Passion Play by Lenny Shulman “Bloodhorse Magazine” 12 January 2019

Hank Nothhaft builds a top breeding program from scratch


Nothhaft traded venture technology companies for a career in horses
Nothhaft-bred Finest City, winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Hank Nothhaft looked at himself in the mirror and realized that, after three decades, he was los­ing his passion for his work. He needed a new challenge, one that satisfied his all-encompassing, adrenaline-driven, compulsive lifestyle.

               Hello Thoroughbred breeding and racing.

A decade of immersion into every­ thing horses has yielded significant results for the 74-year-old Nothhaft, a native of Pennsylvania who has traveled the world in both his military and civilian lives. Under HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing (the “R” coming courtesy of wife Randie) Nothhaft has bred Breeders’ Cup Champion Finest City, multiple graded stakes winner Daddy ls a Legend , and multiple stakes-winning homebred Grand Prix. He has also campaigned multiple graded stakes winner Living The Life and multiple grade 2-placed stakes winner Kindle, and has specialized in purchasing modestly­ priced stock that has gone on to perform on the racetrack and in the breeding shed.

There were no horses or racing in Nothhaft’s youth in Sharon, Pa ., between Erie and Youngstown, although today that area is littered with race tracks that didn’t exist decades ago. Nothhaft graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served in Vietnam , achieving his MBA in information systems technology after he exited the military. He assumed ownership of a series of tech companies, which

Nothhaft with Finest City at the 2012 Keeneland November Sale

took him from Washington D.C., to Dallas, and eventually to Silicon Valley in Northern California. There, the racing bug  bit him on friends-and-family outings to Bay Meadows.”   We loved that place, and I developed a positive view of horse racing,” noted Nothhaft. “I was going back and forth to England quite a bit , and read all the Dick Francis novels on those trips, and began going to race tracks like Lingfield, near London, and really enjoyed it. ”

Those good feelings persuaded Nothhaft to take up the challenge of trying to survive in the horse industry, initially as an owner .

“I analyzed a bunch of different industries, and I ended up with Thorough-hred racing,” he said. ” I do look back and chuckle at my naivete in thinking I could do what has subsequently occurred.  I love the competition and the immediate feedback you get on your decisions .

“What I find appealing is you can immerse yourself in the data side of it. I always had a dashboard on any company I was running and loved to throw myself into the statistics and analyze the company in as many ways as possible. So when l started looking at pedigrees and bloodlines, I thought,  ‘Wow, that amount of data is perfect for an insatiable appetite like mine.’ ”

Nothhaft did his homework. He attended seminars put on by the Thoroughbred Owners of California, watched BloodHorse videos on conformation, read books, and then went out and raced some cheap claimers in Northern California, seeking to have fun, enjoy the competition, and hopefully break even. ‘The plan didn’t work well, and Nothhaft used the economic meltdown of 2009 to liquidate his stock, learn from his early mistakes, and start over again.

With the benefit of advice from Gary Mandella and Mary Knight, he began buying better Cal-breds. Chalking it up to “dumb luck,” he bought Randie’s Legend at auction for $ 43,000 in 2008 .

She would go on to produce Daddy ls a Legend. But Nothhaft turned the corner when he decided that Pennsylvania offered more opportunity than did the situation in California. He enlisted Carl McEntee to help buy bloodstock and the operation clicked. Nothhaft grabbed Kindle for  $50,000, Be Envied for $37,000, Living The Life for less than $50,000, and Halljoy, who would become group stakes -placed. for $150,000 . All became valued members of his broodmare band, with Be Envied producing Finest City and Grand Prix.

“Hank came to realize that buying more-commercial broodmares was the most productive place to be, and safest to work within,” McEntee noted. “We’ve had good success and have made smart decisions on our breeding selections, which we both spend a lot of time on. ‘There’s luck involved, because this is the ‘Thoroughbred industry, and there are no certainties. But the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.”

‘Today, Nothhaft’s 10 broodmares produce Pennsylvania-breds after being bred to Kentucky stallions, and he him­self is on the board of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.

“One of the side benefits of getting into horses is that I’ve reconnected with my home state,”  he said. “I’ve traveled the world, lived for three decades in California (today he lives in Austin, Texas) , and came back to my roots; in Pennsylvania.  I’ve won the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) twice. Where other guys have Kentucky Derby fever, I want to get a PABRED to win the Masters,” which has never happened . It takes all kinds of people, right?”

