Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

March 27, 2011

A Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy. Part 3

Part three of the “Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy” series is going to be pretty short because his stallion career has only just begun. Hopefully some of you will still find some of the provided statistics interesting.

On June 28, 2007, after being unable to recover from an injury, it was announced that Stevie Wonderboy would be retired from racing for stallion duty at Airdrie Stud. His initial stud fee was $17,500; however, his fee would drop to $15,000 in 2009 and $10,000 for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He would stand his first season in 2008, covering 107 mares that would result in 73 live foals. The following year, Stevie Wonderboy covered 53 mares that resulted in 38 live foals of 2010. This past year he covered 59 mares. Obviously the number of live foals of 2011 by Stevie Wonderboy is not yet known. Based on his prior live foal percentages, one can expect around 40 live foals to be born this year. I honestly do not know how large his book is this year, but I would assume that it will once again be in the 50-60 range.

Although he has yet to have starters (his first foals are two-year-olds of 2011 and will race this year), Stevie Wonderboy’s progeny have had some decent success in the sales ring. Below are the sales statistics for Stevie Wonderboy for 2009, 2010, and 2011. All information was provided by The Blood-Horse‘s Stallion Register.

2009

Weanlings – 8 offered, 4 sold; $53,000 average, including a filly out of Road to the Ball that sold for $72,000 at the Keeneland November Sale.

2010

Weanlings – 2 offered, 1 sold for $35,000
Yearlings – 65 offered, 40 sold; $28,845 average, including a $170,000 colt out of Harlan Honey and a $90,000 colt out of Beloved by All. Both horses were sold at the Keeneland September Sale.

2011

Yearlings – 2 offered, 1 sold for $34,000
Two-year-olds – 7 offered, 3 sold; $20,000 average.

The sales numbers are decent for a horse whose foals have yet to hit the track, but there is definitely room for improvement. Buyers are willing to pay more for horses by a stallion that has a proven record of producing high-class performers on the racetrack. Hopefully, dozens of two-year-olds from Stevie Wonderboy’s first crop will break their maidens in 2011 and a handful will be stakes performers and stakes winners.

I know one thing for sure is that I’ll be rooting for every Stevie Wonderboy as if it were my own; just like I cheer for every Even the Score and just like I’ll someday cheer for every foal by Parading.

Go Stevie Wonderboy! Go Parading! Go Even the Score!

And of course…

Go Kentucky Wildcats!

March 19, 2011

A Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy. Part 2

A couple of days ago I gave some detailed information about the pedigree of Stevie Wonderboy. Today, I’ll take a look at his short, yet very successful racing career.

Stevie Wonderboy, who was bred by John Gunther, Tony Holmes, and Walter Zent, was born on March 27, 2003 in Kentucky. After failing to meet his reserve at the 2004 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Stevie Wonderboy would be sold for $100,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Calder selected two-year-olds in training sale.

Trained by Doug O’Neill and racing under the colors of Merv Griffin, Stevie Wonderboy made his career debut in a Maiden Special Weight at Hollywood Park on June 18, 2005. He steadied at the half-mile pole and ran hard to secure a second place finish to eventual multiple graded-stakes winner, What a Song. It would be the first of two times Stevie Wonderboy would be beaten by What a Song.

Stevie Wonderboy flashed enough talent in his debut that Doug O’Neill confidently entered him into the G3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship S. for his second start. He was a bit slow into stride, but ran well at the end to finish third behind What a Song and Bashert at odds of 4.20 to 1.

After running a decent third in a G3, Stevie Wonderboy was given a class break and entered into a Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar on August 6, 2005. He stalked the pace, took the lead nearing the stretch, and never looked back; cruising to a four-length victory as the 2/5 favorite.

