Value Sires For '23: Part VI, Earning Their Stripes

Wed, 01/25/2023 - 08:50

GOLD: TONALIST (Tapit–Settling Mist, by Pleasant Colony) Lane's End $10,000

Okay, so I understand that the megabucks earned by a single horse distort his status in the earnings table, and various associated averages. (Not dissimilar, as such, to the horse on the second step of the podium.) But I have been too loyal to Tonalist, for too long, to desert him after the year when he plundered all those desert riches with Country Grammer.

Having a poster boy like that has certainly done Tonalist no harm: he was back up to 87 mares last spring, having the previous year slumped to just 54 from 122; and he elevated his yearling average to $53,413 (for an excellent 29 sold of 31 offered) from $32,505. That's really impressive in any stallion at this awkward stage, never mind one who had been so consistently unfashionable that he had taken a fee cut every single year to 2022. His neglect always seemed mysterious to me: I loved the package at the outset (banked $3.6 million via 11 triple-digit Beyers, just as one would hope from a son of Tapit out of a Pleasant Colony granddaughter of Toll Booth) and I have loved the corresponding dependability of his output since.

He has punched above his fee throughout, especially measured by graded stakes action. In this intake Constitution has been hitting pretty mad numbers, but otherwise Tonalist's 4.5% of graded stakes operators-to-named foals is basically in step with American Pharoah and ahead of everyone else.

His template, for those who want horses that run, and keep running, is just so wholesome. Take the thriving Betsy Blue, just turned five but better than ever. It's a long time now since she broke her maiden under a $25,000 tag: on her 19th, 20th and 21st starts this winter, she placed on her graded stakes debut before winning consecutive black type prizes. Her record now reads 21-10-7-2 for $659,510. Another from the same crop, Who's The Star, took six starts to break his maiden back in 2018 but is similarly on a roll now, running up three consecutive graded stakes on his last three starts. If this guy gets in contention, you're in trouble: the only minor placings in his 17-7-1-2 record trace way back to his first maidens.

This is the kind of stuff we need to be putting into the breed: heart, resilience and “run”. Everything, in other words, we associate with Tonalist's sire and damsire. Imagine what he could do with better mares. Of course, if you happen to own one, you don't have to just imagine. You can find out, and for a near-basement fee. For everyone else trading at this kind of money, however, there aren't many better ways of affordably putting a winner under your mare.

Source: Thoroughbred Daily News