INTERVIEW Bloodhorse Daily “MarketWatch”
Sept 28, 2018
By Meredith Daugherty
Ten years ago, Hank Nothhaft founded HnR Nothhaft
Horse Racing and dove into the world of
Thoroughbred breeding, racing, and sales. Blood-
Horse MarketWatch spoke with Nothhaft about what
sales mean for his operation, how the state of the market
affects breeders, and what the industry can do to
help ensure continued success at all levels.
MarketWatch: How did you get your start in the
Hank Nothhaft: After graduating from the (U.S.)
Naval Academy and serving in the Marine Corps, I
became a startup technology executive. I ended up
as the CEO of five venture-backed, high-tech-based
startups in the telecommunications business. It’s a
high growth environment; I call it adrenaline-driven.
Looking over the horizon and going from being
the young bull to the old bull, I realized that even if
I wanted to go on forever, I had to be realistic. So I
systematically decided to start a business that would be
a viable alternative to being a CEO that I could run in
retirement and have a lot of fun with. To have the same
sort of thrills I experienced in the business world. So
in 2007-08, I stuck my toe in the water of the industry
and have proceeded from there via the school of hard
knocks, trying not to make the same mistake twice.
We’ve had a lot of tumult in a short period of time
because of the significant financial recession that
occurred in 2008. I got started just before that, and
I had made some calculations that turned out to be
not very accurate, but because I was a financial expert
when the collapse occurred, I took advantage of that
situation to do what I call a “restart round” and push
aside the things I had done incorrectly to try and have
a more successful path. I certainly had the satisfaction
of enough good things happening that my adrenaline
addiction has been satisfied.
MW: Were you familiar with the industry at all
when you made your transition?
HN: I had no direct connection with the horse
racing industry whatsoever when I started, but I get up
most mornings very thankful that I made that fateful
decision to get involved. My wife and I were very casual
fans, so that was certainly part of it. The other part was, I
went to Europe frequently and I was addicted to reading
Dick Francis novels, and I would carve a day out here or
there to go to tracks within easy rail distance from London.
I had a romanticized view of the British horse racing
industry, but as silly as that sounds, it
did play a part in my decision.
The American Pharoah colt consigned as Hip 91 at the
Keeneland September Yearling Sale
MW: Ten years after forming HnR NothhaftRacing, how did you feel
about watching the American Pharoah—Kindle colt that you sold
as a weanling for $400,000 sell for $2.2 million as Hip 91 at this year’s
Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
HN: It was a great time. I derive a lot of satisfaction from those
moments, and it doesn’t have to be a big monetary achievement. I think
the sale was fantastic. I think it was like a Hollywood script that we had
the first yearlings from a Triple Crown winner, and we
had Sheikh Mohammed there for the first time in 10
years. We also had the Coolmore/Godolphin détente in
place and a phenomenal stock market going, a new tax
bill, new players in the industry, a global marketplace …
what could be better than that? The results of the sale
are unequivocally outstanding.
MW: What was special about that colt that you
remember from your time with him?
HN: I paid $50,000 for his dam, Kindle. I had a
tremendous relationship with the horse, spent a lot of
time with her when she was racing, and she was our
first stakes winner. She has the greatest disposition.
The reason I was able to buy her was that she was a
bit short. I moved her to Kentucky because regional
sires are not really commercial, but I breed all my
Pennsylvania mares in Kentucky, and they’re all foaled
out in Pennsylvania.
With Kindle, and a handful of really commercial
mares, I’ve been producing Kentucky-breds, but
mostly I have Pennsylvania-breds. No one knew with
her what kind of foal she’d produce, but she’s a robust
mare. With American Pharoah, I was lucky to have a
couple mares that were good enough to be accepted, so
I bred Kindle to him. From the get-go, she produced
an exceptional foal. Almost perfect. He’s the proudest looking,
most balanced horse, and I love the streak of
lightning blaze on his face. He was the prime candidate
to sell as a weanling. My reserve was $400,000, and it was exactly on
I’m so excited for the horse, because I’ve heard rumors that they’ll
ship him to the United Kingdom. Assuming that’s the case, the top
folks in the Sheikh’s operation will get a good look at him and then
put him in a position somewhere in the world to be as successful as
possible. My great hope would be that he works out as a dirt horse and
that maybe he could be the Sheikh’s Kentucky Derby (G1) horse.
