2024 Sire Watch


2023 FRESHMAN SIRE PICK: Omaha Beach



BEST VALUES, $20,000 – $30,000


Impossible to critique other than his phenotype can be a bit unpredictable. Nearly half of his 46 stakes winners earned their credentials in graded company, and his numbers aren’t distorted by a lot of foreign earnings. An absolute steal at $25,000.


You’d be hard pressed to find a sire whose progeny earn $10,591 per start with a Comparable Index of just 1.04. We’re confident no sire has even gotten close to such an achievement. Not since Kantharos has a sire done so much with minimal help from his mares. Has the early earmarks of a special sire.


A bit behind Army Mule in terms of doing more with less… with $10,392 per start from a 1.19 Comparable Index, but the margin is nominal. Percentage of graded stakes winners will undoubtedly tick upward as he gets better mares, making him a solid play at his current fee.


As explosive an individual as we’ve seen in recent years with the genetics to back it up in the breeding shed. He’s getting a lot of support with quality mares… making him a legitimate threat for leading freshman sire in 2026. With nearly 300 mares covered in 2023 and in-foal mares averaging in excess of 100k last fall, it’s clear the commercial market will be all over his better progeny.


Has clearly demonstrated he can get elite U.S. runners and create fireworks in the sales ring for astute breeders who use him properly. Improves his mares, gets a really nice physical, and allows those breeding for American dirt racing to dream big.

WORST VALUES, $20,000 – $30,000


Has been quiet in recent months after a promising start last summer. In looking at his entire body of work, there are multiple concerns including a .85 AEI, a win percentage of just 12%, and only two stakes winners from 101 starters. Could easily rebound, but his fee isn’t in line with the current risk.


Terribly over-hyped as of this writing. While he’ll likely settle in as a useful type, it’s also likely seasons will be trading for less than 15k next year. From 67 starters, half are below $11,000 in career earnings… and he has just one graded stakes horse. Tough to endorse when the same category includes Blame, Army Mule, Girvin, and Upstart.


Grabbed a few nice headlines early, but as the numbers roll in… he gives us pause about being a long term asset in this price range. AEI is below the industry average with just three stakes winners from 94 starters and no graded stakes winners. Need to see more strength in numbers before advocating in a category that has much better options.

BEST VALUES, $10,000 – $15,000

1. KANTHAROS ($15,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

Provided you send the right physical and you’re not looking to win at 10+ furlongs… few sires infuse more class and honesty than Kantharos. Launched his reputation completely on his own while in Florida and has always rewarded backers who astutely send mares with the proper phenotype.

2. KARAKONTIE ($15,000, Gainesway Farm, KY)

Another sire where sending the right physical is crucial. But if you get the physical compatibility right, Karakontie is more than capable of getting elite U.S. runners, and increasingly, fireworks in the sales ring. Very difficult to go wrong with this sire if you’re mindful of physical attributes.

3. MIDNIGHT LUTE ($10,000, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

We’ve run out of superlatives for the value that Midnight Lute brings to the market. His numbers are bullet-proof, particularly in terms of getting graded stakes horses from second shelf mares… and he’s incredibly reliable at siring big robust physical types.

4. JIMMY CREED ($10,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

Benefits greatly from taller mares with ample leg, but if you get the physical compatibility right, Jimmy Creed can take you anywhere. Improves upon his opportunities by almost 20%, can get high class U.S. types, and his progeny are certainly not limited to sprinting on dirt.

5. VEKOMA ($15,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

Our pick as the top freshman sire for 2024. For those agreeable to high-risk, high-reward investments, Vekoma should be considered, even in 2024. A freakishly fast horse with a deceptively strong pedigree. Between him, his dam, and his lone sibling… they’ve amassed 14 wins from 27 starts including six graded stakes wins and an average earnings per start of $64,552.

WORST VALUES, $10,000 – $15,000

1. STAY THIRSTY ($15,000, Lovacres Ranch, CA)

Hard to imagine what his connections were thinking. Not sure he’s worth even half the current fee given that 44 of his yearlings went thru the ring this year and netted a median of less than $7,000… and his progeny are mustering up just $4,007 per start primarily in restricted company. One of the most ridiculous stud fees we’ve ever come across.

