04/11/2016 12:25PM

Rare Opportunity, 2015 Canadian Broodmare of the Year, a true bargain


Rare Opportunity went through the ring at the 1994 Keeneland January sale of horses of all ages as an afterthought.

Bred by Henryk de Kwiatowski’s Kennelot Stables during his time as owner of Calumet Farm, the unraced 2-year-old filly quietly hammered for $5,500 to the late breeder Bob Anderson and headed to Anderson Farm in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Having paid her way several times over, Rare Opportunity punctuated an outstanding purchase more than two decades later by earning 2015 Canadian Broodmare of the Year honors on Friday at the Sovereign Awards in Toronto.

“My dad bought her on a whim,” said David Anderson, who took over the farm’s operations after Bob’s death in 2011. “She was so crooked as a yearling that Calumet decided to not even put her in a yearling sale. They put her in the Keeneland January sale hoping somebody might buy her as a broodmare prospect, and the only filly that ever beat her on the track was Serena’s Song. She just went on to produce one after another, and we’re really, truly blessed to have such a wonderful animal.”

The Danzig Connection filly, a maternal granddaughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Sabin, proved herself more than just a broodmare prospect. Racing for Anderson Farm and Rod Ferguson, the early-speed specialist won her debut as a juvenile at Woodbine, then drew away by six lengths in a Keeneland allowance in her 3-year-old debut. Her lone defeat came in her third and final start, where she tired to third behind eventual champion Serena’s Song in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.

She entered the Anderson Farm broodmare program during the 1996 breeding season, visiting Kentucky stallions and foaling out in Ontario. Her first foal was the Tabasco Cat colt Catvantageous, who sold for $300,000 at the 1998 Keenland July yearling sale.

Rare Opportunity’s first black-type earner came from foal No. 4, Silver Highlight, a Silver Charm filly who captured the Wonder Where Stakes, the third leg of Canada’s Triple Tiara. She ran second in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap the following season.

Her next foal was Street Sounds, a daughter of Street Cry whose 2007 campaign included a win in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes and in-the-money finishes in all three legs of the Canadian Triple Tiara. Street Sounds was her dam’s most expensive offspring at auction, selling to Hidden Creek Farm for $400,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The most recent success out of Rare Opportunity is the Street Sense gelding Tower of Texas, a Sovereign Award finalist for champion male sprinter who won the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes last year and finished second by a nose in the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes.

“He was a very mature, well-put-together weanling, and fortunately he got in the right hands with some terrific owners in Scott Dilworth and Tom Van Meter, and you couldn’t ask for a better trainer than Roger Attfield,” Anderson said. “He’s got exhilarating speed. Unfortunately, he had a little injury a month or so ago, but we’re hoping to see good things from him again this year.”

Rare Opportunity, 24, resides on Anderson Farm as a pensioner. Her final foal is a Street Boss filly named A Taste of Red, an unraced 3-year-old.

“She’s feisty,” Anderson said about the retiree. “I just saw her the other day, and she’s just got that look in her eye. She’s a fighter. She’s the boss of the paddock, always has been, and I think she shows those traits to her foals because all of her foals have that. They have that edge, and that’s a wonderful thing.”

Rare Opportunity had 13 foals, with nine starters and eight winners. Her foals have earned $1,558,133 while racing in the U.S., Canada, England, and Ireland.

The responsibility of carrying on the award-winning female line has largely fallen to her second foal, Capacity, an unraced Capote mare whose eight foals to race are all winners, including stakes-placed runners Cat Tree and To the Brim. The latter has also produced the stakes winners Duff and Bold Curlin.