Nothhaft finds thrills in the Thoroughbred Industry

 

INTERVIEW Bloodhorse Daily “MarketWatch” 

Sept 28, 2018

By Meredith Daugherty

twitter  @BH_MDaugherty

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

industry?

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.

 

Hip 91, 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale

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

the nose.

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.”

—HANK NOTHHAFT

 

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

significant declines.

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

industry. Period.

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

 

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.” “

 

HnR’s Mister Nofty (PA) Runs to Front for 5th Career Win

In his fourth start of 2017, Mister Nofty, a PA_BRED,  returned to his 2016 form, winning an open 1 mile 70 yard Allowance Race at Penn National going wire to wire unchallenged.   Given a field of seven that included no other early speed, Mister Nofty ran free to the lead under the guidance of his regular rider Brian Pedroza and maintained it during the duration of the race.

Trainer Keith Nation, looking for a turf race for Mister Nofty, entered this race with not turf options in sight.  Mister Nofty continued his front running style and was able to overcome a reasonably talented field in this open allowance non winners other than 2.  This is Mister Nofty’s first strong outing since sustaining minor leg and hoof injuries during the Presque Isle Mile last September.

Mister Nofty worked bullet at Delaware Park Sept 5 for this race. Photo Hank Nothhaft

Mister Nofty came out of this race 100% and will be looking to build on this race.  HnR is looking at all options, dirt or turf.

Mister Nofty is an HnR homebred colt, foaled at Northview Stallions, by Scat Daddy out of Walking Path by Bernardini.  Hank Nothhaft worked with bloodstock agent Carl McEntee of Darby Dan Farm,  to develop the breeding plan that produced Mister Nofty.  He trained at Webb Carroll before starting his racing career. 

Race Statistics

Penn National, Race 7, AOC 9/9, $30,400, 3yo/up, 8.32f (dirt), 1:41.73, track fast. 1–Mister Nofty, 119, dk b/br c, 4, Scat Daddy–Walking Path, by Bernardini, $21,888, O–HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing, LLC, B–HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC (PA), T–Keith Nations, J–Brian Pedroza Margin: ¾, 7 starters

Finest City Honored as PA BRED Horse of the Year 2016

The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) hosted Its’ 38th Annual Iroquois Awards Banquet on June 9 at The Hershey Hotel. PHBA members, the board of directors, and top Pennsylvania breeders and owners were present for a great night of dinner, cocktails, and conversation.

Brian Sanfratello, Executive Director of the PHBA, served as Master of Ceremonies for the gala evening. Roger Legg PHBA President offered his greetings and welcome to the assembled group, while the Honorable Russell Redding, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture provided insightful comments on the current status and support by PA for the thoroughbred industry.

 

Russell Redding PA Secretary of Agriculture PHBA Awards 2017
Russell Redding PA Secretary of Agriculture PHBA Awards 2017

Henry “Hank” Nothhaft provided the Keynote address describing his journey to breeding Finest City, one of four, and the first PABRED Breeders’ Cup Champion in 24 years, and Eclipse Award Winner as Best Female Sprinter.

Click on the link below for the full script of Hank Nothhaft Keynote.

Hank Nothhaft Keynote Script

PHBA Keynote Audience
PHBA Keynote Audience


Impressive Crystal Trophies were awarded for a number of categories.

Click on the link below to view photos PHBA Crystal Awards.

Photos PHBA Crystal Category & Iroquois Awards 2017

See the full list of Category Winners listed Below.

 

Iroqouis Champions 2017

Full Gallery of Photos of the PHBA Awards, Click Link Below:

PHBA IROQUOIS AWARDS PHOTO GALLERY 2017 

Hank Nothhaft owner of HnR Nothhaft Horseracing accepts Horse of the Year Award for HnR PABRED Finest City.

 

Hank Nothhaft Accepts Finest City HOY Award form Betsy Barr PHBA Director
Hank Nothhaft Accepts Finest City HOY Award form Betsy Barr PHBA Director

Finest City is Newest PA-Bred Breeders’ Cup Winner

City Envy (AKA Finest City) and Hank Nothhaft Keeneland November 2012

By Nikki Sherman

Originally published in PHBA February, 2017 Newsletter published in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine

Photos HnR Nothhaft Media Library

 

Other than the Kentucky Derby, winning a Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship race is the dream of every breeder in the United States. It often takes decades-if it happens at all-to reach that pinnacle, but for Henry “Hank” Nothhaft, it took just a few years.

“I have not been involved in horse racing very long, “ Nothhaft admits. “I became directly involved in a very limited way around 2008, with the idea to create a business I could run and enjoy while I was moving into retirement from my business career in the technology world.”

