Updated on 09/16/2011 8:44AM

Thousand-dollar mare looks like a million


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The victory of Nonsuch Bay in the Mother Goose was a major success story for her owner, Joseph Platt, and for Sabine Stable, which bred the filly.

Nonsuch Bay has done well for everyone connected with her, but none of the filly's connections are any prouder of her than Julia Householder, who planned the mating, sending her Light Idea mare Brighter Than Gold to Mr. Greeley.

Householder sold the mare to Sabine before foaling. Since the person or farm owning the broodmare at the time of foaling is the breeder of her offspring, Householder doesn't enter the record books with Nonsuch Bay. But that doesn't impair her enthusiasm for the filly and her dam.

In a transaction that now looks inspired, Householder bought Brighter Than Gold for $1,000 off the racetrack. She said, "We had bought a share in Roy but had only one mare for him. So when Doug Johnson, up near Cleveland, called and said he had a mare he wanted to sell for a thousand, I bought her."

Now, buying $1,000 mares sight-unseen might not be advisable for the rest of us, but when Householder saw Brighter Than Gold, "she was absolutely gorgeous. She looks like a Seeking the Gold mare, all quality and very correct. She is a fairly long mare with good bone."

Householder sent the mare to Roy, and after she was scanned in foal, Householder shipped Brighter Than Gold to Illinois so that the foal could be registered as an Illinois-bred and could have greater value if racing in that program. After foaling the Roy colt, Brighter Than Gold and her first offspring were brought back to Kentucky.

Once here, Householder said, "I had a season for her to a very nice young stallion, but he wasn't stopping his mares. After two covers she wasn't pregnant, and I arranged to send her to Mr. Greeley instead. Brighter Than Gold got in foal on a single cover."

That was good news for the business, but unfortunately, Householder "was going through a divorce and needed cash flow." So she decided to sell the mare. But nobody wanted to buy her. After buying back Brighter Than Gold at the Keeneland November sale, Householder had a bit of good luck.

She said, "We put the yearling by Roy in the Keeneland January sale, and he brought $72,000." She had already put Brighter Than Gold in the Ocala Breeders' Sales winter mixed sale, and, not needing a map to tell her how to attract buyers' interest, Householder "had Joe DiOrio take a picture of the colt, and I put the photo and yearling's sale price on a flyer for the OBS sale a week or so later. And she brought $40,000 because of that." Sabine Stable was the buyer.

The Roy colt, later named What's Up Dog, turned out to be a nice horse, running fifth in the 2000 Hopeful Stakes behind dead-heat victors Yonaguska and City Zip, eventual champion juvenile Macho Uno, and Saint Verre. Now that her second foal is a Grade 1 winner, Brighter Than Gold has become really valuable.

Mr. Greeley, sire of the Mother Goose winner, is the best-known sire standing at Spendthrift Farm. A powerful son of Gone West, Mr. Greeley was considered for the classics at one point in his racing career but proved himself better at shorter distances, winning three times at the Grade 3 level and running a courageous second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

At stud, Mr. Greeley has sired a high proportion of racers who are well-suited to a mile and more. His 15 stakes winners include Grade 1 winners El Corredor and Celtic Melody, as well as the Mother Goose winner.

A handsome horse with good muscling and length through the body, Mr. Greeley came to the attention of buyers when his first foals went to the sales. They were attractive and strong, and they sold very well. The speed and determination they have shown on the racetrack moved the stallion's fee up to $25,000 live foal for 2002, when he covered 151 mares, and that price will be increasing for next year, although the syndicate has not yet settled on the figure.

Trainer Frank Alexander bought Nonsuch Bay for Platt at last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March auction of 2-year-olds in training, paying $75,000 for the filly. Eddie Woods sold Nonsuch Bay as agent for her breeders of record, the Sabine Stable of Joseph and Winifred Greeley.

Two years earlier, Sabine Stable had purchased Brighter Than Gold from Householder for $40,000 when the mare was carrying Nonsuch Bay. The price was a big one for a daughter of the little-known stallion Light Idea, a winner by Majestic Light, but Brighter Than Gold is a full sister to stakes winner Light's Question, and the mare's ability to produce good-looking athletes was more important than her paper. The sale of Nonsuch Bay was a nice profit on the venture, and Sabine has her half-sister, a juvenile filly by Indian Charlie, in training at Calder.

Brighter Than Gold has since produced a yearling colt by Cobra King and a full brother to Nonsuch Bay this year. Both are at Sabine Stable in Florida, and the mare is in foal to Hennessy on a May 23 cover.