A tale of two legends

Photo Randie’s Legend Northview PA

by Emily Shields

Published in

PA Thoroughbred Newsletter / Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine February 2018 Issue 

The victory by Daddy Is a Legend in the Jimmy Durante Stakes-G3 was the culmi­nation of 10 years of perseverance by her breeder, Hank Nothhaft. He believed in her dam, Randie’s Legend, despite her frustrating history both at the track and in the breeding shed. Now Daddy Is a Legend has earned$107,910 in just four starts for owners Jim and Susan Hill.

Daddy is a Legend Margaux Farm KY
Photo Carl McEntee

Randie’s Legend, a California Bred by Benchmark out of the Gold Legend mare Eternal Legend, cost Nothhaft $43,000 at the 2008 Barrett’s October Yearling Sale.  Although Eternal Legend never raced, her dam Eternal Search was a three-time Sovereign Award winner in Canada.

Eternal Legend had already produced the horse that would become Grade 2 winner Frumious, and one year after Eternal Legend would throw graded stakes placed stakes winner Eternal Rule, who won six of seven starts lifetime, three of them stakes.

“When I bought her she had a good page befitting a $43,000 Cal-bred yearling purchase” said Nothhaft. “Over the last 10 years it has become an exceptional page befitting that of a graded stakes broodmare producer”.

Nothhaft put Randie’s Legend in training, but she ultimately never made it to the races. “The purchase was mainly made to get a horse that could be competitive racing at Golden Gate Fields, which was my horizon at that time,” Nothhaft said. “She was extremely fast and often worked the bullet, but her running  style was hard on her knees. She had a series of minor physical issues that prevented her from making it to the races as a two through four-year-old. On the advice of a vet… I retired her unraced, uninjured and completely sound”.

Nothhaft owned a share in dual classic winner Smarty Jones, who stood in Pennsylvania and nicked well with Randie’s Legend. The resulting foal Smarty’s Legend, is a two­ time winner of $57,086. After the mare was barren in 2013, Nothhaft spent time delving deeper into her pedigree.

“From 2010-2012, Randie’s Legend’s pedigree improved by leaps and bounds under the first dam, Eternal Legend”. Frumious and Eternal Rule were showing their mettle on the track, but the second and third dams were producing as well. “The rest of the pedigree was extremely active as well with graded stakes performers like Volcat, This Ones for Phil, and Smokey Fire,” Nothhaft said. “Even more surprising, if not downright amazing, Exaggerator- winner of the Preakness Stakes in 2016- materialized under the third dam. ”  Nothhaft’s bloodstock agent Carl McEntee offered the advice of “upgrading the stature of her breeding mates.” In 2014, Randie’s Legend produced a Stormy Atlantic colt Nothhaft sold as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale for $115,000. Daddy Is a Legend, a daughter of Scat Daddy, came next.

Daddy is a Legend October Weanling

Cavalier Bloodstock purchased the Pennsylvania bred filly as a weanling at Keeneland for $140,000. She was resold 10 months later at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $160,000 to Jim and Susan Hill of Margaux Farm.

Daddy is a Legend heading to work out
Photo Amanda Motz

Daddy Is a Legend went into training with George Weaver and debuted Aug. 6 at Saratoga. Her eventful debut included striking the gate as she broke and a wide trip around the second turn. Daddy Is a Legend finished fifth, but showed encouraging promise.

In her second start, a 1-mile grass race at Belmont, Daddy Is a Legend faced the highly regarded Rushing Fall. The two kicked away from the field in the stretch, with Rushing Fall eventually prevailing on her way to an unbeaten season, capped by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1. “Most people don’t realize that she gave Breeders’ Cup winner Rushing Fall the biggest challenge in her unbeaten career,” said owner Jim Hill.

At Keeneland in October, Daddy Is a Legend went off favored in a 9-furlong contest for juvenile fillies. She won by 2¾ lengths under Joe Bravo, showing her talent on one of racing’s biggest stages. Nothhaft pointed out that the filly earned, “the coveted designation as a TDN Rising Star” with the victory.

