11/05/2013 9:35AM

Keeneland November: Quality offered in Robsham dispersal

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Tom Keyser
Grade 1 winner Awesome Maria is among the highlights of the Robsham Stables dispersal.

The dispersal of E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC has added additional luster to the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, already one of the premier auctions on the calendar. Of the 24 horses cataloged from the breeding and racing operation of the late Einar Paul Robsham and wife Joyce, half are Grade 1 winners, producers, or half-siblings to such; two others are Grade 1-placed.

"It’s a terrific group of horses," said Walt Robertson, Keeneland's vice president of sales. "The percentage of mares that have either won or produced major stakes horses are just fantastic. It tells you that over the years, they only kept what worked. They have a strict culling process.”

Paul Robsham, a prominent real estate developer and philanthropist, and his wife, Joyce became involved in the Thoroughbred industry in 1983. Among the early successes of their homebred program was the Private Account filly Pretty Discreet, foaled in 1992. Grade 1-placed as a juvenile, the filly was nevertheless sent off as a longshot in the 1995 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. She romped by eight lengths in the prestigious event, triggering an $87.50 payoff. Pretty Discreet would go on to become a foundation mare for the Robsham operation.

Other runners campaigned by the stable in its early decades of operation included graded stakes winners Trust N Luck and Canadian Frontier, and stakes-winning homebred Ruby Hill.

The Robshams eventually turned their interest in philanthropy to the racing game, donating $50,000 to help launch the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption program. Today, the organization, which re-trains and re-homes both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, has multiple facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

Paul Robsham, retired president and chairman of his Robsham Industries real estate development firm based outside Boston, died in February 2004 of heart disease. He was 75. At the time of his death, his family requested that memorial contributions be made to New Vocations. Following her husband's death, Joyce Robsham continued the racing operation, and, just months later, claimed the leading owner title at Belmont Park's spring/summer meeting.

In the summer of 2005, Joyce Robsham sent out Discreet Cat, a Forestry colt out of Pretty Discreet, to win his debut at Saratoga Race Course. She subsequently privately sold the colt to Godolphin Racing, which shipped him to Dubai to defeat eventual champion Invasor in the Group 2 U.A.E. Derby. Discreet Cat returned to the U.S. to win a pair of graded stakes in the fall of 2006, including the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. He entered stud in 2008 at Darley's Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., and is the sire of runners such as Grade 2 winner Discreet Dancer, bred and campaigned by Robsham Stables.

Discreet Cat's half-brother Discreetly Mine, by Lane's End sire Mineshaft, captured four graded stakes races as a 3-year-old in 2010, including the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga. He joined his sire on the Lane's End roster the following year, and his first foals are yearlings.

Pretty Discreet's unraced Awesome Again filly Discreetly Awesome also made a notable impact on the Robsham racing outfit by producing Awesome Maria. The daughter of Maria's Mon won nine of 16 career starts – winning or placing in 13 stakes –for earnings of $1,114,875. She won six consecutive graded stakes races from 2011 into early 2012, including the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap.

Discreetly Awesome, in foal to Malibu Moon, and Awesome Maria, in foal to Giant’s Causeway, are both part of the dispersal that will be offered at Keeneland November, with Lane's End acting as agent. Also included are Discreetly Awesome’s 2-year-old filly by Street Cry, her yearling Bernardini colt, and her weanling Smart Strike filly.

The dispersal also includes Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes winner R Heat Lightning, in foal to Bernardini, and her weanling Medaglia d’Oro filly. Her dam Yellow Heat, in foal to Candy Ride, will also be offered, along with her yearling Indian Charlie filly and her weanling Bernardini colt. Hot Trip, a stakes-placed half-sister to R Heat Lightning, will be offered in foal to Discreet Cat, along with her More Than Ready yearling filly.

The Robshams also campaigned last year’s Kentucky Oaks runner-up Broadway’s Alibi, by Vindication, who will be offered in foal to Smart Strike.

“Together, Paul and Joyce Robsham built a racing and breeding operation that competed at the highest levels of the sport,” Lane’s End Farm’s Bill Farish said at the time the dispersal was announced. “Since Paul’s death several years ago, Joyce has continued to pursue their passion with great success. She loves her horses, and enjoys every aspect of the game.”