WHAT a day it was on Saturday in Santa Anita for Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa’s Curlin (Smart Strike), as he sired a third of the day’s nine Grade 1 winners. This took his tally of Breeders’ Cup progeny wins to eight, one more than any other sire.

Four sires are tied with seven career Breeders’ Cup victories apiece, Dubawi, Into Mischief, Tapit and the late More Than Ready.

A repeat victory for Elite Power in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint pushed Curlin to the top of the sire rankings, while earlier on the card the 19-year-old, who will stand for $250,000 in 2024, was represented by dual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Cody’s Wish, and Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Idiomatic .

Curlin won Horse of the Year titles in 2007 and 2008, has now been many times among the top five US sires by progeny earnings, and this year will play second-fiddle to Into Mischief.

Last year he also sired three Breeders’ Cup winners, with Cody’s Wish and Elite Power being joined by Malathaat, and she too won the Distaff. His son Good Magic won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and now stands with his sire at Hill ‘n’ Dale.

The only other stallion who has had three Breeders’ Cup winners in the same year is Dubawi, and he achieved the feat in 2021 with Modern Games, Space Blues and Yibir.

An initial stud fee of $75,000 at Lane’s End Farm for Curlin was almost halved for the next four years, and fell to a career low of $25,000 for 2013 and 2014. A small rise was followed by a massive jump to $100,000 with a move to his present home seven years ago.

Horse of the Year in his only seasons to race, Curlin’s $100,000 fee was for one year only, and moved in increments to $175,000 over the next three years. Last year he stood for $225,000.

100 soon

Curlin is just two short of 100 stakes winners, and more than half of them have been successful at graded level, 21 doing so at Grade 1 winners.

Elite Power, a $900,000 Keeneland yearling bred by Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables, is out of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks runner-up, and Grade 2 winner Broadway’s Alibi, a daughter of Vindication (Seattle Slew).

As a racehorse, Vindication won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile 21 years ago in an undefeated two-year-old season. Elite Power has run his last race, and heads to stud at Juddmonte next spring at a fee of $50,000.

What a racing career it has been for Elite Power. He did not race at two, was unplaced on both his starts at three, and now goes to stud as the winner of nine races and, surely, with two sprint champion titles. In addition to his pair of Breeders’ Cup wins, he landed this year’s Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga, and was a Grade 3 winner in Saudi Arabia. He retires with earnings of more than $3.75 million.

Sole runner

Elite Power is the sole runner for Broadway’s Alibi, and she cost Alpha Delta Stables $2.15 million as a four-year-old. Her stakes-winning dam, Broadway Gold (Seeking The Gold), is a half-sister to the Grade 1 Florida Derby winner and three-time Grade 1 sire Dialed In (Mineshaft).

Cody’s Wish is a five-year-old Godolphin homebred who has won 11 of his 16 starts and never been out of the money. He did not race at two and his six starts at three didn’t include a stakes race. Now he has won five Grade 1s, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile twice, the Forego Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap and the Churchill Downs Stakes. Cody’s Wish will commence stud duties ay Jonabell Farm in the spring.

Cody’s Wish is out of the Grade 1 winner Dance Card (Tapit), and she is back in foal to Curlin. She cost Godolphin $750,000 at two, won four of her seven starts including the Grade 1 Gazelle Stakes, and ran third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Dance Card and Cody’s Wish are the only Grade 1 winners in five generations of this family.


Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Idiomatic was another who was recently the subject of a deep analysis in this column, following her victory in the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes. Now a three-time winner at the highest level, the four-year-old could well be kept in training at five, and that is certainly the hope of Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke.

Idiomatic is out of the First Defence (Unbridled’s Song) stakes winner Lockdown, and she was placed in a pair of Grade 1 races, notably the Kentucky Oaks. Lockdown is from a famous Juddmonte family, and she is a full-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and champion older mare, Close Hatches. Five of that mare’s nine wins were at Grade 1 level, and she was runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the race won by Idiomatic.