12/20/2012 7:00PM

Havre de Grace settles in to farm life, mate to be decided [Poll]

Fasig-Tipton Photo
Reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, who sold to Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm for $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale, will be bred for the first time in 2013.

In November, Havre de Grace grabbed one more headline before heading off to her breeding career when she became the highest-priced broodmare prospect ever sold at public auction, going to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale.

A month later, the 2011 Horse of the Year has settled into the next stage of her life, as a coming broodmare, at Wayne and Cathy Sweezey’s Timber Town Stable in Lexington, Ky.

The 5-year-old Saint Liam mare resides in a five-acre paddock at Timber Town with 2011 Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, who Pope purchased the day after signing the ticket for Havre de Grace, buying her for $4.2 million at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

“She and Plum Pretty are paddock-mates, so there’s $14.2 million in one paddock, which is kind of unnerving at times, but they haven’t caused a minute of problem,” Wayne Sweezey said. “They came in and settled in like pros.”

Havre de Grace will stay with her high-priced pasture-mate through the breeding season, then once bred, will be put in with the rest of the farm’s mare population.

Sweezey described Havre de Grace as a strong, opinionated mare who always wants her way. However, he said her daily routine is the same as any other mare on the farm.

“She probably gets more carrots than anybody else,” Sweezey said. “Beyond that, it’s just the normal turnout and prepping for breeding season. Both of them have been checked, both of them have active ovaries, so we’re anticipating both mares getting in foal early.”

While having a record-priced mare on the property has raised the visibility of Timber Town, Sweezey said that little has changed around the farm, aside from a few extra calls and visitors and a new electric gate. One thing that hasn’t changed is the Sweezeys’ friendship and working relationship with Pope, who has been a client for 15 years and a friend for longer.

“I talk to Mandy four to five times a week probably,” Sweezey said. “She’ll come up and spend some time with the mares. She’s got 20 mares with me, so she spends time with all the mares, and she loves her foals.

“They foal out in Kentucky, then they ship down to Mandy’s farm,” he continued. “Mandy’s got a beautiful farm in Ocala [Florida], and she likes to raise her babies down there. She’s got a great farm, a great staff, and they always come back to me in great condition when they get ready to sell them.”

Big decision

Havre de Grace produces a unique breeding opportunity for her new owner for several reasons. Aside from the uncertainty that comes with a mare’s first mating, she is from the only crop of her sire, 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, who died in a paddock accident after his first season at stud.

On top of that, her eight-figure price tag means her foals will have to be extraordinarily appealing in the commercial marketplace in order to help recoup her purchase price. Pope has said that she plans on selling the mare’s first few foals.

While the stallion mating has not yet been announced publicly, there is no shortage of intriguing options.

Freelance pedigree consultant Anne Peters recommends Malibu Moon for Havre de Grace. The 15-year-old A.P. Indy horse stands at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington for an advertised fee of $70,000.

“I like her with any A.P. Indy horse because she goes back to the same Missy Baba family as A.P. Indy, and Malibu Moon is a direct son of A.P. Indy, getting that Missy Baba linebreeding as close as possible [6x5],” Peters said. “She's sired by Saint Liam, whose dam was by Quiet American, so the cross is similar to the A.P. Indy/Quiet American cross found in Bernardini. Her sire, Saint Liam, is a Halo grandson, and Malibu Moon is one of the few sires in the elite price range that has shown a strong affinity with mares from the male line of Halo, Hail to Reason and Turn-to.  Devil May Care and Kauai Katie are examples of that. 

“Malibu Moon also sired Life At Ten out of a mare by Rahy, and Rahy's dam, Glorious Song, was a full sister to Saint Liam's sire Saint Ballado,” Peters continued. “I think the mating is a nice blending of favorable crosses and linebreeding that could produce a classic-level colt or filly.”

Chad Schumer of Schumer Bloodstock Agency suggests that Havre de Grace should travel across the Atlantic for a date with global powerhouse Galileo. A 14-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells, Galileo stands at Coolmore Stud in Ireland for a private fee.

“He’s the best stallion in the world; she’s the best racehorse in America. I think the cross works perfectly,” Schumer said. “Northern Dancer on Turn-to has always been very successful, and that’s essentially what you’re looking at here, going back a bit. I think you have to go back to the old theory of breeding the best to the best and hoping for the best.

“My only hesitation is that she is out of a Carson City mare, which is Mr. Prospector, and he is out of a Miswaki mare, which is Mr. Prospector,” he continued. “But, perhaps that reinforcement of the classic American stallion would make Galileo more adaptive to our conditions [in North American racing].”

If Havre de Grace were to stay in the U.S., Schumer said his choice would be Tapit or Bernardini.