The one thing I realized by selling horses is that they
end up in better hands than mine. People with better
contacts, more money, and better resources than my
own. There couldn’t be anyone that meets that criteria
better than Sheikh Mohammed. When you sell them,
you set in motion a chain of events that could never
have occurred had you retained ownership yourself.
I bred Kindle to Pioneer of the Nile, and I have this
phenomenal Pioneer of the Nile colt. He’ll be in Book
1 of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
I also had Hip 1 in the (September) sale. She was an
RNA, so I have entered her in the Fasig-Tipton October
Yearling Sale (as Hip 624). I want to try to capitalize
on the current market demand for quality American
Pharoah bloodstock. I am confident that given a better
position, she will be a standout in this sale. If not, we
are certainly prepared to keep and race her, as she is a lovely filly.
“When you sell them you set in motion a chain of
events that could never have occurred had you
retained ownership yourself.”
MW: From a breeder’s perspective, what did you
think about the Keeneland September sale and the
quality of the yearlings being offered?
HN: In terms of the sale’s success being a mark
of our industry turning the corner from the market
downturn, the thing that I really look at as a breeder
is, how many horses are being bred? The last numbers
that were available are not super encouraging. We kind
of flattened out more or less three or four years ago,
and we haven’t really turned the corner. Kentucky has
gotten back to where they were 20 years ago, but if
you look at what percentage of horses that represents,
they’ve gone from being 35% of the horses bred in the
industry to somewhere around 55%. That means, likely,
if you look at each state, all the other states have had
I look at those bigger states that have had a tradition
in the horse racing business, and some of them are
at a third of where they were, some have all but
disappeared. So coming out of the sale, I think the thing
is that the industry will have really turned when the
horse population responds or we reduce the amount of
racing that is taking place, because there aren’t enough
horses to feed the engine we currently have.
I think you have to look at the sales and look at the
later books and see how many horses are being sold at
a loss. You have to ask yourself, “Why and how could
this sustain itself if there are people who are breeding
and losing money?” And they can’t continue to do that
indefinitely. I think one of the bright spots can be state
incentive programs like in Pennsylvania, where I’m
involved. You can breed a reasonably competitive horse
there, keep it, race it, and make money and have fun,
or take it to a sale and maybe it sells at a loss, but if
the owners race it, then you can actually break even or
make a profit.
What’s kept me happy and in the game is that I’m
treating this like a startup. I’ve been bootstrapping and
reinvesting what I have back into the business to grow
it, and one of the big things that has helped me do that
is the state incentive program. Relative to my needs,
it’s generated a lot of cash that’s helped keep me in
the game. I can tell you without breeders, there is no
If the industry wants to maintain the broad racing
schedule they have, they’re going to have to inevitably
produce more horses. Eventually, it has to be profitable,
or at least help people break even, for breeders and
enthusiasts to get into the game. I do know a lot of
people took mares out of service in smaller states, so we
need those to come back in.
MW: Do you think the market can continue the
trajectory it has taken this year?
HN: There are hard-core, central players in the
Thoroughbred industry, and those non-newcomers
are not that affected by the stock market and non discretionary
income. They are to a certain extent, but I
think the U.S. economy is in a sweet spot, and the only
thing that could upset the apple cart in my mind would
be the federal reserve increasing interest rates too
fast and somehow cutting off this really perfect scenario
we’re seeing in the economy.
My view right now is that we’re solid in the U.S.
I think other countries will adopt more pro-growth
strategies (for) their economies, and that will provide
even more underpinning to the industry. The other
side of the coin, however, is that with breeders, some
other countries have the same problem I proposed that
we have. I think they’re thinking, for example in the
U.K., of putting together a type of incentive program.
Hopefully, breeding numbers start reflecting that
programs are working here in the states.
The top end and the middle market are much higher
than they were. People have got to bid higher for horses
than they would have had to previously. I think what is
true is that people had to bid more money because you
have more money chasing the same number of horses.
The thrill of owning a horse and being involved in the
industry is fantastic. If people were more exposed to it,
many people would want to do it. BH
By Emily Shields
Originally published “PHBA September 2018 Newsletter
“Horse racing has taken me some places that I certainly would have never imagined,” said Hank Nothhaft. It rings as an ultimate understatement.
The longtime business tycoon only got into the sport as a means to an end, pursuing racing when he realized he wouldn’t be able to continue his success in the corporate world forever. “As you get older, you think about the next chapter,” he said. “The people working for me were younger and younger, I guess because I got older. Towards the end of my career it was a 40-year dichotomy between the average workforce and myself. It’s such a high energy game that I realized I couldn’t do it forever, even if I wanted to.”
