Bearing in mind that stud fees have been ticking up again, and that proven horses are in demand, we were pretty surprised to hear recently about a stallion that you can still book to. While many other proven stallions are already full, this stallion can still be bred to for as little as $13,500 live foal (or $15,000 stands and nurses). He is sire of 39 stakes winners, 11 graded winners, and six grade I winners. He’s had five Eclipse Award finalists in seven years, including a dual classic-winning champion who is now a successful young sire, plus another grade I winner 2011.
The sire in question is Northern Afleet (TrueNicks,SRO), a product of the same Mr. Prospector/Nureyev cross as Kingmambo, and he is the sire of Eclipse Award winners Afleet Alex(TrueNicks,SRO) and 2011 champion sprinter Amazombie. The probable explanation for why Northern Afleet isn’t more popular is that he generally hasn’t run up big numbers in the sales ring, and breeders looking at the short-term bottom line are liable to shy away after a look at his sale statistics. However, if the thinking is a little longer-term, Northern Afleet might be considered a very good value-for-money way to get a mare off to a solid start. Those breeding to race—an increasingly attractive option in regions where slots money is finding its way into purses—are going to be hard pressed to find a horse who is a more reliable source of runners, with the shot of turning out a really good one. And it seems that those good ones can appear all across the aptitude spectrum, from sprinters Big City Man and Amazombie; to juvenile filly grade I winner Negligee (also a champion 2-year-old filly in Canada); to Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I) victor Afleet Alex; to Evening Jewel, a grade I winner on the turf and all-weather at 3; and Teaks North, who took the United Nations Handicap (gr. I) at 11 furlongs.
For those considering Northern Afleet, we can note that most of his best runners are bred on well-defined crosses. Looking through his graded winners, and $200,000+ earners, you’ll find Afleet Alex and his graded-winning brother Unforgettable Max (both TrueNicks A++), and graded scorer Where’s Sterling are all out of mares by sons of Silver Hawk (by Roberto); Big City Man and stakes winner Cash’s Girl (both A++) are from the Valid Appeal branch of In Reality, with Negligee (A+) being from a daughter of the In Reality horse Relaunch; Evening Jewel (A++) is out of a mare by Giant’s Causeway (TrueNicks,SRO), with stakes winner Anihilation (A++) from a mare by Giant’s Causeway’s sire, Storm Cat. The Storm Bird line is also represented by Personal Hope, broodmare sire of Too Many Toys (A++). From another branch of the Northern Dancer line there is a stakes winner out of a mare by Danzig (Afleet Deceit, A++), and another out of a mare by his son Honor Grades (Northern Belle, A++). We’ll also note Aegean (A++) out of a mare by Aptitude, a son of A.P. Indy, and $600,000-earner Unforgotten (A), who is out of a mare by the Seattle Slew horse Secret Slew. Halo has also worked via Saint Ballado (including Saint Afleet, A++) and his brother Devil’s Bag (Afleet Alexandra, out of a mare by Devil His Due). He’s also struck with some less mainstream crosses with North Broad (A++) out of a mare by Broad Brush; Northern Air (A++) from a mare by Air Forbes Won; and G P Fleet (B+) from a daughter of Spectacular Bid.