Daddy is a Legend wins the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante @Del Mar Turf Club

As if backing up that honor, Daddy Is a Legend returned in the one-mile graded Jimmy Durante Stakes. With a $102,415 purse, over Del Mar’s turf Nov. 25. She was favored once again, broke 10th in a field of 12 , steadied twice around the turn, and still rallied to win by a length over Data Dependent.

Daddy Is a Legend is currently wintering at Margaux Farm in Kentucky, enjoying a break before tackling a spring campaign. “For our next start for Daddy Is a Legend, we are aiming to the [Grade 2] Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland in April,” Hill said. “We obviously have thoughts beyond that, but horseracing really is a one race at a time game. Arguably you could make a case for Daddy as the second best 3-year-old turf filly in North America.” In the Appalachian, Daddy Is a Legend may meet rival Rushing Fall once again. “It could be a very exciting race,” Hill said. “Not surprisingly, we are very excited with this horse.”

Randie’s Legend was bred to Violence but did not catch, then produced a Pennsylvania bred City Zip colt last February that has been named Belleau Wood. ” We made a decision to keep the City Zip colt to race before Daddy Is a Legend emerged,” Nothhaft said.

Randie’s Legend is due to produce a Tiznow foal this spring, and will be bred back to Candy Ride (Arg). With two winners, one a stakes winner, from two foals to race, Nothhaft is thrilled that his dedication to Randie’s Legend paid off.

 

 

 

Daddy Is a Legend delivers in G3 Durante for Nothhaft

 

Article by Ben Gowans  Appeared in the January Issue of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine 

Hank Nothhaft is no stranger to seeing his Pennsylvania-breds succeed in Southern California.  

Nothhaft, a native of Pennsylvania  and a resident of California,  is the breeder of 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-G1 winner Finest City.  Although Finest City couldn’t repeat this year at Del Mar, another filly bred by his HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing achieved graded success where the surf meets the turf in November.

“You talk about a turn of foot, whoa,” Nothhaft said of Daddy Is a Legend’s powerful stretch run to win the Nov. 25 Jimmy Durante Stakes-G 3.

Sent off as the 5-2 favorite in the field of 12 for the 2-year­ old stakes at 1 mile on turf, the daughter of the late Scat Daddy made a swooping run while wide of her competition around the turn and through the stretch to win by a length for trainer George Weaver and owners Jim and Susan Hill.

” Day 1, she had a big, beautiful head on her, big body,” Nothhaft said. “Looked like maybe she was going to turn into something interesting as a physical specimen. She did mature rap­idly, she turned into a beautiful weanling.”

Daddy is a Legend Weanling KY

Therefore, Nothhaft made the decision to enter her in the 2015 Keeneland   November breeding stock sale.   Consigned by Darby Dan Farm, the bay filly left the ring after a final bid of $140,000 from Cavalier Bloodstock.

“I was ecstatic to sell her for $140,000 at that stage of my career. She was bought by Cavalier, who oddly enough bought a weanling from me in the latest sale in Keeneland, so I thought that was pretty ironic; ‘ Nothhaft said. “I was glad that they pin-hooked her, they didn’t make a lot of money, but they got her into really good hands of some serious horse people who have a real commitment to the business.”

Nothhaft was speaking of the Hills, who purchased Daddy Is a Legend for $160,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Nothhaft purchased the dam of Daddy Is a Legend, the Benchmark mare Randie’s Legend, for $43,000 at the 2008 Barretts October yearling sale in his first year of horse ownership.

