01/25/2017 2:46PM

Brookdale Sales has two rooting interests in Pegasus World Cup

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Barbara D. Livingston
Noble Bird, by Birdstone, sold to trainer Mark Casse, as agent for owner John Oxley, for $105,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.

A spot in the gate for the Pegasus World Cup cost each of the 12 investors $1 million. The average auction price for the horses that will fill those gates is $208,091.

All but three of the entries in the new race changed hands at least once at a North American auction, meaning one consignor could have a bragging right to which no contemporary could lay claim.

What that consignor does with the ground-breaking accolade is one of many variables surrounding the Pegasus World Cup’s long-term effect on the Thoroughbred industry.

Brookdale Sales is the only consignment to have sold two Pegasus starters – Noble Bird and War Story, both bred by longtime client Jack Swain III.

Noble Bird, by Birdstone, sold to trainer Mark Casse, as agent for owner John Oxley, for $105,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, while War Story, a son of Northern Afleet, brought $90,000 from Nick de Meric at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale. War Story was later sold as a 2-year-old for $51,000.

Unprecedented success is familiar territory for Brookdale Sales, which handled 2011 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner and runner-up I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister as yearlings. Prior to Noble Bird’s entry in the Pegasus, Brookdale director of sales Joe Seitz said an upset win by War Story would be an accolade placed in a similar pantheon on the company’s résumé.

“If he were to pull off an upset in the Pegasus, it would be right up there,” he said. “Our biggest day ever was when we had graduates finish first and second in the Kentucky Derby. We can’t imagine that ever happening again, so that was very special, but if he were to knock off those monster horses, it would be a day we’d never forget.”

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The least expensive auction graduate in the field is Keen Ice, a son of Curlin who brought $48,000 as a weanling at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Four Star Sales consigned Keen Ice as agent for breeder Glencrest Farm.

“There’s no such thing as bad PR. I think it’s interesting,” said Kerry Cauthen of Four Star Sales. “To be honest, if he won, it might give the Pegasus World Cup a little more heft because I think people look at it as sort of a two-horse race. What we’re looking for right now is an upset or at least a competitive race, so as to get a viable race in the future. I’d be very happy to get a Pegasus World Cup winner.”

Taylor Made Sales Agency did not consign Pegasus morning-line favorite California Chrome, who was bred in his namesake state by Perry Martin and Steve Coburn. However, the farm’s investment in the horse means the operation has a keen interest in how his future foals are received at auction, and part of that comes from the stallion’s ontrack résumé.

“Every horse has a different impact it will have on them,” said Mark Taylor, vice president of marketing and public sales operations for Taylor Made. “If one of the horses other than Arrogate or California Chrome wins, obviously, it becomes a marquee, signature win.

“I think for California Chrome, what it does is clears the hurdle to clearly make him the all-time money-earner in world racing, period,” he continued. “Whether it’s Japanese racing, or restricted racing, or whatever, he’s already North America’s leading money-earner, but we would like to get that asterisk off of his name.”

Adena Springs prominent

Frank Stronach is the mastermind behind the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at his Gulfstream Park – and his carefully constructed breeding program, out of his Adena Springs, will be well-represented in inaugural edition of the world’s richest race.

Stronach’s entry in the Pegasus Cup is homebred Shaman Ghost – a son of Stonach’s homebred Ghostzapper, who won the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Horse of the Year honors. Ghostzapper, by fellow Adena homebred and Classic winner Awesome Again, has fashioned a successful stud career, with runners such as champion Judy the Beauty and Grade 1-winning millionaires Moreno, Better Lucky, and Za Approval. He also is beginning to emerge as a broodmare sire, with his daughters producing the likes of newly minted champion Drefong.

Awesome Again, who won the 1998 Classic, is one of America’s elite sires and also is a fairly successful broodmare sire. In addition to Ghostzapper, he is represented in the Pegasus Cup via his daughter Medomak – dam of Donegal Racing’s challenger Keen Ice.

Curlin, Lookin At Lucky share plenty

Curlin and Lookin At Lucky have much in common – both are Preakness Stakes winners by the late Smart Strike, and both put together consecutive championship seasons. Both will have classic-performing starters in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup, with Keen Ice and Breaking Lucky, respectively. Both also are among the highest-ranked stallions on Daily Racing Form’s Beyer Sire Performance Standings.

Among North American stallions with 100 or more starters in 2016, Curlin and Lookin At Lucky ranked second and third, respectively, by the percentage of those individual runners to earn triple-digit Beyers.

Curlin, who stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, has emerged as a prominent American classic sire, with a Triple Crown runner of distinction in each of his first four crops. That group includes Keen Ice, who was third in the 2015 Belmont Stakes and later defeated Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes.

Meanwhile, Lookin At Lucky, who stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, has sired 22 stakes winners from his first three crops – including Breaking Lucky, who took the Prince of Wales Stakes, the middle jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. Lookin At Lucky’s graded winners include Madefromlucky, who is declared as an alternate for the Pegasus.

– additonal reporting by Nicole Russo