Nothhaft, who breeds and races under the name HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC, wanted to go through a hands-on learning experience in the Thoroughbred industry and was able to purchase the promising young stallion, Silver Train, in 2011. That November, he and agent Carl McEntee attended the Keeneland November mixed sale to look for mares that would cross well with the son of Old Trieste. There, they found a Lemon Drop Kid mare named Be Envied, who was in foal to the popular sprint stallion City Zip. Nothhaft purchased Be Envied for $37,000 and shipped her to Northview PA in Peach Bottom to foal. That foal was a lovely chestnut filly he decided to name City Envy.

The filly was entered in the 2012 Keeneland November sale as a weanling after colleagues convinced him that she should easily bring $150,000. However, early interest in City Envy, who Nothhaft had named before his decision to sell came about, fizzled out when on-site veterinary inspections discovered an existing OCD on X-rays. She just barely met her reserve of $50,000, selling for that price to Cobra Farm, who in turn pinhooked her at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2013. Seltzer Thoroughbreds purchased the filly for $85,000 and the father-son team of Wayne and Tyler Seltzer decided to rename her Finest City after their hometown of San Diego.

“She was a knockout from day one” remembers Nothhaft. “Unfortunately, that’s one of the reasons I decided to sell her, as I thought we were going to be able get six figures for her and I was focused on building a broodmare band for Silver Train to race in Pennsylvania. She was one of the first two or three PA-BRED horses I bred and was the first horse I bred who sold commercially at auction.”

The Seltzers’ trainer Ian Kruljac clearly had great hopes for their new filly from the beginning, as Finest City made her career debut at the prestigious Del Mar summer meet in July of 2015. The filly finished a solid second behind eventual graded stakes winner Gloryzapper. Her next start would be a different story-Finest City ran off to an impressive 8 ½ length score in a $70,000 maiden special weight at Del Mar. After an unsuccessful stakes debut over Santa Anita’s downhill turf course in her next start, Finest City returned to the winner’s circle with an easy 3 ¼ length score in a $53,000 allowance at Del Mar.

Finest City competed against some of the top female sprinters on the West Coast throughout the winter of 2015-16, and by April she finally broke through becoming a stakes winner when she captured the $200,000 Great Lady M Stakes-G2 at Los Alamitos. That race earned Finest City a chance to compete in the Breeders’ Cup, where she nearly faced off against Nothhaft’s own multiple graded stakes winner, millionaire Living the Life (IRE).

Living the Life with Flavien Prat up

Living the Life (IRE) Flavian Prat up

“We originally had fairly elaborate plans to attend the Breeders’ Cup, but when Living the Life came up lame before the race, I canceled our reservations. I came to regret this decision,” Nothhaft admits. “So, my wife and I were glued to our TV watching the race. I must be honest, I thought Finest City could win, but was really more confident in a top-three finish. When she did win, we were cheering and literally jumping for joy. Within seconds, my cell phone exploded with texts and calls beyond anything we had ever experienced.”

On the first Saturday of November 2016, Finest City joined an elite group of just three other PA-Breds who have captured a Breeders’ Cup Race when she crossed the wire first in the $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint G1, holding off defending champion Wavell Avenue by three-quarters of a length under heavy urging from Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith.

Those other Breeders’ Cup-winning PA-Breds are some of the most talented athletes to grace the Breeders’ Cup. Alphabet Soup won the 1996 Classic in a thrilling stretch battle with Louis Quatorze and Cigar. Go For Wand captured the 1989 Juvenile Fillies as part of a campaign that culminated in her being crowned that year’s Eclipse Award champion 2 year-old filly, and Tikkanen, wh set a couse record at Churchill Downs in the 1994 Breeders’ Cup turf.

Finest City enjoyed a short break following the biggest race of her life, but has since returned to Kruljac’s Santa Anita Barn. She is steadily working towards a 2017 campaign that would ideally give her the opportunity to defend her Breeders’ Cup title, this time in her owners’ hometown of San Diego at her favorite track, Del Mar.

Finest City 6

Finest City making her winning Breeders’ Cup move with Mike Smith up

She was also named a finalist for the 2016 Champion Female Sprinter, along with Haveyougoneaway and Paulasilverlining-both whom finished behind Finest City in the Breeders’ Cup.

Win or lose, nothing will compare to the thrill of winning a Breeders’ Cup race. Tyler Seltzer said it best when the NBC Sports camera crew caught up with him immediately following the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. The excitement was overwhelming, and all he could think to say was an emphatic, “She’s pretty great.”

Kindle 16 Tiznow colt now named Made in America (KY)

Kindle displays her speed and athleticism.
Kindle displays her speed and athleticism.

Kindle a MSW/MGSP mare by Indian Charlie o/o Carson’s Vanity by Carson City had her first foal on January 26, 2016 @Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, KY.  Kindle is short in stature, very muscular and always gave 100% during her racing career for HnR Nothhaft Horseracing.  She ran a career best Beyer Number of 100 winning the Cool Air Stakes.  Our high level goal in breeding to Tiznow was to get a horse with a combination of Tiznow size, durability and stamina with Kindle speed and muscularity.  Ideally this foal would grow into a miler plus with exceptional tactical speed.  We are a long ways off from knowing whether our objectives will be achieved, but so far we like what we see.

