04/01/2008 11:00PM

Change in command at Mill Ridge


LEXINGTON, Ky. - After 46 years at the helm of central Kentucky's famed Mill Ridge Farm, Alice Headley Chandler announced Wednesday that she and her husband, Dr. John Chandler, have handed over day-to-day management of the Lexington nursery to her son, Headley Bell.

Bell will take on the role of managing partner in the farm, one of Lexington's most successful breeding, boarding, and sales facilities. He also will remain president of Nicoma Bloodstock, which has long advised a number of Mill Ridge's clients.

"I have lived a blessed life, doing just what I want to do: associate with the finest horses, clients, friends, and an industry that I love," Alice Chandler said in a statement announcing the change. "Thankfully, I am in wonderful health, and I continue to be surrounded by a fabulous team that will skillfully lead us in the future. John has been such an integral part of the success of Mill Ridge, and he enthusiastically shares with me in the excitement of our future with Headley as managing partner. Headley has played a key role with Mill Ridge the past 30 years providing consulting services to our clients through his role as president of Nicoma Bloodstock, and he and Nicoma will continue in that capacity, as well."

Mill Ridge Farm covers more than 1,000 acres near Keeneland. Alice Chandler, a daughter of Keeneland co-founder Hal Price Headley, developed the farm from 286 acres she inherited from her father on his death in 1962. Just four years later, she sold a colt she bred at the 1966 Keeneland summer yearling sale. Later named Sir Ivor, he went on to become a champion and winner of the 1968 Epsom Derby for owner Raymond Guest, and one of the most famous runners to come from Mill Ridge. Other illustrious Mill Ridge graduates include 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given, and champion Sweet Catomine, among other Grade 1 winners.

Mill Ridge also is home to La Ville Rouge, the dam of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, whom Roy and Gretchen Jackson board there.

Mill Ridge is a perennial leader at Keeneland's sales, and it has been responsible for selling some of Keeneland's highest-priced horses in recent years. In 2005, the farm sold Jalil on behalf of clients Pam and Marty Wygod for a then Keeneland September record of $9.7 million; in 2003, Mill Ridge consigned Windsharp for $6.1 million at the November breeding stock sale. Previous Mill Ridge sale graduates include such racing stars as Artie Schiller, Johar, Spain, Round Pond, and Octave, to name a few.

Mill Ridge currently stands the stallions Gone West and Johar.

"Headley shares my passion for the industry and appreciates the heritage entrusted to him as a fifth-generation horseman carrying on the proud Headley family legacy," Chandler said. "I am confident that with Headley's knowledge and leadership combined with the assistance of John, our wonderful farm team and my sons Reynolds and Mike, Mill Ridge will grow and continue our tradition of raising and selling racehorses."

Texas sale produces mixed results

In the midst of an up-and-down juvenile auction season, Fasig-Tipton's Texas 2-year-old sale rang up mixed results, posting a sharp gain in median but declines in gross and average.

The single-session auction at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, sold 168 juveniles for $2,883,000, down 12 percent from last year, when 183 sold. This year's average price of $17,161 was down 4 percent from last season's $17,832. But the median rose strongly, from $10,000 in 2007 to $15,000, a 50 percent gain. Buy-backs also improved, falling from last year's figure of 39 percent to 35 percent.

The sale topper, a Stormy Atlantic filly consigned as Hip No. 148, was one of two horses to fetch six-figure bids. The filly brought $160,000 from Charles A. Castille Jr.

Asmussen Horse Center, agent, consigned the chestnut daughter of Win for Stacy, by Marquetry. Now named Akiane, she is a half-sister to the stakes-winner Bandido, who won the Cocodrie Stakes in Louisiana on March 29.

The day's other six-figure lot was Hip No. 249, another filly, this one by Trippi. The daughter of Go Again Girl brought $117,000 from Christopher G. Bardasian. Steephollow Farms consigned Hip No. 249 on behalf of Hank Bird. Currently named Trippin, the bay is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Go Again Valid and Italian stakes winner Once More Dubai.

Magic Millions ends with 262 sold

Utah yearling-to-juvenile pinhooker John Brocklebank continued to be a significant new player in Australia's Magic Millions yearling market this week, and on Wednesday he purchased the session topper on the company's Conrad Jupiters sale's final day.

Brocklebank, who is developing B.C.3 Thoroughbreds' first-ever all-Australian pinhooking venture, paid about $37,433 for a Mull of Kintyre colt out of Special Geiger offered by Yarramalong, agent. The two-day final segment of the Conrad Jupiters auction ended Wednesday with 262 yearlings sold for about $2,887,661, for an average price of about $11,021.

* Grade 1-winning millionaire Starrer produced a bay Storm Cat colt on March 28 at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in Lexington. Owned by George Krikorian, she will be bred back to Smart Strike.