By Frank Mitchell
With his victory in the Belmont Stakes, Drosselmeyer gave owner WinStar Farm an uncommon distinction of winning two Triple Crown races in the same year with different colts. (Fourteen years ago, Overbrook did so with Grindstone and Editor's Note.)
There was an added bonus for WinStar in Drosselmeyer's victory because the farm stands his sire, the 17-year-old Forty Niner stallion Distorted Humor. In fact, Distorted Humor is the premier sire at WinStar (which also stands Horse of the Year Tiznow, the sire of champion Folklore and Belmont Stakes winner Da' Tara).
With his Belmont victory, Drosselmeyer completed Distorted Humor's set of Triple Crown trophies. The stallion's first-crop son Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but came up short against Empire Maker in the Belmont.
The significance of Funny Cide, however, was that the chestnut gelding showed breeders immediately that Distorted Humor was breeding on in the classic tradition of his sire Forty Niner (sire of Belmont Stakes winner Editor's Note) and broodmare sire Danzig (sire of Belmont Stakes winner Danzig Connection).
This was important because Distorted Humor was not a classic colt himself. Instead, he was a sprinter-miler whose best races came at seven furlongs when he was a 5-year-old. An extremely talented horse, Distorted Humor also had the reputation of being one of Forty Niner's tougher and more headstrong sons. His petulant inclination to squander his speed probably limited how far Distorted Humor could race on the track but also underlined that he was a very talented athlete.
When he retired to the farm then called Prestonwood a dozen years ago, nobody knew what to expect of Distorted Humor as a sire. Between the time he went to stud and his first foals began racing, Prestonwood Farm and all the Prestonwood bloodstock had sold to Kenny Trout and Bill Casner, who renamed the farm WinStar.
Whatever valuation was given to Distorted Humor in the sale, he has eclipsed it by a factor of 10, 50, or perhaps 100 times over. Even allowing for the extensive development, outstanding bloodstock, and professional management of WinStar, Distorted Humor's performance as a sire has “made the farm” to an extraordinary degree.
Distorted Humor began his career at stud inexpensively at $12,500, but when his first crop included Funny Cide and nine other stakes winners, the young stallion was really off to the races, and demand for his seasons increased dramatically.
While several sons of Forty Niner have done well at stud, most notably End Sweep in Florida and Japan, Distorted Humor has done the best. Emphatically, he has done better than even his champion sire, and today Distorted Humor's stud fee stands at $100,000 live foal, one of the highest in the country.
Not surprisingly, Distorted Humor has proven himself not only with the quality but also with the quantity of his high-class offspring. To date, the stallion has sired 86 stakes winners (including at least nine in the Southern Hemisphere from three seasons in Australia), and in 2010, Distorted Humor leads all sires bynumber of unrestricted stakes winners with 10, including seven first-time unrestricted stakes winners (statistics courtesy of Werk Thoroughbred Consultants).
This is a record of unrepentant excellence, and in a time of retrenchment in both the general economy and in the horse business, the powerfully made Distorted Humor has been expanding his influence. As such, he is a true American success story.
Those stallion successes brought more and more top-class mares to Distorted Humor, and today the stallion's book is one of the best in the world.
Such was the case when Aaron and Marie Jones sent Grade 1 winner Golden Ballet to the stallion in 2006 for the mating that resulted in Drosselmeyer. The resulting foal was strong and very attractive, athletic and notably well-conformed. When presented for sale as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale in 2008, the colt sold for $600,000 to Maverick Racing, an entity of WinStar..
And Saturday, Drosselmeyer repaid his purchase price in full with victory in the Belmont Stakes. There might also be a residual or two in there because the race added some glory to the account of his sire and to Drosselmeyer's own prospects as a stallion in time.
When that time comes, he will most likely be a WinStar stallion like his sire and like his classic counterpart Super Saver.
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 a private consultant to breeders on pedigrees, matings, and conformation. He is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
Copyright © 2010, Frank Mitchell
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