Stallion Feature: Bernardini Brilliant in Both Racing and Breeding
Stallion Feature; Bernardini Brilliant in Both Racing and Breeding: “Barbaro! I believe he’s being pulled up! Barbaro’s being pulled up in an astonishing development here! Barbaro is being pulled up by Edgar Prado! He is out of the race and out of the Triple Crown here! He appears to have injured his right rear leg.”
Former Triple Crown announcer Tom Durkin had to call that horrific scene of events, which overshadowed a breakout performance by future champion Bernardini. The colt would only race for the 2006 season, but quickly became one of the best horses in the country. The Preakness was only his third win in a six-race win streak.
Bernardini was bred, owned, and raced by Darley, an international breeding and racing operation. Starting his career at Gulfstream, he finished fourth in a maiden special weight, but would come back to win his second start at Gulfstream. From there, Bernardini would travel to Aqueduct for the Withers, which prepped him for the Preakness in Baltimore. After the Preakness, Bernardini took a short break, returning in July to take the Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Following the Jim Dandy, the colt won the Travers in impressive fashion. After another short break, Bernardini faced elders for the first time in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. In the short field, made up of four horses, Bernardini apparently had scared away all competition. It would be Bernardini’s last win. Headed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Bernardini was the favorite, but could not get passed Invasor, the Argentinian bred invader.
Retiring following the still impressive performance in the Classic, Bernardini was shuttled off to stud. He entered stud at Darley Lexington in 2007. Showing his brilliance in his first crop, he sired 12 graded/group winners. Bernardini has also sired 6 grade one winners, including Travers winners Stay Thirsty and Alpha. This year, Bernardini has three grade/group one winners; Angela Renee, Go Indy Go (AUS), and Boban (AUS).
Bernardini also has some exciting young sons who are just starting out their stud careers. Stay Thirsty has his first weanlings selling at Keeneland this year, as well as To Honor and Serve. Wilburn also has some exciting youngsters on the market. Travers winner (dead heat with Golden Ticket) Alpha just retired and will begin study duties at Sequel Stallions in 2015.
Due to Bernardini’s short stallion career so far, he has not stamped himself as a sire of sires or a broodmare sire, but he has the potential to be either, as he is carrying on the A.P. Indy sire line, which has proven to be a line to stamp itself as both a sire line and broodmare line.
As far as sales go, Bernardini averages are very appealing. The average for a Bernardini weanling is $136,667 while the yearlings are averaging $332,968. Buyers know that the Bernardini offspring are quick maturing, fast, smart, and durable animals.
Bernardini doesn’t seem to be retiring from stud duties anytime soon, and with his reduced fee of $85,000, he seems to be a bargain for what his offspring are bringing at the sales and making on the track.