Winning Bet is now being bred in 2017 to Munnings (Speightstown x La Comete, by Holy Bull; $25,000 LFSN at Ashford)
As excited as we were to breed to Vancouver after we saw him at Ashford earlier this year, we have made a last-minute call to switch Winning Bet to Munnings this spring instead.
From the first crop of Eclipse Champion Sprinter (and now perennial leading sire) Speightstown, Munnings was a wickedly fast sprinter himself. A $150,000 yearling, he progressed into a $1.7 million 2-year-old in-training purchase the following spring by Coolmore’s Demi O’Byrne after working an eighth of a mile in :10 flat. Turned over to trainer Todd Pletcher, Munnings debuted with a TDN Rising Star performance going six furlongs at Saratoga that summer, drawing off to win by almost five lengths after a slow break.
Munnings could finish no closer than 3rd when favored next time out in the Grade 1 Hopeful after stumbling at the start. He was then 2nd in the Grade 1 Champagne going a mile, but closed out his juvenile season with a disappointing finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Away from the races for six months after that, Munnings returned as a sophomore with a 2nd-place finish in a seven furlong allowance race (behind eventual Grade 1 winner Warrior’s Reward, and ahead of the likes of Reynaldothewizard and Custom For Carlos).
His first stakes victory followed, a five-length romp in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens in which he completed the seven-furlong distance in a blazing 1:20.63. He made it two straight when scoring as the odds-on favorite over older rivals in the Grade 2 Tom Fool, again going seven furlongs at Belmont.
Munnings was stretched to a mile-and-an-eighth for the Grade 1 Haskell in his next start, when he was a game 3rd behind Rachel Alexandra and classic winner Summer Bird at a distance that was undoubtedly beyond his best. Shortened back up after that, Munnings closed out his 3-year-old season with 3rd-place finishes in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop and Vosburgh.
Brought back to the races as a 4-year-old, Munnings scored first-time out off the four-and-a-half month layoff in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint (once again going his favorite distance of seven furlongs), then was 3rd in the Grade 1 Carter before failing to hit the board in his final two career starts. He retired to Ashford Stud with a first season fee of $12,500.
Although his first-crop 2-year-olds included the dominating Del Mar maiden winner Om (who defeated American Pharoah in that victory), Munnings’ runners took a while to find their stride before a late-season surge (including siring the exacta in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes) put him at #4 on the Freshman Sires list to finish the season, with 27 individual winners, three stakes winners, and six total stakes performers.
Those numbers were good enough for Munnings to be touted as a value sire at $10,000 for 2015, and by September of 2015 he had continued to make that price look like a bargain – adding six new stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner I’m a Chatterbox and Grade 2 winner Om, to his first-crop successes. As pointed out by Andrew Caulfield, this improvement should not be a huge surprise, given that while Munnings and his sire-line are known for fast offspring, that does not necessarily correlate to early maturity (even if it did in the case of Munnings himself). And having said that, Munnings’ two best runners so far won their best races at a mile-and-a-quarter and a mile-and-an-eighth, respectively, so there is nothing that says he can only get sprinting offspring (something equally true of his sire, Speightstown).
Munnings’ current total of twenty stakes winners includes no fewer than 10% of foals from each of his first two crops – pretty outstanding numbers for a stallion that did not get to cover the cream of the crop among broodmares early on. Proving this point, his current Average Earnings Index of 1.85 is well above his Comparable Index of 1.27. And having covered 196 mares in 2015, and then 182 in 2016 at the increased fee of $25,000, Munnings should have an excellent shot of improving upon those numbers given more and better opportunities. (These latter points should also give Munnings every chance to improve upon his relatively lukewarm sales numbers in the near future as well.)
Mating Winning Bet with Munnings will result in a foal that is inbred 4x5x3 to Mr. Prospector (Munnings himself has Secretariat 4x5x4 and Bold Ruler 5x5x5, while Winning Bet has Native Dancer 5×4). Northern Dancer also appears 6×4, and the cross of Munnings over Northern Dancer-line mares is good for an “A+” TrueNick rating.
Although we would have been going another route by breeding Winning Bet to Vancouver (a route we’re still interested in trying in the future), all but one of her previous foals have been sired by Mr. Prospector-line stallions like Munnings (including her current yearling, a colt by Quality Road, who is also from the Gone West branch of that line), and she has had success with those mates (including winners by Unbridled’s Song and Sidney’s Candy, both from the Fappiano branch of Mr. Prospector).
A blocky, well-balanced horse with more leg than some sprinters, Munnings will be a nice like-to-like physical match for the muscular, but not tall, Winning Bet.