05/25/2017 10:26AM

Quick Temper takes winding route to star mare status

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Miranda Lee Gottsacker
Quick Temper produced her first classic winner with Cloud Computing.

The road to breeding a classic winner rarely runs in a straight line, as evidenced by Quick Temper, the dam of Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing.

The A.P. Indy mare was bred in Kentucky by John G. Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and John Franks and was sold as a weanling for $290,000 at the 2001 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Quick Temper ended up in the hands of owner Mark Stanley, who campaigned her to a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds in her fourth start and eventually rolled her back into a nice allowance horse.

In September of her 4-year-old season, Quick Temper reached back up into graded-stakes company, running second to Indy Groove in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron Handicap. However, a naproxen positive led to Indy Groove’s disqualification, promoting Quick Temper to first place three months after the race.

Now a graded stakes winner, the mare drew the attention of co-breeder Sikura and his father-in-law, Ed McGhee of Stretch Run Ventures, who bought the mare privately at the end of her 2005 campaign. Sikura and the late Franks had good fortune with her dam, the Grade 1 winner Halo America, who also produced Grade 1-placed stakes winner Marino Marini.

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The new owners ran Quick Temper twice before she was retired to be part of the debut book of mares for Horse of the Year Ghostzapper.

After an appeal process that lasted long after the transaction and the retirement of Quick Temper, Indy Groove and her connections were cleared of wrongdoing and put back on top in the Matron.

“I bought a graded stakes winner by A.P. Indy that turned out to be a graded-stakes-placed daughter of A.P. Indy,” Sikura said. “We probably overpaid on her based on the fact that she didn’t even win a stakes, but she was a graded winner when we bought her. Two years later, she wasn’t. That might have been a first.”

Indy Groove is owned by Glen Hill Farm, and Glen Hill and Sikura are longtime business partners, working together under the name Elevage II. Hill ‘n’ Dale would even go on to consign Indy Groove’s foals at auction.

Sikura and Craig Bernick, Glen Hill president and chief operating officer, look back on the situation as a funny story.

“I told him, ‘You cost us a lot of money,’ ” Sikura said.

Quick Temper’s first two foals were serviceable, if unspectacular, runners. She then failed to produce a foal in three of her next four matings.

In 2013, Hill ‘n’ Dale had a new sire to prove out in the electric maiden winner Maclean’s Music, and Quick Temper was once again a member of a stallion’s first book.

“All of a sudden, she was a middle-aged mare that didn’t have many runners,” Sikura said. “I liked the Distorted Humor cross with A.P. Indy, so we bred her to Maclean’s Music.”

The ensuing foal, the mare’s fifth, was a colt. He went on to bring $200,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale, making him the most expensive yearling at auction from the first crop of Maclean’s Music.

That colt was still an unraced 2-year-old when entry time came for the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Sikura and McGhee had to look at their broodmare band to consider cuts, and Quick Temper’s spotty record made her a candidate to move.

Quick Temper went through the ring – empty after failing to catch from another visit to Maclean’s Music – on Day 10 of 13 as Hip 3477, hardly a prestigious spot in the catalog. The bidding didn’t sit right with Sikura, who decided to buy out his father-in-law’s stake in the auction ring.

“This mare’s standing there at $5,000, and I said, ‘That’s disrespectful to the mare,’ so I raised my hand and bought her for $6,000,” he said. “We took a while to get her to cycle, and we bred her, she carried to 42 days, and she slipped again. Her produce record has been hit or miss.”

Three months later, Quick Temper’s first Maclean’s Music colt, now named Cloud Computing and racing for the partnership of Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, won on debut at Aqueduct. The colt followed up with a runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes and a third in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial.

About six months after the sale, Cloud Computing gave Quick Temper’s produce record the update of a lifetime in the Preakness. He was the second classic winner co-bred by Hill ‘n’ Dale, following 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold.

“I feel good that she’s back at the farm,” Sikura said. “Her contribution at the moment is she’s the dam of a Preakness winner. That’s a pretty good contribution.”