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Mineshaft Secures Early Lead Thanks to Senor Buscador

The List: An Update and Review of the Top 25 General Sires List Rankings

Mineshaft earned Horse of the Year honors in 2003

Mineshaft earned Horse of the Year honors in 2003

Skip Dickstein

It's a new year and with it a push of the reset button on the general sires' list. 

Since it's still early in 2024, the race to lead North America in progeny earnings has stallions everywhere dreaming of being the next Into Mischief . Of course, that's assuming they know about the general sires list. 

But with nearly two months in the books, it's not too soon to start looking at how the year is shaping up. 

Squarely on the shoulders of his son Senor Buscador's Saudi Cup (G1) victory, Mineshaft  finds himself at the top of The List. The $10 million winner's share of that purse accounts for all but $1,351,478 of the sire's progeny earnings this year. That non-Saudi Cup share of earnings would still place Mineshaft 17th for 2024—a solid start and better than where the solid sire has typically found himself. 

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Sometimes one big horse is all that's needed. Mineshaft's current earnings total of $11,351,478 would have been good enough for 11th in last year's final general sires' list. And Senor Buscador, who also picked up $573,000 in earnings when he opened the year with a runner-up finish in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1), is leading the way.

Mineshaft's starters this year, 53, are less than a quarter of the 214 starters for Into Mischief, who leads all sires in that category through Feb. 28. That disparity suggests Mineshaft will be hard pressed to hold off the steady progression of Into Mischief as the year goes on, but things could get more interesting should Senor Buscador land another big payday. His connections have him pointed for the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) March 30 at Meydan. With a victory, Senor Buscador, who has earned $11,496,427 in his career, would earn close to $7 million and would surpass Arrogate ($17,422,600) as the all-time leading United States-based horse by earnings.

A win in Dubai would push Mineshaft's seasonal progeny earnings past $18 million. Curlin  ranked second on last year's final general sires' list at $18,690,613. It's safe to say that surpassing $18 million before April would be quite an accomplishment.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. For now the early move to the top of the 2024 sires' list gives some added attention to Mineshaft, a veteran Lane's End sire of seven grade 1 winners who is already a lock for his best seasonal finish as a sire. Before this year the 2003 Horse of the Year who stands this season for $10,000 cracked the top 25 in 2016 and was near the top 25 in 2015 and 2017. He's been steady though and ranks in the top 20 among active sires in the U.S.

Prior to Senor Buscador's desert triumph, Mineshaft's all-time leading runner by earnings was Effinex. The New York-bred last ran in 2016 and banked more than $3 million. He finished second in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) and returned a year later only to finish seventh. 

Other top progeny include It's Tricky, who won the 2011 Acorn Stakes (G1), 2011 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and 2012 Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) as well as earning a second in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1); True Timber , whose only grade 1 win came in his final start—the 2020 Cigar Mile Handicap (G1); as well as graded stakes-winning millionaires Fly Down and Hoist the Gold.

Hoist the Gold could add some important earnings for Mineshaft this year. He finished fourth in the Pegasus but was off the board in the Saudi Cup.

Into Mischief, the leader for earnings the past five years, currently is ranked third. Granted, he is roughly $8 million off the lead, but Into Mischief's secret sauce is still a winning recipe. Those ingredients include having the most runners, black-type winners, and black-type runners through Feb. 28. He has dominated those categories in his five-year reign that includes a single-season earnings record of more than $28.1 million in 2022. His progeny earned $25,664,823 last year.

Quality Road , powered by classic winner National Treasure's Pegasus victory, ranks second. Rounding out the top five are Always Dreaming  at number 4 and Practical Joke  in fifth. This is rarified air for Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming, a son of Bodemeister who began his stud career in 2019 and stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., for $5,000. He ranked 12th on last year's second-crop sire list.

Always Dreaming's most prominent offspring to date is 4-year-old Saudi Crown, out of the Tapit  mare New Narration. Saudi Crown's 3-year-old season included a win in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and a run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1). This year, the colt won the Louisiana Stakes (G3) and finished third in the Saudi Cup.

Editor's note: The List and Dollars and Sense, which have appeared in the BloodHorse Daily on alternating Wednesdays, will move to Tuesdays beginning March 5.