“I took her out of training when she was a 3-year-old,”Nothhaft said of the un-raced mare. “By now I had gotten involved with Smarty Jones in Pennsylvania,  I bought a share. I shipped her across the country to breed to him. During this time, her pedigree improved dramatically.  The next year I bred her to Silver Train, she didn’t take so she was barren. As I learned more about the business, I thought, ‘I really believe in this mare, I want to give her a chance to be commercial. I’ve got to start breeding her to some commercial sires.’ I bred her to Stormy Atlantic, Scat Daddy, City Zip, and now she’s in foal to Tiznow.  Owning the mare, I couldn’t be more excited.”

The recently turned yearling colt out of Randie’ Legend is by City Zip, the sire of Finest City and already named Belleau Wood.

Nothhaft doesn’t plan to sell.

“Tm going to race him, primarily on the East Coast, he’s a Pennsylvania-bred, he’s sitting in Virginia right now becoming Virginia-certified, and I’m going to move him to Delaware and he’s going to be Delaware-certified and we’re going to run every­ body in the Mid-Atlantic off their feet,” Nothhaft said with a laugh.

Nothhaft has been breeding quality Pennsylvania-breds for a few years now, and after recent developments, he plans to continue.  ” I’m back there again,” he said of Pennsylvania and specifically Northview PA in Peach Bottom where Daddy Is a Legend was foaled and Randie’s Legend will again foal out in 2018. “They did the trust fund on the breeding program for Pennsylvania, I had one mare there when that happened, and now I have six.”

As for future breeding plans for Randie’s Legend, Nothhaft isn’t cutting any corners.  “I plan to keep her,” he said. “I booked her to Candy Ride (Arg).”

Ben Gowans

 

 

Daddy Is a Legend’s last race says it all

Photo Six Week Old Daddy is a Legend Darby Dan Farm

Was Daddy as a Legend’s last race an optical illusion?

According to Byron King of the Daily Racing Form the visuals of HnR bred, PA_BRED, Daddy’s is a Legend’s (Scat Daddy o/o Randie’s Legend) last race trumps any speed figure handicapping for the Jimmie Durante.  Per Byron,  “There is a time for speed-figure handicapping and for class handicapping. But that time is not in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante Stakes at Del Mar on Saturday.

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Daddy Is a Legend wins an Oct. 27 maiden race.

Those methods of analysis take a backseat to trip handicapping in the Jimmy Durante, based on the eye-catching last-race performance by Daddy Is a Legend in winning a maiden race at Keeneland.

If you missed her victory there Oct. 27, watch the replay. I suspect you will come away impressed.

A bit restless in the gate, she was unsettled at the break and started a couple lengths behind the pack. Rather than panic, jockey Joe Bravo allowed her to settle, and she raced comfortably without incident passing the grandstand and through the first turn.

Then the dynamics of the race changed. The leaders, who had set a lively opening quarter-mile in 23.16 seconds, slowed dramatically leaving the first turn and into the backstretch, and the next two quarters were run in over 26 seconds apiece.

Daddy Is a Legend was 11 1/2 lengths off the pace after a quarter-mile, but advanced wide under a hold to pull within 4 1/2 lengths of the leaders after a half-mile, and then to within 1 1/2 lengths after three quarters. Then Bravo cut her loose, and in a matter of strides she was accelerating away from the pack, opening a 5 1/2-length lead by the eighth pole before he allowed her to cruise home down the final furlong to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Now trainer George Weaver takes her to California for a Grade 3 race, an indication of his high regard for her. And that is understandable. Besides her flashy maiden victory at Keeneland, she ran second in a maiden race at Belmont a start earlier, beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by Rushing Fall – yes, that Rushing Fall, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

She is favorably drawn Saturday in post 2 in the one-mile Jimmy Durante, likely providing her with the opportunity to save ground, which is usually vital in turf races, though she was obviously so much the best at Keeneland that she didn’t need to. And if she breaks with the field she can likely establish position and become a stakes winner.”

