There's nothing quite like a down-to-the-wire finish, and the American Graded Stakes Standings closed with a few of them when the 2019 racing season hit the line.
Two of those races closed the year as dead heats, after some late-season rallies brought trailing connections even with established leaders.
Calumet Farm and Stonestreet Farm battled for the top spot among breeders throughout the year, but the category ended in a three-way tie when Godolphin joined the fray in December. All three entities finished the year with seven individual graded stakes winners and nine total graded stakes wins.
Godolphin inserted itself into the equation in December when homebred Lake Avenue won the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 7. The Tapit filly joined a group of graded stakes-winning Godolphin-breds in 2019 that also included Grade 1 winners Maxfield, Old Persian, Secret Spice, and She's a Julie, and Grade 3 winners Alms and Pamina.
Calumet Farm's winning combination of graduates featured Grade 1 winner Mongolian Groom, Grade 2 winners Channel Cat and Zulu Alpha, and Grade 3 winners Causeforcommotion, Coachwhip, English Bee, and Lexitonian. The Stonestreet breeding program earned its place at the top with Grade 2 winners Champagne Anyone and Sally's Curlin, and Grade 3 winners Dream Pauline, Electric Forest, Gladiator King, Marzo, and Owendale.
Lake Avenue's Demoiselle triumph also helped swing the race for leading sire by graded stakes winners. The daughter of Tapit was one of 11 graded winners for her sire in 2019, and one of two in the month of December along with G3 Rampart Stakes winner Pink Sands.
Those victories brought Gainesway resident Tapit even with Hill 'n' Dale Farms' Curlin at the top of the list. While the race was tied by individual graded winners, Curlin got the edge in total progeny graded stakes wins by a 16-14 margin.
Curlin's 2019 runners were led by Breeders' Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso, with backup including Grade 2 winners Mylady Curlin, Point of Honor, and Sally's Curlin. Tapit's runners were led by Grade 2 winners Lake Avenue, Marconi, Synchrony, and Tacitus.
Taylor Made Sales Agency finished the year as the leading consignor by graded stakes winners, with 26, followed by Lane's End with 15. Juveniles came through in a big way for the Taylor Made operation, including Grade 1 winners Bast and Eight Rings. Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress and multiple Grade 1 winner Rushing Fall were also among the consignment's graduates to make noise in 2019.
Wavertree Stables and Niall Brennan Stables finished tied among the leading consignors in the 2-year-olds in training division, each represented by six graded winners.
Chad Brown finished the year unchallenged in the trainer ranks, flipping the calendar with 33 graded winners on the year and 53 total wins. Steve Asmussen was the runner-up in both categories, with 14 winners of 26 graded races.
Brown's runners swallowed up entire stakes cards in 2019, and his stable figures to loom over this month's Eclipse Awards with a similar aplomb. Among his top runners were Horse of the Year contender Bricks and Mortar, Breeders' Cup Mile winner Uni, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Structor, and multiple Grade 1 winners Cambier Parc, Guarana, Rushing Fall, and Sistercharlie.
Javier Castellano survived steady pressure throughout the year from Irad Ortiz Jr., to take the jockey title by a 36-34 margin.
Castellano started the year on a high note, winning the G1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes aboard City of Light, and he finished it strong with Breeders' Cup victories aboard Belvoir Bay in the Turf Sprint and British Idiom in the Juvenile Fillies.
Midnight Bisou tallied seven graded stakes wins in 2019 to lead all North American horses in the category. Three of those wins came in Grade 1 competition: the Apple Blossom Handicap, Ogden Phipps Stakes, and Personal Ensign Stakes.
The populous Keeneland sales dominated the tops of the charts in which it was involved. The bellwether Keeneland September Yearling Sale produced the most graded stakes victories of the year, with 182 – more than the remainder of the top ten sales combined.
Keeneland was also unparalleled in the race between auction houses. Its 231 North American graded stakes graduates was one more than all other auction companies combined in 2019.
|Graded Stakes Winners by Consignor|
|1||Taylor Made||26 (34)|
|2||Lane's End||15 (27)|
|4||Brookdale Sales||9 (13)|
|5||Eaton Sales||8 (16)|
|6||Wavertree Stables||6 (8)|
|Niall Brennan Stables||6 (7)|
|8||Select Sales||5 (8)|
|Darby Dan Farm||5 (6)|
|Eddie Woods||5 (6)|
|St. George Sales||5 (5)|
|Graded Stakes Winners by Breeder|
|1||Calumet Farm||7 (9)|
|4||WinStar Farm||6 (6)|
|5||Gary & Mary West||4 (7)|
|Pin Oak Stud||4 (7)|
|Adena Springs||4 (5)|
|Graded Stakes Winners by Sire|
|3||Candy Ride||9 (9)|
|4||Medaglia d'Oro||8 (13)|
|5||Into Mischief||6 (10)|
|Quality Road||6 (9)|
|Hard Spun||6 (7)|
|Street Sense||6 (7)|
|Graded Stakes Winners by Trainer|
|1||Chad Brown||33 (53)|
|2||Steve Asmussen||14 (26)|
|3||Bob Baffert||12 (17)|
|4||Mark Casse||10 (15)|
|Richard Baltas||10 (13)|
|Bill Mott||10 (13)|
|Todd Pletcher||10 (13)|
|8||Brad Cox||9 (16)|
|Phil D'Amato||9 (12)|
|10||John Sadler||8 (13)|
|11||Mike Maker||7 (10)|
|Graham Motion||7 (8)|
|Graded Stakes Wins by Jockey|
|2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||34|
|7||Ricardo Santana Jr.||18|
|Total Graded Stakes Wins by Horse|
|2||Bricks and Mortar||6|
|Code of Honor||4|
|Graded Stakes Winners by Sale|
|5||FT Midlantic May||21|
|Graded Stakes Wins by Sales Company|
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