When he was very young, everybody around Allen predicted that athletic superstardom would come his way. Injuries, however, put him on a different course. He's 18 now, and he earns his keep by having sex with strangers for pay.
A lot of sex with a lot of strangers for a lot of pay, truth be told. It's not at all odd for Allen to service three consorts in a single day--and to earn almost 40 grand for the effort.
"Allen's a pro," says Mike Pons, the guy who arranges the dates, handles collections, and usually watches his buddy work. "He knows he's there to do a job, and he goes to it. The whole thing is usually done in five minutes."
He's a real stud.
Really. Allen's full name is Allen's Prospect, and he's the workhorse at Country Life Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding operation owned and operated by the Pons family in Bel Air, Md. His stats would make even the NBA's most prolific philanderer blush. Allen has sired 728 foals in 11 years as a stud, including 91 in 1999. He once fathered more than 120 foals in a single year--working just the five-month breeding season that begins each February. Allen's sperm apparently has a half-life to rival plutonium's: The pitter-patter of little hoofs results from one in every 1.4 trysts, or, in paddock parlance, "covers" that Allen has with mares. Whatever term you use, that's a remarkable success rate.
Allen's offspring do their dad proud once they get to the racetrack. His progeny won more races than those of any other stallion in the country last year, and they have posted total earnings of over $23 million.
The track, not the shed, was where Allen, born in 1982, was supposed to make his name. Original owner Allen Paulson, an aeronautics magnate and famous trader of high-priced horseflesh, took one look at the colt and wishfully forecast that he'd grow up to be a Kentucky Derby winner--the name Allen's Prospect signified that he was Paulson's best chance to win the Derby.
Allen never came close to achieving the destiny Paulson desired, however. After just seven starts and about $56,000 in earnings, leg injuries forced Allen off the track for good. So Paulson decided to try him out as a breeder. Allen's dad, Mr. Prospector, had also had a disappointing racing career, but he became one of the greatest sires of all time in retirement. According to the Blood Horse, the breeding industry bible, Mr. Prospector banged out more than 1,000 foals before his death last year at 29, and right until the end he was siring top-stakes winners. (The colt Fusaichi Pegasus, sired just three years ago by Mr. Prospector--meaning he's a half-brother to Allen--will go off as the favorite in the 2000 Derby in two weeks.)
Paulson was renovating his Kentucky barns at the time of Allen's retirement from racing and didn't have stall space for him. The Pons family, which generally couldn't afford animals as pricey as those in Paulson's stable, had been shopping around for a son of Mr. Prospector to add to its stud roster and was able to work a deal to buy into Allen's breeding syndicate and bring him up to its 125-acre plant in Maryland.
Country Life was opened in 1933 by Adolphe Pons, Mike's grandfather and is the oldest stud farm in the state still operating. It's best known as the birthplace of Cigar, the biggest bust of all time as a stud. He once won 16 races in a row on the track, but it is another streak, which occurred after he retired from racing, that Cigar will be best remembered for. The two-time "Horse of the Year" honoree failed to impregnate any of the first 34 mares he shared a stall with, so his owners (a syndicate that included Paulson) took him out of the breeding biz and collected on a $25 million fertilization insurance policy purchased from Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., an Italian-based underwriter. Cigar now stands, humiliated, at the Kentucky Horse Park, where park operators parade him before paying customers three times a day along with John Henry, a gelding.
Allen goes out as many as three times a day and proves that it's not something in the water at Country Life that caused Cigar to shoot blanks. On the busiest days, he makes the 50-yard stroll from his living quarters to the breeding shed for his first plunge at about 9 a.m., gets a little rest before grabbing some midafternoon delight, and then waits around to see if management has lined up a dinnertime date for him. When he's not breeding, Allen, like all stallions, is kept by himself. If allowed to roam free, he'd try to mount anything with a pulse.
Between the Mr. Prospector connection and the successes Allen's own offspring have achieved in racing, Country Life can now command $12,500 apiece from the growing list of horse owners wanting their mares to shack up with him. For that fee, each patron is guaranteed a live, healthy foal.
Every week, Allen earns much more than he did in his entire racing career. And every time Pons sees Allen hop on another mare's back to do the dirty deed, his appreciation of the star stud's abilities grows. All Allen needs is some high-protein hay and a willing partner. Occasionally, Pons says, he'll cancel a rendezvous because the mare seems jumpy and he fears Allen could get kicked in, well, his moneymaker. But an inability to perform has never caused a work stoppage.
"Allen is never not in the mood," Pons says. "Day to day, it's amazing to see the way he handles that grind. If we've got him with three mares in one day, well, he'll still get it done. It's mostly Mother Nature, really: His libido is an amazing thing."
The Fusaichi Pegasus ties will likely keep up demand for Allen's DNA, especially with the economic boom finally starting to trickle down to the horse-breeding industry. But Pons and the other folks at Country Life have decided to cut Allen's workload back.
"Even if you've got Roger Clemens, you don't want him pitching 300 innings every year," Pons says.
If things go according to Pons' plan, Allen will have only 75 kids this year.--Dave McKenna