Competitive Edge is the “other” new sire for 2016 at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky after the poster boy and racing icon American Pharoah, but when he comes out of the stallion barn to pose for visitors, he’s got the swag of a rugged matinee idol instead of the look of a supporting actor. At $12,500 live foal versus $200,000 for American Pharaoh, Competitive Edge is at the other end of the commercial spectrum, but he’s an excellent first-year commercial prospect at the fee and could be any kind given Ashford’s sparkling record of producing four of the last five first-crop champion sires. In fact, he could give his Triple Crown-winning barnmate a run for the title because he looks like the early-maturing speed horse that he was, and it doesn’t take much imagination to visualize him reproducing his well-muscled, quick-twitch type.
Bred by WinStar LLC and from the first crop of its homebred Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, Competitive Edge was sold by Niall Brennan’s consignment to Solis/Litt for $750,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton February Florida sale. He obviously looked and worked the part — 10.0 flat under tack — because the price was the third-highest at the sale and the most for a new stallion.
A year earlier, Super Saver’s first auction yearlings had averaged $91,640 with a $75,000 median, an indication the stallion was getting the right physicals. He’d started off at $20,000 in 2011, so the ROI for commercial breeders was pleasing, but strewn among his 73 sales yearlings were 27 six-figure sales — an even more pleasing happenstance for some breeders — headed by a $360,000 colt and a $320,000 filly. The latter would become Embellish the Lace, winner of the 10F Alabama Stakes and one of three first-crop G1 winners for Super Saver.
As a son of Maria’s Mon — the sire of Derby winner Monarchos — and from Supercharger, by A.P. Indy, Super Saver had the pedigree to win at 10F (click his highlighted name above for more information on his Phipps female family), but he was not trainer Todd Pletcher’s main hope for the Derby in 2010. That slot belonged to Eskendereya, the G1 Wood Memorial winner. But when Eskendereya succumbed to a soft-tissue injury just before the Derby, Super Saver ably deputized and won at 8-1 on a sloppy track to give Pletcher his first Derby win. Super Saver never won again and retired with a record of three wins from 10 starts and almost $1.9 million in earnings, but he took a middling reputation for a Derby winner to stud, hence the $20,000 introductory stud fee.
That he got Embellish the Lace, a 10F winner, is understandable and she could have been the highlight of his first crop alone, but Super Saver, perhaps surprisingly, showed much more, much earlier and was riding high before the Alabama with his offspring showing off a lot of early development and speed. Super Saver himself was a 2-year-old Graded winner and let’s not forget that his sire, Maria’s Mon, despite siring two Derby winners, was a precocious champion 2-year-old.
At the same Fasig-Tipton Florida sale where Competitive Edge made $750,000, Super Saver had another colt make $600,000 — sixth-highest price — and a filly go for $400,000. The colt was I Spent It, winner of the G2 Saratoga Special at 6.5F at 2. The filly was Super Majesty, winner of the G3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill at 7F at 3.
Competitive Edge, also trained by Pletcher, won the G1 Hopeful at Saratoga over 7F by almost six lengths from Super Saver’s I Spent It. At the end of 2014, Super Saver was second on the Freshman Sire list with a promising group of 3-year-olds ahead of him in 2015. His stud fee ballooned and seasons were trading in the range of $60,000 NG.
A week after Embellish the Lace’s Alabama win at Saratoga, Super Saver’s Runhappy (pictured above) began a sequence of races by winning the G1 King’s Bishop at 7F that would land him a sprint championship at year’s end. His resume also includes the G1 BC Sprint at 6F and the G1 Malibu at 7F.
Competitive Edge also won stakes races at 3. First, he took a 7F event at Gulfstream, then the G3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill in 134.18. He was then given a shot in the G1 Haskell Invitational at 9F, a race in which he set the pace and eventually finished fourth to American Pharaoh. After a troubled trip in the G1 King’s Bishop behind Runhappy, Competitive Edge was retired and took a record of four wins from seven starts and $519,280 to stud.
Competitive Edge (above) is from the Cape Town stakes-placed mare Magdalena’s Chase and has distant inbreeding to influential stallions Buckpasser, Secretariat, and Northern Dancer and 4×4 duplications to Seattle Slew and Mr. Prospector. He’s a horse that should suit a wide array of mares from any of these lines — Mr. Prospector in particular has played a significant role in the majority of his sire’s six Graded winners — because any further duplications would begin on his side of the ledger in the 5th generation. And with his speed and physique, plus a sire who is very much on the rise, Competitive Edge is a strong commercial play in his first year and a horse that has a chance to impact at stud, particularly with his juveniles.