For a stallion that sent a runner from his debut crop to the Kentucky Derby in 2020 (Sole Volante), this season might have been an even bigger statement year for Karakontie as a guy that’s here to stay in the Bluegrass State.
Spendarella provided Karakontie his first Grade 1 winner in this year’s Del Mar Oaks, but it was her runner-up performance in the G1 Coronation Stakes during the Royal Ascot meet that truly made her sire’s resume pop.
She ran the kind of race in the Coronation that that would have won a lot of renewals of the world-class tilt for 3-year-old fillies, and that kind of showcase against top international competition is so valuable for a young sire trying to establish turf credentials. Achievement on the North American turf is certainly a big deal, but the annual drubbing of our best by European shippers at the Breeders’ Cup proves how far we have to go. Going into their house and running that well on one of their biggest stages holds a lot of weight for me, in terms of Karakontie’s ceiling at stud.
It makes sense. Karakontie’s pedigree is a veritable United Nations of black type (with a global-level sire close-up in the family in Kingmambo), and he did almost all of his running in France, save for a couple trips to the U.S. for the Breeders’ Cup, including a win in the 2014 Mile. As a runner that excelled between seven furlongs and a mile, his distance preference fits well with the precociousness of the U.S. running style, as does the fact that he was a Group 1 winner at two and he beat older foes in the Breeders’ Cup at three.
Physically, he’s a solid blend of local and international influence. As a paternal grandson of the great Storm Cat, you can see that powerful fast-twitch muscling in his neck and shoulder. Unlike Storm Cat, and many of his sons, Karakontie has spurned the Quarter Horse body type for a scopier frame, which he has maintained after a few years of settling in at stud. The type of mare that could work with Karakontie isn’t limited by the stallion’s physical, which I love to see.
Let’s talk about some numbers. Gainesway has priced Karakontie carefully since he retired to stud in 2016, never rising him above $15,000, and he’ll stand for $10,000 once again in 2023. His average yearling price this year was $46,313, which was an improvement of more than $10,000 from the previous season. His average earnings per starter sits at $66,828, which is a strong number considering his oldest foals are just five years old, and most haven’t run what might be considered a full career.
Karakontie is a young sire with a ton of momentum, and buyers are starting to get wise that he can do plenty for them. At a $10,000 fee, an average foal by Karakontie stands to make multiples on that initial investment, and win big races. Right now, turf racing is the land of opportunity on the North American landscape, and breeders getting in promptly on Karakontie could find themselves in the right place at the right time.