First-crop sires: Vino Rosso a top-shelf stallion with most progeny earnings by first-crop sires

November 14th, 2023

Following victories by Cap Classique in the Smart Halo S. at Laurel on Nov. 11 and a stakes placing by Vino Rouge in the Tempted S. at Aqueduct, among other recent winners, Vino Rosso has created some distance between himself and Maximus Mischief as the top first-crop sire by progeny earnings in North America and Europe.

With 19 winners from 75 runners, the Spendthrift Farm stud has raked in $1,759,375 from his offspring, about $25,000 more than the progeny earnings of Maximus Mischief, who ranks second among 2023 first crop sires. Third at the moment, with $1,704,607 in progeny earnings, is Mitole, followed by Omaha Beach and Flameaway.

Cap Classique unbeaten for Brittany Russell

Out of the Scat Daddy mare Sca Doodle, Cap Classique earned Vino Rosso his fourth stakes win to date when the two-year-old filly scored a victory in the $100,000 Smart Halo at Laurel on Nov. 11. Bred in Kentucky by Cypress Creek Equine and Three Diamonds Farm, the juvenile is undefeated from three lifetime starts. She broke her maiden in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Colonial Downs on Aug. 17 and came back to dominate a 5 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer on dirt by seven lengths when racing at Laurel on Oct. 7.

Breaking from the rail in the six-furlong Smart Halo, Cap Classique saved ground at the back of the pack and was sent along the inside in upper stretch by rider Jevian Toledo, driving home to beat favored Brad Cox runner Deboisblanc by 1 1/4 lengths. She earned a career-best 87 Brisnet Speed rating for the effort and posted a 91 Late Pace figure.

A half-sister to Grade 3-placed dirt sprinter Assertive Style, Cap Classique sold for $110,000 as a yearling before she was purchased for $145,000 in May by DARRS Inc.

Trainer Brittany Russell indicated Cap Classique may next target the Gin Talking S. at seven furlongs on Dec. 30 at Laurel.

Top earner The Wine Steward scratches from Breeders’ Cup

Following his half-length second to Locked in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, Funny Cide S. and Bashford Manor S. victor The Wine Steward was set to race in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) as an 8-1 choice drawing the rail post at Santa Anita, but he was scratched by trainer Mike Maker on Nov. 3, the day of the race.

In our initial first-crop sire report of Vino Rosso, The Wine Steward was coming off a 2 3/4-length triumph in the six-furlong Bashford Manor S. at Ellis Park, before he prevailed by a head in the six-furlong Funny Cide S. at Saratoga in late August.

At the close of Pool 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), The Wine Steward was bet up to 40-1 after opening as a 30-1 choice.

More Vino Rossos hit the Kentucky Derby trail

Two other notable runners by Vino Rosso are Wine Me Up, trained by Bob Baffert, and Dancing Groom, conditioned by Antonio Sano.

Wine Me Up, out of a Kitten's Joy mare, got off to a fast start when he broke his maiden on debut in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar on Sept. 2. He next jumped up in class to race in the American Pharoah (G1) — a Kentucky Derby prep — where he came home second by more than three lengths to stablemate Muth. Wine Me Up's third start was in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, where he was sent off at 23-1 odds and finished second to last among a field of nine.

The two-year-old can not earn points along the Road to the Kentucky Derby unless he were to transfer to another barn due to Baffert's current suspension at Churchill Downs.

Dancing Groom, out of a Bernardini mare, also appeared on the Kentucky Derby trail when he competed in the one-mile Champagne (G1) at Belmont on Oct. 7. Coming off his maiden win in his second career start, Dancing Groom was a 37-1 longshot in the Grade 1 event and finished a distant third to Timberlake over a sloppy track.

He opened at 99-1 in Pool 1 of the KDFW and was bet up to 135-1 at its close on Nov. 2.

Other notable stakes placings for Vino Rosso progeny

Among Vino Rosso's other top earners, Next Level, out of a Medaglia d'Oro mare, finished third by more than four lengths in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity (G1) before he crossed the wire seventh in the American Pharoah.

On Nov. 5, daughter Vino Rouge was a three-length second in the one-mile Tempted S. at Aqueduct, filly April Vintage was a 3 1/2-length third in the five-furlong Speakeasy S. on Santa Anita's turf on Oct. 7, and King Rosso was a 6 1/2-length third in the Cup and Saucer S. at about 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Woodbine before he came home sixth in the Grade 3 Grey S. at the same track.

More maidens to hit the track

Vino Rosso may add even more winners to his resume over the coming week with seven maidens slated to race Nov. 14-20. Among them are first-time starter Allegrini, a colt out of a Tale of the Cat mare, who will race in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Aqueduct on Nov. 17, and Vino Mizel, a debut runner out of an Uncle Mo mare who will try six furlongs in a $120,000 maiden special weight at Churchill on Nov. 18.