Coming off a convincing victory in his last start, Stevie Wonderboy was favored in his next race: the G2 Del Mar Futurity. He did not disappoint and galloped home to a five-length victory for his first graded-stakes win. The race would serve as his final prep for the G1 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Stevie Wonderboy broke from post 12 and had lots of trouble in the BC Juvenile. The Equibase chart of the race notes that he “checked at the start, clipped heels and stumbled along the backstretch, and raced far back for a half.” Once he settled down a bit, he quickly got back into the race and circled four wide entering the stretch. Stevie Wonderboy then finished very strong and the chart says he “charged to the front inside the sixteenth pole, then edged clear through the final fifty yards.” It was the biggest victory of Stevie Wonderboy’s career as he defeated a tough field that included Henny Hughes, First Samurai, and Brother Derek. The win gave Stevie Wonderboy a Grade 1 victory and secured his 2005 juvenile championship. Stevie Wonderboy’s exciting win in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (along with a post-race interview with the connections) may be viewed in the video below.

Following his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Stevie Wonderboy was given the rest of 2005 off. He returned to racing on January 14, 2006 in the G2 San Rafael S. at Santa Anita. He ran a decent race, but was unable to catch Brother Derek and finished second as the 3/5 favorite. The San Rafael would be Stevie Wonderboy’s final start.

Unfortunately, Stevie Wonderboy suffered an injury to his right front ankle while training in February of 2006. He was able to eventually return to training after several months off; however, he was soon put back on the shelf with a chip in the same ankle. The connections were hopeful that he would someday return to racing, but he would never make it back to the track and was retired in June of 2007.

Stevie Wonderboy finished with a record of 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third from 6 starts and career earnings of $1,058,940. I’m sure many were very disappointed that the juvenile champion was only able to make one more career start; however, Stevie Wonderboy retired as a champion, G1-winning millionaire. I’ll take a barn full of those!

March 17, 2011

A Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy. Part 1

Last week I made the announcement that Sky will be bred to Stevie Wonderboy in 2011. This week I’ll take a closer look at Stevie Wonderboy in three posts: one about his pedigree, one on his racing career, and the final one on the beginning of his stud career.

I’ll start with his pedigree.

Stevie Wonderboy has a fantastic pedigree. Steve Haskin of the Blood-Horse said of his pedigree, “His pedigree is nearly flawless…in his first four generations are two triple crown winners and five American classic winners, as well as an Epsom Derby winner and a Coaching Club American Oaks Winner.”

Stevie Wonderboy is by Grade 1 winner Stephen Got Even, a son of the mighty A.P. Indy. Stephen Got Even has had many stakes winners, but Stevie Wonderboy is his only Eclipse Award winner.

The champion Stevie Wonderboy is out of a Summer Squall mare named Heat Lightning. Heat Lightning is the dam of 10 foals and, other than Stevie Wonderboy, has produced Group 3 winner and Group 1 placed Theyskens’ Theory and stakes-placed winner Queen Joanne. Summer Squall is a half-brother to A.P. Indy and therefore, Stevie Wonderboy is inbred 3×3 to Weekend Surprise.

His second dam is Schuylerville S. (G3) winner Mystical Mood. Mystical Mood (Roberto) was a Grade 1 performer on the track (placing in the G1 Frizette and G1 Matron) and continued her success as a broodmare by producing graded-stakes winner Fair Judgement and stakes-winner Linda Coqueta. Mystical Mood is also the granddam of six stakes winners: Stevie Wonderboy, Theyskens’ Theory, Gigi’s Magic, Clever Tish, Dake, and Wood Sprite.

Stevie Wonderboy’s third dam is also a stakes winner and placed in the G1 Frizette. Her name is Mystery Mood (Night Invader) and she produced 15 foals; including stakes winners Mystical Mood, Maximilian, and Mythical Hunter.

The fourth dam, Moaning Low (Loser Weeper), won four races; including a stakes race at 2. She went on to produce two stakes winners: Natural Sound, who won three stakes at 2, and Hurluberlu, who won the Mohawk S. at Greenwood in 1970.

So…let’s review.