Rodolfo Gonzales Jr. More than 1 year ago
frankel of course, he's the best horse right now or i'll have another for her second option because he won the two leg of the triple crown.
Mike More than 1 year ago
I like Arch. You double up on Hail To Reason (via Roberto & Halo) and Raise a Native (Mr. P & Alydar) without adding any more Mr. P. You get a bit more Northern Dancer, but only 4x5 and via Danzig and Topsider. Hard Spun looks pretty good, too.
Antonio Reyes More than 1 year ago
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
I like that combination. I don't want her to make a trip across the Atlantic.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Tapit is the best profitable match. You keep the A.P. Indy line and his runners are proving to to be runners last couple years on any surface. Tapit is a more dimensional sire for her.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Breeding doesn't matter much when half the horses in a race are shot up with drugs You take the immaculately bred horse and I'll take the horse on drugs and I'll beat you every time. Sad, but every one of you knows it's true. Start cracking down on the drugs in the game and an article like this might mean something. Until then it doesn't. The guardians of this sport, the trainers, owners, and track officials have ruined it. They are corrupt. They have ruined the sport that gave them a living and a career. Here's thoroughbred training in America today in a nutshell. Get yourself some drugs and find a way to get away with it.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Why are the Japanese over here buying up all our broodmares and potential stallion prospects if they think we are going backwards?
not impressed More than 1 year ago
We are going backwards...LOL that's WHY they're buying them up. We really haven othing left here. I mean look at this year's 3yo crop! We couldn't even get the top ones to stay in training much as less sound. The medication problems our industry faces is ridiculous. We can barely get horses to race 8 times much as less double digits anymore. Cigar and Skip Away were the last major GI horses to make 10 starts or more in a year. Now we're lucky to see them make 5 starts. BORING. Fans want to see horses run, NOT retired. At least the Japanese are producing decent horses. I've enjoyed watching the Euros and Japanese produce some good horses over the years. We can't even get a Derby winner to make it past the end of the Triple Crown. Animal Kingdom and Shackleford aside (but he's only racing once in the USA once before 2 international races and then retiring to Australia for stud), can't name one Triple Crown race winner who could do a thing after their Triple Crown race win at 4 or even 5 in the last 10 years. The industry will self implode at the rate things are going...shoot we can't even keep marathon races or 10f races anymore. They're all 8f to 9f races! I don't watch those, sprinters could win those races on their best days. Sheesh. We have a BC Marathon with NO friggin races anywhere else in the country. Bring back the 2m Jockey Club Gold Cup! the 12f Woodward! the 10f Suburban! HELLO!!!
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
We know absolutely everything about everything in this country. If a horse sneezes we know it. We know nothing about horses in Japan. We don't know how many break down or never make it to the races (or what happens to them afterwards). Also, most of the international racing is on grass. You cannot compare statistics between grass and dirt. As for our 3-yr-olds: Paynter got sick; Bodemeister was sold - Winstar did not want him to race; IHA and Union Rags both probably would have recovered with some time off; Creative Cause is a total mystery - the way his career was handled; something was obviously wrong physically with Gemologist -they never could figure it out; Take Charge has poorly conformed legs - it caught up with him. Optimizer, Triniberg, Dullahan obviously are very sound horses. Unlike in past times, horses can make so much money in just a few races that there is not much incentive to race ten times a year. See Dr. Fager for example. He couldn't get to a million dollars even with 26 starts. One reason races aren't run at longer distances is the betting public - they don't care. They want full fields and they are not interested in marathon races. I personally think the breeders in this country have responded to the issue. Look at the top sires list - not very many sprinters there. Racing secretaries are going to have to write races for longer distances. I agree with some of the things you said, but we tend to idealize foreign racing. Look at England and their latest race-fixing scandal - or Frankie Dettori and his latest drug suspension. They have their problems too - we just don't always know about them.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
I'm old fashioned and would prefer to breed my horses to RACE not to SELL. Hence why we have so many unsound and ridiculous stallions at stud. I'm sorry but I wouldn't breed to the likes of Ghostzapper, Uncle Mo or Creative Cause if you paid my $1mil bucks. Unsound, and really overpriced and overhyped. I will tell you the quinessential breeding, Havre de Grace and Deep Impact! Double on the Halo side, but MAN what a runner that guy was and man look what he's siring. So what if are running mostly on turf. HDG and DI both have enough dirt in their backgrounds to get a solid all around runner. The Japanese have it square, our breeding industry is going backwards and it's irking me. I'm tired of the shortened races, the whining about weights, unsound horses retiring with only 8 starts. The Japanese will race Triple Crown winners at 5 and we can barely keep our 3yos running the entire year. BORING. Whoever they breed her to, you can bet this foal won't be bred to run, just bred to sell. Yah THAT works.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Frankel without a doubt. You get Galileo, add Danzig to top, and you would have Buckpasser, Nothern Dancer and Mr. Prospector to and bottom.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
top and bottom
Joey W More than 1 year ago
also would have a DI of 1.77 and CD .56.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely get some of that AP Indy line in there with her Mr. Prospector inbreeding, so I'd say Bernardini or Malibu Moon.
Kevin Bubser More than 1 year ago
Y tapit in poll he dead
carol More than 1 year ago
Tapit is not dead...his sire Pulpit is the one who died
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kevin, Tapit died? when ? Last time I checked he was alive and well, although Pulpit did die a couple of weeks ago. Either way, dead or alive, I dont think of Tapit as a potential classic distance sire. However, that being said, People didnt consider Dixie Union a classic distance sire and look at Union Rags with a 12 furlong classic victory. Im gonna stick with the Dixie Union's this year too. I love Delhomme and Overanzalyze both. My problem with them both is Pletcher. He has not shown that he can produce a Derby winner from his barn, call it fate or luck or circumstance but the Derby gods refuse to line up for Todd. That being said, Shanghai Bobby is still my number one pick.