Mr. Prospector’s progeny won more race money several times
If there were a contest where the points to be earned came mostly from appearance and size, those judging Mr. Prospector would hardly take a second look. The brown colt had no white socks, no white blaze on his forehead, and no look of groomed royalty about him.
He would finish a well-beaten last in a beauty contest against Secretariat, Ruffian, Curlin, Giant’s Causeway, and Rachel Alexandra.
However, thoroughbreds are not judged worthy or less worthy by their appearance.
They are given accolades and praise, and they earn honors and millions of dollars by what they accomplish either while racing or as sires and broodmares.
Mr. Prospector earned the title “Sire of sires” because his descendants ran off to glory and fortune more often than all but a handful of other scions in the last 100 years of thoroughbred happenings.
Being foaled in 1970 meant the son of Raise A Native and grandson of Native Dancer and Nashua would have come to the races as a two-year-old in the same year as Secretariat. But leg problems kept him from racing at age two.
He was a three-year-old when Secretariat was winning the hearts of the nation as well as winning the Triple Crown.
But his on-track time didn’t produce a record to be forgotten.
After being bought at a Keeneland yearling auction for the top sale price of $220,000, Mr. Prospector went to buyer Butch Savin’s Aisco Farm to be trained by Jimmy Croll.
When the Gulfstream Park winter meet opened in 1973, Mr. Prospector quickly drew notice and the watchful eye of the public when he won his first three races.
He was being tried in sprints of no more distance than six furlongs. Plans had been drawn to give him races of a mile or longer. The blue print called for him to be ready for the 1973 Kentucky Derby.
But when he finished second in the Derby Trial, those plans were scrubbed.
More leg problems arose. Ankle chips this time. His three-year-old season was over.
Returning the next year, he won the Whirlaway Handicap and the Gravesend Handicap and set a new track record for six furlongs at Garden State Park. There were four wins in nine races, but the most impressive time of Mr. Prospector’s 1974 season was when he was second behind the much-accomplished Forego in the Grade II Carter Handicap.
Retired to become a sire after 1974, he went to Aisco Stud in Ocala.
His name was recognized as more than a regional sire after son Conquistador Cielo won the 1982 Kentucky Derby and that year’s Horse of the Year honor.
Mr. Prospector was syndicated a second time and taken to stand at the famed Claiborne Farm in Kentucky.
With the best of mares coming to him, he vaulted to the head of the line of sires by leading America’s list in both 1987 and 1988.
In nine other years, he was on the country’s top 10 list.
Mr. Prospector’s health was excellent. His progeny kept on winning graded stakes races. His grandsons and great grandsons kept on winning graded stakes races.
His daughters and grand daughters did just as well as did his male line. He led the the American broodmare sire list by world-wide earnings for 10 consecutive years.
Some of his earlier sons were Fappiano, Fusaichi Pegasus, and Conquistador Cielo. A grandson, Unbridled, was a Kentucky Derby champion.
By 2011, 12 of the last 16 Belmont Stakes winners were direct descendants of Mr. Prospector. And those 12 classic champions came from six different sons, Seeking the Gold, Gone West, Gulch, Afleet, Fappiano, and Forty Niner.
In the 2009 Kentucky Derby, 10 of the 20 entries were direct descendants of Mr. Prospector.
Another noteworthy statistic in the racing world enamored with statistics showed that of the 374 thoroughbreds competing in the Kentucky Derby since the year 1990, a staggering 106 of them were Mr. Prospector’s descendants. Of those 374 entries, 10 actually won the classic race and 25 finished in the top four.
Over 100 of his sons have sired Grade I or Group I winners across the globe.
The auction prices for his progeny were second only to Northern Dancer while that prodigious sire was alive. After Northern Dancer’s death, Mr. Prospector headed the list of average yearling price at auction some six times.
His descendants brought a bid of at least $1 million at sales on 47 different occasions over a 19-year period. Forty-seven millionaires!
Even at age 26, Mr. Prospector was siring winners.
He finally fell to colic when still at Clairborne Farm at age 29. So famed was the “Sire of sires” that he was buried between Secretariat and Nijinsky.
Very few physical characteristics to distinguish him. But he wasn’t any “Plain Jane” when it came to being at the pinnacle of the short list of world-class sires.