Most of the mares Nothhaft owns today either raced for him or were bred by him, the notable exception being Sulis, whom he bought specifically to breed to Silver Train, a stallion Nothhaft bought and stood in Pennsylvania, hut who died after just two years. Having paid $105,000 for Sulis, a daughter of Maria ‘s Mon, Nothhaft proceeded to sell weanlings  out of her for $250,000, $130,000, and $ 220,000 within four years.

Nothhaft with his grandchildren at Golden Gate Fields
Nothhaft with Living the Life UK All Weather Champion and 2 times winner Masters Stakes Gr2

As legendary Kentucky horseman Robert Courtney used to say, that’s how you make money in this business.

Because the Pennsylvania incentive program is going well, Nothhaft said he might increase his mare population to 15, but generally he is concentrating on improving the quality of the band rather than increasing its number.

“Carl and I made a decision not to take the risk of raising them to be yearlings .” Nothhaft said of his early preference for selling weanlings . “At least until now. The yearling market is crazy right now so I’m not unhappy to hold onto them another year because the financial advantage is shifting that way. That hasn’t always been true.” That updated strategy comes in part from the American Pharoah-Kindle weanling colt Nothhaft sold for S400,000 who was pin hooked by Peter O’Callaghan and sold for s2.2 million at last September’s Keeneland yearling auction.

Kindle and Kindle 17 who became the most expensive American Pharoah sold so far at $2.2M

Nothhaft supported McEntee during the latter’s time at Darby Dan Farm and has helped bankroll McEntee’s move to open Ballysax Bloodstock, which now consigns the Nothhaft-breds.

“Carl is all energy and is a hard worker,” said Nothhaft. “In his first year in 2018 he’s had good-quality consignments and gotten good results.
“Hank is an incredibly passionate man who has to have something to d rive him and I’m the same way,” noted McEntee.”He’ll call me at 4 or 5 a.m. his time to talk. He knows only one speed, and that’s 100 mph .”

Nothhaft’s single most notable day in the business came on Nov. 5, 2016. when the Breeders Cup Filly & M are Sprint (G 1) was run at Santa Anita Park. The Nothhaft-owned Living The Life, who had won the Presque lsle Downs Masters in 2014 and 2015 and the All American Stakes (G3) in 2016. was slated to compete against the Nothhaft-hred Finest City, whom the breeder had sold as a weanling in 2012 for $50,000.  ‘·My wife and l and other family members were planning to go from our home in Saratoga. Calif. Nothhaft stated. “Then a week before the race,  Living the Life came up lame and had to be retired. I was so bummed out I had a knee-jerk reaction to give my tickets away. So we watched from home. I bet heavy on Finest City  and when she won. there was an eruption . My phone started going crazy, so there was a lot of recognition of our connection to the horse. But l felt silly watching Gary Mandella accept our trophy.”

In the past, Nothhaft annually compiled what he now calls a “fantasy list ” of stallions for his mares, where he and McEntee would generate a roster of studs that fit his mares although they knew they wouldn’t he able to get to those stallions. Today, it is a different story.

“Now that I have better mares. we know we’re able to get to all the stallions on our list this year.” said Nothhaft. “So we’re not playing fantasy football anymore.” Nothhaft bought back a Pioneer of the Nile-Kindle weanling colt in November 2018 on a final bid of $375,000. He .also kept an American Pharoah-Halljoy year­ling filly who RNA’d for $335.000. Those babies are indicative of the quality of stallions to whom he now sends his mares.

“This is a very faddish industry in my opinion,” he stated. “So going to American Pharoah in his first year-if you pick the right first-year stallion it can be a bonanza when you’re selling the progeny. Certainly American Pharoah was a good pick. So we do use some select first-year or young stallions, we call ‘Living the Dream stallions.’ They don’t have anything running yet, or at least won t before (the progeny) sell.

“As far as more proven stallions, we’re not generally going to the heavy hitters such as Tapit, Candy Ride, Into Mischief, and so on. When I was starting out, I bred to Tizbud. a full brother to Tiznow.  Now, I love Tiznow, who is one of the less expensive studs I go to today, so that highlights where I started and where I’m at. But I’m also smart enough to know the minute you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re actually really stupid because the gods are about to come down and chop your knees off. So I keep my feet on the ground.”

