First-crop sires: Flameaway leads the way by stakes winners

January 17th, 2024

Flameaway outperformed expectations in his first season at stud, topping all freshman sires by stakes winners in 2023. He registered a total of six stakes victories from a quartet of stakes-winning offspring.

Ranking fifth by progeny earnings ($1,782,411), Flameaway will stand for a $15,000 fee in 2024 at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky. He was the lone top five freshman sire who didn’t reside at Spendthrift Farm last year. 

Stakes winners

Flameaway got off to a fast start via Dreamfyre, who opened her racing career with an upset win in the $75,000 Everett Nevin S. at Pleasanton in mid-July. The dark bay filly came back to win the Sorrento (G3) at Del Mar a month later, added the Surfer Girl (G3) on turf to her ledger in early October, and then sustained her first career setback with an unplaced finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She remains a promising sophomore prospect for trainer O.J. Jauregui.

She’s Fire provided Flameaway with a second stakes winner when capturing the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile over the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs in late September. Kevin Rice trains the bay miss.

A romping maiden scorer in his third start, Freedom Principle jumped straight to stakes competition with a convincing tally in his last outing, the Nov. 4 Armed Forces S. on Gulfstream Park’s Tapeta. Jose Garoffalo conditions the up-and-coming chestnut colt.

Julias Dream appears to have a nice future for Michael McCarthy, improving to 3-for-4 lifetime with a 4 1/4-length triumph as the favorite in the Dec. 23 Gowell S. at Turfway Park. The chestnut miss has left a favorable impression sprinting on Tapeta and turf.

Others 

Blue Eyed George may be headed to stakes competition for McCarthy following a sharp turf allowance win at Keeneland. Reagan’s Flame, a nice debut winner on Aqueduct’s turf last fall, looks like a future stakes type for Cherie Devaux. The bay filly exits a runner-up effort in a New Year’s Eve allowance at Fair Grounds. 

Enfuego didn’t fire her best when jumping straight to stakes competition in the Tempted S. last out, but the convincing debut winner figures to receive another opportunity versus stakes rivals. Done Enough exits a third in one-mile Cash Run S. at Gulfstream on New Year’s Day, and stakes runner-up Bella Haze will seek to get back on track after concluding her juvenile campaign with a pair of unplaced efforts.

Emerging sire

A five-time stakes winner from 18 starts, including the 2018 Sam F. Davis (G3) and 2017 Bourbon (G3), Ontario-bred Flameaway did not attract much attention when entering stud in 2020. 

The chestnut is by noted late sire Scat Daddy, who had more famous sons enter stud a year earlier, Triple Crown winner Justify and multiple Grade 1 winner Mendelssohn, and Flameaway lacked the credentials of many fellow first-crop sires, including champions Mitole and Vino Rosso and Grade 1 winners Audible and Omaha Beach.

But owners John and Debby Oxley strongly supported Flameaway, who covered 183 mares in his first season at stud, and the results are very encouraging so far. Darby Dan doubled his stud fee in 2024, and Flameaway appears poised for further success.

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