04/13/2010 11:00PM

Elusive Horizon begins new role as broodmare


AUBURN, Wash. - In her brief racing career, Elusive Horizon was unbeaten and seemingly unbeatable around two turns at Emerald Downs. She could have been a dominant player in the filly-and-mare division in 2010. But owner Jerre Paxton decided on a different course of action for his now 5-year-old mare, sending Elusive Horizon to Kentucky and a date with the red-hot stallion Candy Ride.

And so ended a remarkable racing career for Elusive Horizon. She won 8 of 14 starts, all at Emerald Downs, captured five stakes, and earned $241,715 for Paxton's Northwest Farms.

And so began what figures to be a productive second life as a broodmare.

Paxton said Elusive Horizon was resting comfortably at Greenfield Farm in Lexington, Ky., after a successful mating with Candy Ride, whose stock has soared after recent Grade 1 victories by progeny Misremembered in the Santa Anita Handicap and Sidney's Candy in the Santa Anita Derby.

Candy Ride was a champion miler in Argentina at 3 and won the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar at 4, running 1 1/4 miles in a track-record 1:59.11. Elusive Horizon (by Elusive Quality from the Unbridled's Song mare Exogenetic) was never headed in her five attempts at one mile or longer. If the genetic gods comply, their mating should yield a runner with brilliance and stamina, perhaps one good enough to make a splash in a bigger pond than Emerald Downs.

"I would think it would," Paxton said. "It should make a good two-turning prospect with speed, and that's a very dangerous combination."

Paxton, 71, has been breeding horses since the mid-1970s. He was inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. He could have squeezed another year or two out of Elusive Horizon, but experience told him it was time to stop. Regrets? He claims none.

"She had run hard for two years and I thought that was enough," he said. "I don't like to overrun these fillies. I want to turn them into broodmares. If you keep racing, you run the risk of losing them. She did all she could for me. When there's no upside, I don't like to risk the downside."

Paxton may not have to wait long for a suitable replacement. He has several 2-year-olds in training with Doris Harwood, who saddled an Emerald Downs record 21 juvenile winners last year and was responsible for developing Elusive Horizon. And he has some other promising youngsters in the pipeline, perhaps none more intriguing than a recently foaled half-brother to Elusive Horizon by Pulpit.

Paxton has owned and bred two Breeders' Cup starters: Firesweeper, the early pacesetter in the 1985 Juvenile Fillies at Aqueduct, and Smarty Deb, who finished fifth behind Indian Blessing in the 2007 Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park. He would love to have another runner of that quality, though he's content to place most of his big bets in the breeding game.

"Things are tough right now," he said of the industry-wide downturn in auction prices. "But the real tough part is what's happening at the racetracks. Racing is competing with too much other gambling, the states are taking too big a cut, and the outlook isn't real bright. But at the sales, a good individual is still going to bring a lot of money. There's no shortage of money for a good individual."

Feuerborns have nice homebred filly

Owners Mike and Amy Feuerborn enjoyed a dream opening weekend, winning with each of their three starters. Sis's Sis ($10.40) captured the seventh race on opening night, and veteran claimer Honour the West ($9.80) sped to an impressive victory Saturday. The exclamation point came Sunday when Include the Baby ($6.20) dominated a field of maiden 3-year-old fillies in her racing debut.

Include the Baby looks like a horse with a high ceiling. Bred by the Feuerborns in Kentucky, she's by Include, a Grade 1 winner of more than $1.6 million. And she's the first foal produced by the Feuerborns' former stable star, Bianconi Baby, winner of the 2004 Washington Oaks.

Bianconi Baby suffered a broken leg in a stall mishap shortly after capturing the Oaks, ending her racing career after just seven outings. Six years later, her owners are finally getting some payback.

"It's very emotional for both of us," Mike Feuerborn said after the Jim Penney-trained Include the Baby drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths, completing 5 1/2 furlongs in a quick 1:02.60. "This is our first homebred to ever run. Losing her mother in 2004 was a big blow. It takes this long to find out what we've got."

Include the Baby acted like a seasoned pro, breaking smoothly from the gate, setting a comfortable but pressured pace, and then kicking away under a hand ride from Juan Gutierrez.

"I think she's a stakes-quality filly," Gutierrez said.

"She got her first report card today," Mike Feuerborn said, nodding to his wife.

"She got a good grade," Amy Feuerborn said. "I'd give her an A-plus, plus, plus!"