Who Will Be This Year’s Leading First-Crop Sire?

From this year’s class, which freshman sire will emerge on top? And what sire currently flying under the radar will be the year’s biggest surprise? With 2-year-old sales season upon us, over the next few days, we will be hearing from some of the experts.


Top Pick: Vino Rosso (Curlin–Mythical Bride, by Street Cry {Ire}). Spendthrift Farm, 2023 fee: $15,000.

The Mitoles were popular at the yearling sales and they sold well at the OBS March sale. They look like they will be early types. There will be some pressure on him because the expectation for him will be for him to get quite a few 2-year-old winners. I have a Vino Rosso who is quite nice. I’ll pick Vino Rosso and the reason is, he was a very good racehorse and has the pedigree. He was a very good older horse. But from what we’ve seen so far, they have quite a bit of maturity and look like they could be summer 2-year-olds. That’s impressive for a stallion where you might think they’ll be better later on. From the Vino Rossos, I am seeing athleticism and mental maturity. It’s between Mitole and Vino Ross, but I’ll give the edge to Vino Rosso.

Under-the-radar pick: Demarchelier (Dubawi {Ire}–Loveisallyouneed {Ire}, by Sadler’s Wells). Claiborne Farm, 2023 fee: $5,000.

   My under-the-radar pick will be Demarchelier, a son of Dubawi who stands at Claiborne. He was an excellent racehorse in the making who won his first three starts before he got hurt. That reminds me of Danzig, who only had three starts and was retired. I’m not comparing him to Danzig. I’m just saying it is a similar story. He’s the only son of Dubawi to stand over here and he had a lot of talent. I bred a mare to him because I thought he was a super value. Like Oscar Performance, he’s going to have to step up and prove himself because he’s a turf horse standing in America. They are average-sized, which he was. I have two that I really like. They are sharp and forward. I saw a couple breeze well at the March sale. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes up with four or five nice 2-year-old winners on the grass. He has the quality to do that. He has the potential to break out and have some really nice turf horses.


Top pick: Audible (Into Mischief–Blue Devil Bel, by Gilded Time). WinStar Farm, 2023 fee: $25,000.

I think that every year, the early chatter about who is good and who is going to struggle is very telling, so I have learned to listen to that. Last year in January and February, all the talk was about Bolt d’Oro. The year before in January and February, it was Gun Runner. So we bred three mares to him on his bubble year, off the early chatter. So I’m going to have to go with the horse that everyone was talking about, and that was Audible. With Bolt d’Oro, every single person you talked to had one they liked. I felt that was the case this year with Audible. At Saratoga, we sold an Audible filly to MyRacehorse named Lady Blitz, and I bought a microshare just to keep up with her. She has just gone to Todd Pletcher’s barn and she is the real deal. Now, full disclosure: I have a share in Audible, but we have shares in a lot of stallions. Before the speed works and everything, that early chatter tells you who the horses are that like to train.

Under-the-radar pick: Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief–Reina Maria, by Songandaprayer). Spendthrift Farm: 2023 fee: $7,500.

Once again, I’m very biased here. We pinhooked him, raised him, sold him at Saratoga, stayed in on him with Cary Frommer, and took him to the 2-year-old sale. He was very fast. I think his horses look just like him. I’m biased, but I do feel like he’s got a big shot. He throws a very different physical than Audible, who seems to throw a stouter body type. He was slightly long, and he throws a big, long horse.


Top pick: Omaha Beach (War Front–Charming, by Seeking the Gold). Spendthrift Farm, 2023 fee: $30,000.

I’ve liked Omaha Beach from the start and he hasn’t disappointed at any step of the way. Great physical from a tremendous female family and they’ve looked like runners as weanlings, yearlings, and now 2-year-olds. I’m excited to see what he can do this year.

Under-the-radar pick: Solomini (Curlin–Surf Song, by Storm Cat). McMahon of Saratoga, 2023 fee: $6,500

The under-the-radar pick is tricky this year due to a lack of depth, but I’ve liked the Solominis. He was a good 2-year-old who finished first in a Grade I and looks like he could be a standout in the New York market. Curlin is hot as a sire of sires right now with Good Magic waving the flag with three in the Derby.

Want to send in your first-crop sire selections? Email suefinley@thetdn.com.

In tomorrow’s TDN: more first-crop sire picks (and lots of red, red wine).

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