It’s early, make that very early, to starting reviewing the progress of the 2012 freshman sires, but remarkably at least 40 of them have already been represented by a winner.
The surprise leader is Magna Graduate, who has two winners from seven starters, including Blueeyesintherein, winner of the Debutante Stakes (gr. III). Out of a daughter of Mr. Greeley, Blueeyesintherein is TrueNicks rated A. Magna Graduate did win twice at two, and finish third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), at that age, but he was not exactly a precocious speedster. He was, however, both tough and classy, and he went on to amass earnings of over $2,500,000 with seven graded stakes wins, including the Clark Handicap (gr. II). By A.P. Indy’s half-brother, Honor Grades, Magna Graduate adds another strand to the recent resurgence of the Danzig line in the U.S. Street Boss was another who did better later in life. In fact he was unraced at two, and won only a maiden at three, before developing into a sprint ace at four. However, the son of Street Cry already has four first crop winners, two in Europe, confirming the expectation that the Street Boss’s might well be effective on turf.
One of the big guns in this crop is Henrythenavigator (Kingmambo), who broke a course record at Royal Ascot at two, and trained on to win four group one wins over a mile at three. He’s already had three winners in Europe, including group placed Cristoforo Colombo, and stakes placed Infanta Branca. Henrythenavigator’s Ashford Stud companion, Majestic Warrior (A.P. Indy), whose first crop lit up the boards at the two-year-old in training sales, is in fifth on the table with a pair of winners, both out of mares by sons of Storm Cat. Henrythenavigator and Majestic Warrior are separated by Salute the Sarge, a speedy son of Forest Wildcat, who started in Kentucky, but is now in Louisiana. He has a trio of winners from his first 11 starters.
Two sons of Silver Deputy – whose already been represented by one Leading Freshman Sire, Posse – are in the top ten, these being Spring At Last and J Be K. Spring At Last – who didn’t race at two himself, but won the Godolphin Mile (gr. II) at four and the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at five –already has four winners, and his first two scorers tallied by 7¾ lengths and 5¾ lengths respectively. J Be K, who retired to stud in Florida, but is now in Argentina, might be a find for that region. He set a new track record for 5½ furlongs at Saratoga, on his only start at two, and won a trio of graded sprints, including the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at three. He has two winners from three starters, including Baby J, a first time out winner at Belmont Park.
There had been a little bit of a buzz about Florida-based Cowtown Cat – an Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) by Distorted Humor out of a Storm Cat mare – before he even had runners. He currently sits in seventh on the list with four winners from seven starters, two out of mares by sons of Seattle Slew (a cross that has been very effective for his sire), and the other two out of Clever Trick line mares (one by that horse himself, and another by Favorite Trick). In eighth is the second Kingmambo on the list, Student Council, who has two winners from nine starters. That’s a pretty creditworthy effort for a horse who didn’t win his first stakes until he was five (however, he did take the Pacific Classic (gr.I) at that age, and the Pimlico Special (gr. I) the next year). With J Be K ninth, the top ten is rounded out by a horse who did look likely to get early runners, Run Away and Hide. A son of City Zip, the stud-companion to Magna Graduate, won all three of his starts, all at two, including the Knetucky Stakes (gr. III) and Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II), in a new race-record. His first five runners include the winner On the Go.
Of the other big names we haven’t mentioned, two-time Horse of the Year Curlin already has three winners, including English scorer Savanna La Mar, out of a mare by Pivotal, and Lucky First, out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells, a three-quarter-brother to Pivotal’s grandsire, Nureyev; Champion and dual classic winner Big Brown has two winners from five starters; Tiz Wonderful, undefeated multiple graded winner at two, and the first test for Tiznow as a sire of sires, has Scammony, a first timeout winner at Churchill Downs.