Fusaichi Pegasus and his sons

The Saturday meeting at Greyville, South Africa, consisted of seven black-type races, including four ones classified as Gr.1. One of these, Premier’s Champion Stakes for two-year-olds, was taken by the Australian-born Harry’s Son, the son of Haradasun, for whom it was the first Gr. 1 achievement as a sire. Haradasun has thus become the third son of Fusaichi Pegasus to sire a Gr.1 winner.

photo: Ashford Stud

Fusaichi Pegasus is a good example of saying that he was bred in purple. His sire, Mr Prospector, was very successfully tested sire at the time Fusaichi Pegasus was born, and he ruled the elite North American sales; his dam Angel Fever, sired by the excellent Danzig, is a full sister of the Preakness Stakes winner Pine Bluff. It was thanks to this pedigree that Fusaichi Pegasus was attractive as a yearling. He was bought at the Keeneland July Sale by Fusao Sekiguchi for the highest bid of USD 4 million and he gave him the name that expressed a considerable trust in the colt. The first part of the name was a combination of the owner’s name with the suffix “ichi” meaning the best, the second part referred to the winged horse of the Greek mythology.

On the racecourse Fusaichi Pegasus proved that the name chosen by Mr Sekiguchi fitted perfectly. Although a long line of million yearlings brought to their owners nothing but disappointment on the racecourse, Fusaichi Pegasus won six of nine races and finished second in another two, his earnings amounting to just short of two million dollars. Only once he failed to place – in the Bredeers’ Cup Classic by which he ended his career. As a two-year-old he raced just once and placed second in the maiden race at Hollywood Park. Another maiden, this time as a three-year-old at Santa Anita, he won and started a series of five victories crowned by the triumps in the Wood Memorial Stakes and, mainly, in the Kentucky Derby. In the Preakness Stakes he was beaten by Red Bullet and finished second to win the Jerome Handicap and end his career by the sixth position in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The only son of Mr Prospector to win the Kentucky Derby was hugely demanded among the American breeders. The stallion ended up at Ashford Stud who paid a sum exceeding the then record of Shareef Dancer. The concrete sum has – to my knowledge – never been disclosed but rumours had it between sixty to seventy million dollars. Ashford stud came up with a high fee – Fusaichi Pegasus launched his stud career in 2001 for USD 150,000. In line with Coolmore’s price policy, it decreased in the subsequent seasons and in the fourth it was just USD 85,000. The results of the first crop of two-year-old, who included the double Gr.2 winner Roman Ruler and more four black-type winners, returned the stallion’s fee to the preceding level of USD 125,000 and since then it has kept decreasing to the current USD 7,500. The decrease of the fee to one twentieth of the original sum shows that Fusaichi Pegasus has failed to meet the expectations. Nevertheless, also thanks to good opportunity at the start of his career, he has produced seventy black-type winners (4% of foals of racing age), including seven Gr.1 winners.

While many stallions, who stay behind expectations at stud, see their influence dwindle in the following generations significantly, it is not the case with Fusaichi Pegasus. His first ever group winner, Roman Ruler, who missed the 2005 Triple Crown series due to a quarter crack problem but then won the Dwyer Stakes (Gr.2), Haskel Invitational Handicap (Gr.1) and finished second in the Travers Stakes (Gr.1), does not fare badly at stud. Even he failed to maintain the original fee set at the start of his career at Hill ’N’ Dale Farms, USA, of USD 30,000 and he is now available to breeders for USD 8,500, he has recently celebrated his thirty black-type winner. He has surpassed his sire in the number of Gr.1 winners, but two thirds of his 9 products successful in Gr.1 races were born in Argentina where he is based at Haras Vacacion. They include the double Gr.1 winner over sprinter distances Lenovo, among the U.S. products the Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice is prominent.

