Looking for value sires in the Mid-Atlantic

by | Mar 19, 2019 | Breaking, Breeding, Regionwide, Top Stories

Lord Shanakill stands at Pin Oak Lane in Pennsylvania.

With breeding season upon us, we got to wondering: which are the value sires in the Mid-Atlantic? Can you — for short money — get to a stallion who can get you a runner or two?

The answer — not surprisingly — is yes. 

Of course, there are well known horses like Jump Start (who sired six 2018 stakes winners), Great Notion (nine stakes winners), and Warrior’s Reward (10). But the region also has other horses that can get you winners, often at reasonable price.

Of course, many factors go into the choice of a stallion: nicks, body type, running style, price point, and even pure dumb luck and the persuasiveness of the stallion owner all play a role in those selections. So, too, does who’s doing the breeding; a person breeding to race is often concerned with factors different from one breeding to sell. And, of course, different people may calculate value differently; one person might value graded stakes winners — or soundness — for example, over other factors here.

Finally, the methods we used don’t include new stallions with no runners on the ground in 2018, since there was no statistical way to assess them.

So, who are the region’s value sires? We asked the question a couple of different ways, in both cases starting with the 2018 top 30 Mid-Atlantic stallions, according to The Blood-Horse. Of those, 11 are deceased, pensioned, or stand for a private fee, leaving 19 with accessible data and a known 2019 stud fee.


One way we posed the question: assuming (which of course is not actually the case) that each 2018 runner had been bred for the announced 2019 stud fee, how many dollars did the stud’s progeny earn per dollar of stud fee. For example, if a given stallion had 100 2018 runners at a $1,000 stud fee, and those runners had earned $1 million, they would have earned $10 per dollar of stud fee ($1 million divided by 100,000).

By this measure, the top value stallion is Fiber Sonde. The West Virginia-based son of Unbridled’s Song generated over $2.7 million in progeny earnings in 2018 — fifth best in the region — on a stud fee of just $1000. With 87 2018 runners, Fiber Sonde generated $31.43 in earnings per dollar of stud fee. That was more than $7 ahead of his nearest competitor, who happened to be another West Virginia sire, Denis of Cork ($24.32 in earnings per dollar of stud fee). Denis of Cork stands for just $750 — the least of any stallion in the sample.

In fact, West Virginia stallions constituted the bargain end of the spectrum. The top stallions were joined in the top eight by Windsor Castle, whose 92 2018 runners generated $9.08 in earnings for each dollar of stud fee.

Value Rank
Earnings rank
State standing
Value index
Progeny Earnings
19 stud fee
2018 runners
2018 winners
2018 repeat winners
BT Stk wnnrs2018
2018 BT Stk wins
2018 Graded SW
2018 Grade 1 stakes wnnrs
15Fiber SondeWV$31.43$2,734,648.00$1,000875827381-
219Denis of CorkWV$24.32$1,039,742.00$75057321811--
322Mr. SidneyVA$13.88$944,090.00$2,0003420913--
424Freedom ChildMD$13.10$916,807.00$2,5002818722--
728Crown of ThornsPA$11.71$679,293.00$2,0002916611--
810Windsor CastleWV$9.08$1,670,840.00$2,00092502611--
1120Talent SearchPA$8.18$1,001,534.00$2,500492613----
1214Street MagicianMD$8.17$1,446,282.00$3,000592915----
134Friesan FireMD$8.03$3,309,064.00$4,00010358254621
143Great NotionMD$7.62$3,774,322.00$5,0009958319121-
169Smarty JonesPA$6.29$1,674,377.00$3,50076402322--
171Warrior's RewardPA$5.61$5,552,738.00$4,5002201165810132-
1825Lord ShanakillPA$3.63$915,287.00$3,50072301922--
192Jump StartPA$3.31$5,459,994.00$10,0001659447661-


Breeders — and owners, for that matter — are famously looking for “Saturday afternoon horses” — that is, stakes horses. While hard-knocking allowance and claiming types may pay bills, it’s stakes horses that move the meter.

The top 19 regional stallions ranged from zero 2018 stakes winners up to 10, with two the median. We wondered: how many dollars in stud fees does it take each stallion go generate a stakes winner. So, for example, a stallion with 100 runners, including five stakes winners at a $1,000 stud fee, would have cost $20,000 in stud fees per stakes winner ($100,000 divided by five).

By this metric, FIber Sonde was once again the leading producer of value. He registered three individual stakes winners from 87 runners — one per 29. At a $1,000 stud fee, that meant it cost breeders $29,000 in stud fees to generate a single stakes winner from Fiber Sonde, the lowest in the region. He was followed by Freedom Child, Uptowncharlybrown, and Denis of Cork. Great Notion was fifth; he was among the region’s leaders with nine stakes winners in 2018, and it cost breeders $55,000 in stud fees to generate a single Great Notion stakes winner.

State standing
19 stud fee
BT Stk wnnrs2018
2018 BT Stk wins
Runner/stk winnr
Stud fee $/SW
1Fiber SondeWV$1,0003829$29,000
2Freedom ChildMD$2,5002214$35,000
4Denis of CorkWV$7501157$42,750
5Great NotionMD$5,00091211$55,000
6Crown of ThornsPA$2,0001129$58,000
7Mr. SidneyVA$2,0001334$68,000
10Warrior's RewardPA$4,500101322$99,000
11Friesan FireMD$4,0004625.75$103,000
12Lord ShanakillPA$3,5002236$126,000
13Smarty JonesPA$3,5002238$133,000
14Windsor CastleWV$2,0001192$184,000
15Jump StartPA$10,0006627.5$275,000
18Talent SearchPA$2,500--#VALUE!#VALUE!
19Street MagicianMD$3,000--#VALUE!#VALUE!