Nothhaft feared what would happen if he was suddenly forced to retire via company acquisition, and have nothing to do. “I very consciously decided I needed to get something going on the side, something as satisfying as being a CEO to high growth companies, handling hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s an adrenaline junkie life; I needed something like that.”
Nothing spurs excitement more than horse racing, which can be a fast-paced numbers game. “It would fill my need for analytics, data, and the adrenaline rush, and I could do more with less than the other guys who had more money,” Nothhaft said. But his first attempt – running horses in Northern California – didn’t succeed.
The economic crisis in 2008, “crushed all the discretionary money endeavors,” and Nothhaft realized he needed to change his business model. “I hadn’t gotten involved with the right people. It became clear that there was no viable business opportunity running claiming races in Northern California. I got aggressive and unloaded all the horses I had; I ended up with two horses that I couldn’t place successfully.”
One of those two was Randie’s Legend, a Benchmark half-sister to stakes winners Eternal Rule and Frumious. “That’s turned out to be a great story,” Nothhaft said, but another great story unfolded first.
“I realized I needed to find more attractive financial footing if I was going to make a go of it,” Nothhaft said. He met Carl McIntee, who lured him out to Pennsylvania several times before Nothhaft decided the state breeder incentives were exactly what he wanted. He purchased the mare Be Envied in foal to City Zip and became the breeder of record for Pennsylvania-bred Finest City. Nothhaft sold the “quirky” filly for $50,000; she ended up in the barn of young trainer Ian Kruljac.
“I’m absolutely convinced if she had gone into a big stable she would have been lost in the shuffle,” Nothhaft said. “With the idiosyncrasies of her personality and the minor physical difficulties she overcame, it was a blessing that she ended up where she was.” That’s why Nothhaft has no residual regret about Finest City going on to earn $1,266,394 and winning the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-G1.
And he still has something from the family, being the owner of stakes winner Grand Prix. The four-time winning Pennsylvania-bred was injured earlier this year, but is back in training at Keeneland with Ben Colebrook. “She’s got dirt and Tapeta to train on there,” Nothhaft said. Another half sibling, the winning Silver Train mare Move, was bred to Verrazano this year.
The predominant reason that Grand Prix hasn’t been retired is because Nothhaft considers it a life goal to win the Presque Isle Masters-G2 with a homebred. He’s already won it twice with Living The Life (Ire), who scored in 2014 and 2015. She missed by a head in 2016. “People want to win the Breeders’ Cup, etc., but my realistic goal is to win the Masters with a Pennsylvania-bred. I’m hoping that will be Grand Prix.”
With so many horses on the sidelines or back in training, Nothhaft notes that this is a “regrouping” year for him, but one horse he bred is tearing up the turf. Randie’s Legend, one of the mares he couldn’t sell when leaving California, produced a Scat Daddy filly in 2015. The Pennsylvania-bred Daddy Is a Legend was sold for $140,000 as a weanling, and now races for Jim and Susan Hill and trainer George Weaver.
She won the Jimmy Durante Stakes-G3 at Del Mar as a juvenile, and added the Lake George-G3 at Saratoga on July 20.
In between, Daddy Is a Legend was fourth in graded stakes races at Keeneland and Belmont, and third on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs. That race, the Edgewood Stakes-G3, was run in a driving rain where Daddy Is a Legend missed the victory by a half-length behind Toinette and Breeders’ Cup winner Rushing Fall. She once again followed Rushing Fall home in her most recent effort, when third in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Lake Placid on Aug. 18.
“The fickleness of horse health is so fleeting,” Nothhaft said. “I had to be prudent and sell some of my horses, otherwise you’re not putting a lot of money back. I’m obviously tickled pink that Daddy Is a Legend got into such fantastic hands. She has proven the commerciality of Randie’s Legend and rewarded my loyalty to her.”
Hank Nothhaft purchased future star, Living The Life (Ire), in England in 2014
Randie’s Legend has a City Zip yearling colt and a Tiznow weanling filly, both of which Nothhaft still owns. The mare has been bred back to Candy Ride (Arg) for 2019.
“Pennsylvania has been really good to me,” he said. “I’ve figured out how to have success here whether I own them or sell them to others. It’s a fantastic program.” Fielder, who Nothhaft bred but is racing for Waldorf Racing Stables LLC, won the Marshall Jenney Stakes at Parx on July 21. He finished second in an allowance race against open company at Laurel Park three weeks later.