Said McEntee, “Hank is unlike most business people who come into the horse industry, where they tend to lose all of their previous business acumen. Hank has maintained the smart decision-making that got him to where he is.”

Nothhaft has worked diligently to try and help ensure that the Pennsylvania incentive program remains on sound footing, although that has proven to be a tricky enterprise in the past. ”Pennsylvania has had a great program for years,” said Nothhaft, “except that the state (government) kept coming up short on funds and taking money away from the breeding program for the general fund. As a breeder, you never knew what was going to be there going forward. What we’ve done is put  the program in a trust; while that can still be broken, there is a significant penalty for the state if it decides to take funds away, so we feel more comfortable going forward.

“The number of foals is increasing in the state. There are new sires and brood­ mares showing up, and the quality of the talent you need is increasing. We know New York-bred and Cal-bred races are tough, but Pennsylvania isn’t a lay-up, either. But it does run between 400 and
500 races a year for state-breds, and if you have a decent horse, you can find a level at which to race and have a good chance of earning some money which is attractive.” ‘ The man on the street- which I con­sider myself- who doesn’t have 200 horses can realistically breed Pennsylvania-breds and sell or race them with the anticipation of a reasonable financial outcome. That’s the world I thought I was getting into way back at the start.”

A dose of naivete represent standard equipment for those seeking entrance to the Thoroughbred industry as a business proposition . And the addition of successful business people such as Hank Nothhaft to its ranks swells the legitimacy as well as the feasibility of this world of horses. He has embraced a challenge far too puzzling for most; entered on the ground floor and built a sturdy operation upward despite knowing nothing about its workings when he started. That horses can rekindle this sort of passion in a person of substance such as Nothhaft is a huge positive.

“l have been retired from the tech world for three or four years now, and I thank God every morning that l got involved in the horse business because it so satisfying,” he said. “It is extremely difficult, so when things do go right, the satisfaction and the adrenaline and the good feeling you get is so significant that it’s worth all the effort. “For a small guy like me, you have to work really hard to have something good going on, and when it does, it keeps you in a good mood for a while and you re­ally have to inhale the happy fumes and the success . You have to ride over what I call th e Valley of Despair to keep your self going and motivated if you’re passionate about it.”■

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.











Silver Train Makes Gold for Ryans

TDN HEADLINE NEWS Article appeared in TDN on May 20, 2015

The husband-and-wife team of Crystal and Marcus Ryan, which consigns as Mason Springs, celebrated its
biggest sales success to date when selling hip 468, a colt by Silver Train, for $125,000 to the bid of trainer
Gary Contessa.

We work for Darley in the mornings and we ride out for Tim Jones down in Aiken in the pre-training and then we do our
own horses on the farm at home, explained Marcus Ryan. The couple, married for three years now, have pinhooked one
horse a year for the last four years. They were able to purchase the Silver Train colt for $7,500 at last year=s Midlantic
Fall sale on the advice of Chris Welker. We bought him outside the ring and through some friends who put us in the right direction, Ryan explained. I was looking at another horse, but he went for too much money and Crystal told me I had to come
down and look at this horse. She is 100% a great judge of horses.

Crystal Ryan acknowledged she had big hopes leading the colt into the ring Tuesday, but the final We were thinking around $50-60,000, she said. We knew we had something special, but being by Silver Train we weren’t sure what would happen. Asked if this was the couple’s biggest success, Crystal Ryan said, By far. This is all of the rest of them put together.
Crystal Ryan is a Michigan native who had been riding reining horses before transitioning to Thoroughbreds. Marcus Ryan is a transplanted Irishman who had been involved in steeple chasing. The morning we bought our first horse is the day we
got engaged, Marcus Ryan recalled. A friend of ours told me, you know it’s serious when you buy a yearling together, the ring is definitely coming, Crystal Ryan laughed. That just seals it. Marcus proposed to me here in Timonium

Rembering Silver Train

by Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft
A year ago we received the terrible news that Silver Train had died while traveling to quarantine in Brazil awaiting his return to the U.S. Even though he was accompanied by a veterinarian, when he became ill, he died before reaching a equine hospital.

