First Generation Sire Yearlings: Vino Rosso
The 2022 class of first-crop yearling sires features a diverse batch of young Kentucky-based stallions, including a pair of Breeders’ Cup champions, two sons of reigning top sire Into Mischief, five stake winners ranked at two and five grade I turf winners. Throughout the yearling sales season, we will feature a series of first year bulls as the first harvest points to the sales ring. Discover the first editions of our series here.
When no less than a judge than Kenny McPeek buys three colts by the same sire of first-generation yearlings, people take notice. Known for his flair for selecting future stars from the sales ring, McPeek brought home a trio of youngsters by the Breeders’ Cup champion Red wine (Curlin – Mythical Bride, by Street Cry) at the Fasig-Tipton July sale.
Mark Toothaker of Spendthrift Farm said it was the best stamp they could have asked for to kick off the young stallion’s yearling sales season.
“I had a chance to talk to Kenny afterward and he just said it was his kind of horse,” Toothaker recounted. “Anytime you have horses in his stable, you have a chance because, as we’ve seen recently, he wins races everywhere.”
The three colts from Vino Rosso were the most expensive yearlings among McPeek’s eight July purchases, selling for $250,000, $200,000 and $180,000. Overall, the stallion’s offspring averaged $135,000 from 11 lots at the one-day sale.
Vino Rosso himself was a $410,000 yearling purchase for Mike Repole and St. Elias in 2016. Now that the young stallion has some field crops, Toothaker said his offspring reflect their sire’s eye-catching physique.
“When we started going out and seeing all the foals, we saw he was really stamping on them,” he explained. “They are neither too coarse nor too heavy. It is rather a horse of refined appearance and they are good engines. They have a really strong hip and they seem like very decent horses.
Toothaker said he thinks the ball is just starting to roll for Vino Rosso, explaining that pinhookers who may have been hesitant to get behind the First Harvest sire of a year are now joining the bandwagon.
“Talking to my 2-year-old buddies, they got burned on some Curlin sons that just weren’t quick at 2-year-old sales. After the [July] sale once they got a chance to see them move and see who was buying them, I think there’s a whole different take on ‘Vino’ now from the 2 year old guys. It’s a bit like Bolt d’Oro last year where there was a bit of hesitation. Will they be fast enough? Then, once they saw how well they sold at sales, everyone had to have one.
Undefeated in two starts as a juvenile for Todd Pletcher, Vino Rosso won the GII Wood Memorial S. as a sophomore. At four, he won the GI Gold Cup in Santa Anita S., was brought back second after crossing the wire first in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S., and capped his career with a memorable win in the GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic to earn Eclipse honors as Older Dirt Male Champion.
Retired to Spendthrift Farm, Vino Rosso was started at a stud fee of $30,000 and bred 238 mares in his first year at stud. With fees of $25,000 and $20,000 over his next two years at stud, Curlin’s son has bred over 180 mares in 2021 and nearly 140 this year.
The stallion placed third in his first generation weaner class at last year’s stud sales when his offspring averaged $90,595 with 47 of 61 sold. Leading is her colt from Fair Huntress (Tiznow), who fetched $340,000 at Keeneland’s November sale.
Five yearlings by Vino Rosso are expected to be sold at the next Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. The first to go through the ring is Hip 28, a colt of Money Madness (Rahy). The chestnut consigned by Mill Ridge Farm was a $100,000 partnership buy at Keeneland’s November sale and is a half-brother to MGSW Boardroom (Commissioner) of LNJ Foxwoods. Mill Ridge’s Price Bell said the colt was thriving in the final weeks of sales readiness.
“Physically he looks very fast,” Bell said. “[Our partnership] fell in love with his leg and his attitude when he was a colt and it looks like he has improved a lot since then. He’s got a really nice and quick look at him and in preparation he’s been a workaholic. He really enjoyed his exercise.
Bell added that with the Vino Rosso yearlings they had at Mill Ridge, he was always impressed with their attitudes.
Also at the Saratoga sale, a Vino Rosso colt out of the winning mare Pulpit War Relic is being sold with Denali Stud as Hip 115. The yearling was foaled and bred at Elm Tree Farm. Farm owner Jody Huckabay said the colt was special from the start.
“It honestly came very similar to what it looks like now,” Huckabay said. “He’s just developed and he’s doing everything we’ve asked him to do throughout the preparation process. You hear that all the time, but he’s a horse that’s been a joy to be around. We are very proud of him, he is very athletic and we think he is a special horse.
Other Vino Rosso yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale include Hip 71, a filly out of GIISP Shaken (Uncle Mo) with Gainesway; Hip 133, a half brother of GIIISP Aurelia Garland (Constitution) with Warrendale Sales; and Hip 172, a colt out of entry mare Divergent View (Congratulations) with Machmer Hall Sales.
10 additional Vino Rosso sons and daughters are cataloged for New York Breed Sale.
Toothaker said Vino Rosso will have strong support from his ownership group as yearling sales progress.
“[At the Fasig-Tipton July Sale] Mike Repole was there to bid and they didn’t get anything in the end, but they made sure everything was checked and everything was selling very well,” he said. “There will be yearlings landing on his lap as we go forward and it’s exciting to know there will be some in those orange and blue colors.”
Once the Vino Rosso offspring hit the tour, Toothaker said he thinks the athleticism they now display will become even more apparent.
“I feel like they’re going to be very efficient on the track with the way they move,” he said. “If they have Curlin blood running through them, which they do, every time you look up you see something from the sire line is successful, so we’re excited for what the future holds. at Vino Rosso.