Made in America (KY) DDF Jan 27 2017

Made in America (KY) by Tiznow o/o Kindle @Darby Dan Farm

We have decided to keep Kindle 16 to race.  As a result, we have named him Made in America (KY).  As a January yearling, he stands nearly 15 hands which makes him almost as tall as Kindle.  He weighs around 980 pounds which makes him large for his age.  His conformation is excellent and he is well balanced and a nice frame to grow into.  We are counting the days until we can move to the next step and start Made in America’s initial training.

The other days we are counting are the days until Kindle has her second foal.  She is in foal to American Pharoah with a colt expected in the next two weeks or so.  We are hoping this foal will have the same excellent confirmation that Made in America enjoys.  If he does, we will likely put this colt up for sale in one of the weanling auctions at the end of the year.

Finally, to give Kindle every chance to succeed as a broodmare, we are breeding her to Pioneer of the Nile at Winstar  for the 2018 foal.  Time will tell how this story will evolve, but we are excited to be part of the journey.  We are hoping he could be Tiznow’s next Big Horse.

Tiznow BC advertisementJan 27 2017

Finest City Captures Eclipse Award-Best Female Sprinter

Bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC,  Finest City, a PA_BRED, not only proved the best distaff sprinter of 2016, but acquitted herself around two turns on dirt and turf as well.

It illustrated the mare’s versatility, though in the end, she demonstrated her keen sprinting ability by beating the best in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) to clinch the Eclipse Award as top female sprinter.  Graphics courtesy of Keeneland and the PHBA.

Making of Champion KeenelandFinest City PHBA congrats

 

Finest City-Beats the Odds Becomes 1st PABRED Breeders‘ Cup Champion in 20 Years

Finest City-Beats the Odds

Becomes 1st PABRED Breeders‘ Cup Champion in 20 Years

by Hank Nothhaft

Those who participate in thoroughbred horse breeding and racing know that it can be unbelievably exhilarating or an unforgiving, unpredictable arena.  Just the minute you think you have it figured out, some humbling occurrence ensues making you wonder how on earth you got into such a tough business (sport).  So when events take a benign, favorable turn, one tries to enjoy the glow for as long as possible to blunt the inevitable future valleys of gloom.

 

The finalists for the Thoroughbred industry’s Eclipse Awards, equivalent to Hollywood’s Academy Awards, were announced this week.  Finest City, a four year old, PABRED filly by City Zip is one of the three finalists for the Female Sprint Category.  Given her accomplishments and victory in head to head competition over her rivals, Finest City has an excellent chance to add an Eclipse Trophy to her growing list of honors.

 Finest City BC Poster 12:29:16

As her breeder, it was thrilling to see Finest City win the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park.  Though the exhilaration of the moment has faded, a quiet, enduring and sustaining satisfaction remains as a reminder of why involvement with thoroughbreds can be so rewarding.

 

Finest City Surges to Win Breeders Cup Photo Kevin Kraynak
Finest City Surges to Win Breeders Cup Photo Kevin Kraynak


The breeding of Finest City was the direct result of my efforts to create a well pedigreed, race proven, black type broodmare band for Breeders’ Cup Champion Silver Train., who I purchased from Vinery in Kentucky to stand at Northview in Pennsylvania.  I was ably assisted in this quest by Bloodstock Agent Carl McEntee, then of Northview PA, now of Darby Dan Farm in KY.

 

Finest City First PABRED Breeders' Cup Winner in 20 Years
Finest City First PABRED Breeders’ Cup Winner in 20 Years

 

It also was not a “fluke” in the sense that a great deal of thought and effort was applied to the process of acquiring the mare Be Envied in foal to City Zip that produced Finest City.  Be Envied’s enviable resume—she’s a half sister to grade I winner Burning Roma— is full of class, flawless, elegant, impeccable top and bottom complimented by her sire, Lemon Drop Kid.  In my opinion, Lemon Drop Kid, an emerging leading broodmare sire, should get credit for producing horses that can run extremely well on all surfaces at classic distances.

 

Due to many hours pursuing various mares, Be Envied was purchased at the bargain price of $37,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November Sale.   This was the result of spending several days analyzing pedigrees of mares in the catalogue, inspecting them, assessing physical fit with Silver Train, creating our short list, bidding on our top picks, often getting out bid or hitting our budgetary limits.  We ultimately purchased three mares in foal during the Keeneland November 2011-mixed stock sale.  However, no more or less effort went into the decisions, preparations and care of Finest City than any of our preceding or subsequent breeding decisions.  Our goal was to buy mares compatible with Silver Train whose foals could be kept for racing or sold for at least what we paid for the mare in foal, thus recouping our investment in the first twelve months.  We actually exceeded this goal by a wide margin.  On the other hand, winning the Breeders’ Cup was never discussed, not to mention that the odds of this occurring are lottery like.  More discussion on Breeders’ Cup odds later.  Therefore, when Finest City won the Breeders’ Cup, it was not fulfillment of a dream, because this was not a dream we ever dared dream.

