Who Is The Best Current Thoroughbred Sire?

Photo by Dmitry Sidorov / Pexels

Breeding is a very important part of the thoroughbred industry. 

The commercial breeding industry focuses primarily on the male line of the pedigree. This is because mares can only produce one offspring per year, whereas a single stallion can breed to hundreds of mares. Stallion managers need to advertise in order to get attention for their breeding services. After retiring from the racetrack, many stallions find themselves in an even stiffer competition: attempting to get the most, and the highest quality, mares to fill their stud books. 

A popular stallion must (in most cases) not only have a top racing record, but also champion bloodlines of his own, and, after the first few crops have reached racing age, progeny that have demonstrated high levels of ability.

So which active stallions have had the most success when it comes to siring Thoroughbreds? Remember: you can find all these names in TwinSpires. TwinSpires Horse Racing is an online horse betting app that has a ton of guides and tutorials for beginners.

Leading Sires In North America

As of this writing, the leading active sire in North America for 2022 is Quality Road. Born in 2006, Quality Road was a son of leading sire Elusive Quality whose grade I wins came in the Florida Derby at age three and the Donn Handicap, Metropolitan Handicap, and Woodward Stakes at age four. He entered stud as a five-year-old in 2011, and presently stands at Lane’s End Farm for a fee of $150,000. 

Quality Road’s top progeny include 2021 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Corniche, 2017 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Abel Tasman, and multiple graded stakes winners City of Light and Dunbar Road. His leading earners for 2022 so far have been Grade II Hillsborough Stakes winner Bleecker Street and Sir Barton Stakes winner Ethereal Road, and he has earned over $15 million as a stallion in 2022.

The leading active sire for lifetime earnings is Tapit, a son of Pulpit and thus a grandson of the legendary A.P. Indy. Tapit only raced through the midpoint of his three-year-old season, but he became an immediate sensation at stud, siring 2008 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Stardom Bound in his first crop. His other Eclipse Award winners include 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Hansen, 2014 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Untapable, 2017 Champion Female Sprinter Unique Bella, and dual champion Essential Quality. 

Tapit is a renowned source of stamina for dirt runners, and no statistic shows this better than his amazing record of four Belmont Stakes winners. This is second only to the nineteenth-century stallion Lexington, who came to prominence when there were far fewer top stallions to compete with. His lifetime earnings as a stallion exceed $182 million and he stands at Gainesway Farm for a fee of $185,000. 

Leading New Sires

As of this writing, very few two-year-olds have begun racing in earnest, so looking at first-crop sires would not yield much information. However, the leading second-crop sire in North America, when accounting for cumulative earnings (that is, earnings from last year and this year) is Gun Runner, who stands at Three Chimneys Farm for a fee of $125,000. Gun Runner is a son of the Argentinian-bred stallion Candy Ride who gained the title of Horse of the Year for 2017 after winning the Breeder’s Cup Classic and three other Grade I races that year. He capped off his career with a victory in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup in January of 2018 before entering stud later that season. His first crop includes 2021 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Echo Zulu, 2022 Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting, 2022 Grade I Arkansas Derby winner Cyberknife, and 2022 Grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Taiba. His cumulative earnings as a stallion top $9 million.

Words by Lindsay Griffin