HnR Bred Daddy is a Legend Seeking Graded Stakes Win in the Durante

Photo Randie’s Legend as a 2yo @Once Over Farm Morgan Hill CA

HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing (HnR) bred Daddy is a Legend by Scat Daddy o/o Randie’s Legend, a TDN Rising Star, seeks Graded Stakes Black Type in the Jimmie Durante @Delmar Turf Club with @JoeBravo up.  Daddy is a Legend was sold as a weanling at Keeneland November Sale in 2015.  Her 4th foal, also a PA_BRED, is a weanling colt by City Zip named Belleau Wood and owned by HnR.  Randie’s Legend is in foal to Tiznow and resides @Northview PA.

‘Daddy’ In the Durante?

Kindle 17 Tuesday Five Top Weanlings Keeneland Nov Sale

KEENELAND NOVEMBER SALE  TUESDAY FIVE TOP WEANLINGS

Thoroughbred Daily News Thursday November 8, 2017

Number Four  Kindle 17

4.  HIP 076     c          American Pharoah o/o Kindle             $400,000

Breeder-HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC (KY)

Consigned by Darby Dan Farm, Agent for HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing LLC

Purchased by Cavalier Bloodstock

Callaghans Strike for More Pharoah

 Peter O’Callaghan signed the ticket to acquire the first foal of American Pharoah sold at auction Monday evening at Fasig- Tipton and the O’Callaghan brothers were back in action Tuesday at Keeneland, going to $400,000 to obtain a colt from the first crop of the Triple Crown winner (hip 76).

Video Kindle 17 Sale Hip 76 Keeneland November Sale 2017

         

He had a great presence and a great walk Robert O’Callaghan said of the weanling. For me, he was the best American Pharoah here. The sire speaks for himself. He was such a wonderful racehorse, so we had to get a piece of the action.

It’s a lot of money, but he was such a good horse.The weanling is expected to return to the sales ring as a yearling next fall.We all know what the price is worth next September when he comes back, O’Callaghan said. Of the weanlings he has seen by American Pharoah, O’Callaghan said, They all have tremendous action and great presence. We’ve liked what we’ve seen of them so far. They all look like they’ll run. The weanling is out of stakes winner and multiple graded stakes placed Kindle (Indian Charlie). He was consigned by Darby Dan Farm on behalf of breeder Henry Nothhaft’s HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing which purchased Kindle for $50,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. @JessMartinTDN

 

 

 

 

HnR’s Grand Prix Road to Success

Grand Prix Inside Rail Photo Equi Photo @PARX

Published in PHBA November, 2017 Thoroughbred Report by Emily Shields

Hank Nothhaft tried to sell Grand Prix not once, but twice.

It seems serendipitous that after failing to meet her reserves in the auction ring, Grand Prix stayed home and has since become a dual stakes winner for Nothhaft, who is more than happy to have her. “She’s a super dependable filly that is right up there in my heart,” he said. “I’m so lucky to have a horse like that.”

The tale of how Grand Prix went from an auction buy back to one of the most valuable mares in Pennsylvania runs through Nothhaft, his bloodstock advisor Carl McEntee, and a champion named Finest City. Nothhaft and McEntee were on a mission to build a solid broodmare band when they came across the Lemon Drop Kid mare Be Envied.

“When we purchased the mare we were buying several mares to support the newly acquired stallion Silver Train,” McEntee said. Nothhaft stood Silver Train until his untimely death in 2013. “We had established a budget of $30,000-$50,000 per mare, as to pay more would be unwise given the potential return.”

Grand Prix (PA) with breeder/owner Hank Nothhaft pre Teresa Garofalo Stakes

One mare that stood out was Be Envied. The multiple stakes placed mare, a half-sister to Grade 1-winner Burning Roma, was in foal to consistent sire City Zip. Nothhaft only had to go to $37,000 to acquire her, with the resulting foal selling for $50,000 as a weanling. That weanling would one day be known as Finest City, the Eclipse Award Champion Female Sprinter and Pennsylvania Horse of the Year of 2016.

With Finest City not reaching her best stride until she turned four, Be Envied was resold. Nothhaft kept two more of her daughters: Move, by Silver Train, and the other being Grand Prix.

