Tuesday, January 1, 2019
It was no surprise that Double Diamond Farm's First Dude ended the year as Florida's leading sire with progeny earnings of $4,915,031, with the late Wildcat Heir $762,660 behind. First Dude was attempting to become only the second Florida sire to reach $5 million, other than Journeyman Stud's Wildcat Heir, who surpassed $6 million for four straight years - 2014 to 2017.
The biggest surprise of 2018 was Stonehedge Farm's Cajun Breeze, a son of Congrats who led the Florida freshman sire list early in the season before dropping to fifth place by year's end. But, before he slipped down the list, Cajun Breeze afforded Michael (Bo) Yates and his Shadybrook Farm with a sensational summer, following in the footsteps of former jockey-turned-trainer Wesley Ward.
For about a decade, Ward has primed the 2-year-olds in his stable earlier than most, taking advantage of the lucrative maiden special purses beginning in April at several eastern tracks. In the space of a few months, Ward has consistently racked up a ton of money with his always-ready juveniles. Yates duplicated Ward's success by having some very good runners by Cajun Breeze pile up a ton of money at Gulfstream.
The best of the early Shadybrook runners was Cajun Firecracker, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream, then won the Dr. Fager Stakes, and was third in the Affirmed. He earned $125,000 for Yates, who then sold him to William and Corinne Heiligbrodt prior to the $400,000 In Reality, where Cajun Firecracker finished seventh. He was later second in the Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park and collected another $20,000.
Yates struck again early with Nancysaidso, a filly who won twice, finished second twice and finished fourth in the Desert Vixen Stakes and fifth in the Susan's Girl. She's earned $101,700.
Cajun Embers has a first and a second and finished fifth in the Dr. Fager, with earnings of $51,900. Mardi Gras Girl has a pair of seconds and collected $23,750, and Itsabouttime Girl has a fourth and a second and has collected $8,920. Quizzical Cajun, though bred by Shadybrook, is owned by B-5 LLC and trained by Yates, and has a pair of seconds and earnings of $23,750.
Cajun Breeze wound up with $346,900 in progeny earnings in his first season with just six runners, and $317,980 came in the Shadybrook colors. That's not counting the five victories and nine seconds and thirds that added to the Shadybrook haul via breeders' awards.
In an interesting twist, all the successful runners still in the Shadybrook barn have been on the shelf for the last three months or so, apparently primed for the new season. Congratulations to Bo Yates for a cleverly mapped-out campaign. Will he try it again this year?
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