 

Be Envied by Lemond Drop Kid Bargain Purchase $37,000

 

Be Envied by Lemond Drop Kid Bargain Purchase $37,000
Be Envied by Lemond Drop Kid Bargain Purchase $37,000

From the time of her birth, Finest City was a beautiful, well-balanced athletic filly. The fact that Finest City looked very commercial and could command a handsome price influenced my decision to sell her rather than keep to race.  As a technology entrepreneur trying to transfer his skills to the “Horse Business”, I viewed this as a good opportunity to generate some cash flow, nothing more or nothing less. This was a change of heart, since I already named her City Envy to honor her Sire and Dame, in anticipation of racing her.  As a result, Finest City (AKA City Envy) became the first horse that I bred and sold at auction, highlighting my status as a novice breeder.

 

Finest City Northview MD with Hank
Finest City Northview MD with Hank

After our decision to sell her at the Keeneland November 2012 Mixed Sale, we hired Hunter Valley as our consignor, prepped her at Northview Maryland and sent her to Lexington.  Ultimately, though she showed well, was very popular, some minor stifle issues kept the price well below our expectations and sold right on our reserve for $50,000.  We were very disappointed with this price as we expected to get well over a $100,000 for her.   She was purchased by Cobra Racing who pin-hooked her and sold her as a yearling at the September 2013 yearling sale at Keeneland. to Seltzer Thoroughbreds of San Diego, CA, hence the name Finest City,

 

Subsequently, we’ve had the good fortune of selling several additional weanlings at Keeneland for six figure sums up to` $250,000.  All their pedigrees are similarly attractive as Finest City and were nearly flawless physical specimens. So far, none have come close to Finest City’s accomplishments though some have shown promise.  We also bred a number of horses from the Silver Train program who are just plain average and have produced results within industry norms, not to mention a few who had physical issues that precluded any racing career at all.  I mention this only to highlight the obvious, that a powerful pedigree and physical perfection don’t necessarily correlate to racing success.  Soundness, the intangible competitive fire of the horse, intelligence, timing and luck all play a role.

 

So how long were the odds for a PABRED Breeders’ Cup Winner?

 

First there have only been four PABRED Breeders’ Cup Champions, including Finest City, since the Breeders’ Cup’s initial races in 1984 at Hollywood Park, CA.  The other three are Go for Wand, Tikkanen and Alphabet Soup.

 

The great two times Eclipse Award winning Go for Wand is the initial PABRED Breeders’ Cup winner, having won the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Gulfstream Park.  A Christiana Stable homebred by Deputy Minister, she entered the Hall of Fame in 1996, fueled by 7 Grade 1 wins in 13 career starts.  Harry Lunger and his wife Jane DuPont Lunger founded Christiana Stables, named for the community of Christiana, Delaware, in 1937.  Having campaigned at least 45 stakes winners, these are the type of breeders and owners that you expect to win a Breeders Cup.

 

Two Time Eclipse Award Winner Go For Wand (PA)
Two Time Eclipse Award Winner Go For Wand (PA)

Oddly, I have a personal connection to the Lunger family that strikes me as at least a strange coincidence.  While serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1968-1969, one of the officers I worked closely with was Lt. Brett Lunger, Jane and Harry Lunger’s son.  Brett, a very dynamic and energetic leader, went on to be one of the first American drivers in Formula 1 in 1975.   Maybe some good karma got passed via this relationship.

 

Cozzene BC Mile Winner Sire of Tikkanen & Alphabet Sout
Cozzene BC Mile Winner Sire of Tikkanen & Alphabet Sout

Tikkanen is the 2nd PABRED Champion via his win in the 1994 Breeders Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in KY with Mike Smith up.  Tikkanen, a homebred like Go For Wand, sired by Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner Cozenne, was bred and campaigned by George Strawbridge, Jr., a perennial leading breeder in PA and a person who you would expect to win a Breeders’ Cup Championship Race.

 

Tikkanen (PA) by Cozenne
Tikkanen (PA) by Cozenne

The third PABRED Breeders’ Cup Champion is the beloved Alphabet Soup who won the Classic in 1986.  He was also sired by Cozenne and became one of Cozenne’s 14 millionaire offspring including Tikkanen.  Southeast Associates, headed by Roy S. Lerman, bred and sold him privately to Californian Georgia B. Ridder as a two year old.  In a 24 Race career that netted him earnings of $2.990,270, Alphabet Soup only raced twice outside of California.  In the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Woodbine, ON, Cigar, tried to become the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic in consecutive years, but fell short by a half-length, finishing third in his farewell race, behind 20-1 shot Alphabet Soup under Chris McCarron, who bested Preakness Stakes winner Louis Quatorze by a nose.  Alphabet Soup went on to stud duty until his retirement to “Old Friends” in Lexington, KY.

