06/01/2017 6:08PM

Zoccali: Deo Volente stays on the cutting edge by importing a son of Bold Eagle

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Mike Gulotta Photo
Jacobo Deo is out of an Italian mare named Resora LB IT

There is little dispute, if any, that Bold Eagle is the best trotter on the planet.  Unfortunately for those of us in North America, the closest we get to see the trotting superstar is on our computer monitors.  While it’s debatable whether Bold Eagle will ever race on this continent, an offspring of his very quietly has taken residence on this side of the Atlantic.

It should come as no surprise that the colt’s presence in the United States is the product of the work of Mike Gulotta, C.E.O. of Deo Volente Farms.

The colt is out of an Italian mare, Resora LB IT and has been named Jacobo Deo.

One of the innovative breeding ideologies overseas is to begin breeding to their champions while they are still racing.  Gulotta took advantage of that and purchased the Italian mare and bred her to Bold Eagle prior to his Triple Crown win.  This is her first foal and according to the registry on the USTA’s Pathway system, this is the only offspring of Bold Eagle in the United States, which is something Gulotta referenced.

“We knew that we could potentially have the only Bold Eagle in the country,” Gulotta said.  “That’s pretty neat I think.”

The foundation of Gulotta’s thinking is the same foundation that landed Trixton at Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey.  “In this business you have to be aggressive and progressive,” said Gulotta. “There is great potential in this and thankfully we have a very sharp looking colt on our hands.”

While Gulotta typically sells his yearlings, he has some different thoughts about Jacobo Deo. “It hit me that if this colt makes it and if he is good enough to become a stallion, it would provide an amazing opportunity,” said Gulotta. “We could be standing a son of Bold Eagle and that’s a pretty cool idea.

“If we are lucky, this could be a home run, not just for us, but for the industry.”

Of course with a weanling on his hands, we are a very long way from that becoming a reality, but you have to once again admire Gulotta’s thinking.  In an industry that is often far too resistant to change, once again Gulotta has stepped up to the plate and done something unprecedented.

My family and I were lucky enough to visit Deo Volente Farms last week.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you plan a visit.  The property looks more like the rolling bluegrass of Lexington, Kentucky than it does the Garden State.  The stalls and stable area are immaculate and there is an abundance of horse power.

In addition to the Bold Eagle colt, there is a Trixton-Bringham Dream colt, a Trixton-Blue Yonder filly and a Trixton-Queen Serene filly.  But it’s not just about Trixton.  Gulotta has a mare you may have heard of named Rocklamation and she produced a Captaintreacherous filly this year.  There is also a Captaintreacherous-Lisjune colt, a Muscle Hill-Tonato Of Love colt, a Muscle Hill-Yursa Hanover filly and a Somebeachsomewhere-Worldly Beauty filly, just to name a few of the 2017 foals.  Gulotta has yearlings going to sale this year sporting several of the pedigrees listed above as well.  All of the foals, yearlings, etc. can be found at www.deovolentefarms.com

Trixton looked as brilliant as ever.  Gulotta stated that he will cover 140 mares this year and Trixton himself has garnered international attention.  “Jean-Pierre Dubois, who we were partners with on Crys Dream bred two mares to Trixton last year and he is breeding five or six to him this year.  He loves the pedigree,” said Gulotta.

This is a big year for Gulotta, with Trixton’s yearlings going to sale for the first time.  “They look great, very leggy and correct,” added Gulotta. 

With the landscape of racing in New Jersey still unchanged, Trixton is certainly at a disadvantage in that there isn’t a lucrative sire stakes program awaiting his yearlings next year.  But with the mares that he has been bred to, the likelihood for Trixton to be a success on the Grand Circuit is strong, to say the least.  Gulotta is optimistic that there is a gubernatorial candidate who believes in the future of racing in New Jersey.

“We had a fundraiser for Phil Murphy last week.  He is a good-guy and he believes in helping the racing industry, and we have already discussed the ideas he has to help.  I think he is going to win and things will be different when he is in office,” said Gulotta about the candidate and upcoming election on November 7.

Last year I reported on another innovative idea of Gulotta’s, a partnership with Taylor-Made Farms and their stallion, Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome.  In that partnership Gulotta owns two breedings to California Chrome each year and Gulotta has already purchased his broodmares and bred them to ‘Chrome’.

The first mare is a stakes winner named Naval Command.  She is a daughter of Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman, and is a 4S X 4D cross to Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.  On the racetrack, Naval Command was a fine filly, winning a listed-stakes on the turf at the Fair Grounds.  She also ran fifth in the Grade-One Darley Alicibiades Stakes at Keeneland, one of the premier races for 2-year-old fillies each year.  Gulotta owns her first foal, a bay colt by the Breeders Cup-winning Macho Uno, a son of Holy Bull.

The second mare is Scandalous Song, a big, grey daughter of Unbridled’s Song.  While she never raced, it’s her pedigree that stands out as she is out of My White Corvette, the dam of Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Stardom Bound (Tapit), who sold for $5.7 Million as a 2-year-old.  So Gulotta owns a half-sister to a Breeders Cup winner.

Both mares create a cross that means a lot in thoroughbred racing right now.  By breeding Naval Command to California Chrome it creates a 4S X 5D cross to Lucky Spell, while the breeding of Scandalous Song to California Chrome creates a 4S X 4D cross to Lucky Spell. 

Unless you are a true historian of thoroughbred racing, the name Lucky Spell won’t mean much.  But 40 years after she last stepped foot on the racetrack, her influence has been nothing short of spectacular.  She has iron-lady blood, racing 69 times herself and she was a stakes winner as well.  She was a mediocre broodmare, producing 14 foals, 12 of whom raced with only one of those foals earning over $100,000.  But a pair of those foals have had an enormous impact on the landscape of thoroughbred racing in 2016 and 2017. 

In 1983, Lucky Spell produced a filly by Caro named Trolley Song.  Nine years later Lucky Spell would produce a Cozzene filly named Lucky Soph.  Why is that important?  Well, Trolley Song would go on to produce Unbridled’s Song, a Breeders Cup winner himself and the sire of the best horse in the world right now, Arrogate.  Lucky Soph produced Lucky Pulpit, who of course is the sire of California Chrome.  Gulotta said they specifically were looking for this cross and to say that the potential here is great, would be an understatement.

One thing is certain, it is entirely possible that Deo Volente Farms is on the cusp of a renaissance and it would be in everyone’s best interest if that comes to fruition.