Nothhaft, who recently broke an ankle and tore his meniscus in a stairwell accident, will be out of action for a while but has plenty to keep his mind occupied. “I have 10 brood- mares, roughly 15 horses on their way to the track, and six or seven in training. Right now, I don’t have any horses that I own that I didn’t breed. They’re all homebreds. I’m not in any partnerships with anybody. I’m striving for quality, not quantity. This whole sport has kept me grounded and headed in a positive direction.”
Photo Courtesy Keeneland
Hip 91, an American Pharoah colt, sold for $2.2 million at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale Sept. 10
Colt bought as weanling for $400,000 new saletopper.
By Ron Mitchell
September 10, 2018
|Originally Published “Bloodhorse Magazine”|
Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin continued its buying spree at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale when it went to $2.2 million to purchase a colt from the first
crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah .
The colt, consigned as Hip 91 by Peter O’Callaghan’s Woods Edge Farm, is the second foal out of the multiple stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare Kindle.
Bred in Kentucky by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, the colt had been purchased by O’Callaghan’s Cavalier Bloodstock for $400,000 as a weanling at last year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.
Jimmy Bell, president of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation at Jonabell Farm in Lexington, said Sheikh Mohammed was taken with the colt when he saw him for the first time earlier Monday.
“Sheikh Mohammed saw him at the barn and loved him very, very much,” Bell said. “In the walking ring, he was all class and had a lot of presence about him. He really liked him from the first time he set his eyes on him.”
O’Callaghan said having prominent buyers like Godolphin battling with representatives of Coolmore Stud is what consignors strive for.
“The sheikh, I knew when he saw him today, his eyes just lit up, and I just had a feeling he was going to try hard to buy him,” O’Callaghan said. “Who knew it was going to be that level, but it took a monumental effort to outbid Coolmore. It’s the perfect scenario for any of us. That’s what we all dream of, two of the great racing powers get stuck on your horse and go at it. We’re just lucky it happened to us today.”
Meredith Daugherty contributed to this story.
Excerpt from FEATURE ARTICLE
United States Naval Academy Shipmate Magazine July-August 2018
HOW TO WIN AT ANYTHING
By Erin Peterson
It’s no secret that Naval Academy alumni tend to be high achievers. Few institutions can count senators, astronauts, Olympians and Paralympians among their ranks.
No matter what Academy alumni pursue, they routinely earn the highest honors in their chosen fields.
But even the best can always get better. That’s why we’ve talked to some of the most accomplished alumni—in business, sports, health and other fields—and asked them what gave them an edge. They share some of the highs and lows of their life’s work and some of the mindsets and strategies you can use in your own life to get to the next level in the projects that are important to you.
ON TRANSLATING SUCCESS
Hank Nothhaft ’66 breeds and races thoroughbred horses.
Hank Nothhaft ’66
After decades as a successful technology executive and entrepreneur, including CEO and chairman of Danger, Inc., Hank Nothhaft could have coasted into retirement. But he wanted more than a future that included endless rounds of golf. He wanted to find a post-career passion that would
business,” he said. (Among the metrics one might analyze? Jockey performance, horse diet, weather, track length and racing patterns.)
Before he took the plunge, he did deep and careful research: he subscribed to magazines, bought and read a library’s worth of books, attended seminars and wrote a business plan. He was ready. And in 2008, he officially launched HnR Racing.
Nothhaft knew he could sift through the numbers to find
allow him to do what he did best: crunch numbers.
The data-loving CEO cast about for a sports-themed idea—he briefly considered starting an auto racing team— and eventually settled on thoroughbred breeding and racing.
The decision wasn’t as surprising as it seemed. “Any data and analytical person can die and go to heaven in the horse-racing
advantages. He also saw an opportunity to leverage some of the approaches he’d used in the tech world to give himself
18 SHIPMATE • JULY-AUGUST 2018an edge in the equine one. For example, he’d often used stock options and equity to motivate employees in his companies. He found similar ways to link compensation and performance to motivate the men and women who helped raise, train and
race his horses. “The biggest thing was that I wanted to treat people the way I would want them to treat me—or the way I would want them to treat my children,” he said.
While he admits he got off to a rocky start by making poor personnel decisions, he’s gone on to see significant success.
