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’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.”

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.  

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.” ”