A Pensive Silver Train

He exhibited symptoms similar to colic, was treated accordingly and colic was initially given the cause of death. A detailed necropsy discovered that Silver Train died from a virulent, pathogenic Streptococcus pneumonia that attacked his lungs and other organs resulting in his demise.

Silver Train The Artist

Silver Train produced 7 crops in North American consisting of 412 foals. His 354 foals of racing age produced solid statistics. 80% of the foals of racing age started, while 60% are winners. The average winning distance of this group is slightly less than 7 furlongs indicating a propensity to produce dirt sprinters and milers. He also has many repeat winners and stands second in the Mid-Atlantic this year one win behind Rockport Harbor. Perhaps the standout statistic for Silver Train is his outstanding and improving 17 starts per starter.

Silver Train with his Monet

We miss Silver Train, but are fortunate to have six of his off spring in our stable. 5 will be of racing age this year, with a filly coming along in 2016. She is named Silber Zug out of Aloft by Unbridled Song, which is Silver Train in German. Silber Zug is a full sister to Shenango Valley. We have included a number of our favorite photos of The Train.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Silver Train
Sire Old Trieste
Grandsire A.P. Indy
Dam Ridden In The Stars
Damsire Cormorant
Sex Stallion
Foaled February 11, 2002
Country United States
Colour Brown
Breeder Mulholland Farm
Owner Buckram Oak Farm
Trainer Richard E. Dutrow, Jr.
Record 17: 6-3-4
Earnings $1,259,345
Major wins
Jerome Handicap (2005)
Tom Fool Handicap (2006)
Metropolitan Handicap (2006)
Breeders’ Cup wins:
Breeders’ Cup Sprint (2005)
Last updated on July 22, 2007
Silver Train (foaled February 11, 2002) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse. Bred by Joe Mulholland and family in Georgetown, Kentucky, he was out of the mare Ridden In The Stars and sired by Old Trieste, a son of U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee A.P. Indy.
Purchased by the Buckram Oak Farm of Mahmoud Fustok, at age two Silver Train raced four times, winning once and finishing second twice. At age three in 2005, he won three times, including the Grade II Jerome Handicap, plus had three third-place finishes. Ridden by Edgar Prado in the most important win of his career, Silver Train overtook a tiring Lost in the Fog in midstretch and held off a fast charging Taste of Paradise to win the 6 Furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Belmont Park.
Sold in 2006 to Four Roses Thoroughbreds, Silver Train won the Grade II Tom Fool Handicap and the Grade I Metropolitan Mile. In October’s Vosburgh Stakes, he ran a disappointing last in a five-horse field. Believing the horse might be out of his element in attempting a second straight win in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, trainer Richard E. Dutrow, Jr. opted to run him in November’s Cigar Mile Handicap where he ran third to Discreet Cat. Silver Train was then retired to stand at stud for the 2007 season at the Vinery Kentucky in Lexington. In 2011, Silver Train was purchased by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC and moved to Northview PA. Silver Train was number one in winners among 2nd year sires in 2011.

Silver Train–Former Breeders’ Cup champ passes

Former Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Silver Train died Sunday from colic. The 11-year-old stallion had been standing in Brazil at the time of his death.
Winner of the 2005 Sprint, Silver Train was splitting his time between Brazil and the United States. After being purchased by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, the horse moved to Northview PA in Sept. 2011 and just completed his second season of Southern Hemisphere duty at Siquiera & Mercadante in Brazil.
“This is truly a solemn day with the unexpected passing of such a promising young sire, it is with a heavy heart we look towards the new year,” commented Carl McEntee agent for HnR Nothhaft Horseracing LLC.
Silver Train finished his racing career with six wins from 17 starts for $1,259,345. As a 3-year-old, he won the Jerome Handicap just before claiming the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at 11-1. That year’s champion sprinter Lost in the Fog finished seventh as the 7-10 favorite. This was Lost in the Fog’s first loss and he also suffered an untimely death due to untreatable cancer.
As a 4-year-old, Silver Train won the Met Mile and Tom Fool Handicap.
“Silver Train was all class, the consummate professional and will be sorely missed,” stated majority shareholder Hank Nothhaft. “Given his proclivity for producing winners, we expected big things from Silver Train for years to come. Given our expansive plans for him in 2014, his sudden passing was a real shock.”

