BY AVALYN HUNTER
Every year, there are surprises among the stallion ranks. Sometimes it’s a stallion who woefully underperforms the expectations built by his racing career. But sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise as a stallion who made little mark on the racetrack comes through as a sire. Valiant Minister is one such case. After a one-start racing career, the Bridlewood Farm stallion topped all 2023 Florida third-crop sires and was eighth among the state’s general sires.
Valiant Minister’s lone start suggested big potential. In winning a six-furlong Santa Anita maiden special weight on January 14, 2017, he led all the way to score in 1:08.84, earning triple-digit speed figures from Equibase and Bloodstock Research Information Systems while comfortably dusting future grade 3 winner Lord Simba. His win mirrored the 9.8-second furlong he threw down during the under-tack show for the 2017 Ocala Breeders’ Sales June sale of 2-year-olds in training, a feat that helped make him the $680,000 sale topper.
Sired by Candy Ride, Valiant Minister came by speed honestly. A champion miler in Argentina, where he set a new world record of 1:31.01 for 1600 meters (about 1 mile) on turf, Candy Ride won the 2003 Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) in a track-record 1:59.11 for 10 furlongs at Del Mar before becoming a perennial leading sire in Kentucky. On the dam’s side, Valiant Minister is out of Spooky Minister (by two-time American champion sire Deputy Minister), whose dam Lunar Spook (by the good Mr. Prospector horse Silver Ghost) won the 1993 Ashland Stakes (G1).
Valiant Minister’s best runner thus far is Bentornato (Her Special Way, by Put It Back), winner of four of five starts including the Dr. Fager and Affirmed legs of the 2023 Florida Sire Stakes series for juvenile males. Among his daughters, pride of place goes to Outfoxed (Savingtime, by Kantharos), winner of the Susan’s Girl and My Dear Girl divisions of the 2021 Florida Sire Stakes. Series. These results suggest that he combines his own size and scope well with mares with more muscular, power-oriented builds—similar to his sire, who has done very well with mares tracing to Storm Cat. This may be a fruitful line to pursue with Valiant Minister, who is free of Storm Cat in his own pedigree.
“Valiant Minister has a lot to contribute to Florida breeders,” says Bridlewood Farm’s general manager George Isaacs. “He’s a big, strapping, scopy horse, about 16.3 hands, and stands over a lot of ground. He’s got a big long walk and a good mind, and most of his foals are like him in being good-sized and correct. They have natural ability, and they want to run. He’s already shown he can get a nice horse to compete in the Florida Sire Stakes series and he has a lot to offer breeders who are looking to collect Florida state-bred awards.”
Valiant Minister will stand the 2024 season for $5,000 stands and nurses.
Return to Feb. 5 issue of Wire to Wire