 

Alphabet Soup Settling in at Old Friends in Lexington KY
Alphabet Soup Settling in at Old Friends in Lexington KY

After a twenty-year hiatus, Finest City became the 4th PABRED Breeders’ Cup Winner with Mike Smith up, giving him claim to riding 50% of PA’s Breeders’ Cup Winners.   Like Alphabet Soup, owned by a Californian, Finest City has never raced outside of CA.  Speaking of 50%, Finest City ended up with an up and coming young trainer (28 years old) Ian Kruljac, whose total career starts total 24 of which 14 are Finest City.  Always in the hunt after breaking sharply from post 12 in a field of 13, Finest City and jockey Mike Smith held off the oncoming Wavell Avenue to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Paulassilverlining was third, another 1 1/4 lengths back.  Paulassilverlining is one of Finest City’s chief protagonists for this year’s Eclipse.

Finest City will attempt BC repeat at Del Mar 2017 Photo Kevin Kraynak
Finest City will attempt BC repeat at Del Mar 2017 Photo Kevin Kraynak

 

Let’s take a look at some of the raw numbers involved in winning a Breeders’ Cup Race with a PABRED to see how daunting a task it is.  Since its’ inception, there have been 288 Breeders’ Cup Champions, 4 from PA (no adjustment for repeat winners) or 1.4%. These 288 champions had to vanquish a total pool of horses estimated to be around 3000 of the best horses in the world.  Since 1996, the last time a PABRED won, there have been 214 winners including one by Finest City or about .5 (1/2) a percent.

 

Let’s look at the numbers from a PA perspective. Since 1995 there have been approximately 23,000 foals born and registered in PA.  Of this pool, roughly 14,500 made at least one start in a race.  This makes Finest City 1 of 23,000/14,500 respectively.  The percentages are obviously miniscule:  less that one ten thousandth in both categories (0.00004/0.00006).  Assuming the foal crop is 50% fillies, the percentages remain less than a ten thousandth.

 

From a national level the odds are even longer since PA generally produces less than 3% of the registered crop (Range 1995 to 2015-2.2% to 5.4%) Then of course, globalization means that horses from 19 other countries were entered in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup.   This makes the mountain even higher.

 

The long and short of these numbers is that PABRED Finest City winning the Breeders’ Cup was a tall order overcoming stratospheric odds.  Then again, to be a thoroughbred breeder is playing the DNA lottery, though breeding the “best to the best” reduces the odds a bit, the odds remain extremely long.  There’s always the real possibility for inexplicable magic to occur.  One look no further than the amazing California Chrome, the result of breeding a mare by a regional sire who won an $8,000 maiden claiming race in a 6 race career that netted $7,000 and an E number of 64, to a sire standing for a $1500 stud fee, and two guys who dreamed the big dream.  As long as the chance exists to create the wonder of the “next big horse” the art, science and mystery of thoroughbred breeding and racing will continue to produce the inexplicable and attract a large, broad range of optimists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Mark “HnR’s Breeders’ Cup Win”

Nothhaft ranks Finest City score in Breeders’ Cup among top achievements  

Article Written by Tom Law

Published in Mid Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine Dec, 2016  

Breeders’ Cup Photos courtesy Racing Heart Photography

Photos from HnR Nothhaft Horseracing Library who holds rights to utilize on HnRRacing.com

Henry R “Hank” Nothhaft got involved with racing toward the tail end of a career in the high-technology industry knowing he’d need a challenge and something to feel passionate about as retirement loomed.

“I’d gotten into the horse racing business because I knew that being in high tech, that I’d retire, the inevitable cycle of life,” Nothhaft said.  “I’m still very interested in it, but I don’t have the overwhelming passion that I had when I first got in it, so I was looking for something else to do.  So approximately 10 years ago I got involved. “

“I didn’t know anything to tell you the truth.  I didn’t know how little I really knew.  I thought I knew about it, but after a while I realized how naive I really was.” Nothhaft, a first generation American who grew up in Western Pennsylvania and runs his operation HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, admits he’s still got plenty to learn, but he also knows now what it feels like to breed a winner at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.  Nothhaft found that out Nov. 5 as Pennsylvania-bred Finest City upset the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint G1 at Santa Anita Park.

Ironically Nothhaft’s first Breeders’ Cup victory came in a race he was expected to be represented as an owner, with Living the Life (IRE), who missed the race due to injury.  Nothhaft watched the Breeders’ Cup from his home in Saratoga CA, with his family, and Finest City’s three-quarter-length win over 2015 Filly and Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue factored heavily in a huge weekend for her breeder.

