Bloodlines: Undefeated Maximum Security Flatters Sire New Year’s Day

by | 04.01.2019 | 12:59pm
Maximum Security wins the Florida Derby

Nearly three months after the announcement that the young stallion New Year's Day (by Street Cry) was sold to Luis Felipe Brandão dos Santos and sent to stand in Brazil at his Stud Eternamente Rio, the stallion's 3-year-old colt Maximum Security won the Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 30.

Raced and bred by Gary and Mary West, who also own and race last season's champion juvenile colt Game Winner (Candy Ride), Maximum Security is the best racehorse to date by New Year's Day and has propelled his sire into the top 50 leading sires of 2019 through his successes of the last three and a half months.

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farm, New Year's Day sold for $425,000 at 2012 Keeneland September to Ben Glass, agent for Gary and Mary West. A little more than a year later, the tidy bay son of Street Cry won the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was narrowly defeated by Shared Belief in voting for champion 2-year-old male.

Unfortunately, New Year's Day never raced again after his Breeders' Cup win and retired to stud in 2014 at Hill 'n' Dale Farm outside Lexington. From his first book of 77 mares, 56 were reported back in foal, and 52 produced live foals in 2015. A larger book of 98 mares visited the young stallion in 2015. From these, 65 were reported in foal, and 60 produced live foals of 2016.

The Florida Derby winner is from his sire's second crop, born in May of 2016.

The commercial market, however, was already in the process of making up its collective mind on inspection of the stallion's first crop, and the answer to New Year's Day was “no.” Buyers and advisers did not especially like the stallion's first-crop yearlings, and that meant breeders could not afford to support the horse with continuing large books.

Then, due to the expense of maintaining a stallion, especially at a top-level stallion farm in Kentucky, a horse that is not commercially appealing is essentially an economic liability that needs to find a new home.

For instance, a stallion standing for $5,000 has about the same expenses as a $20,000 stallion. Those can run up to $100 per day for board and handling, plus a share of the advertising and promotions budget. So anyone, either an individual or a syndicate, is looking at around $35,000 annually for board, plus that much or sometimes quite a bit more for promotions and advertising.

One bloodstock adviser that I spoke to about stallion costs and maintenance said the “economics of standing a stallion are debilitating unless the horse gets immediate traction with buyers, especially at the first-crop yearling sales, and then can count on season sales for a couple more years as the foals prove themselves on the racetrack.”

At Stud Eternamente Rio, the costs associated with New Year's Day will be a small fraction of that, and partly as a result of that difference, most stallions in South America are not treated as commercial propositions to the same degree they are here in the States.

Nor are the benefits of owning a top stallion or selling top yearlings anything like as substantial as they are in the Kentucky market and its subsidiaries.

Maximum Security was not a sales yearling, but he did make his debut on Dec. 20 at Gulfstream in a maiden claiming race for a $16,000 tag. Away alertly, Maximum Security “drew well clear being hand-urged … and was wrapped up with 70 yards to remaining” to win by 9 ¾ lengths in 1:16.84 for six and a half furlongs.

Maximum Security was not claimed.

The bay colt won his next two races, optional allowances, by 6 ½ lengths in 1:09.93 and by 18 ¼ in 1:21.72.

Now Maximum Security is unbeaten in four starts, is a G1 winner, has earnings of $649,400, and is one of the great stories of the 2019 Triple Crown trail.

CORRECTION: Shared Belief won the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2013. The original version of this article mistakenly identified New Year's Day as champion.

Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.

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