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Palace Malice is fourth Belmont winner for Farish, Lane’s End
By Joe Nevills
A popular expression used to describe an appealing horse in the bloodstock market is to say that he or she “ticked all the boxes.” For breeder William S. Farish III, Palace Malice’s triumph in the Belmont Stakes did just that.
Breeder of record? Check. The bay colt took his first steps at Farish’s Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., as the third foal out of the stakes-winning Royal Anthem mare Palace Rumor.
Winning sire? Check. Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin became the latest member of the Lane’s End stallion roster to sire a classic winner, doing so with his first crop of 3-year-olds to contest the Triple Crown races.
Sales graduate? Check. Lane’s End sent Palace Malice through the ring at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, drawing a final bid of $25,000.
Each accolade added to the already-sterling accomplishments of the Lane’s End breeding and sales programs, giving Farish the ninth winner of a Triple Crown race either bred or sold by his operation, and, in many instances, both.
“Needless to say, we were thrilled,” said Farish, who owns Lane’s End with his wife, Sarah. “It’s always a tremendous thing to [have bred] a classic winner, particularly here. We primarily breed for the classics, and whenever it happens, it’s a terrific honor.”
Palace Malice was the fourth Belmont Stakes winner bred at least in part by Farish, and the first where he is the sole breeder. With longtime business partner William Kilroy, he bred A.P. Indy, the winner of the 1992 Belmont, and 1999 winner Lemon Drop Kid. Farish bred 1987 winner Bet Twice with E.J. Hudson.
Farish, 74, was in Florida during Belmont Stakes Weekend to attend his grandson’s wedding. He watched the race with friends and family, including his son, Bill, the general manager and director of sales at Lane’s End. Getting to watch the race turned out to be a closer call than the race itself.
“We had about 10 minutes from the time [the wedding] ended and the race,” the elder Farish said. “It was tight, and we weren’t going to miss it. Luckily, we were close to a television. It definitely pepped up the rest of the afternoon. I talked to my farm manager, Mike Cline, and a lot of friends in the next 45 minutes or so.”
Farish, a stockbroker by trade who later became involved in the mining and exploration business, purchased the first parcel of land to begin Lane’s End in 1979, buying 240 acres outside of Versailles that used to house Bosque Bonita Farm. Long ago, the farm briefly stood Leamington, one of the 19th century’s preeminent stallions, who would go on to sire the first Kentucky Derby winner, Aristides.
Lane’s End opened its stallion wing in 1985 and has stood two leading North American sires: A.P. Indy, the leading sire in 2003 and 2006, and Smart Strike, who topped the list in 2007 and 2008.
With two champion sires in the barn, that naturally translated into success on the racetrack.
The standard-bearer for Farish’s program is A.P. Indy, who was bred and sold by Lane’s End and went on to win the 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic on his way to earning Horse of the Year honors. He is out of 1992 Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat, and that mare also was bred by Farish. After siring 18 crops at Lane’s End, A.P. Indy now resides in the stallion barn as a pensioner.
A.P. Indy is one of three North American Horses of the Year bred in part by Farish, joining 1999 champion Charismatic and 2003 winner Mineshaft. Farish is a two-time Eclipse Award winner as outstanding breeder, receiving the honor in 1992 and 1999, and was given the Eclipse Award of Merit in 2009 for his lifetime of contributions in racing.
Both Curlin and Palace Rumor were fairly new additions to the Lane’s End breeding program when they met in 2009 for the cross that would produce Palace Malice. Curlin was standing his first season at the farm after wrapping up a Hall of Fame-caliber career. Palace Rumor was bought by Farish in foal to Tiznow at the 2008 Keeneland January sale of horses of all ages.
On May 2, 2010, a future Belmont Stakes winner was born.
“He was a very nice colt,” Farish said of Palace Malice. “He had a great attitude. He looked like a classic colt, but those are the things you never know. We were looking for exactly what he did, of course, breeding the mare to Curlin, so it’s in turn a wonderful thing for his first crop, to come out with a classic winner.”
Lane’s End no longer has Palace Rumor, having sold her for $20,000 in foal to Mineshaft at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding-stock sale. It was the second time that Lane’s End had tried to sell the mare, as she did not meet her reserve at the 2009 Keeneland November sale on a final bid of $190,000. Had a bidder met the reserve, the buyer would have bought Palace Malice in utero.
In addition to its breeding operation, Lane’s End is a leading consignor of yearlings and breeding stock. Palace Malice was the seventh Belmont Stakes winner consigned by the operation and the eighth winner of a Triple Crown race.
“We’ve been selling yearlings for years, and to have them do that well is encouraging to our breeding program and encouraging from a consignor’s standpoint,” Farish said. “It means we’re putting some very nice horses in the sale.”
In 2004, Lane’s End consigned homebred Mr. Sekiguchi, a Storm Cat colt whose $8 million sale price at the time made him the most expensive horse in the history of the Keeneland September auction.
Lane’s End consigned Palace Malice as agent at the 2011 Keeneland September sale, where he went through the ring in session 6 of 13 and sold for $25,000 to bloodstock agent Colin Brennan, the brother of prominent juvenile consignor Niall Brennan. The latter consigned the colt as agent at the 2012 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training, where he sold to current owner Dogwood Stable for $200,000.
“He was one I really wanted and thought he’d bring a little more than he did,” Niall Brennan said. “I think he had a couple things on his vet report that I’m assuming must have put some people off at the sale that day, because that’s the only way to explain getting him at the price we got him for. He wasn’t small or had crooked legs, or any of the things you might question as to why [he sold for that price].
“He did have a little chip in the hind ankle, but nothing that I considered serious by any stretch of the imagination,” Brennan added. “I did question it after we bought him. I said, ‘Did we miss something? Better go back and check the vet report. Is [the chip] all he had? Did that really frighten people?’ That didn’t bother me at all.”
Farish said he was pleased that Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable ended up with Palace Malice, continuing a business relationship that had previously reached its apex with Summer Squall. That son of Storm Bird, bred by Farish and Kilroy, sold to Campbell’s partnership at the 1988 Keeneland July yearling sale and went on to win the 1990 Preakness Stakes after running second in the Kentucky Derby.
“Cot has always had an outstanding racing program and has put the horses with top trainers, and that’s an awful important thing for consignors, so, naturally, we were thrilled that he was with Todd Pletcher,” Farish said. “Todd, as always, has done a wonderful job in bringing them to the classic races, because it’s not easy.”
Palace Malice took a very similar path to the Belmont Stakes as fifth-place finisher Revolutionary. Also bred by Farish, the War Pass colt was consigned by Lane’s End, as agent, on the same day of the 2011 Keeneland September sale as Palace Malice and sold to Valera Stable for $80,000. He was sent to Brennan for seasoning and sold to WinStar Farm for $235,000 at last year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of selected 2-year-olds in training.
The two colts were reunited once again in Pletcher’s barn and faced off for the first time in the Louisiana Derby, where the victorious Revolutionary got the best of Palace Malice, who finished seventh. Revolutionary once again outfinished his stablemate in the Kentucky Derby, running third to Palace Malice’s 12th. Both skipped the Preakness and returned in the Belmont, where Palace Malice tied the series by wins.
With multiple entries in multiple Triple Crown races, each making his mark in the process, the horses have served Farish’s vision well.
“We’ve just followed a pattern of breeding, and statistically, we’ve done well,” Farish said. “Continuing to breed for the classics – which is something I think a lot of people have gotten away from as they’ve tended to breed more for speed – has definitely helped.”
Joe, do you the current whereabouts of Palace Rumor?