The day after Finest City’s victory, Nothhaft was on hand at Golden Gate Fields to see her 2 year old half-sister, the Pennsylvania-bred Tale of the Cat filly Grand Prix, break her maiden in her fourth start.  Nothhaft relished those victories, along with several other on Breeders’ Cup weekend that bolstered his breeding program.  “Given my horses and who I’m planning on breeding to, it couldn’t have been any better,” he said.  “I have a Gio Ponti and a Gio Ponti won (the Sprint) with Drefong.  I haves a Pioneer of the Nile and I’m considering him as the breeding choice for Living the Life and Kindle, another mare I own.  He won (the Juvenile) with Classic Empire.  I have a Tiznow colt on the ground and Tourist won (the Mile).  I’m a City Zip maniac and Finest City won.

“So how could you have a better day than that, short of Living the Life not having won the race?  And not to mention Navy beat Notre Dame for the 13th time in 90 years Saturday.  How could you haves a better day than that?”

smallNV.Hank_.Nothhaft.23

Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft @Northview PA

The seedlings of Nothhaft’s memorable weekend were planted back in 2011, when he and bloodstock agent Carl McEntee worked the Keeneland November breeding stock sales in search of broodmare prospects.  Nothhaft met McEntee, formerly of Ghost Ridge Farm and Northview PA in Pennsylvania and now with Darby Dan Farm in Kentucky, during the re-syndication of champion Smarty Jones.  The two also worked on the purchase of Pennsylvania stallion Silver Train and were shopping for mares to breed to the son of Old Trieste when Be Envied went through the ring at Keeneland.  “My goal was to support Silver Train,”

Nothhaft said.  “I had a really strong belief in the Pennsylvania incentives, both the breeding and owners’ awards.  I had a little bit of an emotional attachment to the State considering I was born there.”  “I started to develop a broodmare band to support the sire.  We set a budget, had criteria we were looking for and we were buying in foal mares at auctions.  Considering a guy like me getting involved at such a late stage you’ve got to buy mares in foal if you’re going to accelerate your entry into the industry, unless you’re just writing blank checks and giving all your profits to somebody else.  Having been a a high-tech entrepreneur I was thinking about building a business from scratch, putting capital in, doing a lot of boot-strapping of the business.  That was my mentality.”

Nothhaft bought Be Envied for $37,000.  She was sold in foal to City Zip and the resulting foal born at Northview PA in Peach Bottom in 2012 was Finest City.  Understanding the realities of running  his breeding program like any other business and looking to generate cash flow, Nothhaft entered the weanling City Zip filly, then named City Envy in the 2012 Keeneland November sale.  “I’d named the horse so I wasn’t planning on selling, but after looking at the foals on one of my trips to Pennsylvania and some casual conversations, we said, “Let’s seriously consider selling this foal if we can get enoughmoney for it,” Nothhaft said.  “Enough money would be over $100,000 for a weanling out of a mare we paid $37,000 for.  She was vetted, she was beautiful, we moved her to Northview Maryland to do sales prep and everything was rolling.  We hired Hunter Valley Farm, which is a high-end and reputable consignor.  They’re great for a guy like me.  We got her down to Kentucky, prep her and we’re all very optimistic.  At the sale she’s getting a lot of looks and scopes.  She was on fire.”

Be Envied 12 Finest City Hunter Valley Keeneland

City Envy (now) Finest City and Hank Nothhaft Keeneland November Sale

Nothhaft, McEntee and Hunter Valley’s Fergus Galvin hoped the filly would bring as much as $150,000 after all the presale action, but were conservative in putting her reserve at $50,000.  “When she sold I went in the room–this was the first horse I ever bred that I sold–and there was some bidding initially but it started slow; ran up in small increments,” Nothhaft said.  “The last bid was $50,000 and she sold.  I couldn’t understand it, Fergus couldn’t understand it, Carl couldn’t understand it.  Well, we go back and it comes to our attention that we thought the X-rays were clean, but it turns out the last set taken weren’t completely clean.  She had a small OCD issue, and selling as a weanling basically to pinhookers, that’s tough.  The people that were looking at her were flunking her and moving on to somebody else, but we didn’t know it at the time.” Cobra Farm bought the filly, and resold her for $85,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale to Seltzer Thoroughbreds, which celebrated her victory in the Filly and Mare Sprint with trainer Ian Kruljac.

Finest City 6

Finest City with Mike Smith up makes winning Breeders’ Cup Move

Nothhaft bred Be Envied to Silver Train and she produced a filly, subsequently named Move in 2013.  Nothhaft sent Be Envied to Tale of the Cat in 2013, the resulting foal being the winner Grand Prix, and Silver Train died after standing in the Southern Hemisphere in December 2013.  Be Envied was bred to Tale of Ekati and later in the year was entered in the Keeneland November sale.  She failed to meet her reserve on a final bid of $24,000, but was sold privately after going through the ring to representatives of breeders in India.