He is the owner of Living the Life, a horse that has more than
$1 million in lifetime earnings, including a 2014 victory in the United Kingdom’s All-Weather Filly and Mare Championship, and bred Finest City, Breeders’ Cup Champion. Other horses under the HnR banner have won multiple highly competitive stakes races.
HnR now has more than 30 horses across the country in its portfolio. These days, Nothhaft said the greatest joys of his
work run deeper than data. “When I started off, I bought horses. But over the years, I’ve gotten much more immersed,” he said. “I bred the mares to get the foals that are racing for me. And the more involved with the horses that I’ve gotten, the more internal
satisfaction and pride I feel. It’s emotional to see the success of something you’ve helped create.”[Winning Mentalities]
LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES:
“When you’ve had success in other areas, it can give you a false sense of confidence. I know I made a series of bad decisions starting out, and that was humbling.
But rather than give up and try something else,
it’s important to learn the lessons and correct bad choices.”
—Hank Nothhaft ’66
JULY-AUGUST 2018 • SHIPMATE 19
Scat Daddy filly earned a two-length score in the July 20 turf test at Saratoga.
Excellent Article from Bloodhorse Magazine @Bloodhorse.com
“Missing a grade 1 stakes because your horse comes down with a bellyache can leave a bitter taste.
For the connections of Daddy Is a Legend, the remedy was uncorked on a gorgeous July 20 opening day at Saratoga Race Course when the daughter of Scat Daddy took charge in the stretch and powered to a two-length victory in the $150,000 Lake George Stakes (G3T) for 3-year-old fillies.
“We wanted to run in the Belmont Oaks (Invitational, G1T, July 7), but she got a little bellyache coming up to it, and it wasn’t going to happen. This was the logical next spot to try,” trainer George Weaver said. “She looked great on paper going into the race, and I felt good about the way she was training. She got a good trip, and it worked out for us.”
The 1 1/16-mile stakes marked the first win for Jim and Susan Hill’s Daddy Is a Legend since a one-length victory in the Nov. 25 Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3T) at Del Mar in her 2-year-old finale.
The 8-5 favorite was winless in her three previous starts at 3 but faced some of the toughest runners in her division. She finished behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) winner Rushing Fall twice while taking fourth in the Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2T) and the third in the Edgewood Stakes presented by Forcht Bank (G3T), and she was a wide fourth in the Wonder Again Stakes (G3T), the steppingstone prep for the Belmont Oaks.
Given the level of competition, Weaver was undaunted by that zero in her 2018 win column.
“She has run well in every start this year. It’s a very, very tough division,” he said. “This was the easiest race she’s been in this year. She’s hooked Rushing Fall. The fillies that ran in the Wonder Again were all good fillies. It’s a really deep division, and she’s one of the better ones in it. We’re hoping she can move forward and do well the rest of the year.”
For owner Susan Hill, the Lake George provided the kind of race she had been expecting to see since Daddy Is a Legend’s stakes win at Del Mar.”We had been waiting for something like this,” she said. “We were very disappointed in the last race.”
The Hills purchased Daddy Is a Legend for $160,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for some rather simple reasons.
“She looked like a racehorse,” Susan Hill said about the Pennsylvania-bred filly out of the Benchmark mare Randie’s Legend, “and we loved the breeding. How could you not?”
Bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, Daddy Is a Legend posted her third win in eight starts and improved her earnings to $229,410. Weaver said a stakes later in the Saratoga meet—most likely the $300,000 Lake Placid Stakes (G2T) Aug. 18—would be next for her.
In a race lacking an obvious frontrunner, Punked took charge with a length lead after a half-mile in :47.71 before fading to last in the field of seven as Goodthingstaketime took a brief lead turning for home.
Daddy Is a Legend and 4-1 third choice Altea rallied from the rear, with Altea taking a wide trip while jockey Manny Franco followed an inside path with the eventual winner.
The main thing is that George told me to wait,” said Franco, who was fifth after the opening half-mile. “He didn’t want me to move too early, so I was trying to follow somebody that was going to keep going, and that’s what I did. I waited as long as I could and the inside opened, so I just sent my filly and she was there for me.”
The two drew clear together in midstretch, but Daddy Is a Legend proved best in the final furlong, crossing the finish line in 1:40.42 on firm turf.
This time it was Daddy Is a Legend who gave her rivals the bellyache”
Photo Randie’s Legend Northview PA
by Emily Shields
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Article by Ben Gowans Appeared in the January Issue of 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.”
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
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.
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.”
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.