There’s the old joke about a mother who had two sons. One ran away to sea and the other was elected vice president. And neither was heard from again.
Well, if that same woman had once owned a stallion prospect who went to stud in Japan, she’d probably never hear of him again, either.
Such is the nature of North American-campaigned horses who are sent to stand at stud in Japan. Unless they become very successful as sires, the vast majority of racing fans would never know they’re still alive. There are exceptions, of course, such as Sunday Silence, but that’s because he rose from being shunned by American breeders to be the most successful sire in Japanese breeding history.
The Japanese breeding industry has traditionally been very insular, though that has slowly been changing in the past decade or so as its sire power has gotten better and Japanese-breds have been successful competing in international races.
It is against that backdrop that Mind Your Biscuits will head to stud duty in Japan, where he will stand for $17,700 (2 million yen) at Shadai Stallion Station in 2019. He also will head to that country with a lot of questions about whether his racing ability and pedigree are suited for success as a sire there.
New York-bred Mind Your Biscuits finished his racing career as one of the better older horses in training in the United States, and one of the best sprinters in the world, supported by his consecutive wins in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2017 and 2018. After starting his career in statebred races, he moved up the class ladder and won graded stakes at 3 and was a top sprinter at 4. At 5, he was asked to run long for the majority of his races, and did so successfully, though he was a runner-up more times than a winner.
Stallion prospects that raced in the United States that go to stud in Japan have a number of questions surrounding their chances of success. These are usually centered on several points – 1) How will the racing performance of the stallion prospect translate to Japanese racing? 2) How will the prospect’s pedigree translate to Japanese racing?
Mind Your Biscuits will be going against the grain by several measures.
On pedigree, Mind Your Biscuits’s sire, Posse, has had his moments, but was hit and miss. He started his stud career in Kentucky, went to New York after six years, and after seven years in that state went to Uruguay to stand at stud. He sired a total of 35 stakes winners (4 percent of foals of racing age, about average for a sire), but only two won stakes on turf, all minor stakes.
Posse has only two sons of note with foals of racing age, and neither has been very successful. Caleb’s Posse has sired two stakes winners, neither graded, from 95 foals; and Kodiak Kowboy has been better, getting 11 stakes winners, four of whom won graded stakes, from 288 foals (4 percent stakes winners), but he was sent to Brazil three years ago. Caleb’s Posse started in Kentucky and was moved to Oklahoma for the 2019 breeding season.
Mind Your Biscuits gets no help from his female family, as it is light on quality runners, and his broodmare sire, Toccet, was a failure as a stallion and now stands in Turkey.
On distance ability as a runner, Mind Your Biscuits was basically a sprinter who could stretch out in the right conditions, and all of his starts came on dirt, while Japanese racing is primarily distance racing on grass. The answers to the many questions about Mind Your Biscuits as a stallion prospect in Japan will not be known for years. So, like everything in breeding, one needs to be patient while awaiting results. Check back in about five years.
The newcomer to the Japan stallion ranks who seems to be a good fit for Japanese breeding and racing is Godolphin’s Talismanic, who will be standing his first season at stud at Darley Japan. By Medaglia d’Oro, Talismanic is a proven commodity at a distance on turf, his stakes wins including the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Turf in course-record time for 1 1/2 miles. His group wins in France, where he was based and trained by Andre Fabre, include the Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil at 1 3/4 miles on turf. In 21 starts on turf, Talismanic won seven times and was second seven times, earning more than $3.2 million on the surface. He will be part of an eight-stallion Darley Japan roster that includes Admire Moon, Discreet Cat, and King’s Best.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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