GRAND PRIX ACT 2

Grand Prix Wins Maiden with ease

Nothhaft said he doesn’t regret selling Finest City or Be Envied.  “I race, maybe if I was only a breeder I would have second thoughts, but I know the racing risk, and how these animals are,” he said.  “I’m so happy for these people and the success they had.  They did all the right moves.  During all of this I’ve been nothing but elated for the horse, the connections and everybody involved.  They bought an animal that had some known issues at that time, but were willing to take the risk.  On top of that you still had all the racing luck issues you deal with anyway.  Plus I own the two half sisters so I’m ecstatic.”

Though he was the only winner, Nothhaft wasn’t the only Mid-Atlantic breeder at the Breeder’s Cup.  Six horses bred in the region competed in the 13 races-four in Pennsylvania, one in Maryland and one in Virginia.

City Envy Mar 30 2012

 Finest City day old foal @Northview Stallion Station PA

Grand Prix Yearling

Grand Prix Yearling

Be Envied 2014 Sep 10 2014

 

Grand Prix Weanling

Move TBD Jan 20 2016

 Move by Silver Train out of Be Envied

Be Envied

 Be Envied by Lemon Drop Kid

Science, Art and Luck-Noble Mission-Macaabra Matchmaking

Two years ago we purchased our first British invader in Newmarket, U.K. This was the result of implementing HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC’s (HnR) plan to buy highly pedigreed fillies or mares in training in the U.K, try to step them up on the track in the U.S. and retire them to broodmare status either in house or via sale after retirement. Qualifying for the ship in bonus at Delmar Turf Club is an additional minor side element to this approach as well. Little did we know that this purchase would lead to a rendezvous with Frankel’s younger brother Noble Mission in Kentucky. Named Macaabra (IRE), she was a 3 year old filly by emerging world class sire Exceed and Excel by Danehill, who was enjoyed significant success as a two hemisphere sire standing in both Australia and the U.K. for Darley. In fact, the proof statement to this claim is that when Australian wonder mare Black Caviar, the highest rated mare in the history of Timeform, undefeated in 25 starts including winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, was retired to broodmare status, Exceed and Excel was the stallion chosen for this honor. On 13 September 2014, Black Caviar gave birth to her first foal, a bay filly by Exceed and Excel. Keep in mind this is a southern hemisphere birth as Black Caviar is based in Australia.

Besides the powerful sire line Macaabra brought through Exceed and Excel via Danehill to Danzig to the “Kingmaker” Northern Dancer, the female line has real strength as well. Macaabra’s dame Al Cobra (IRE) is by Sadler Wells by Northern Dancer. This pedigree is rated an A by both Truenicks and Werk eNicks and brings a Natalama and Northern Dancer Cross 4th and 5th generation cross. Colts Helmet and Outstrip are turf Grade 1 stakes winners bred on this cross. Other graded stakes winners are Infamous Angel, Mrs. Kipling, and Nideeb. Macaabra Bloodlines

We brought Macaabra to the U.S. in 2013 and raced her for two years. She ended her career with 4 wins in 16 starts including a win in an allowance race at Santa Anita Park on the downhill turf course. She also qualified for a ship in bonus by finishing second in an allowance race in her first U.S. start at Delmar going a mile on the turf. She ran in three stakes races and came within 1.5 lengths of hitting the board and earning black type. Though completely sound when retired, veterinary diagnostics indicated that she would likely have knee problems if we continued to race her. We decided to opt for retirement and broodmare status in Kentucky at Darby Dan Farms.

Breeding choices are a combination of science, art experience (opinion) and luck. Lot’s of rules of the road exist as well. Breed the best to the best and hope for the best is one of the widest known. Others are to breed a new mare to an established stallion. We certainly included this in our choice for our mare Kindle. We chose to breed this first time broodmare to Tiznow, a well-established and consistent stallion. Another rule is to breed a new stallion to established mares. Perhaps we should have followed this course with Macaabra but instead we decided to swing for the fences and chose a new sire to breed to. Lot’s of factors went into this decision, but the purpose of this summary is to concentrate on the nicks involved as part of the decision tree for this breeding.

One of the best racehorses in thoroughbred history and perhaps the best of his generation is Frankel. Frankel is by Galileo out a Kind (IRE), a 2 times stakes winner by Danehill. Undefeated in 14 races including winning nine grade 1 stakes in a row, Frankel is the highest rated thoroughbred in British Racing History. According to Wikipedia “following his win in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, Timeform raised its provisional rating to 147, making him the highest-rated horse in the organisation’s history.[1] In January 2013 Timeform announced that his final rating at the end of his racing career was also 147. [4]” There are endless articles about Frankel available, but Wikipedia has a very good summary at: Frankel Best of His Generation

He is in residence at Juddmonte Farms in the U.K. with a stud fee of 125,000 British pounds for 2013 and 2014. Of course only the most select mares are offered the opportunity to breed to Frankel. Excitement is building as his first off spring move towards the auction ring and eventually the track. Frankel Pedigree and Race Record

