Breeders fantasize about finding the next successful stallion. They spend countless hours searching for the perfect nick for their broodmare and often look to the talented but untested new sires. The excitement of breeding to the next big thing while also getting a deal on the unknown is an allure that has kept breeders in the game despite the odds.

Canadian farms seem to have found the key to bringing desired new blood to pedigree lines according to a 10-year look at the leading freshman sires. These quick starters have, for the most part, gone on to solidify their place as leading sires in the country.

As any breeder or prospective buyer knows, pedigree matching is not an exact science and does not guarantee a big winner on the track, but there are similar traits among many of these top freshman sires.

The majority of the 30 stallions listed were accomplished racehorses and others showed plenty of promise and ability in briefer careers.


Old Forester, Giant Gizmo, Society’s Chairman, Marcavelly and Signature Red, all graded stakes winners, had their best success on the track as 3-year-olds and older, excelling in middle distance races, sprints, grass, traditional dirt or synthetic dirt. Not Bourbon, by the same sire as Society’s Chairman (Not Impossible (Ire)) was precocious as a speedy, stakes winning juvenile who went on to win the 10 furlong Queen’s Plate as a sophomore.

Mobil, now a successful sire in Ohio, was a stakes winner from 2 through 5 and was also versatile as he won stakes races from seven to 10 furlongs on the main track and turf. Another leading freshman sire, Tomahawk, was a champion 2-year-old in Ireland and brought to Ontario by Michael Byrne’s Park Stud. The stallion had 10 winners from his 26 runners in 2008 including stakes winner Win and Reign.

Others such as Philanthropist, who was on his way to leading sire status in Canada before he was sold to South Africa, Where’s the Ring, Mast Track and Canadian 2-Year-Old Champion Leonnatus Anteas, brought solid racing records, showing a bit of early speed, to stud duty and were popular with breeders.

Philanthropist won just a single stakes race but the Grade 3 Queens County at Aqueduct and his six wins in route races came when he was on or near the early pace. Where’s the Ring also had just one added-money victory in a minor six furlong stakes event, but was graded stakes-placed sprinting. Mast Track was a late developing, long distance runner who won the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup, but enjoyed racing on the pace while Leonnatus Anteas was more precocious as a stakes winner as a juvenile at Woodbine.

Hotshots in western Canada such as Rosberg, an impeccably bred son of A.P. Indy who was purchased later in his career by Swift Thoroughbreds and won the Grade 3 B.C. Premier’s, was off to a meteoric start at stud before his sudden passing after only a handful of crops. Another import, Numaany (also a son of Champion A.P. Indy) showed brilliance as a young horse in New York and was one of Canada’s leading second-crop sires in 2017.


Several proven sire-lines appear frequently in past leading freshman sires including sons of Silver Deputy and sons/grandsons of the great world-class sires Storm Cat and Sadler’s Wells. All three sirelines developed from the legendary Northern Dancer.

Silver Deputy, a leading sire of more than 88 stakes winners in his stud career, is the sire of the exciting 2017 freshman sire Pool Play, a graded stakes winner from age four through seven who preferred races of nine furlongs and more. Represented by only a few starters in 2017, Pool Play’s early runners showed speed. Silver Deputy’s son Second in Command, fifth in 2011 on the freshman sire list, is one of the nation’s leading stallions.

Storm Cat is the grandsire of Old Forester, Giant Gizmo and the promising Signature Red as well as the Alberta stallion Schramsberg, a close fourth on the freshman sire list in 2015.

Remarkably, two recent leading freshman sires, Not Bourbon and Society’s Chairman, are both by the unraced Not Impossible, a son of Sadler’s Wells, and both remain prominent on the general sire list.

The Bold Ruler line appears through American Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, sire of Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy and grandsire of Numaany, Sungold and Rosberg and maternal grandsire of Bear’s Kid.

Esquirol Farms’ 2017 freshman sire Big Lightning, who had more runners than any other first year sire in Canada with nine, is a son of Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini, also a son of A.P. Indy.

Alberta’s Exhi offers the popular Northern Dancer – Buckpasser blend while the well-traveled and very successful Where’s the Ring is from a Mr. Prospector sire line through seeking the Gold.

Standing a new stallion takes plenty of patience and luck with a three-year waiting game from first mares bred to the first crop hitting the track. Canadian stallion farms have been playing the game well in the last decade and more exciting, young studs are on the horizon for 2018.