There’s a youth movement taking place inside the Airdrie Stud stallion barn.
Of the 12 stallions advertised on its 2023 roster, six of them enter the year having never sent a runner to the post.
When the auction spotlight shines on the yearling offerings, Grade 1 winner Complexity will be the rookie getting the call from the Airdrie roster, starting with his debut yearlings at this week’s Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale.
Complexity, a 7-year-old son of Maclean’s Music, has eight yearlings cataloged over the course of the four-day Keeneland January sale, following a fall 2022 auction season where he saw 27 weanlings sell for an average of $58,519.
Jocelyn Brooks joined the Airdrie staff as director of sales in July 2021, and in her time with the farm, she said the consumer reaction to Complexity has been exceedingly positive.
“This was the first horse where I’ve been in the parking lot at Keeneland, and people would stop me and say, ‘These Complexities…’ and I’d say ‘I know,’” Brooks said. “Even early in the foaling season as the foals were coming out, we were thrilled, and we added mares on [to his 2022 book], so we went up to 26 of our own mares. [Airdrie Stud general manager Ben Henley] had said back then, anyone that sees these is going to wish they had a mare in foal to him come November.”
Complexity was one of the more active members of his sire class during his debut breeding season, covering 158 mares in 2021.
The Grade 2-placed Forestry mare Ever Elusive was part of that initial book of mares, sent to Airdrie Stud by breeder Mulholland Springs, and the same operation will consign the ensuing filly late during Tuesday’s session of the Keeneland January sale.
“I thought he would add some of that ‘square’ look; that short-coupled short back, big rear end that she could use,” said John Henry Mulholland. “The dam is a Forestry mare, so she has a lot of length and stretch about her, so I thought we could get a typier looking foal; that whole Distorted Humor, Maclean’s Music kind of look.
“We’ve had five or six on the farm, and I haven’t had one that I would knock very much,” Mulholland continued. “They’ve all had good quality to them, some stretch, good body on them, correct. This one’s fairly typical of what we’ve had. From what I’ve seen, the horse has a shot.”
That level of consistency in Complexity’s foals was something Brooks said she has noticed upon inspection of the stallion’s early foals, as well.
“When we looked at all of our foals, right before the holiday, you’d look at a few of the Complexities in a row with these big shoulders and big hind ends, then you switch to a different sire, they just have a different look,” she said. “They’re balanced like him, which is nice to see. You want a horse that looks fast and sound at the same time, which is what they’re doing. I wrote ‘good bone’ on a lot of my notes.”
Brooks said she expected the power that Complexity has passed on to his foals to be an appealing feature for potential 2-year-old pinhook buyers when they enter the formal yearling season this summer and fall.
Complexity certainly has the kind of race record that would project early dividends. He won on debut at Saratoga Race Course by 4 1/4 lengths over the likes of Harvey Wallbanger and King for a Day, then he led at every point of call to take the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes by three lengths over future Grade 1 winners Code of Honor and Casa Creed.
Support our journalism
If you appreciate our work, you can support us by subscribing to our Patreon stream. Learn more.
Plenty of promising juveniles peak at two, then flame out or disappear once the rest of their crop closes the maturity gap, but Complexity remained a prominent runner from seven furlongs to a mile during his 4-year-old season, winning the G2 Kelso Handicap and running second in the G1 Forego Stakes. He retired with five wins in 10 starts for earnings of $616,350.
While the quickness in both development and one-turn performance can make for an appealing prospect for a breeze show next spring, Brooks said Complexity also offers the pedigree to make his runners appealing to end-users.
A product of the Stonestreet Farm breeding program, Complexity is out of the unraced Yes It’s True mare Goldfield, herself a Stonestreet-bred, whose runners of note also include Grade 3 winner and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Valadorna and stakes-placed King of Glory.
Complexity is part of a growing population of North American stallions by the fast-rising Maclean’s Music, another Stonestreet product. Maclean’s Music is standing for $50,000 in 2023, and his Eclipse Award-winning son Jackie’s Warrior will enter stud at Spendthrift Farm for the same fee.
Brooks said Complexity’s advertised fee of $12,500 offers breeders a more accessible option to utilize the sire line with a stallion that displayed a similar level of precociousness and speed.
“I see him in all of these babies,” Brooks said about the first crop of Complexity youngsters. “They’ve all got his great shoulder, they’ve got a great hind end, and enough leg. They look fast, and of course, he was very fast. I can’t wait to see them as yearlings, and I think they’re going to do very well.”