Noble Mission

Noble Mission

In the meantime, Frankel has a younger full brother named Noble Mission who clearly was in Frankel’s shadow in his younger years. After Frankel’s retirement and a change to a front running style instead of coming off the pace. Noble Mission came into his own winning three grade 1’s to finish his career on a high note. His final record is 21 9-6-2 including 8 stakes wins, earnings of 1,364,058 British pounds. Once again there are numerous articles available about Noble Mission’s exploits but Wikipedia has a very good summary at: Noble Mission World Class Performer
According to the Wikipedia article, On 18 October, Noble Mission started the 7/1 fourth choices in the betting for the Champion Stakes, the race in which Frankel had concluded his unbeaten career in 2012. His eight rivals included Cirrus des Aigles (the 7/4 favourite), Ruler of the World, the six-year-old Al Kazeem, and the lightly raced but highly regarded Irish colt Free Eagle. Racing on heavy ground, Noble Mission was sent into the lead by Doyle from the start and set the pace from Al Kazeem, with Ruler of the World and Cirrus des Aigles close behind. As the field entered the straight many of the fancied runners were struggling and the race evolved into a protracted struggle between Noble Mission and Al Kazeem. The older horse gained a slight advantage inside the final furlong, but Noble Mission rallied in the final strides to win by a neck after a “thrilling duel”,[29] with Free Eagle finishing one and a quarter lengths back in third. An emotional Lady Cecil said “It’s just a fairytale. It means so much to us. When he died I kept the licence to feel closer to him”. Doyle commented “I knew it was Al Kazeem as soon as I saw his head alongside and I know what a good horse he is, but this fella is unbelievable. He just relaxes in front now, and I was able to save a bit for the finish”.[30]

Off this phenomenal effort, Noble Mission retired and on November 2nd it was announced he would be a stallion at Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. We visited Lane’s End in October to view Mineshaft and The Lemon Drop Kid. We were in the process of evaluating stallions for our 2015 plan, but Noble Mission was not announced yet. When Noble Mission was announced, we hadn’t completed the due diligence phase of our stallion breeding roster for 2015. Noble Mission bloodlines and race record

After some discussion with Macaabra’s U.S. trainer Gary Mandella and our bloodstock agent, Carl McEntee, who found and purchased Macaabra, we all concluded that on many levels Noble Mission could be a good physical and confirmation match for Macaabra. As always, we wanted to see what the bloodline nicks looked like using some of the major nick rating services. We used Truenicks, Werk eNicks, and Goldmine to establish their ratings for this possible match and to see what additional insights we could glean. The ratings were favorable: Truenicks assigned an A+; eNicks an A+++; and Goldmine a 20/20 rating which is considered an extremely attractive match based on having TWO horses with a 20 or higher rating. The Noble Mission-Macaabra Goldmine nick has a striking TWENTY-SIX horses over a 20 rating on this cross. The inbreeding in this cross is quite interesting with Sadler Wells 3m x 3f, Danehill 3f x 3m and Northern Dancer 4m. 5m x 4m, 5m, 5m.

Video of Noble Mission in Residence at Lane’s End

However, the most interesting information that came out of these nicks is that there are at least 26 graded stakes winners that have been bred off this cross. This is really an amazing number in absolute terms as well as percentage (14%), and is largely due to Galileo’s success with the Danzig mare line.

According to Andrew Caufield in his article ”Noble Mission (GB) The Next Great European Import” : Noble Mission Next Great European Import “Galileo owes much of his success to his remarkable partnership with the Danzig male line in general and with the Danehill branch in particular. His 26 stakes winners from mares by Danehill represent 14% of the foals from this cross, with no fewer than ten of them achieving the status of G1 winner. Among them is a world superstar in Noble Mission’s brilliant brother Frankel, who is rated the best horse ever seen by Timeform in that organization’s long history. Frankel was a champion at two, three and four, and Galileo’s G1 winners out of Danehill mares also include another champion two-year-old colt in Teofilo and a champion two-year-old filly in Maybe. Then there are the European classic winners Intello, Golden Lilac, Roderic O’Connor and Cima de Triomphe. Some of the 2014 two-year-olds from this cross have also shown G1 potential, with the Group winners John F. Kennedy and Highland Reel figuring among the leading fancies for the 2015 2,000 Guineas.

Other graded stakes winners from this nick are Frankel, Golden Lilac, Magician, Mekong River, Romantica, and Tapestry.

These Nicks added a lot of momentum to our assessment of the Noble Masson-Macaabra match. Once we completed our due diligence, HnR immediately applied to Lane’s End for a slot to breed to Noble Mission. HnR was granted this opportunity and has executed a contract for 2015 breeding. Needless to say we approach this match with great anticipation and hope the luck and timing that brought Noble Mission to the U.S. for a date with Macaabra will continue and produce another stakes winner to add to this impressive line.