Stands for $100,000 live foal at Ashford
Giant's Causeway is the stallion of the week, for the week ended Monday, Feb. 22, 2010. The champion US-based sire of 2009 by progeny earnings was represented by two promising US classics contenders Saturday, Jan., 20: Eskendereya won the Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes in Florida and Connemara won the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby in Northern California.
A 13-year-old son of the great US sire Storm Cat from the Rahy Grade 2 winner Mariah's Storm, Giant's Causeway stands at Ashford Stud in Lexington, Ky., for a $100,000 fee in 2010, down from $125,000 in 2009. To date he has sired 14 Grade/Group 1 winners, including classic winners Shamardal and Footstepsinthe sand -- both leading first-crop sires in 2009. The former led the first-crop list in Great Britain by progeny earnings, while the latter was represented by 25 2yo winners. Shamardal already has started 2010 with a classic winner in Dubai as the sire of UAE 1000 Guineas heroine Siyaadah.
Giant's Causeway was his sire's best racing son -- he won 9 of 13 starts at 2 and 3 and was a joint top-rated juvenile in Europe and champion 3-year-old at 9.5 to 10.5f -- and can now be safely proclaimed his best stallion son, too. Indeed, he is one of the best young sires in the world, with his reputation in the US increasing by leaps and bounds each season. He started off at stud in 2001 at Coolmore in Ireland but has been in Kentucky since the 2002 season and has shown tremendous ability to sire winners on turf, all weather, and dirt -- including mud in the US.
Eskendereya, in particular, could be the big 3-year-old that he's been looking for in the US -- a comparable to either Shamardal or Footstepsinthesand in Europe. Owned by Zayat Stable and a $250,000 yearling, Eskendereya was absolutely dominant in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, winning off by 8 1/2 lengths in a manner suggesting that the 10f of the Kentucky Derby will suit him ideally.
Connemara's win was not as visually impressive as Eskendereya's, but it was as important because the colt improved off his prior run and like the other colt has shown a preference for more distance. Again, both colts highlighted the versatility of the sire, as the Fountain of Youth was on dirt and the El Camino Real on the all weather.