WinStar Farm's champion sprinter Speightstown vaulted to the top of the North American sire standings following second-place finishes Feb. 20 by his 4-year-old son Charlatan in the $20 million Saudi Cup and by his 7-year-old son Matera Sky in the $1.5 million Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint.
The 23-year-old son of Gone West has $5,267,482 in Northern Hemisphere progeny earnings through Feb. 21, according to The Jockey Club Information System's Equineline. Prior to the Saudi Cup weekend, Speightstown ranked ninth by progeny earnings.
Grade 1 winner Charlatan couldn't hold off the hard-charging Mishriff in the Saudi Cup, but second-place was still worth a handsome $3.5 million. The colt bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings has now earned $3,747,200 in five starts for owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables.
Matera Sky was second by a quarter-length to Copano Kicking in the Saudi Arabian Airlines Riyadh Dirt Sprint. Owned by Tsuyoshi Ono, the seasoned international handicap horse has repeatedly been on the cusp of greatness. The grade 3 winner was second in the 2019 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (G1) and second last year in the Saudia Cup Sprint. Out of 33 lifetime starts, he has seven wins and nine seconds. Matera Sky has career earnings of $3,019,611.
Speightstown has been a top-10 sire eight times since 2010, rising as high as second in 2013 with $11,257,879 in progeny earnings, a mere $73,029 behind leading sire Kitten's Joy . Reynaldothewizard was Speightstown's top earner in 2013 with $1.38 million.
The first two months of 2021 have been particularly rewarding for WinStar that also stands Paynter , currently the second-ranked North American sire. The 12-year-old son of Awesome Again has $4,101,188 in Northern Hemisphere progeny earnings so far, according to Equineline.
Paynter's top earner this year is multiple grade 1 winner Knicks Go, who got off to a strong start Jan. 23 by winning the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1). Korea Racing Authority's 5-year-old horse also competed in the Saudi Cup where he battled on the front end with Charlatan for much of the 1,800-meter (1 1/8-mile) race. He faded to fourth in the long stretch but still added $1.5 million to his bankroll.
"We are extremely excited about the start Speightstown and Paynter have gotten for 2021," said Elliott Walden, president, CEO, and racing manager for WinStar. "With Charlatan, Nashville, Performer, and Lady Speightspeare all in training, we hope Speightstown will continue to lead the way.
"Paynter has gotten off to a tremendous start as well. Because of his popularity, we have increased his stud fee to $10,000," Walden continued. "He still provides real value as a proven sire of racehorses."
Paynter stood for $10,000 in 2019 and then initially had his 2021 fee lowered to $7,500 though Knicks Go had won the Big Ass Fans Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Knicks Go has now won six of 19 starts and has career earnings of $4,588,995.
Other U.S.-based sires represented by top performers at King Abdulaziz Racetrack include Calumet Farm's leading turf sire English Channel , the sire of the Neom Turf Cup runner-up Channel Maker; and, Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa's Kantharos , who is the sire of Al Rajhi Bank Saudi Derby runner-up Cowan.