12/30/2011 3:24PM

Warren gets out of the breeding business


ARCADIA, Calif. – Ben Warren, one of California’s most prolific owner-breeders in recent years, has stopped breeding and will wind down his racing operation in coming years, he said on Thursday.

Warren does not plan to breed any horses in 2012, but said he will continue to race the approximately 150 horses of racing age and 2-year-olds he owns. In addition, Warren has a crop of horses that will be yearlings in 2012.

“The breeding is done,” he said at Santa Anita.

At one point, Warren said he had approximately 800 horses spread across “seven or eight ranches” in California. The cost related to keeping that many horses was “$750,000 a month,” he said. “It was ridiculous.”

As a breeder, Warren, 78, is well-known for the volume of Thoroughbreds his farms produced, and for naming horses after himself.

On Thursday at Santa Anita, Warren’s Hopeful won the first race for maiden claimers, Warren’s Mad Dawg finished last of seven in a $20,000 claimer, and Warren’s Knockout finished sixth in a $40,000 claimer for turf sprinters. Warren bred all three runners, but does not own Warren’s Hopeful.

He described his upcoming 2-year-old crop as “the best we’ve had.” Warren said he currently has 50 horses in training at Santa Anita with private trainer Jorge Gutierrez.

“We’ve got enough at home for five years,” he said of his future racehorses.

Warren’s operation was at its height in the late 2000s when his stable had more than 100 broodmares. During that time, his breeding farm in Hemet, Calif., had 25 stallions, most of whom he owned. Many of the stallions stood for modest fees, ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. He bought his first horses in the early 2000s, initially getting involved through claiming.

As he wound down his breeding operation in recent months, Warren said he kept only two stallions and disbanded his broodmares.

“I gave them all away,” he said, adding he could not recall where the broodmares and stallions were relocated.

Warren won the 2010 Solana Beach Stakes at Del Mar with Warren’s Jitterbug. More recently, his Warren’s Flyer was third in the Melair Stakes at Hollywood Park in April, Warren’s Blossom was second in the Desert Stormer Handicap in June, and Warren’s Amber was third in the filly division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes at Santa Anita last Monday.

In business, Warren transports automobiles internationally for the U.S. Army and Navy. He said his firm moved 85,000 cars in 2011. Recently remarried, Warrren said he plans to retire from that job in October 2013.

Two new stallions in California

The stallions Elusive Bluff and Recap will begin their stud careers in California in 2012.

Elusive Bluff, the winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park in 2008, has been moved from Louisiana to E.A. Ranches, in Santa Ysabel, for the upcoming breeding season.

By Elusive Quality, Elusive Bluff will stand for $1,000. He was bred to 22 mares in 2011, according to Jockey Club statistics. Elusive Bluff was unbeaten in two starts at 2, earning $127,380.

Recap, a full brother to the Grade 1 winners Courageous Cat and After Market but winless at the racetrack, enters stud at Ballena Vista Farm in Ramona.

Recap is by Storm Cat out of Tranquility Lake, a millionaire and Grade 1 winner on the racetrack. Courageous Cat, who enters stud in Kentucky this year, won the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park last July. After Market won the Grade 1 Charles Whittingham and Eddie Read handicaps during his racing career. He stands at stud in Kentucky.

Raced by breeders Marty and Pam Wygod, Recap, who made two starts, will stand complimentary to approved mares. As an incentive to attract mares, a bonus program has been introduced for Recap’s first crop, 2-year-olds of 2015. The registered breeder of the first Grade 1 stakes winner of that crop will receive a $100,000 payment. The breeder of the first stakes winner, in races worth a minimum of $55,000, will receive a $50,000 bonus.