Keeneland presents American Graded Stakes Standings: Breeding Brilliance

by | 12.09.2010 | 7:13pm

It might come as a surprise to some that horses bred by Brereton C. Jones have won more American Graded Stakes races than any other breeder in North America.

So far this year, the master of Airdrie Stud has bred four winners of 10 AGS races, three more than Edward P. Evans, who bred four AGS winners of seven races; Frank Stronach's Adena Springs, four AGS winners of six races; and WinStar Farm, four AGS winners of six races.

Throw in Canadian Graded Stakes winners Biofuel, a champion in Canada at two and likely champion against this year, and Jones leads in both categories. He bred and owns Biofuel.

Two of the Jones-bred AGS winners have won Grade 1 races: Gazelle winner No Such Word (by Airdrie Stallion Canadian Frontier) and Garden City winner Check the Label (by Stormin Fever, who stood at Airdrie through 2008). The Gazelle was one of three AGS wins by No Such Word in 2010, and Check the Label won four AGS races overall. The third AGS winner bred by Jones, Yankee Fourtune (by Airdrie stallion Yankee Gentleman), won a pair of G3 stakes, and Washington Bridge (Yankee Gentleman) just won the G2 Bayakoa to break into the elite Graded Stakes club.

All four of the Jones-bred AGS winners, along with Canadian Graded Stakes winner Biofuel, were part of the 2007 foal crop at Airdrie. Biofuel is also by Stormin Fever, who was bought by Golden Eagle Farm in California in 2008.

“We're very, very blessed,” Jones said about his 2010 success. “What's exciting to me is that if you look at all the Graded Stales winners I've bred, I think the highest stud fee is $5,000.

“If you can breed all your mares to proven sires at the top of the market it's not as big a challenge to breed a Graded Stakes winner. If you try to make stallions, then I'm breeding to try and help the stallions, not to help my personal breeding statistics.”

What does Jones look for in a stallion prospect?

“Personally, I think brilliance is the most important single ingredient in making a stallion,” he said, “and if you can match up the conformation of the mare and stallion, that's nearly as important. The more often you can breed like to like (conformation), the better. I feel more comfortable with that kind of mating. If you've got a mare with bad knees with brilliance, you want to breed the bad knees out. You've got to use some common sense. If you've got an extremely large animal and an extremely small one, I've never had any success with that kind of mating. Still, to me, nothing is as important as brilliance.”

In that regard, Jones, ever the salesman, pointed out the newest addition to the Airdrie Stud roster: sprint star Majesticperfection, a son of Airdrie stallion Harlan's Holiday who will stand for $10,000 live foal.

“What Majesticperfection did on the racetrack amazes me,” Jones said. “He had the two highest Beyers (Speed Figures) in the country, and he easily beat the Breeders' Cup Sprint winner (Big Drama) the only time they met, in a Grade 1 at Saratoga .”

In that race, the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, Majesticperfection covered six furlongs in 1:08.63 under a hand ride to defeat Big Drama by 2 3/4 lengths. It was his fifth consecutive win of 2010.

“His trainer, Steve Asmussen, said he was the fastest horse he's ever seen—not just the fastest he's trained.”

I guess that would fall under the category of brilliance.

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