What trainers produce the best stallions?
It stands to reason that it’s the trainers with the highest number of good horses in their barn, and for the most part that is true, based on a review of the top stallions that stand or stood in North America and have current runners.
The Paulick Report used several sire lists from Bloodhorse.com to determine the most proven stallions: the top 50 by progeny earnings in 2013, the top 50 by Average-Earnings Index, and top 10 sires of juveniles by 2013 progeny earnings. The combined lists produce 78 stallions that stand or stood in North America. Exactly half of those 78 came from one of nine trainers.
It should come as no surprise that multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher – who at year’s end will win his eighth North American money won title (2004-07, 2010-13) – has more former pupils that went on to success at stud than anyone else.
Pletcher has nine on the aforementioned list of leading sires, topped by the Taylor Made/WinStar Farm venture Speightstown, who currently is a close second behind Kitten’s Joy on the Bloodhorse.com general sire list.
A son of the Woody Stephens-trained Gone West, Speightstown began his racing career in Phil England’s barn but his greatest successes at 5 and 6 years old came while with Pletcher, culminating his career with a victory in the 2004 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
The eight others on the list of 78 sires that met the above criteria and were trained by Pletcher are: WinStar Farm’s Bluegrass Cat, who won the G1 Haskell Invitational; Lane’s End’s English Channel, Eclipse Award champion as outstanding grass horse and six-time G1 winner; Three Chimney Farm’s Flower Alley, winner of the G1 Travers; the late Harlan’s Holiday, winner of the G1 Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes and leading juvenile sire for WinStar Farm; WinStar Farm’s More Than Ready, winner of the G1 King’s Bishop; G2 Illinois Derby winner Pollard’s Vision, now standing in Florida at Pleasant Acres Stallions; Ashford Stud’s Scat Daddy, winner of the G1 Champagne and Florida Derby; and Trippi, the G1 Vosburgh winner who was exported to stand in South Africa.
D. Wayne Lukas and the late Robert Frankel – both of them inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame – have five each on our of list 78 top stallions.
Frankel’s five are: Empire Maker, winner of the G1 Belmont Stakes and now in Japan; Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, standing at Adena Springs; imported grass champion Leroidesanimaux, now standing in England; G1 Travers winner Medaglia d’Oro, standing at Darley; and G1 Malibu winner Mizzen Mast, standing at Juddmonte Farms.
The top five Lukas-trained stallions are: the late Dynaformer, who stood most of his career at Three Chimneys; Gulch, the sprint champion who earlier in his career was trained by Leroy Jolley, and stood at Lane’s End before being pensioned in 2009; G2 Saratoga Special winner Jump Start, standing at Northview in Pennsylvania; G1 DeFrancis Dash winner Yes It’s True, standing at Three Chimneys; and G2 Tom Fool winner Exchange Rate, also standing at Three Chimneys.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott has four (Elusive Quality, Majestic Warrior, Old Forester, and the late Theatrical), as does Irish training wizard Aidan O’Brien (Bernstein, Freud, Giant’s Causeway, Johannesburg).
Four trainers have three on the list: Bob Baffert (Midnight Lute, Roman Ruler, the late Indian Charlie); Frank Brothers (Arch, First Samurai, the late Pulpit); Shug McGaughey (Not for Love, who was trained part of his career by H. Graham Motion, Pure Prize, and pensioned Seeking the Gold), and Saeed Bin Suroor (Discreet Cat, E Dubai, Street Cry, also trained by Eoin Harty).