Region's leading sire Jump Start still popular at 20
In the last few weeks of his life, 100-year-old Thoroughbred breeder Ed Stone talked with his son and made one point abundantly clear.
“Stick with Jump Start.”
Ed Stone died Jan. 29, but his mare Elena Says Hello will go to Jump Start – for the fifth time.
“I asked him in the last couple of weeks what to do with her, once or twice even, and told him about Hoppertunity and maybe some others,” said Stone’s son Bob of stallion choices for the mare. “But he wanted to continue with Jump Start so we’re going to do that.”
The Stones and their mare – whose first foal, Jump for Alex, is a 3-year-old with two wins – could do a lot worse.
For the fifth consecutive year, Jump Start was the Mid-Atlantic’s leading stallion by 2018 progeny earnings – nipping Kentucky transplant Warrior’s Reward $5,798,691 to $5,702,025.
In its stallion rankings, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred includes progeny earnings in all northern and southern hemisphere countries. Though Warrior’s Reward, who stands his first season in the region in 2019, was technically eligible for the top position since he was relocated late in 2018 he came up just short. Statistics compiled by some other sources, The Blood-Horse magazine for example, do not include southern hemisphere earnings and also adjust earnings for Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. That list put Warrior’s Reward in the top spot by about $96,000. The Thoroughbred Daily News sire list, which offers another variation of the data-collecting theme, put Warrior’s Reward ahead of Jump Start, by another slim margin.
Regardless, Jump Start topped the list of stallions who actually stood in the region in 2018.
His sons and daughters won 208 races on the year and included 125 individual winners, 10 of them stakes winners. Six-time winner Renaissance Rosie led the way in terms of earnings at $180,923, and the group includes a plethora of regional performers.
Standing at Northview Stallion Station’s Pennsylvania division, Jump Start didn’t seem all that excited about another spot atop the leaderboard.
“He’s in his paddock, lying under the tree,” said Northview’s Paul O’Loughlin in early February. “Same spot, in the sun, wherever he can catch the rays.”
Don’t let the sun bathing fool you into thinking the dark bay is losing interest in his job. Standing for $10,000, Jump Start was slated to open the Northview breeding shed again in 2019 and can expect a court of 70-80 mares.
“At the end of last season, he bred his last mare like his first one,” said O’Loughlin. “He’s ready for action this year too. He’s in great, great nick, as good as I’ve ever seen him.”
At 20, he’s probably no longer 16.2 hands tall but nobody really cares. The son of A.P. Indy and the Storm Cat mare Steady Cat produces solid foals, year after year, is developing into a solid broodmare sire and shows no sign of slowing down. O’Loughlin said he doesn’t have to work too hard to fill Jump Start’s book, but also wants to look ahead.
“I don’t pick up the phone calling around to try and promote him, people call us,” he said. “We’re not going to turn down business, and he’s not on a select pool of mares, but you want him to keep going. He’ll be hard to replace someday, not that we’re looking to replace him any time soon.”
Jump Start raced just five times on the racetrack, winning twice for breeder Overbrook Farm and trainer D. Wayne Lukas, but has more than made up for the short racing career with a stallion career expecting its 16th crop this year. He’s the sire of almost 1,500 foals. They’ve won more than 2,400 races and earned nearly $62 million.
He faces competition from a growing group of regional stallions, but he’s the dean for now. Jump Start started his career in Kentucky, part of the Overbrook stallion roster, then moved to Pennsylvania – first at Ghost Ridge Farm and then Northview while also shutting to South America. He stays home now, a worthy successor to regional stallion star Not For Love. The latter stood at Northview’s Maryland base and led the region multiple times as well.
Jump Start’s all-time best include millionaires Prayer for Relief, Pants On Fire and Rail Trip but he’s probably more well known for the likes of hard-trying Grade 1-
placed Miss Behaviour, 10-time winners Willet and Disco Chick and eight-time winner Golddigger’s Boy.
“He gets a 2-year-old, but they seem to race into 5 and 6 years of age too,” said O’Loughlin. “A lot of people like him, he gets a lot of support from breeders. He’s a very good horse for the region. They’re good-looking horses, they’re sound and they win races.”
Ed Stone, a fixture in the New England Thoroughbred industry, recognized that.
He went to Dartmouth, served in the Army during World War II and was an owner, trainer and breeder. Second-generation homebred Jill’s Layup won five stakes at Suffolk Downs in 2002 and 2003. Another homebred, Sundance Richie, made 85 starts – winning seven including a stakes at Suffolk. Stone’s stable won nine races in 2002, the high point of his training career, but he stayed involved as an owner and breeder.
In 2006, he bought a share in Kentucky stallion Harlan’s Holiday and in 2011 welcomed a Massachusetts-bred filly into the world. Named for a great-granddaughter, Elena Says Hello won just once, but joined the breeding program and went immediately to Jump Start.
“Asking what he saw in Jump Start at the beginning is a little bit like asking why he bought a share in Harlan’s Holiday,” said Bob Stone. “But that turned out OK. You’ve got to have an eye for that and my dad did. He loved the state program in Pennsylvania, so he was really enthusiastic about breeding horses in Pennsylvania.”
In 2016, Elena Says Hello delivered a colt. Jump for Alex won his debut for trainer Lupe Preciado at Parx in July 2018, finished third in the Mark McDermott Stakes at Presque Isle Downs, was second in the Pennsylvania Nursery and opened 2019 with an allowance win 10 days before Ed Stone died. On Feb. 9, the 3-year-old colt was sixth in Aqueduct’s Jimmy Winkfield Stakes.
Elena Says Hello is also the dam of a 2-year-old Jump Start filly named Jumpintoaction and a Jump Start yearling colt at Northview PA. The mare did not get in foal in 2018, but will return to her beau this year thanks to Ed Stone’s diligence.
“He’s a good lesson for everybody,” said Bob Stone of his father. “Here he was in his 90s and when he’d wake up in the morning he’d be thinking about his horses. There are a hundred things to think about when you have a horse – its health, breeding, racing, exercise program, the trainer, all of it. He was dedicated to it, devoted to it, right up until the end.”
NOTES: Pennsylvania stallions Jump Start and Warrior’s Reward (who moved from Kentucky to WynOaks Farm for the 2019 season) locked up the top two spots in the region for 2018, but were followed closely by Marylanders Great Notion (Northview) and Friesan Fire (Country Life Farm). West Virginia stallion Fiber Sonde, who stands at Beau Ridge Farm, held the fifth spot.