09/19/2016 12:20PM

Buyback of Believe You Can pays off for Jones

Barbara D. Livingston
Believe You Can, the 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner, produced a Tapit colt who sold for $900,000 at the Keeneland yearling sale Sept. 13.

Brereton Jones had $4.9 million staring him in the face at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale, and the former governor of Kentucky decided that he preferred having his mare, 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, in the barn.

The daughter of Proud Citizen was offered at the sale in foal to leading commercial sire Tapit and returned to Jones’s Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., after being bought back to produce her first foal, a colt.

A horse born under those circumstances certainly comes with great expectations, and he stood up to them well, as one of two Airdrie-bred and -consigned colts to bring $900,000 during the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 13.

“It was very gratifying because dad had said all summer and even before that he felt this was the best group of horses we’d ever brought over to Keeneland, that Book 1 group especially,” said Bret Jones, son of Brereton. “It’s nice when everything comes together, and we all know how many different hoops you’ve got to jump through in order to get to the actual sale day. They jumped through them and passed everything with flying colors.”

The colt was purchased by the partnership of William Mack and Robert Baker, who also campaigned Proud Citizen, a Grade 2 winner, Kentucky Derby runner-up, and longtime resident of the Airdrie stallion barn prior to his death in June.

The Jones family stayed in for a portion of the Tapit colt after Mack and Baker were the winning bidders, ensuring that he will follow his broodmare sire to the Airdrie Stud roster if his ontrack resume warrants it.

“That’s the fun of the horse business,” Brereton Jones said. “If you can do these things and do them with friends, times just seem to get better instead of worse.”

Believe You Can was the second of the Jones family’s three Oaks winners, coming between Proud Spell (2008) and Lovely Maria (2015). She and Proud Spell also raced as homebreds for the Jones stable. Believe You Can’s Tapit colt was a third-generation product of the Airdrie Stud breeding program, tracing back to second dam El Fasto.

Because of those roots in the Airdrie system, the younger Jones said they entered Believe You Can in the Fasig-Tipton November sale somewhat reluctantly.

“We obviously were pretty lukewarm in the first place on offering the mare for sale, but we wanted to give the market a chance, and at a certain price, there was a number that we were ready to say goodbye to her on,” Bret Jones said. “We really felt like she was the type physically and the type talent level to throw an exceptional Tapit, and thankfully she did.”

Later in the Sept. 13 session, a War Front colt out of the Mazel Trick mare Don’t Trick Her hit the same price point, going to Japan’s Shadai Farm. The colt is a half-brother to Grade 1 winners Include Me Out and Check the Label and is a third-generation Jones-bred, going back to second dam Lucy Sims.

“The mare has been as good to us as any mare has, two Grade 1 winners, and hopefully she’s just getting started,” Bret Jones said. “We’ve always felt like he was very much like his sire.

“[War Front is] a horse we’ve always been high on. We were incredibly sad not to get him as a stallion ourselves, but we were such a fan that we went out and worked really hard to get Summer Front [a Grade 2-winning son of War Front] in the stallion barn. He’s a horse that we think has a big future.”

In addition to sharing a hammer price, the younger Jones said the two colts shared a paddock at Airdrie Stud.

“Our system is to turn these colts out in a great, big field, let them run around, let them compete, and that’s exactly what these two did,” he said. “I think it was very much to their advantage to be out there with some really nice horses, growing up in that environment and getting competitive and bringing that kind of spark to the sales ring.”

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