08/19/2016 4:04PM

Dispersal of Conquest Stables makes quality runners available

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory will be sold in foal to Tapit.

Conquest Stables, which quickly became one of the nation’s leading owners, announced on Thursday that it will conduct a full dispersal at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

The racing stable of Highland Park, Ill., residents Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell purchased its first Thoroughbred just weeks after attending the 2012 Kentucky Derby and soon made its presence known on the racetrack and in the auction ring, with a fleet of runners sporting the word “Conquest” in their names.

By 2014, Conquest Stables ranked 32nd in North America by earnings, and the operation finished 18th the following year. Conquest Stables sits in 15th place in 2016 with earnings of $1,670,675 and 28 wins.

“Unfortunately, because of personal reasons, we have decided to step back from racing at this time,” Semersky said in a release. “But we feel these up-and-coming horses would be at home in any international racing stable.”

The 114-horse dispersal, consigned by Lane’s End, will feature both racing and breeding stock that represents a highlight reel of Conquest Stables’s achievements over the past four years.

Among the offerings is the stable’s only Grade 1 winner, My Conquestadory, the winner of the 2013 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, who is in foal to leading sire Tapit. Her weanling Tapit colt will be offered as well.

Conquest Typhoon, a Grade 2 winner and Canada’s champion 2-year-old male of 2014, will be on offer, along with Grade 2 winner and Sovereign Award finalist Conquest Daddyo, Grade 1-placed Conquest Eclipse, and multiple stakes winner Conquest Enforcer.

The 44 juveniles in the dispersal include the stakes winner Conquest Vivi and the winners Conquest Wildcat and Conquest Sure Shot.

Beyond the racetrack, Conquest Stables actively engaged with fans, developing a following on social media by posting pictures of its horses superimposed into humorous situations. For example, Conquest Partygirl’s face was Photoshopped into a prison mugshot, orange jumpsuit and all, next to another infamous nightlife enthusiast with a mugshot, actress Lindsay Lohan.

Conquest Stables has exclusively employed Mark Casse as its trainer. Casse and his staff also have been a key component in selecting horses at auction for the operation.

With more than 100 racing prospects from the stable to be offered in the Keeneland November sale, the dispersal will leave a hole in the Casse barn, but the trainer said the announcement was some time in the making.

“They have nice horses, so obviously when you have nice horses, it’s going to be a blow to your racing stable, but more importantly, Ernie and Dory have become part of our family,” Casse said. “I’m sure even after this, that will continue.

“It’s disappointing as much for anybody as for horse racing,” he added. “They’ve been a big part of it recently, so that’s sad, but we understand completely. Ernie has some more important things he needs to focus on right now.”

Conquest Stables sold six horses at this summer’s Fasig-Tipton sale of selected horses of racing age and had 11 cataloged, but Casse said those were part of a scheduled winnowing of the stable, unrelated to the upcoming dispersal.

“That was a different kind of plan,” Casse said. “He’s wanted to concentrate on stakes-type horses and better horses, and when they got into that category, you can’t hang on to them all. That was just selling horses that we didn’t feel fit into the program.”

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