04/24/2017 9:46AM

Clearsky Farms to be well represented in Kentucky Oaks

Barbara D. Livingston
Abel Tasman will likely represent Clearsky in the Kentucky Oaks.

Clearsky Farms has progressed farther and faster than many other major breeding and racing entities. In less than a decade, the operation has bred and raised several Grade 1 winners, including the champion Arrogate, North America’s richest racehorse.

Clearsky, an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding breeder of 2016, is now expected to have two homebred fillies in next week’s Kentucky Oaks.

Abel Tasman races in partnership for her breeder and China Horse Club, another emerging entity. Ever So Clever, also bred by Clearsky, races in the Clearview Stable name, a racing arm of the operation.

Abel Tasman, by Quality Road, won the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes as a juvenile. She has finished second in both of her starts this year, most recently in the Santa Anita Oaks, her first start since moving to Bob Baffert’s barn.

“Now I’ve got a race into her, and I know what I need to do to sharpen her up,” Baffert said after the race. “She’ll move forward off that.”

Ever So Clever, who placed in two Grade 2 stakes as a juvenile, recently broke through with the first stakes victory of her career in the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn.

“The filly has a great personality, and we’ve always felt this way about her,” trainer Steve Asmussen said of the Medaglia d’Oro filly.

Clearsky Farms was established in 2009 by the late Eamon Cleary and is run by his two sons, Bernard and Eamonn, along with farm manager Barry Robinette. The 267-acre farm houses about 30 broodmares – much smaller than the broodmare bands of other major enterprises that routinely turn out top horses. Clearsky is primarily a commercial operation, selling the majority of its foals at auction as yearlings. At the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale, the farm consigned a Street Cry colt out of multiple Grade 2 winner Justwhistledixie, with agent Ben Glass going to $425,000 to acquire him for owners Gary and Mary West.

Carrying the Wests’ colors, New Year’s Day captured the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. One year later, Clearsky consigned his half-brother by leading sire Tapit at Keeneland September, and he sold to Shadwell Farm for a co-sale-topping $2.2 million. Mohaymen has gone on to be a four-time Grade 2 stakes winner.

At that same sale, Clearsky consigned another gray colt, by the late Unbridled’s Song; Juddmonte Farms purchased him for $560,000. That looks like a bargain now that Arrogate has banked $17,084,600, thanks to successive victories in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup, and the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Other standouts bred by Clearsky have included Grade 1 winner Lord Nelson, an Eclipse Award finalist for outstanding sprinter last season, and graded stakes winner Firing Line, second in the 2015 Kentucky Derby to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

◗ Champion Judy the Beauty has delivered her first foal, a filly from the first crop of American Pharoah.

The Ghostzapper mare resides in Lexington, Ky., at a farm adjacent to Keeneland for owner and trainer Wesley Ward. Her career highlights include a victory in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, locking up her divisional title.

Judy the Beauty is one of several champions or dams of champions whom American Pharoah covered in his first season at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky.

Other highlights of his book included Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady and her champion-producing daughter Charming; Grade 2 winner Ivanavinalot, the dam of champion Songbird; Playa Maya, the dam of champion and stellar young sire Uncle Mo; and Arch’s Gal Edith, the dam of dual classic winner and champion I’ll Have Another.

◗ Four-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder is expecting a colt in 2018, owner Spendthrift Farm announced. The Henny Hughes mare was bred to Uncle Mo, standing at Ashford Stud, this year.

Beholder retired last fall with a record of 26-18-6-0 and earnings of $6,156,600. Her 11 Grade 1 victories include the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and 2013 and 2016 editions of the BC Distaff as well as the 2015 Pacific Classic against male rivals. She earned Eclipse Awards as the champion 2-year-old filly of 2012, 3-year-old filly of 2013, and older female of 2015 and 2016.

Beholder’s dam, Leslie’s Lady, also the dam of Grade 1 winner Into Mischief, was recently named Kentucky’s 2016 Broodmare of the Year. Two of the mare’s other daughters are stakes producers, with Daisy Mason the dam of Grade 3-placed stakes winner Harry’s Holiday and Judy B the dam of stakes-placed Sarah Her Highness.