Brisnet stats show that his weanlings averaged $123,563, and nine of his 16 sellers commanded six figures, led by a $300,000 colt. At Keeneland this January, an Orb yearling went for $160,000.

Those numbers could be eclipsed on Tuesday, when Orb has two well-bred yearlings at Fasig-Tipton. Hip 163 is a filly out of a half-sister to Tale of the Cat from the all-star family of Johannesburg and Pulpit, and Hip 312 is a colt out of a full sister to Bridgetown from the family of Strike the Gold.

Orb’s contemporary Oxbow, who wired the 2013 Preakness (G1), and Oxbow’s extremely close relative Paynter, the 2012 Haskell (G1) conqueror, have several first-crop yearlings at Fasig-Tipton. The duo are both by Awesome Again, and their dams are full sisters to Hall of Famer Tiznow. Oxbow and Paynter thus have the same grandparents in common, and can be described as “full brothers in blood.” Interestingly, both also finished runner-up in their respective editions of the Belmont (G1).

Paynter, who currently stands for $20,000 at WinStar, saw his weanlings go for an average of $101,636 in 2015. Oxbow’s weanling average checks in at $89,000, but three of his five sellers brought six figures. His stud fee is also just off Paynter’s, holding court for $17,500 at Calumet. For whatever it’s worth, this pattern was also in place when both sold as Keeneland September yearlings too: Oxbow ($250,000 in 2011) brought somewhat less than Paynter ($325,000 in 2010).

Another first-crop sire garnering attention is Graydar, who racked up a $93,813 weanling average. The son of Unbridled’s Song was sparingly raced, but won five of six including the Donn H. (G1), Kelso (G2), and New Orleans H. (G2). A $15,000 Taylor Made stallion, Graydar has no fewer than 13 in the Fasig-Tipton catalog.

As a late-developing turf marathoner, Point of Entry doesn’t meet the stereotypical American need for speed and precocity. Hence it’s very encouraging that the royally-bred Dynaformer stallion boasts a weanling average of $81,487 – admittedly on the strength of two six-figure sellers (one at Tattersalls December). He also had more than his fair share of RNA’s (weanlings who were unsold after failing to meet their reserve price). But if his offspring are anything like him, they’ll look even better with age, suggesting his yearlings may be in even more demand. Point of Entry, who commands a $25,000 stud fee at Adena Springs Kentucky, has a couple of well-related yearlings in on Tuesday.

Violence, the onetime 2013 Derby favorite after going unbeaten through the CashCall Futurity (G1), was retired with an injury sustained in his second to Orb in the Fountain of Youth. He now stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale near Lexington for $15,000. A $600,000 Keeneland September yearling himself, Violence is eligible to pass his auction-ring attractiveness on to his offspring. Indeed, the son of Medaglia d’Oro (from the same sterling family as Point of Entry) registered a healthy $73,875 weanling average from a gaggle of 24 to sell. His Fasig-Tipton lots include Hip 224, a half-brother to exciting juvenile filly Bode’s Dream.

Shanghai Bobby, the champion 2-year-old colt of 2012, has achieved a lot more traction so far than the next Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner, New Year’s Day. Shanghai Bobby compiled a more impressive campaign, including the Champagne (G1) and Hopeful (G2), before remaining perfect in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. An Ashford Stud resident by the much-missed Harlan’s Holiday, Shanghai Bobby had a total of 21 weanlings sell for an average of $67,571. He currently stands for $15,000. In contrast, New Year’s Day scored his first stakes win in the Juvenile and suffered a career-ending injury before he turned three. But with his younger half-brother Mohaymen boosting his page, New Year’s Day could end up getting a second look. The son of Street Cry stands for only a $5,000 stud fee at Hill ‘n’ Dale.

Perhaps the bargain basement first-crop sire to watch Tuesday is Justin Phillip. The tough, durable Grade 1-winning sprinter may have exceeded expectations by sending out a couple of six-figure sellers last fall to boost his weanling average to $50,020. That’s 10 times his current fee of $5,000 at Castleton Lyons. By the Giant’s Causeway stallion First Samurai, Justin Phillip is out of the prolific Avaknowsthecode, making him a half-brother to promising freshman sire Algorithms.

A $7,500 stallion with strength in numbers here is Grade 2 victor Alternation, a Pin Oak homebred millionaire who also had two six-figure weanlings in 2015. Likewise well stocked on Tuesday is $3.6 million-earner Flat Out, back-to-back Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) hero who went out on a high in the 2013 Cigar Mile (G1), and stands at Spendthrift for $8,500.

Take Charge Indy, the 2012 Florida Derby (G1)-winning son of A.P. Indy and Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady (also the dam of champion Will Take Charge); $4.4 million-earner Fort Larned, who capped what arguably should have been an Eclipse-worthy season in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1); and 2013 Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Overanalyze are also part of this deep and talented freshman class.

Tune in to Tuesday at 10 a.m. to watch the sale!

Animal Kingdom photo by Jamie Newell/

Orb photo by Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography.