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Responsibility for Soundness

Why is it snarky and rude for me to say that you should follow your own advice? Your opinion, in this case, does nothing more than state the obvious. There are numerous things in the TB industry that are incredibly hard to accomplish–and making a stallion a success at stud certainly ranks high among them. By reducing that endeavor to a single sentence “Buy the boy some quality mares and give him a chance” you’ve over-simplified a multi-layer process into something nearly meaningless.

You appear to think this is all very easy, and that qualifies you to give advice. If you actually knew what you were talking about, you would probably feel differently. Hence my recommendation that you put your money where your mouth is. Then you might learn something about these things you like to lecture us about.


Why is that snarky and rude? Sounds like a good idea if you like the stud.


I get you. And good call on Jump Start opening in KY, totally forgot about that. Though I will politely disagree that is where he had the most success. He maintained his position as leading sire in the mid-Atlantic on his own.

When I read your posts, I hear myself when I was about 18 years old. I had grown up immersed in breeding. I had both shown at the upper levels of several disciplines and galloped racehorses. I thought I knew it ALL. If only these stupid race breeders would breed to Horse B instead of Horse A, all their problems would be solved!

Then I got older and learned what an idiot I was. I can’t believe more people didn’t tell me to shut up. :rofl:

No wrong has been committed against Hoppertunity. He is getting his chance. I agree a stallion benefits from quality mares, but also, a truly good stallion will overcome his mare population— like Not For Love or Malibu Moon. The industry is quick to recognize quality. The next coming of Northern Dancer isn’t toiling away in a state-bred program going unrecognized.

Also, while I think this is fairly obvious, some people still fail to recognize is that the majority of these stallions aren’t retired early because of “soundness.” They are retired early because the stakes are too high to continue racing them. They hit a point where they are so valuable for breeding that continuing their racing career becomes quite risky. It’s easy to say, “look at what Hoppertunity accomplished!” But he got a chance to accomplish that because he didn’t have all that breeders and buyers want in a sire at 3 years of age. (He also missed the chance to earn it because of injury)

I get overly sensitive when people try to blame everything on breeding and the “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” type arguments (you weren’t doing that, the article was). The thoroughbred has been inbred since day 1- most breeds are; that’s how you develop a breed. And overall, while the sales market can be frustrating and certainly creates it’s share of problems, people seem to forget that buyers are buying to race. Racing success comes before all. So it’s pretty funny when the sales get blamed for creating lousy quality racehorses.

Wow, I’m long winded. Sorry!


Just to add to @Texarkana’s excellent post: a horse that has won some big races and is valued at 10M as a stallion prospect (a conservative deal these days) costs $600,000 a year to insure for racing. And that’s mortality only (not health, loss of use, etc).


Jump Start entered stud at Overbrook Farm in Kentucky, and stood there until that farm closed. He was standing at Northview in Pennsylvania until his death in 2019. He was never exported.

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i meant that he was shuttled, not exported.

Good stallions rise to the top. They dont need a top mare population to get there. Either a stallion has the genetics to produce runners, or he doesnt. Every year Kentucky has stallions who are quietly shuttled to other areas, who got full books of Kentucky mares and didnt get the job done. Then there are stallions who started out at low fees with average mares (Into Mischief, Tapit, Storm Cat, Saint Ballado, Girvin, Silver Deputy, Malibu Moon, just to name a few off the top of my head) who proved they had the genetics to produce runners.

Hopportunity simply hasnt shown that he has the genetic stuff to produce stakes horses, and thats the name of the game.


Excellent post.


Echoing. Mr. Prospector started at his owner’s small farm in Florida with what could be called good regional mares. Certainly they were nowhere near the quality he got after his first crop blew everyone out of the water his freshman year.


Good grief how could I forget that!


I mean, Northern Dancer never covered a single mare in Kentucky! Canada :arrow_forward: Maryland with an alleged million dollar stud fee in the end.


That was no guarantee!

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Things I cannot fathom in life: having a million dollars to spend on a no guarantee season. You might as well play a million dollars in a slot machine; less things can go wrong.


When Northern Dancer was over 20 years old, there was an offer for him for $40 million. His yearlings were regularly selling for 4-5 million, so I guess the reasoning was if they got 10 mares in foal, it was cheaper than shopping for yearlings. At any rate, the offer wasnt accepted.


people need to remember that stallions like Northern Dancer, Mr Prospector, etc stood in regional markets in a completely different, dying era of racing and breeding. A time, to me, when the breeding industry and the thoroughbred bloodline was much stronger and deep quality could be found in the likes of Maryland on smaller farms

Great stallions have and always will rise to the top; regardless of where they stand. McLean’s Music is a good, recent, example of this as well. He stood regionally and developed some early success and quality horses. Is he the next Tapit; no. But a quality stallion who sorted himself out.

I am certainly not saying that Hoppertunity should be the next Tapit. My issue with the Hoppertunity example is despite his soundness and years of success; he was only offered a stud deal for a small fee in a regional market. They all can’t be kentucky stallions but you would think a horse like him would’ve garnered some more demand. But great for the small time breeder to have access to a horse like him.

Girvin. Florida. Retired to stud in 2019.

You can’t get much more current than that.


I can’t speak to states I’m not familiar with. But while the Maryland mare population hasn’t improved and has shrunk to a fraction of its former self, the quality of mares hasn’t gotten worse.

30 years ago there were a lot more mares and more good mares. But also, there were a lot more mares whose only qualification was having a uterus. People would give any TB mare a shot at breeding. That started changing rapidly around the turn of the century. The 00s were brutal to Maryland.


And the late (sadly) Laoban, retired to New York.


“McLean’s Music is a good, recent, example of this as well. He stood regionally and developed some early success and quality horses.”

Gotta admit thats the first time Ive ever heard Hill n Dale Farm in KY referred to as regionally.


Maclean’s Music is owned and homebred by Barbara Banke. He ran once, in spectacular fashion, and retired due to complications from surgery on a splint. He was never a “regional” stallion.

Ms. Banke has a stellar broodmare band. She also had the luxury of time and resources to give Maclean’s Music as long as it took.

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