Freshman Sire Focus: Dialed In vs. Union Rags
By Madison Feldhahn
Grade 1 winner Dialed In had just seven starts in his three-year career. In his only race as a 2-year-old he broke his maiden in a Churchill Downs maiden special weight then went on to win the Holy Bull Stakes (GIII) at Gulfstream Park, where he beat eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner and multi-millionaire Mucho Macho Man. Dialed In followed up that effort with an impressive victory in the Florida Derby (GI), beating such top runners as Shackleford, To Honor and Serve, Soldat and Stay Thirsty.
Union Rags raced eight times over his two-year career. At two, he won the Champagne Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park and the Saratoga Special Stakes (GII) and was also runner-up to Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI). At age three, the son of Dixie Union won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (GI) and the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes (GI).
In 2016, Dialed In was the sire of four weanlings, 36 yearlings and 23 2-year-olds in training who went through the sales ring. The weanlings sold for an average of $27,750, the yearlings averaged $38,834 and the 2-year olds hammered down for an average of $70,674. Fillies earned a lower average as weanlings ($8,000) and yearlings ($21,151), but they brought much higher as 2-year olds ($86,100) than their male counterparts ($58,808). Dialed In was not well-received as a covering sire with an average of only $6,171 this year, which was down from the $16,909 the previous year.
Union Rags had 13 weanlings, 66 yearlings and 28 juveniles entered in 2016 auctions. His weanlings sold for an average of $97,385, while yearlings averaged $94,362. The 2-year olds sold for an average of $149,250. Across the board, Union Rags colts sold for an average that was much higher than his fillies. Mares in foal to Union Rags sold for an average of $80,700, which was down from 2015 where 20 mares went for an average of $110,050.
Dialed In’s top colt, Gunnevera, is out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Rage. He won the Saratoga Special Stakes (GII) and Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (GIII) last week. Dialed In boasts one other stakes winner, the filly Ruffenuff, who is out of the Forestry mare Augusta Queen. Now undefeated in three career starts, Ruffenuff won the Bird of Pay Stakes and the Princess Margaret Stakes at Northlands Park in Canada. Of Dialed In’s 33 runners, 16 are winners (48.9%) of which two are stakes winners (6%). His two stakes winners have won three stakes and one graded stakes combined. As of November 20, Dialed In is the leading first-crop sire with $1,371,789 in progeny earnings. His chief earner, Gunnevera, has made $771,000 of that money thanks to his rich Delta Jackpot victory.
Union Rags is one of only two first-crop sires with two graded stakes winners, the other being Gemologist. Both of Union Rags’ graded stakes winners are fillies — Dancing Rags, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Home Court, won the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (GI) in October. Union Strike is out of the Smart Strike mare Classic Strike and won the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (GI) last summer. Union Rags is also the sire of Smart Halo Stakes winner, Tequilita, out of the Mr. Greeley mare Sangrita. Overall Union Rags has 14 winners from 43 runners (32.6%). He has three stakes winners (7%) for a total of three stakes victories, two of which were graded 1s. He is currently second on the 2016 list of first-crop sires with progeny earnings of $1,225,829. Dancing Rags, the chief earner of Union Rags, has made $295,360.