10/31/2016 12:10PM

Freshman sire Gemologist, China Horse Club on the rise ahead of Breeders' Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Yellow Agate, by freshman sire Gemologist, is owned by China Horse Club.

Freshman sire Gemologist is on the rise this fall, and his fortunes at the Breeders’ Cup are tied to another rising entity, the China Horse Club, and its partnership with his home, WinStar Farm.

The China Horse Club owns, solely or in partnership, three unbeaten 2-year-olds who will be standouts in their respective Breeders’ Cup events in Yellow Agate (Juvenile Fillies), Theory (Juvenile), and Good Samaritan (Juvenile Turf).

As the icing on the cake, it also recently bought an interest in 2014 Horse of the Year and heavy Classic favorite California Chrome, who is campaigned as California Chrome LLC by co-breeder Perry Martin and Taylor Made, which will stand the horse upon retirement.

The 2-year-old representatives all deepen the China Horse Club’s partnership with WinStar Farm. Good Samaritan, a WinStar homebred whom the China Horse Club later bought into, comes into the Juvenile Turf off an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes at Woodbine.

Theory, a 2-year-old purchase by the China Horse Club, is campaigned by that outfit, WinStar, and SF Racing. The well-regarded maiden winner recently scored in the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont to punch his ticket to the Juvenile.

Both Theory and Grade 1 Frizette Stakes winner Yellow Agate, whom China Horse Club purchased as a Keeneland September yearling and campaigns on its own, are by WinStar freshman Gemologist, who has emerged as an heir apparent to his sire, two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow.

Gemologist – who won 5 of 7 starts, including the Grade 1 Wood Memorial – is the sire of 11 winners and ranks third on the freshman earnings list with $781,740, behind only Union Rags ($1,067,246) and Tapizar ($793,670). In addition to his two Breeders’ Cup starters, he is the sire of Grade 3-placed Spirituality and stakes-placed Gemologister.

Theory, who runs in WinStar’s colors, is trained by Todd Pletcher, and his regular rider has been Javier Castellano – the same connections as his sire.

“I loved the way he did it,” Castellano said of Theory’s effort in the Futurity. “He does everything with such class. He was composed in the post parade. I think you can stretch him out, he’ll appreciate going long. I rode his father, Gemologist, so I enjoyed riding him.”

If recent sales results are any indication, the China Horse Club plans to continue developing its partnership with WinStar, both on the track and in the stallion business. In 2015, the China Horse Club purchased 13 yearlings at the Keeneland September yearling sale, the industry’s bellwether auction, for $3,655,000; five of those were in partnership with Maverick Racing, WinStar’s racing arm. This year, the China Horse Club upped its spending, picking up a dozen yearlings for $4,645,000; all but one were in partnership with Maverick.

The China Horse Club also owns stallion shares in Grade 1 winner Daredevil, who stood his first season in 2016 at WinStar, and its recently retired Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator.

The China Horse Club, founded in 2013, is the brainchild of Malaysian billionaire Teo Ah Khing, the Harvard-educated architect whose company designed and built Meydan, home of the $10 million Dubai World Cup. The China Horse Club quickly made a splash, partnering with Coolmore in 2014 English Derby and Irish Derby winner Australia. In seeking to develop the racing industry in China – which does not yet allow parimutuel wagering – Khing describes China Horse Club as a “lifestyle club,” attempting to build interest in the culture of high-end Thoroughbred racing. In August, the group staged a race meet at Yiqi Race Course in Inner Mongolia.

The China Horse Club has also campaigned horses in Australia, where it owned a share of 2014-15 Horse of the Year Dissident, various European countries, and Singapore, in addition to the U.S.