Tale of the Cat was chosen as Grand Prix’s sire, a mating based on physical appearance. “The cross was very good and the body types worked together,” McEntee said. “It’s not all paper as you must choose physicals also.”

“We wanted to pump some speed into the foal,” Nothhaft add- ed. “We got a tremendous-looking, athletic foal, and decided she was commercial. I sent her through the ring at Keeneland November as a weanling, but I wasn’t going to sell her for less than I thought she was worth. Her bidding stopped at $62,000 and my reserve was slightly higher than that. I have enough flexibility in my business that I can stick to my principles and be stubborn when I want.”

Stubborn enough that when Grand Prix went back through the ring as a yearling with a reserve of $150,000 and only brought a bid of $145,000, Nothhaft decided to keep her. “In some ways I was disappointed, but in other ways I had mixed emotions about selling her in the first place,” Nothhaft said. “I immediately took her off the grounds and back to Darby Dan. Some people came by trying to make a deal, but I named her a day or two later with a fantastic name and was emotionally committed.”

Nothhaft immediately set about following through with big plans for Grand Prix. The bay filly went to Webb Carroll’s training center in South Carolina, then went off to the barn of Gary Mandella, who trained Nothhaft’s standout mare Living The Life (Ire). “Gary is not known for bringing massive numbers of two year olds to the track,” Nothhaft said. “He takes his time getting them prepared.”

Under the banner of HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing, Grand Prix debuted at Santa Anita with a third place finish June 9, 2016. That Mandella thought highly enough of her to debut her so quickly sig- naled to Nothhaft that Grand Prix was precocious and talented, but it took the filly four tries to break her maiden. That win came at Golden Gate Fields in November, demolishing her rivals by five lengths. She was second in the Golden Gate Debutante Stakes to round out her juvenile season.

At 3, Grand Prix ran consistently in allowance company, but it wasn’t until she shipped from California to Pennsylvania that she broke through in a big way. “We had great confidence in the horse and trainer, and Finest City had emerged as a phenomenal horse at this point. In the back of our minds, we always remembered that she’s a Pennsylvania-bred.”

Grand Prix had been training in Pennsylvania for less than two weeks when she won the fittingly named New Start Stakes at Penn National over the well regarded juvenile state champion Rose Tree. “I was confident enough that I flew out for the race,” said Nothhaft, who regularly resides in Saratoga, Calif. “She didn’t disappoint anybody that day.”

From there, Nothhaft tried to “pick races that made sense for her and maximize the potential of the Pennsylvania-bred program.” Grand Prix was second in an allowance, then won at the same level a month later, scoring by a neck. She added the Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes at Parx in September, and has since wrapped up her season and will get a break before returning in 2018. She has earned $211,762 with four wins, four seconds, and three thirds in 14 starts.

Nothhaft didn’t throw out the option of sprinting down the hillside turf course at Santa Anita next year, but his ultimate goal would be the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes-G2 in September, a race he won in 2014 and 2015 with Living the Life.

“I would love to win that race with a Pennsylvania-bred,” he said. “It would be sweet for everyone involved in Pennsylvania.”

Nothhaft’s classy broodmare band, which includes stakes winners such as Kindle and Living the Life, both in foal to Pioneer of the Nile, is where Grand Prix is headed when her racing days are done.

“My goal is to have five to 10 broodmares, all ultimately coming out of my racing program. I’m running all homebreds now. For a guy that got in late and had to buy everything, in a few short years I’ve moved to vertically integrating and running my own horses.”

McEntee had nothing but praise for the owner. “Hank is honestly one of the kindest and respectable men I know. He is my friend, mentor at times and truly someone very dear to my heart. Together we have propelled each other and I shall be eternally grateful.”   

Kindle 17 by American Pharoah offered Keeneland Nov Sale

Video link is at the bottom of this blog.

HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing LLC is proud to offer Kindle 17 for sale as Hip 76 at the Keeneland November Mixed Stock Sale through our consignor Darby Dan Farm.   Kindle 17 is a colt by Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah o/o Multiple Stakes Winning/Multiple Graded Stakes winning Mare Kindle by Indian Charlie.  He is a large, well balanced individual with a great overreach inheriting the positive attributes of the parents. Kindle was a muscular sprinter with brilliant speed running her top Beyer of 100 winning the Cool Air Stakes @Hollywood Park.  This is Kindle’s 2nd foal.  Her first foal is a yearling colt by Tiznow named Made in America.  This video says it all: Kindle 17 @ Darby Dan Farm Oct 31, 2017.  

HnR bred Daddy is a Legend TDN Rising Star

   

SCAT DADDY FILLY CRUISES TO “RISING STARDOM” IN LEXINGTON

Article Appeared Oct 28, 2017 issue of Thoroughbred Daily News

Bloodhorse Race Details & Video of Race

“Daddy is a Legend (Scat Daddy) became the latest TDN Rising Star with a decisive victory going nine furlongs over the Keeneland lawn Friday afternoon. Fifth on debut at Saratoga Aug. 6 behind Chelsey Flower S. contender Golden Orb (Orb), the $160,000 KEESEP yearling checked in second next out

Sept. 16 at Belmont behind a TDN Rising Star performance from Rushing Fall (More Than Ready), who captured Keeneland’s GIII Jessamine S. next out and is one of the likely favorites for next Friday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.

Running second last through a first half-mile in :49.73, the 3-5 chalk steadily advanced down the center of the course and ranged up outside the top three as they registered three- quarters in 1:16.19. The dark bay stuck her head in front rounding the far turn and the race was over from there as she cruised clear to win as she pleased. Gentle Ruler (Colonel John) ran on late, closing the gap to 2 3/4 lengths at the line.

Daddy is a Legend is out of the unraced mare Randie’s Legend (Benchmark), a half-sister to MSW Eternal Rule (Tribal Rule) and GSW Frumious (Grindstone). The 10-year-old mare did not produce a foal in 2016, but foaled a City Zip colt named Belleau Wood this term and was bred back to Tiznow. 

5th-KEE, $56,420, Msw, 10-27, 2yo, f, 1 1/8mT, 1:53.37, fm.

DADDY IS A LEGEND (f, 2, Scat Daddy–Randie’s Legend, by Benchmark) Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-0, $47,910. O-Hill, Jim and Susan; B-HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing LLC (PA); T-George Weaver.

*$140,000 Wlg ’15 KEENOV.”

Daddy is a Legend is a PABRED bred by HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing LLC.  She is by Scat Daddy o/o HnR mare Randie’s Legend purchased in 2008 as a yearling.  An extremely quick filly, Randie’s Legend was unraced to avoid a potential injury to her knee.  Two half brothers Eternal Rule, MSW, and Frumious, GSW, became stakes winners after her purchase.  Also her Mare Eternal Legend died in a freak farm accident leaving us with only these three foals.  As both her brothers are gelding, it is left to Randie’s Legend to carry forward the bloodlines of 2nd dam Eternal Search, a three time Canadian Champion.

She is currently domiciled @Northview PA in foal to Tiznow.  Her first foal Smarty’s Legend by Smarty Jones was HnR’s 2nd PABRED foal.  She has a three year old unraced colt Lincolnator by Stormy Atlantic purchased by Zayat stables and a weanling colt by City Zip named Belleau Wood (PA) and owned by HnR. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHBA Iroquois Awards Dinner Video

Video produced by Pennsylvania Horse Breeders’ Association.

The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association held Its’ 70th  Annual Awards Banquet in Hershey Pennsylvania @ the Hershey Hotel.  Many deserving horses received awards for 2016 with Finest City awarded Horse of the Year.

