Third crop sire Bernardini will stand at Darley for $150k in 2013 just as he did in 2012. He is the last great son of the prolific A.P. Indy and he boasts a wonderful female family as he is by the Grade 1 winning Quiet American mare Cara Rafaela. He was a classic winner and he has produced stakes winners on both turf and dirt.
As great as he sounds, I think six figures is too much for any stallion. Especially one that ranked 19th by earnings, 20th by stakes winners and 11th by graded stakes winners. Below are five stallions that offer as much or more value for a third of Bernardini’s $150k fee.
#1 Elusive Quality (Gone West x Touch of Greatness by Heros Honor) $50k: Bernardini can’t hold a candlestick to this fellow Darley stallion. Sons and daughters of Elusive Quality are fast and precocious. Their talent runs deep as he has produced tremendous racehorses like Smarty Jones, Quality Road, Raven’s Pass and Sepoy. Bernardini has yet to produce anything close to those four horses.
#2 Arch (Kris S. x Aurora by Danzig) $30k: This Super Derby winning stud is responsible for producing great horses like Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame, Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch and Donn Handicap victor Hymn Book. He offers as much stamina and perhaps more class than Bernardini.
#3 Mineshaft (A.P. Indy x Prospectors Delite by Mr. Prospector) $30k: Another great son of A.P. Indy, Mineshaft has thrown plenty of great runners. Among them are Florida Derby winner Dialed In, multiple Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky, Grade 1 winner Discreetly Mine and classic placed colts Fly Down and Nehro. That’s quite a list!
#4 Ghostzapper (Awesome Again x Baby Zip by Relaunch) $20k: This horse is arguably the best horse of the past decade and was definitely faster than Bernardini. His progeny have been slightly worse than Bernardini’s but are still very good. He has produced top runners like Grade 1 winners Contested and Stately Victor. He provides far more value given that Bernardini’s fee is 7.5x higher than his.
#5 Macho Uno (Holy Bull x Primal Force by Blushing Groom) $20k: Looking for classic runners? Macho Uno is responsible for Breeders’ Cup Classic second place finisher Mucho Macho Man as well as Foster Handicap winner Macho Again. He has also produced great fillies like Potesta who defeated three Grade 1 when she won the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks. Potesta could emerge as one of the top fillies in the nation next year.
There is no denying that Bernardini is a great stallion. I am not arguing that. His progeny are fast and talented. However, there are too many good alternatives out there to overpay for any stallion.