Day At The Track

Artiscape - Frozen semen blues?

05:39 AM 18 Dec 2013 NZDT
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Artiscape Artiscape Yankee Cruiser Artishake Steve McQueen
Artiscape - Sire of 8 Millionaires & 1 Horse of The Year
Artiscape - p, 2, 1:52.3; 3, 1:49.3z ($1,469,461)
Yankee Cruiser (Artiscape's best Son)- Wins the $1,500,000 North American Cup
Winner of the 2003 $1,500,000 North American Cup
Artishake - One of Artiscape's best daughters in New Zealand
Race Images Photo
Steve McQueen - A son of Artiscape
Shar Mitchell Photo
1 - 3 of 5

Breeding is such an inexact business that nothing can ever be taken for granted. One sire who this applies more than most is the great Artiscape

In North America he was an absolute champion as a two and three year old on the track taking a mark of 1:49:3z on his way to winning $1,469,461. A measure of his quality was he ran 1 -2-3 in twenty five of his twenty six starts. And he took that kind of performance into the breeding barn when he went to stud. Right from the start he sired quality colts and fillies that were competitive with the best in North America.

His stud statistics are outstanding.

Stakes earned $89,648,000           Winners 834      Sub 1:55 - 404     Sub 1:50 - 30

He has eight millionaires (One Horse Of The Year, Rainbow Blue $1,600,000) including such standouts as Maltese Artist $2,340,000 Escape The Wind $2,129,000 Yankee Cruiser $1,457,000 and Rose Jewel $ 1,396,000.

He also has sons showing up as sires with Yankee Cruiser already having progeny with stakes of $25,000,000 on the card including the brilliant Sweet Lou 1:47:4s $2,117,000 and Feelin Friskie who is 15th on the two year old sires list in 2013 and sixth on average earnings with just 35 foals.  

In the 2001/2002 breeding season, Artiscape was made available to NZ breeders via frozen semen at Nevele R stud. Serving just 13 mares in his first year at a high service fee of $8,500. The next two seasons he bred 84 and 77 at the same fee.  

For both the 2005 and the 2006 seasons he was shuttled to New Zealand and stood at Nevele R Stud. The number of mares he served in those two years was 56 and 43 which was in no small way a reflection of the performance of his first crops to hit the track in NZ.

To say that his NZ stock under performed compared to their North American counterparts would be a massive understatement.

From 218 foals in NZ he has left 90 winners but only two passed the $100,000 mark, Fight Fire With Fire ($151,657) and Steve McQueen ($179,835).

So what is the reason for  the massive difference in results.

The first three crops were all conceived in NZ via frozen semen could be the major contributing factor to his lack of success in NZ.. Some stallions such as Dream Vacation and Western Ideal seem to have no issue with frozen semen but some including Artiscape obviously don't have the same impact with frozen semen.

Several sires have been available to NZ breeders via frozen semen whose results have been less than satisfactory but when available to breeders via fresh semen have produced a much better quality of stock.

This leads one to the conclusion that frozen semen has to be evaluated on a sire by sire basis as it obviously doesn't work for some stallions. And Artiscape is definitely one of those.

What all this has meant for NZ breeders is that Artiscape is poorly regarded in the marketplace which I feel has more to do with frozen semen in his case than his siring ability.

It has meant that none of the commercial studs in NZ have stood sons or grandsons of Artiscape which is a real shame as they obviously have plenty to offer breeders going by the results in North America. 


This is a series of stallion reviews that Harnesslink are doing with a view to sheading some light on some of  the "forgotten"sires in Australasia.

Elsu - Redemption awaits

McArdle - The quiet achiever

Santanna Blue Chip - On the up and up!

Major In Art - Big and fast

Mr Feelgood - Dual hemisphere champion

Pay Me Christian - Blistering speed

Monkey Bones - All class

Tinted Cloud - Still going strong

Real Desire - The real deal

Washington VC - Continuing excellence

Wetern Ideal - A superstar sire

Bacardy Lindy - Blue blood

Monarchy - Out of Sundons shadow

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