Updated on 09/17/2011 11:37AM

Perfect Soul a gem from Fipke plan


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Buying a good racehorse is tough to do, but breeding one is even harder. One might compare breeding good racehorses to exploring for gold and diamonds, and in that regard, the game was a natural for Charles Fipke, whose homebred Perfect Soul came home a winner in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 4.

When Fipke came to the sport of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, he had a lengthy background in the exploration and development of gold and diamond mines. A geologist, Fipke is the owner and president of C. F. Minerals, located in Kelowna, British Columbia. The company's primary work is recovering heavy minerals and processing them on behalf of several international companies.

In addition, Fipke was the central figure in the discovery and development of the Ekati diamond mines in the Northwest Territories of Canada. This success, followed by others in North America and Africa, produced the stake for Fipke to go prospecting in the Thoroughbred business.

As part of that venture, he became associated with several leading advisers, one of whom was Jack Werk, who said that Fipke is "a genius at geology."

"He has gold mines in Yemen that he discovered while flying over the desert," Werk said. "Chuck is the kind of guy who likes to go for a strike, and when he first got into the business, his goal was to breed the classic horse."

Central to that aim was identifying the classic horse, and for Fipke that was Secretariat. "I love Secretariat," Fipke said, "and I wanted a Secretariat mare. So I ran all the pedigrees of the Secretariat mares in the November sale. Eleven came out good. Ball Chairman ranked third-best on pedigree and was the best-conformed. So I bought her."

Fipke purchased Ball Chairman for $180,000 at the 1994 Keeneland November breeding stock sale from Lane's End, agent. The mare was in foal at the time to the high-class Northern Dancer stallion Dixieland Band, and the resulting foal, Dimontina, placed in four stakes, earning $184,606. Dimontina is now a broodmare, and her dam, Ball Chairman, is lodged at Coolmore Stud in Ireland, where she is back in foal to Sadler's Wells with a full sibling to Perfect Soul. Fipke has a yearling full sister to Perfect Soul in Florida, where she will begin her early training for a career at the track.

Werk said: "Of all the times that I've recommended to clients that they ship a mare to Europe for a mating, only two have done it: Irv Cowan and Chuck Fipke. I recommended he ship the mare to Ireland for Sadler's Wells."

Perfect Soul is the second foal from that mating.

The mare's first foal by Sadler's Wells is the unraced Not Impossible. Clearly well regarded by his owner, Not Impossible was "a wobbler," Fipke said. "I tried to make a racehorse of him. The best vets in Europe and America said to put him down, but I had him operated on and put into training."

The experiment didn't entirely work, "but the horse deserved a chance, and he has tremendous conformation," Fipke said.

After retiring Not Impossible, Fipke put him out to stud. "His first foals are just awesome," he said.

Not Impossible stands at Anson Stud Farm in Ontario.

Perfect Soul, with his success at Keeneland, would be even more in demand as a stallion prospect. Werk, who recommended matings that last weekend produced a pair of Grade 1 winners (Society Selection and Perfect Soul), said that Perfect Soul is the only Grade 1 winner by Sadler's Wells who is out of a Secretariat mare.

"Considering the success that Secretariat has had as a broodmare sire of sires [Storm Cat, A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Gone West], I think we really may have something here," Werk said.

When Perfect Soul goes to stud, his owner will doubtless support him with a carefully selected group of broodmares, as he begins again the high-stakes process of breeding the high-class racehorse.

Clearly one who is inclined to support his opinions with cash, Fipke made headlines earlier this year when he paid a record sum for a 2-year-old in training. At the Barretts March sale, Fipke paid $2.7 million to acquire a Sea of Secrets colt who has since been named Diamond Fury. Trained by Bob Baffert, the colt debuted in August at Del Mar and finished third.