01/25/2013 2:12PM

Fair Grounds: Touch Magic proves to be astute purchase for Coteau Grove

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Touch Magic, here winning the Silverbulletday, was purchased not only for racing, but also for breeding potential.

NEW ORLEANS – With a victory in the Silverbulletday Stakes last weekend, Touch Magic paid off quickly for Keith and Ginger Myers’ Coteau Grove Farms.

Coteau Grove had purchased Touch Magic in December, a month after she finished second in the Grade 3 Delta Princess in her fourth start.

“We wanted to try to get a good 2-year-old filly coming 3 that had a chance to get to the Oaks,” Keith Myers said.

The Coteau Grove game plan is to build a high-class stable from the ground up – with a strong broodmare band. Touch Magic was purchased not only for racing, but also for breeding potential.

“We started in 2008,” said Myers, who is chairman and CEO of LHC Group, a health-care company. “Right now, we have 15 broodmares on the farm, and we’ve upgraded quite a bit. The first group that we bought, we rolled those over and upgraded. We went for a little more pedigree.”

Coteau Grove jumped into the breeding business by purchasing eight mares at Keeneland in November 2008, Myers said. The only one still at the farm, which is in Sunset, La., is Character Builder, who produced multiple stakes winner Little Ms Protocol.

A recent addition to the broodmare band is Bella Medaglia, who was retired in December after winning the Treasure Chest Stakes at Delta Downs for the second time. She placed in four other stakes, including the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff at Turfway Park in 2011, and in 20 starts earned $355,776 – a nice return for a runner purchased for $200,000 as a 2-year-old in 2009. One of eight Coteau Grove mares headed out of state for breeding this year, Bella Medaglia is scheduled for a date with First Samurai.

Touch Magic, a daughter of Lion Heart and the Deputy Minister mare Unifier, began her career in August with a victory against $40,000 maiden claimers at Calder. She won an allowance race there and finished second in Cassidy Stakes before stepping into graded company at Delta Downs.

The filly, trained by Antonio Sano at the time, was among 10 fillies considered for purchase by Coteau Grove, which relies on a team of advisers.

Werk Thoroughbred Consultants provide information on available runners and price ranges, Myers said, and Pat Devereux, who has been Coteau Grove’s trainer for two years, offers his assessment.

“When there’s a consensus, we have a good relationship with Three Chinmeys,” Myers said. “Three Chimneys is our agent for buying and selling. We really were looking at all these fillies. Pat zeroed in on Touch Magic. He liked that filly all along.”

“She hadn’t done anything wrong,” Devereux said in the Fair Grounds winner’s circle after the Silverbulletday. “She still hasn’t.”

She ran a mile and 70 yards in 1:45.00 to defeat Gal About Town by three-quarters of a length.

Of the fillies considered before Coteau Grove targeted Touch Magic, she “had the highest residual value for breeding,” Myers said.

Coteau Grove buys only females, he said. The stable’s males are homebreds.

“The strategy is really to have horses that are allowance level or above,” Myers said. “We’ll drop one down quickly if the horse isn’t of that caliber.”

The 22 Coteau Grove horses in training, including eight unraced 2-year-olds, are based under Devereux at the Evangeline Training Center. He said Thursday that Touch Magic came out of the Silverbulletday in good order, and the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra on Feb. 23 is her likely next race. That 1 1/16-mile race is the final prep for the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 30.

“You’d have to think the Rachel Alexandra unless for some reason she tells us not to be there.” Myers said.

Deal made for Mylute

Through a private purchase from T. Paul Bulmahn’s GoldMark Farm, Amanda Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm has become an equal partner in the 3-year-old Mylute, said Tom Amoss, who remains the colt’s trainer.

He didn’t disclose the price.

In November, Pope bought 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace for $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton November selected mixed sale in Kentucky.

Mylute, who won a mile-and-70-yard allowance/optional claiming race by 10 3/4 lengths Dec. 26 in his last start, is headed to the Grade  2 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 23, Amoss said.

A son of Midnight Lute and the Valid Expectations mare Stage Stop, Mylute has won 2 of 7 starts and earned $213,695. He has run in four stakes races, finishing second in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile, fifth in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity, second in the Jean Lafitte and third in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot.