09/20/2017 8:30AM

Hinkle Farm continues strong run at Keeneland September

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Keeneland Photo
A Pioneerof the Nile colt out of Accessorize representing Hinkle Farm sold for $775,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

When you are a boutique, family-run Thoroughbred operation, every hand matters.

“I’ve got a great team at the farm,” said Tom Hinkle, whose family has been raising Thoroughbreds for more than a half-century and who owns the Paris, Ky., Hinkle Farm with brother Henry Hinkle and daughter Anne Archer Hinkle.

Impressively, from a carefully curated broodmare band that hovers around three dozen, Hinkle Farm was represented by three yearlings selected for Keeneland September’s elite Book 1 catalog, which this year was highly condensed. The commercial operation, whose graduates have soared in recent years, also had several yearlings scattered throughout the middle and later books, finding strong results at the ongoing auction. Through Monday’s session, Hinkle Farm was represented by 10 yearlings sold for a total of $3.795,000. Their average price ranks the farm among the sale’s leading consignors in that category, holding its own with several larger operations.

“The reason the horses look as great as they do is because we’ve got a great team on the farm,” Archer Hinkle said. “Our manager is Justin Harper, and all the credit goes to him and his team for getting the yearlings in top, top shape like they need to be. There’s not that much turnaround time between the end of breeding season and when you really want to start working with their yearlings.”

The Hinkle operation has made savvy broodmare purchases in recent years, with their stock subsequently soaring due to the fortuitously timed success of their offspring. Hinkle purchased Seeking Gabrielle for a relatively inexpensive $130,000 out of the 2013 Keeneland November breeding stock sale after getting a look at her first foal, a colt from the first crop of Uncle Mo. The colt turned out to be Kentucky Derby winner and champion Nyquist. Seeking Gabrielle’s yearling colt by Flatter sold for $460,000 to West Point Thoroughbreds out of Book 1 at Keeneland September.

“This is the second yearling we’ve had out of that mare,” Archer Hinkle said. “Knowing what Nyquist looks like, and seeing how this foal’s developed, I think the foals she throws tend to favor the stallion more than her. He’s really smart. He’s a good boy. It makes it easy when you bring them up there and they behave like you want them to.”

Kentucky Derby winner Orb’s first-crop standout is stakes winner Orbolution, bred by Hinkle out of its mare My Rachel. Orb’s commercial popularity had skyrocketed this year, with several seven-figure horses already to his credit. The Hinkles sold the only Orb yearling in Book 1, a filly out of Madame Du Lac, for $260,000 to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan. Hinkle purchased Madame Du Lac in foal for $150,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The following spring, she delivered Divisidero, now a multiple Grade 1 winner on turf. At this year’s Keeneland September sale, the operation also sold Orbolution’s half-sister by City Zip for $125,000 to Eclipse Thoroughbreds.

Hinkle’s third representative in Book 1 was a Candy Ride filly sold for $550,000 to Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm. The Hinkles purchased the filly’s dam, Sweet Tess, who is from the extended family of champion Relaxing, dam of Easy Goer, for $250,000 carrying this foal at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“She’s a first foal, which is crazy, because she does not look like a first foal,” Archer Hinkle said. “I’m so excited to have that mare.”

Hinkle’s returns continued into the middle books of Keeneland September, with a $775,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt and a $500,000 Uncle Mo colt both purchased by Marchmont, a Claiborne-affiliated partnership, and a Curlin half-brother to Grade 1 winner Weep No More purchased for $750,000 by Robert LaPenta and Eclipse Thoroughbreds.

Tom Hinkle noted that when it comes to the future success of Hinkle Farm, the connections who bought this year’s yearlings matter just as much as where the horses came from.

“We’re thrilled, they’ve got a great home, and they’ll go to the races,” Hinkle said. “It was a real thrill for us. My horses have got a nice home and they’ll have a chance. We’re delighted with where they’re going and wish nothing but the best.”