I wanted to breed Sky to a stallion that would have the potential of producing something precocious. Well, Stevie Wonderboy definitely comes from a very precocious family. His first dam is the producer of a juvenile champion and a two-year old G3 stakes winner. His second dam won a graded stakes at 2 and placed in multiple G1 stakes at 2. His third dam won a stakes race at 2 and placed in two other graded-stakes at 2. His fourth dam won a stakes race at 2 and produced a multiple stakes winner at 2 in Natural Sound.

See a trend here? I do. Lots of two-year old stakes performers! Let’s hope the Stevie Wonderboy – Sky foal will be just as precocious and successful as many of its relatives.

March 9, 2011

Faith is a star

I already posted it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I wanted to put my good news on the blog as well. Faith was recently featured in an advertisement for Parading that was printed in the Blood-Horse and the Thoroughbred Times. The same ad also spent some time on the front page of the Claiborne website.

Here is the advertisement

As you can see, Faith is strutting her stuff in the picture on the right. I had a lot of emotions come over me when I saw this advertisement for the first time a couple of days ago. I was excited, happy, and slightly in shock. The journey Sky, Skype, and Faith have taken me on is truly amazing. This time two years ago, owning a horse was only a dream. This time last year, my dream had become a reality, I had been a horse owner for one month, and Sky had just been bred to Parading. Now a horse that I bred is being used in an advertisement for a stallion that stands at one of the most famous Thoroughbred farms in the entire world. It’s simply incredible.

Faith seemed to like getting her picture taken the other day. The picture used in the advertisement was from her first photo shoot. I hope that in a few years Faith will be getting her picture taken all the time…in the winner’s circle!

 

March 6, 2011

Sky will be bred to…

Last year when I bought Sky at the Fasig February sale, I was pretty sure that she would be bred to Parading. He has one of the best pedigrees in the stud book and he won on all three surfaces (just like Sky). Also, his stud fee was in my budget; standing for $3,500 LFSN. Just a few days after purchasing Sky, I reserved my season to Parading. It was a very simple and non-stressful decision.

This year I decided that I wanted to go another direction. Sky now has three foals on the ground; one by Artie Schiller, one by Even the Score, and one by Parading. Artie Schiller was best going a mile or longer on the turf, Even the Score was most successful at age 6, and Parading did not make a start until age 4. They all had very nice racing careers, but experienced most of their success at ages 4 and above. This year I wanted to breed Sky to someone who experienced success at age 2; someone more precocious than the other three stallions. I also wanted to breed Sky to someone who she nicked well with and matched physically.

So…the search began. I attended a number of stallion open houses, spoke with farm representatives, and frequented the Blood-Horse’s online stallion register. I made a list of stallions that I thought would be a good fit for Sky. Then I proceeded to constantly bug my good friend Frank Mitchell about which stallions on my list matched Sky from a physical standpoint. Some of the stallions on my list did not match Sky well, and so the list got shorter.

My final list had six stallions on it. I contacted the farm where each of the stallions stood to see if I could get a season to them. I was accepted for a few and turned down for a few. This brought the list down to about three stallions and then this past Thursday I made my decision.

Sky will be bred to…

Stevie Wonderboy

Stevie Wonderboy is the champion two-year old colt of 2005, comes from the A.P. Indy sire line being by Stephen Got Even, matches Sky well physically, and nicks well with her as well. I am very excited about the Stevie Wonderboy – Sky foal that will be born in 2012.

Thank you to all that assisted me in making my decision and a special thank you to Frank Mitchell for putting up with my constant e-mails and phone calls. Thank you to Airdrie Stud, the farm that stands Stevie Wonderboy, for all the help and for believing in my mare. Finally, thank you to all of the representatives of stallions that I did not select, but inquired about. Your assistance was much appreciated.

So…there ya go. Sky will be bred to Stevie Wonderboy in 2011. Maybe we’ll see that foal at the Spa in 2014.

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