By Rab Hagin
Only one stallion standing in New York for 2017 has had annual progeny earnings exceeding $5-million more than once, and that stallion is FREUD, whose Northern Hemisphere runners earned $5,168,822 in 2016 to top $5-million for the third year. Freud was the only New York-based sired of 2016 North American graded winners on dirt and turf, represented by multiple graded winner LUBASH ($1,488,139 and in training in Florida) and recent Grade 1 runner-up SHARP AZTECA($366,250). He was the leading New York-based sire in 2016 Northern Hemisphere progeny earnings, number of 2016 Northern Hemisphere repeat winners (with 59 – next closest was 47), and in cumulative Average-Earnings Index.
Sharp Azteca, a just-turned 4-year-old owned by Ivan Rodriguez’s Gelfenstein Farm, placed a hard-fought half-length behind the winner among nine in Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on December 26 after having run a tactically questionable second quarter-mile in 21.64 (for a half-mile fraction of 43.80). That move put him ahead of the 21-to-1 early pacesetter, who faded to last, but set everything up for the stretch-running winner, who 51 days earlier had closed more than eight lengths to place second in the Grade 1 six-furlong TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Sharp Azteca was at equal weights with the winner but was conceding two pounds to the third-place favorite, whom he beat by more than two lengths. The Malibu was clocked in 1:20.81.
Closing out 2016 among Freud’s winners was Stephen Lyle’s 3-year-old filly, PETER’S VALENTINE, who scored her fourth victory in 159 days when she tallied by two lengths against eight mostly older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on a “good” Penn National track on December 29. It was the second win on a wet main track for the two-turn standout, who has beaten 37 rivals in her four victories, including a maiden-breaking romp on Delaware Park turf, by daylight margins totaling eight lengths.
Freud’s first Northern Hemisphere winner of 2017 is Joseph Capriglione’s homebred filly, HEY BRACIOLE, who captured a six-furlong allowance in the rain on a sloppy Parx Racing track on January 2 despite being blocked along the rail entering the stretch. The May-foaled just-turned 4-year-old filly was the youngest among eight starters, including three six-figure-earners (one with a bankroll of $246,232), but was favored as the stronger half of an almost even-money entry.
In Argentina, where the racing season is about half-completed, Freud’s recent Argentine-bred winners have been WINNERS DREAM at Azul on December 18, LA GRAN SOLE at San Isidro on December 27, and RYE FREUD at La Plata on December 29 – all on dirt. Winners Dream, who has been racing for Los Velezanos Stable since August, scored his seventh career victory and sixth tally in his last eight starts since July by winning Azul’s featured Clasico Ciudad de Azul at 2,200 meters (about 1 3/8 miles) against seven rivals on a muddy track. La Gran Sole, a 3-year-old filly owned by El Quinton Lobos Stable, broke her maiden by three lengths pulling away against 12 rivals going 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs). Rye Freud, a listed stakes runner-up in October racing for Luz Del Sur Stable, scored his fourth victory by two lengths going 1,400 meters against eight rivals. Placing third in his turf and black-type debut, the listed Tresiete at 2,000 meters (about 1 ¼ miles) at San Isidro on December 30, was Black Moon Stable’s multiple-winning son of Freud, PSICOTECNICO, who has won or placed in 10 of 15 starts.