Video PHBA 2016 Iroquois Thoroughbred Awards

PHBA Crystal Category Awards 2017

Charles Town Oaks Grand Prix (PA) Breeders Cup

Racing Biz article by Frank Vespe regarding HnR’s Grand Prix plans for Charles Town Oaks.  Frank does an excellent and accurate job of describing Grand Prix’s current status and plans.  

Racing Biz Charles Town Oaks Grand Prix’s Breeders Cup

by Frank Vespe

“Sometimes it’s the breaks you don’t get that turn out to matter most.

Take the case of Grand Prix. Her breeder, Hank Nothhaft, took her to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015, expecting to leave with more money but one less horse than he brought.

He set her reserve at $150,000. Bidding topped out at $145,000. No sale.

The sophomore is slated to make her next start in the Grade 3, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks September 23. The seven-furlong fixture tops the track’s “Race for the Ribbon” card.

“If you get into racing and you have a little moxie and a little luck, these horses can take you anywhere,” Nothhaft said. “It’s amazing.”

Grand Prix Inside Rail Photo Equi Photo @PARX

Grand Prix began her career in the California-based barn of Gary Mandella. It took her four tries to break her maiden, finally scoring on the synthetic at Golden Gate. She followed that up with a game second – beaten just a nose – in the $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante Stakes.

But for the most part, her West Coast exertions didn’t yield much benefit – just the single win in her first nine starts.

Though Nothhaft, a retired tech entrepreneur, lives in Northern California, he’s a Pennsylvania-bred, as is Grand Prix. So he decided to send the filly back East; though Mandella remains the trainer of record, Grand Prix now operates out of Keith Nations’ Parx Racing barn.

“To be a breeder and an owner to run in Pennsylvania, it’s so much better than the negligible program we have in California,” Nothhaft said.

Grand Prix &Jose Ferrer head to the Winners Circle post Garofalo Stakes

And Grand Prix has taken advantage of that rich program. She won the state-restricted New Start Stakes at Penn National on the Penn Mile undercard, followed up with a win and a second in allowance company, and last out scored by a length-and-a-half in the $100,000 Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes at Parx Racing, also a state-restricted event.

She has three wins and a second from four starts since coming east.

“All in all, she’s very consistent, fires each time, and seems to be improving,” her owner and breeder said.

In the Garofalo, Grand Prix took on older rivals, besting a field that included salty runners like the multiple stakes winners Power of Snunner and Discreet Senorita.

Still, Nothhaft acknowledges that the water figures to be deeper in the Oaks. The race has drawn 52 nominations. Among the expected runners is Shimmering Aspen, the Rodney Jenkins-trained filly who has dominated at sprint distances at Laurel Park this season.

“I think there’ll be some really nice fillies there,” Nothhaft admitted. “I think it’ll end up being a very interesting race. We would be very happy if she finished in the top three.”

To that end, Nothhaft and his trainers have developed what he called “a detailed plan” to help her acclimate to the surroundings at Charles Town, a place neither she nor Nothhaft has ever raced. She’ll ship in a few days ahead of the race and get a chance to gallop over the track a time or two prior to race day.

“If you’re going to go through all of the trouble of going, you want to make sure you do everything you can to give her a chance,” Nothhaft explained.

Nothhaft also intends to stick with jockey Jose Ferrer, who rode Grand Prix to victory in the Garofalo Memorial.

“First, he gave her a great ride that day,” Nothhaft said by way of explanation. “Second, he’s won (almost 4,200) races.”

For the longer term, Nothhaft hopes to race her through her five-year-old season. After that he intends to breed her. He has, he said, “no intention” of selling her despite her rising value.

Nothhaft has been involved in racing since 2008. He’s bred some good horses. He’s owned some good horses. He’s also slogged through all the ways that the sport can fool or foil you. He knows what sort of opportunity is there for Grand Prix.

“You really need these successes to get you over those valleys of despair,” he said. “For Grand Prix, this is our Breeders’ Cup.” ”