The number of yearlings registered in North America continues to drop although there are signs that the trend may be bottoming out. The total to date is 7236 and just 36 lower than the 2016 crop. Interestingly the numbers would have been much lower but for an upward tick in trotting yearlings from 3095 in 2016 to 3177 in 2017. Pacing yearlings dropped from 4177 to 4059 as the number of pacing sires at stud with yearlings in 2018 showed a dramatic drop of 57 retirees from the 2017 list. Trotting stallion numbers also dropped with 48 fewer represented in the current crop.
New sires of consequence this year are minimal with the most prominent ones being Artspeak and Hes Watching on the pacing side and trotting yearlings by Sebastian K and Wheeling N Dealin who are likely to be the new trotting sires of interest at the yearling sales.
Artspeak stood at Hanover Shoe Farms but has moved to Ontario even before his first crop sells. His pedigree is similar to that of Well Said who also has been relocated from Hanover and nows stands in Ohio. Perhaps the relatively poor performance of Well Said, with a below average success rate of around 13% in terms of producing $100K winners, has something to do with the Artspeak move. His first crop totals just 80 foals. In previous blog articles I wrote about Well Said and his prospects after his first crop. The article is entitled Well Bred - Well Dead and predicted his apparent early demise as a popular sire. I also wrote a recent article on sires with Artsplace dams that documents the surprising facts regarding the lack of success in general for such sires. That being said, as I am fond of also saying that every sire can produce something special if given the right opportunity, Well Said did produce a million dollar winner in Control The Moment, now at stud in Ontario, plus another half dozen that made over $500K. His lack of consistency and low number of top stakes winners, however, have doomed him to be a regional sire. Control The Moment is from an Abercrombie line dam that is inbred maternally to Meadow Skipper through No Nukes and/or the Albatross line and as such shares the profile of both Rocknroll Hanover and Shadow Play in general. Lost In Time, the second best by Well Said follows that same profile pattern. The other aspect of his profile is success with Cam Fella line dams that are inbred to Adios/Abercrombie (Katie Said) or inbred maternally to Albatross/No Nukes lines (My Hero Ron).
Hes Watching is by American Ideal and with a maternal combination of Abercrombie and Meadow Skipper lines. The Meadow Skipper line sire in this case is Jennas Beach Boy, a rarity in the dams of current sires as is Real Desire, the Abercrombie line present. There is one other current sire in Heston Blue Chip that is a son of American Ideal and has foals of racing age. His first crop is just qualifying and already has produced one of the fastest qualifying two year olds in Zero Tolerance 2,Q1.53.3m. Heston Blue Chips dam is also a Meadow Skipper/Abercrombie line combination albeit through different sons of these sires. The pedigree of Zero Tolerance shows his dam is a full sister to the great mare Rainbow Blue so perhaps that has as much to do with his early showing. The pedigree is a double return of Adios/Abercrombie and Most Happy Fella lines to the dam of Heston Blue Chip and a very good pedigree match accordingly, however, and something to watch for in the possibilities by Hes Watching. I recommended a breeding to my friends at Saulsbrook Farm for their mare Heroine Hanover who is by Somebeachsomewhere and from the Hall Of Fame mare Httie by Abercrombie. The match is a double/double and similar mares with SBSW and Abercrombie lines would be high on my list at the yearling sales.
I will look at the prospects for Sebastian K and Wheeling N Dealing in my next article.