Roman Ruler, however, is not the only son of Fusaichi Pegasus who produced a black-type winner. A table attached will show you that nine of his sons have produced black-type winners, more three (Dr Green, Fusaichi Ruler and Killenaule) have produced black-type placed horses. Besides Roman Ruler, a Gr.1 winner was produced by the third from the Champagne Stakes (Gr.1) Pegasus Wind, based in Peru, where he has sired six black-type winners including the double Gr. 1 winner La Colosa. The U.S. listed winner Pegasusbystorm, the son of Storm Cat’s Hidden Cat, the daughter of the champion and Canadian Horse of the Year, the filly Alywow, performs well in Peru too.

Fusaichi Pegasus’s sons who have produced a black-type winner so far

YOB To Stud BT winners
ROMAN RULER 2002 2006 30
PEGASUS WIND 2004 2008 6
BANDINI 2002 2007 5
HARADASUN 2003 2008 4
FLYING PEGASUS 2002 2007 3
PEGASUSBYSTORM 2003 2007 3
ZIZOU 2004 2008 3
ANDROMEDA'S HERO 2002 2007 2
SAFADO 2002 2005 1

The third and the last son of Fusaichi Pegasus to sire a Gr.1 winner is Haradasun who achieved this on Saturday. A son of the AJC Oaks winner Circles of Gold belonged among the best of Fusaichi Pegasus’s progeny on the racecourse. He won two Gr.1 races, the Doncaster Handicap and George Ryder Stakes in Australia, then succeeded in Europe where he won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. While still in training, a half stake in the horse was bought by Coolmore Stud who placed the horse in their Australian base. Haradasun’s stud career developed similarly to Fusaichi Pegaus’s. After an initial wave of demand (133 mares and the fee of AUD 55,000 in the starting season of 2008), the attractiveness decreased (in 2012 he covered just 46 mares although the fee dropped to AUD 16,500) and this year he moved to New Zealand where his fee at Grangewilliam Stud was NZD 5,000. The Saturday two-year-old Gr.1 winner Harry's Son is only fourth black-type winner produced by Haradasun and since the stallion covered 390 mares during his first three seasons at stud (Harry’s Son comes from his third crop) it is no wonder that the demand for him decreased.

One black-type winner more was produced by the winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (Gr.1) Bandini whose dam is a half-sister to the excellent sire Stormy Atlantinc and can serve as an illustration of the interesting mare set-up that Fusaichi Pegasus had in his first seasons. Bandini was given opportunity at Walmac International at Kentucky where he launched his stud career in 2007 with a fee of USD 17,500. Four years later, however, it was just 5,000 and then he was sold to Saudi Arabia.

Besides Haradasun, Australia saw the birth and the career of Flying Pegasus, the winner of the Royal Sovereign Stakes (Gr.2) and second in the Randwick Guineas (Gr.1). Even his career was marked by a development similar to stallions mentioned above. While during his four seasons at stud in Australia he covered over 100 mares in each year, in his fifth he had just 55 and last year, when his fee dropped from the original AUD 13,750 to 4,400 he had just 14. So far he has produced only three black-type winners and their share among the whole Flying Pegasus’s population of foals of racing age does not amount to one per cent.

A single black-type winner was sired by another of Australina progeny of Fusaichi Pegasus, the listed winner and the second in the Golden Slipper, Zizou, who, too, was given a higher opportunity at the start of his career (he had 70 mares in 2008, last year it was just 37). The stallion is a grandson of Snippets’s dam Easy Date and the only black-type winner in his production, the filly Everage, is out of a dam by Snippets, so here pedigree is marked by an interesting 3x4 inbreeding to Easy Date and Rory’s Jester.

Speaking about the interesting pedigrees of grandsons and granddaughters of Fusaichi Pegasus we should not neglect the U.S. listed winner Machisa, the only black-type winner sired by the unraced Fusaichi Pegasus’s son Safado. He has a rather concentrated pedigree, marked by 3x3 inbreeding to Seattle Slew, 3x4 to Mr Prospector, 4x4 to Alydar, 4x5x5x5 to Raise A Native and 5x5 to Northern Dancer.

Although the sons of Fusaichi Pegasus have so far produced 55 black-type winners, their stud career all to often mirror the career of their sire – expectations are not met but the stallions, nevertheless, produce black-type winners. FuPeg, as Fusaichi Pegasus is known, consistently transfers his genes to his sons.

Miloslav Vlček

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