10/06/2017 11:36AM

$10,000 broodmare buy hits big for Berkley Farm's Sinatra

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Sometimes the most important decisions come spur of the moment.

Stephen Sinatra attended the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale to sell a weanling, but he made a snap call to raise his hand on a $10,000 broodmare who went on to produce the $300,000 sale-topper at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale.

The mare was Current Event, a daughter of Curlin who was offered in foal for the first time to New York stallion Noonmark.

Sinatra and Corby Caiazzo, manager of Sinatra’s Berkley Farm in Darlington, Md., did not come to the sale with Current Event in their sights. In fact, the plan was quite the opposite.

“I had left and I said, ‘We don’t need to buy any more horses. We’re here to sell horses,’ and when I came back, he had bought the mare,” Caiazzo said. “I think he had liked her because she was a Curlin mare.”

Current Event had a modest race record, placed in 2 of 4 starts, but she had a solid page. Grade 1 winners Stephen Got Even and Artemis Agrotera are in the extended family, along with Grade 2-placed stakes winner Indy Glory.

In 2015, Current Event was sent to Airdrie Stud’s debuting stallion Cairo Prince for her third mating. Caiazzo said the Sinatra operation prefers to make its mating choices based on physical matches over nicking patterns, and the son of Pioneerof the Nile complemented the mare well.

Most of Sinatra’s mares are foaled out on his farm in Maryland, but because Current Event was due so late the following season and had a date with Ashford Stud resident Competitive Edge afterward, she was sent to board at Brookdale Farm in Versailles, Ky., prior to delivering the foal to avoid shipping an extremely young foal.

The mare and Kentucky-bred foal were shipped back to Maryland after a few months, and the colt spent the rest of his formative time at Berkley Farm, followed by sale prep.

As the yearling sale season progressed, Sinatra and Caiazzo recognized they might have a standout prospect, with high buyer demand for Cairo Prince’s first crop. A Cairo Prince colt earned the all-time highest price of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale in August, changing hands for $500,000.

While the Cairo Princes were selling well, the colt was entered in the Midlantic sale to keep him local to the farm, and to help him stand out in a smaller catalog. It was clear soon after the horses hit the grounds in Timonium, Md., that the plan was working. Becky Davis consigned the colt, as agent.

“We thought we had a nice horse going to the sale, and then when I sent him to Becky, I stopped by and she told me a couple people had been looking at him – the right kind of people,” Caiazzo said. “I stopped by the next day to talk to her and she said he’d been out to be shown a lot.”

The colt sold to Florida-based Eisaman Equine for $300,000, making him a likely candidate to be offered again at one of next year’s 2-year-olds in training sales. He was by far the standout of the catalog in terms of hammer price, with his closest contemporary being a $175,000 Lookin at Lucky filly.

“I never thought he’d have brought that much,” Caiazzo said. “We were thinking about $150,000, just for what the Cairo Princes had been bringing. He had a nice walk on him, and he presented himself well.

“Here at the farm, he never did anything wrong. Whatever we asked him to do, he did. He had that class to him, so we decided between $100,000 and $150,000, we’d let him go. Otherwise, we’d have a nice racehorse.”

Sinatra keeps a 10- to 12-member broodmare band. With Current Event having more than paid for herself and proven able to produce a serious commercial yearling, Caiazzo said the mare was unlikely to see the auction ring herself anytime soon.

“We’ll keep her,” he said. “She’s the type of mare we’re looking for in the program we have. We like to have mares that produce racehorses, but if we have to sell one or two, we can pick which ones we want to sell. She’s a very diverse type of mare, and right now we’re very happy to have her.”