One of the best ways for smaller breeders/owners to get a stallion that has a great record on the track, great bloodlines, and is estimated to be capable of being a good sire is to take advantage of them early. That's why the Freshman Sire Ranking is actually crucially important. We know so many of the sires out there due to their fabulous successes of their progeny on the track. But how do you evaluate them? How do you know what their progeny will do? Well, I don't know, but I know who to ask.
There are two major categories of Freshman sire earnings: 1-North American; 2-International. The problem is that it is very difficult to really discern which rankings are counting what stuff. There are two major rankings, Bloodhorse and Thoroughbred Times (or actually there are two major rankings that I really look at, I'm sure there are countless others). I'm going to use Bloodhorse for discussion purposes.
Now, to present my bias. I am a huge fan of trying to get in on a freshman sire in the first two years of their breeding. You can get a great horse on the cheap. What may go for 25k by their 3rd or 4th year is probably in the 5-8k range insofar as stud fees are concerned. Understanding what the sire will really put on the foal is always a question as Mr. Prospector has a dosage profile that indicates sprinter, which he was, but he put out champions at every distance with any crossings for decades. So it really is a gamble.
The other huge advantage is that most big time stallions will only breed to select mares, usually based on their pedigree and the Nicking that the cross produced. (I discussed Nicks here, briefly). You better have an A+ Nick once the stallion is established. But at first, they'll usually breed to almost anything, trying to get a big Stakes Winner in that first crop.
So back to the rankings. How do you determine which ones are successful once they do get that first crop of 2yos to the track? I've found this tricky in the past, cause there are some that hit big, some that have lots of runners, some that have no SWs, but tons of claimers. So let's look at the top 6:
So right off the top you see Hat Trick (JPN) has a huge winner. Great right? Nope, not in my opinion. He's had one real winner out of 69 foals. Doesn't mean he won't see more than the nine he current has running make it to the track, but as of right now, he doesn't make the cut.
Lawyer Ron colicked and died, so he's, unfortunately, irrelevant.
That leaves Scat Daddy, Hard Spun, and Flashy Bull. I love Scat Daddy and Flashy Bull. Mostly because we've got a SD on the farm and I've got a FB foal on the way. But you see they've each got SWs, though SD has 4 Stakes Horses. 4 Stakes Horses of 44 runners is a great %. They both have high averages which aren't skewed completely by the SW horses they've sired, which gives a better picture of overall quality of the foals. But they do both have SWs, which is the big determinant of the capability of a stallion to produce high ceiling progeny. These two deserve their places atop the rankings.
But Hard Spun takes the crown despite his lowly #2 Ranking. High average, lots of runners already, 2 Stakes horses, 1 SW, 13 repeat winners from 36 total runners, thus far, is great. As the rest of his 136 foals make it to the track, expect his numbers to skyrocket from his progeny's successes. I'd be willing to
Now how do you predict which stallions will top this list? Beats me. That's what bloodstock agents are for. But it makes for great speculation and discussion.