Hank Nothhaft

Silver Train- A Leader in Sire Durability and Soundness

Silver Train Enjoying a Fast Start as a 4th year Sire

In promoting a Stallion to prospective breeders, owners rightfully emphasize money earned, winners, and repeat winners. Also, a “homerun” at an auction for the sale of an off spring at a good price is almost certain to result in immediate outward promotion of the Stallion.

Recently, “Blood-horse Magazine” published a study by Research Today sponsored by the Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation tracking two additional key metrics valuable in making breeding decisions. These are important if you breed to sell because they will help determine what others will be willing to pay for your foal, but if you breed to race they are invaluable because they will likely determine your profitability not to mention how much excitement, enjoyment and fun your horse will generate for you.

One is Lifetime % of Foals of Racing Age Started. In order to be listed, a sire had to be in the top 200 official ranking for 2012. With the % of horses that reach the races around 70%, leaders in this category are seen to be way above average. Approximately 75% of Silver Train’s foals reach the starter’s gate making him a very attractive choice based on these criteria.

The other key criteria in this study are average starts per starter. The decline in this metric is seen as an indicator of the “decrease in the durability” of thoroughbreds. According to the Grayson Jockey Club study the average starts per year for North American starters have decreased from 11 in 1960 to 6.31 in 2012. It has been under 7 since year 2000. There are many reasons for this decline, but undeniably, one is the soundness and economic viability of the offspring of a Sire. If a thoroughbred is sound, generates modest veterinary bills, and at least comes close to covering its’ upkeep, the horse will continue to race.

Only one 4th crop sire made the Grayson-Jockey Club list because they have a limited number of older horses that are racing. Therefore, it is revealing to compare Silver Train to the top 25 Sires in his Sire Class. Only one stallion has better races per starter rating than Silver Train’s current 11.85 starts per starter. Silver Train’s races per racer number have continued to improve rapidly and were 11.1 three months ago in December 2012
What does this all mean? If you are breeding in the Mid-Atlantic region and you want to produce a profitable racehorse, you should give serious consideration to Silver Train. He is 2nd in PA and 5th in the Northeast based on earnings. He has earned this status even though he is just a 4th year sire. He is also, 2nd in PA in winners, 3rd in the Northeast and 31st Nationally. When it comes to repeat winners, he is 1st in PA and 1st in the Northeast and 4th Nationally.

Couple this with 75% foals of racing age getting to the starter’s gate, 11.85 starts per starter and a fair priced $5000 stud fee, Silver Train represents real value, if not The Best Value among stallions in the Mid-Atlantic.

Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft

Strong First Quarter Results for Silver Train

Silver Train Emerges as a Leading Sire in 2013

Silver Train standing his fourth crop sire year at Northview PA has launched with a successful first quarter by any measure. From 99 runners, Silver Train has produced 32 winners (actually 34-Press to Play and Sweety Alika wins have not been posted yet). He also has a very robust 9 repeat winners for a total of 41 wins (adjusted 43 winners). Earnings are $704,330. This has been accomplished without producing the proverbial “big horse.” Beeliner at $38,630 is his top earner year to date. Finally, his races per starter have improved from 11.2 in the fourth quarter to 11.85 races per starter at the end of the first quarter from a total of 217 lifetime starters.

This places Silver Train as the second leading sire in earnings in the competitive Pennsylvania sire market standing only behind recent import Rockport Harbor. His 32 winners places him 2nd while his 9 repeat winners places him 1st in Pennsylvania.

In the Northeast, Silver Train stands 4th in the rankings based on total earnings behind Rockport Harbor, Bluegrass Cat and Posse all of whom stand at stud fees substantially higher than Silver Train. In terms of winners, Silver Train stands 3rd. In the important repeat winners category, Silver Train stands 1st in the Northeast.

Nationally, Silver Train stands 70th in terms of total earnings. Silver Train’s 32 winners place him 26th on the national list. He is 5th nationally in terms of repeat winners. Taking all of this into consideration, Silver Train is off to an extremely encouraging performance in his 4th crop year.

Henry R. “Hank” Nothhaft

New Silver Train Advertisement Stresses Across the Board Leadership

Silver Train’s Performance in 2013 provides a long list of selling points across all metrics including earnings, winners, wins, stakes horses and durability as measured by races per starter. Coupled with a modest $5,000 stud fee, Silver Train is a sterling value proposition, especially for Mid-Atlantic breeders.