The declining U.S. economy has impacted the horse racing industry in many areas, especially in the breeding shed.
Stud fees began falling in 2007 and continued this year. Yearlings sold last year in North America through early November averaged 5.8 percent, according to BloodHorse.com, while the median was 13.3 percent.
Citing the economic situation that face breeding and sales in North America and Europe, Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation announced on Oct. 28 fees for 37 of its 40 stallions on both continents would remain unchanged or decrease for ’10.
One of the exceptions turns out to be the hot U.S. sire Medaglia d’Oro that was acquired by Darley from Stonewall Solutions in June. The purchase price was not disclosed.
He had been standing for an advertised stud fee of $40,000 at Stonewall, but by the time of his sale that had jumped to $60,000.
Medaglia d’Oro’s fee rose again to a whopping $100,000 next year, prompted by super filly Rachel Alexandra, who whipped the boys in the Preakness, Haskell, and Woodward en route to likely Horse of the Year honors.
The Kentucky-bred has been most successful off the track—the current leading second-crop sire, with 59 winners and earnings exceeding $8 million this year. His fillies have been a hot commodity with the majority of first-crop stakes winners being females.
During his racing career, he banked more than $5.7 million, winning eight of 15 starts. He captured the Jim Dandy and Travers in 2002, the Whitney in 2003 and the Donn in 2004.
The multiple Grade One winner also was runner-up in the 2002 Belmont, the 2002 and 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2004 Dubai World Cup.
“Sheikh Mohammed has been following Medaglia d’Oro's stud career with great interest,” said chief Darley bloodstock adviser John Ferguson, “and has been most impressed not only by the likes of Rachel Alexandra and many other exciting prospects in his first crop, which are now three-year-olds, but also by the quality of yearlings that we have seen at public auction.”
The 10-year-old’s sire also was pretty good at breeding winners. El Prado, who passed away at age 20 in September, arrived in this county for a stud career as a relative unknown despite being a two-year-old Irish champion in his racing days.
But that changed mainly because of Medaglia d’Oro ’s performances. He made the Top five general sires index from 2002 through 2005. His most accomplished siblings included 2004 champion turf horse Kitten’s Joy.