January 2018 Update: Alpha now stands for $5,000 and is an even better value!
I promised to review some of the top stallions standing at thoroughbred farms in New York, and I couldn’t find a better place to start than with Darley’s superb Alpha, winner of both the Travers (G1) and Woodward (G1). If one is looking for value opportunities from New York’s thoroughbred stallions at stud, Alpha (standing at Sequel Stallions) checks all the boxes. He offers a deep pedigree, Grade I winning race record, and outstanding conformation. A closer look at this young stallion reveals that he may be poised for greatness.
Nijinsky II is Alpha’s Broodmare Sire
When was the last time you saw a top young stallion who had Nijinsky II as his broodmare sire? That’s one of many unique aspects Alpha brings to the table. Nijinsky II, famed English Triple Crown winner, leading sire in Europe in multiple categories, and leading broodmare sire in America in 1993 and 1994, lends a classic quality to Alpha. Nijinsky II sired a great number of top class horses including Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Ferdinand, plus top sires Royal Academy, Caerleon, Green Dancer, and Sky Classic. He also sired the excellent runners and producers De La Rose (Champion Turf Filly 1981 and dam of Grade 1 stakes winner Conquistarose) and Maplejinsky (Alabama S. (G1) winner and dam of the great filly Triple Crown winner and Champion Older Female Sky Beauty), and many other top horses of all ages who performed at the highest levels on dirt and turf. He is also the broodmare sire of top sire Broken Vow.
Alpha carries the genes of the great Nijinsky II and offers a wealth of depth to his pedigree. Let’s dive in and see the amazing gene pool that this exciting young stallion hails from:
He’s by Bernardini, Eclipse Champion 3 Year Old Colt and so far a sire of 13 Grade I winners and 26 graded black type winners. Recent Grade I winners Rachel’s Valentina, Cavorting, and Greenpointcrusader keep Bernardini in the conversation when discussing the top sires. His previous accomplishments include being a Travers winner and siring Travers winners in his first two crops (his other Travers winner is Stay Thirsty), and siring another Woodward winner in To Honor and Serve.
While A.P. Indy’s powerful line flows through his grandson Tapit, it also has built solid momentum through Bernardini. As a 13 year old stallion, Bernardini is now old enough to have a number of good stallion sons at stud; most of them retiring to stand within the last 2-3 years. It’s time for the best Bernardini sons to step up and show who will carry this branch of A.P. Indy’s line forward. My money is on Alpha because:
1) He comes from a superb family. Darley’s website summarizes Alpha’s stellar family with a compelling statement: 19 Champions or G1 winners under his first four dams. Breeders can salivate at the deep quality of this family: Alpha’s dam is a stakes winner herself of the Oaks Trial S., and a producer of a number of good runners. She traces to the excellent producer Kamar, dam of grade 1 winner Gorgeous, Key to the Moon (Canadian Champion 3 yr. old colt) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner, Seaside Attraction. Gorgeous’ daughter Glasgow’s Gold produced the Grade 1 winner Swift Temper. Another daughter of Gorgeous, Fabulous, is the granddam of the top Grade 1 winning filly Turbulent Descent. Kamar also produced Wilayif, dam of Grade 3 stakes winner Morning Pride, who in turn produced Grade 1 stakes winner Flashing, winner of the Gazelle and Test S., both (G1). Kamar’s Alydar daughter, Hiaam (Alpha’s second dam), was a (G3) stakes winner and also a producer of graded stakes performers.
Seaside Attraction Alone Was a Great Producer, But There’s More
Seaside Attraction sold as a weanling for $1,050,000. She didn’t disappoint throughout her racing and breeding career, winning the Kentucky Oaks, running third in the Acorn Stakes (G1), then producing Champion 2 yr. Old Filly Golden Attraction, by Mr. Prospector. Seaside Attraction wasn’t done: She also produced stakes winners Cape Town, by Seeking the Gold (winner of the Florida Derby (G1)]; Cape Canaveral, [full brother to Golden Attraction and stakes winner of the San Miguel S. (G3)]; ten time Ohio leading sire Mercer Mill (by Forty Niner); and another full sibling to Golden Attraction, the graded stakes winning and Grade 1 producing mare Red Carnival [Cherry Hinton S (Eng-G3)].
Kamar’s daughter Jood (by Nijinsky II) was the dam of the great Fantastic Light, by Rahy. Fantastic Light was European Horse of the Year and 2001 Eclipse Turf Male, plus he set a NCR of 2:24.36 for 1½ miles on turf in the 2001 Breeder’s Cup Turf. This is a potent family that drips with class and quality. Kamar’s full sister Love Smitten produced Grade 1 stakes winner and champion Swain. Grade 1 winning filly Cuddles also hails from this immediate family. One could go on and on with this great family. Kamar is also ancestress (5th dam) of 2015 top 3 year old Firing Line.
2) Alpha demonstrated Grade I racing class: While he raced at the Grade I level from age 2 through 4, Alpha’s achievement of the Travers & Woodward double is a rare feat. Other greats who accomplished this were Easy Goer, Lemon Drop Kid and Buckpasser. In addition to the Travers, Alpha’s 3 year old career was spectacular with wins in the Withers (G2), Jim Dandy (G3), and Count Fleet Stakes, and a second in the Wood Memorial (G1). Plus he was a Grade I performer At 2, having run second in the Champagne Stakes.
Alpha’s 2013 Woodward Win! https://t.co/SY8km0ffq7
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3) Outstanding Conformation: An athletic 16 hands, he has the quality that you look for in a good stallion. This is a horse that offers a refined appearance. His proportions are excellent, with a stout shoulder, powerful hindquarters and a head that looks a lot like his grandsire A.P. Indy.
4) Incredible Value: Standing for only $8,500, Alpha is a true bargain for a horse with this good of a pedigree and stellar race record. Add that to the fact that he stands in New York – breeders and owners can tap into the lucrative New York-Bred program of awards. New York Breds offer tremendous value due to the breeder and stallion owner awards and that earning potential makes New York Breds very attractive at the sales. At Fasig-Tipton’s 2015 Saratoga Sale New York Breds averaged $302,083. At the Fasig-Tipton NY Bred Sale in 2015, New York Breds sold for a record average of $81,730, and 50 yearlings sold for $100,000 or more. Alpha has the quality to sire yearlings like this and with a stud fee investment of only $8500, the potential return for sales breeders is huge. The Bernardinis sell extremely well in the sales ring. Now the time has come to see if his influence as a proven Grade I sire and top sales sire will extend to his sons. Alpha may very well be the son to carry his sire’s influence forward.
Alpha Offers Breeders a Great Chance to Succeed
There’s every indication that standing Alpha in New York may turn out to be a tremendous coup not only for Darley, but for New York breeding as a whole. As the New York awards program continues to grow and the quality of mares bred to New York sires grows with it, stallions like Alpha have an excellent chance to succeed. After having bred 68 mares in 2015, Alpha’s first crop of foals is eagerly anticipated this year. The first arrived at Sequel Stallions on January 28.