Stands for $75,000, live foal, at Juddmonte
Between Sunday, March 8, and Saturday, March 14, Empire Maker was represented by two graded stakes winner -- Pioneer of the Nile in the Grade 2 San Felipe at Santa Anita, and Acoma in the Grade 3 Azeri at Oaklawn Park. With his first crop only 4 and his 2-year-olds yet to race, the classic-winning son of Unbridled is represented by at least 9 stakes winners in two crops, including several promising classics prospects in his 3-year-old crop aside from Pioneer of the Nile. One of them, Imperial Council, ran second in the Grade 3 Gotham at Aqueduct March 7 to runaway winner I Want Revenge -- a colt that Pioneer of the Nile has defeated twice in California.
Empire Maker is out of the recently deceased Toussaud, a Broodmare of the Year and the dam of four Grade 1 winners and a Grade 2 winner. He lived up to his sterling pedigree by winning the Belmont Stakes and the Grade 1 Florida Derby in 2003, and had a foot injury not compromised his racing career he might have been better at 4 than 3 -- he was certainly bred to improve with age, just as his dam and several siblings did.
Acoma, a multiple graded winner, is 4 and from his sire's first crop, which also included the multiple Grade 1 winner and recently retired Country Star. The latter, like Pioneer of the Nile, took to synthetic surfaces and won both her Grade 1s on it, and she was also a Grade 1 winner at 2. Empire Maker's stakes-winning son Summer's Empire was just the opposite, however. Last year at 2, the colt made three starts on synthetics without success, then switched to dirt and won three in a row, including a stakes.
Acoma has now shown versatility with her win in the Azeri, which was on dirt. Previously the filly won two graded races on turf at Churchill and Keeneland.
Empire Maker has a lot going for him as a stallion, including a family that's produced three high-class stallions over the last few years: Empire Maker, of course; his deceased half brother Chester House, who had 18 stakes winners to his credit in 2008; and close relative Indygo Shiner, the sire of 10 stakes winners to date, including three Argentine classic winners from his first crop age 3 in 2008 and two winners in Dubai this year. Empire Maker started off at a $100,000 fee and now stands for $75,000 in a depressed economy. That's a reasonable fee for what he's got on the table now -- the pro tem 3-year-old leader, a high-class older filly, and several promising 3-year-olds. Anything more -- like a Derby win? -- would be gravy.
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