2. DADS CAPS ($10,000, Barton Thoroughbreds, CA)

A close second to Stay Thirsty in terms of absurdity. Has amassed an AEI that is 29% lower than the average for the breed with vast majority of his sales progeny creating financial implosions for the connections. Current fee makes no sense, particularly when you take into account the sad state of affairs in the California breeding industry.

3. CATALINA CRUISER ($10,000, Lane’s End, KY)

While a resurgence is plausible, it’s highly unlikely. Very little has gone his way thus far with progeny winning at just an 8% clip, an AEI of .61… and just two stakes horses from 53 starters. Certainly not a big surprise given how inconsistent his sire has always been.

4. CATHOLIC BOY ($10,000, Claiborne Farm, KY)

Another freshman sire where nothing has broke his way early on. Progeny are struggling to find the winner’s circle against maidens and just three stakes horses from his first 56 starters, and two of them were in Puerto Rico and Panama. Would have to think he’ll be in a regional market by 2025, if not sooner.

5. VOLATILE ($15,000, Three Chimneys Farm, KY)

A solid investment in 2021 and 2022… but for those signing $15,000 contracts in 2024, they’re more likely than not to get left holding the bag when they try to navigate the market in 2025 and beyond. 85% of all stallions will fail, and it’s tough to imagine sons of Violence getting into that 15% range.


1. TEMPLE CITY ($5,000, Spendthrift Farm, KY)

Could stand to be a bit more consistent, but the potential for elite, graded stakes talent is always there with a Temple City mating, and few sires in recent memory gets such outstanding physical specimens. Perfect match for smaller, more refined types.

2. MUCHO MACHO MAN ($7,500, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, KY)

The line for Mucho Macho Man seasons should be much longer than it is, particularly if you have a smaller mare that needs size, leg… and a balanced/athletic physique. Great numbers across the board, and has shown repeatedly that he can get elite runners in this country.

3. FIRST SAMURAI ($7,500, Claiborne Farm, KY)

With six millionaires and a solid statistical profile to his credit, First Samurai is a great choice to get a young mare launched with a proven sire. Gets solid physicals with ample size and substance. Commercial interest has waned, leaving a great opportunity for those breeding to race on a budget.

4. COPPER BULLET ($7,500, Darby Dan Farm, KY)

Have to send a mare with the right physical attributes, but early signs are positive, particularly at the juvenile sales where 11 individuals sold for an average price of $97,727. First crop are averaging $12,262 per start with a healthy 1.43 AEI. Still a bit risky as we’re early in the game, but a very tolerable risk at $7,500.

5. HIGHTAIL ($7,500, Calumet Farm, KY)

A solid choice if you need to infuse speed and substance into the equation, or if you need a healthy dose of balance and curb appeal. Able to improves his mares and has shown an ability to get elite U.S. graded types from just 51 starters.


1. MASTERY ($7,500, Claiborne Farm, KY)

With just two stakes winners from 222 starters and an AEI less than half of his Comparable Index, it’s hard to imagine a more disappointing start for a sire that was so highly touted at the sales early on. Likely on his way out of central Kentucky next year.

2. OM ($6,000, Harris Farms, CA)

Obviously, it’s extremely early, but thus far, his progeny are averaging a ridiculous $1,728 per start with just one winner… a $12,500 maiden claimer at Sacramento. Would be absurd for any mare owner to write a $6,000 check in 2024.

3. INSTILLED REGARD ($7,500, Taylor Made Stallions, KY)

Was never able to catch any traction in the commercial market. His 28 yearlings that sold in 2023 netted a median price of less than $17,000 and six mares in foal to him in 2022 and 2023 netted an average price of just $7,260. Until and unless his progeny demonstrates otherwise in 2024, his current fee makes no sense of any kind.

4. COUNTRY HOUSE ($7,500, Darby Dan Farm, KY)

A son of Lookin at Lucky was always going to face a strong headwind in the commercial market, but the way Country House won the Kentucky Derby only worsened his chances. Aside from one high dollar Keeneland November weanling, Country House has tanked commercially. Ultra-risky in 2024 at the advertised price.

5. LEOFRIC ($7,500, Darby Dan Farm, KY)

It’s certainly early, but with a .48 AEI, just four first crop winners, and progeny getting to the winner’s circle at just a 9% clip… probably best for mare owners to look elsewhere until Leofric shows more signs of life.