NEWS: breeding

Multiple stakes winner Galilean to stand at Hidden Lake Farm

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

Galilean, winning the 2020 California Flag Stakes at Santa Anita, enters stud in 2022 for $7,000 at Hidden Lake Farm. Benoit Photo.

Galilean, a multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed son of leading sire Uncle Mo from the female family of the influential Smart Strike, has been retired and will enter stud in 2022 at Hidden Lake Farm in Stillwater. The 5-year-old out of the El Prado mare Fresia will stand for $7,000 S&N.

“We are proud of what Galilean accomplished on the racetrack,” said Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds, which campaigned Galilean with Denise Barker and William Sandbrook. “We’re excited for him to write his next chapter as a stallion. He was precocious, fast and he proved his class repeatedly in top company. We believe he has the looks, the pedigree and the type of dangerous miler-speed to make his mark as a stallion. We are committed to supporting Galilean with some of our top mares, and we’re excited to offer him to New York breeders.”

Galilean was bought by West Point Thoroughbreds for $600,000 out of Eddie Woods’ consignment at the 2018 Barretts sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Galilean kicked off his racing career in auspicious fashion, competing exclusively in stakes as a juvenile. Galilean won the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile Stakes at Los Alamitos on debut for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. In a determined effort, Galilean proved a game winner in his bow, getting 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.28 with an interior 6-furlong clocking of 1:08.75.

He closed out his freshman campaign with a front-running victory in the $100,000 King Glorious Stakes at Los Alamitos. He sprinted to the lead, set the pace down the backstretch and repelled a bid from his nearest pursuer on the far turn before powering away from his rivals in the stretch to win by 9 lengths in 1:35.06 as the odds-on favorite.

Galilean, son of leading sire Uncle Mo and a $600,000 2-year-old purchase, enters stud at Hidden Lake in New York next year. Benoit Photo.

Galilean commenced his 3-year-old season with a 4 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 California Cup Derby at Santa Anita Park. After pressing the pace three-wide into the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile event, Galilean drew off under a hand ride from Flavien Prat to win much the best. The win earned him a trip to Hot Springs, Ark., for the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, where he finished a close third behind winner Long Range Toddy and runner-up and subsequent multiple Grade 1 winner Improbable.

Galilean added three additional stakes scores to his already impressive resume in 2020, taking the Soi Phet Stakes at Los Alamitos by 4 lengths under the tutelage of trainer John Sadler, the California Dreamin’ Stakes at Del Mar and the California Flag Handicap at Santa Anita. He made the final start of his career on Sept. 12 at Los Alamitos, finishing fourth in the E.B. Johnston Stakes. He retires with a record of 6-1-3 from 16 starts and a bankroll of $592,522.

Bred in California by Bar C Racing Stables, Galilean is out of a half-sister to Grade 3 Ontario Derby and Grade 3 Seagram Cup Stakes winner His Race to Win, an earner of $509,349. Galilean hails from the prolific Sam-Son female family of Canadian champion Classy ‘N Smart, a half-sister to Sky Classic and the dam of Smart Strike, Dance Smartly and others, and the granddam of Dancethruthedawn and promising young sire Speightster.

For more information on Galilean or to schedule a viewing, contact Chris Bernhard at (914) 850-9769 or by email at cjbern@hotmail.com.


First winner for Beautyinthepulpit

Monday, September 27th, 2021

Straight Skinny, victorious in the second race Sunday at Belmont Park, gives second-crop sire Beautyinthepulpit his first winner. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

New York-based sire Beautyinthepulpit was represented by his first winner Sunday at Belmont Park when Straight Skinny rolled to a 3 3/4-length victory.

Beautyinthepulpit, a multiple stakes-placed winner and earner of $410,627, stands for a private fee at Buckridge Farm in Kinderhook. Straight Skinny is one of five starters for the 13-year-old son of Pulpit, who won eight of 31 starts with eight placings during his career highlighted by a debut victory at Saratoga, a second in the Alex M. Robb and thirds in the Empire Classic Handicap and Richard W. Small Stakes against open company.

Straight Skinny, 3-year-old gelding out of the Straight Line mare Tummy Tuck and a member of Beautyinthepulpit’s first crop won in his fifth start for owner Walter Downey and trainer Mark Hennig. Bred by Tea Party Stable and Michael Slezak, Straight Skinny was foaled at Buckridge Farm.

Bred by Albert Fried Jr., Beautyinthepulpit won his debut by 8 1/2 lengths for his breeder and trainer Bruce Brown in July 2011 at Saratoga. He later won a pair of allowance races that fall at Belmont Park, along with another on New Year’s Day at Aqueduct. Beautyinthepulpit raced from 3 to 8 and placed in four stakes during his career.


Union Jackson’s first winner comes at Delaware Park

Thursday, September 9th, 2021
Our Tiny Dancer breaks her maiden at Delaware Park on 9/9/21. Hoofprints, Inc. photo.

Our Tiny Dancer breaks her maiden at Delaware Park on 9/9/21. Hoofprints, Inc. Photo.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Sequel Stallions New York resident Union Jackson hit another milestone when 2-year-old Our Tiny Dancer gave her sire a first winner to remember with an 8-length romp at Delaware Park Thursday.

The filly proved to love the mud in the 1-mile race, going straight to the lead on the track labeled sloppy from the widest stall in the seven-horse field. Our Tiny Dancer galloped comfortably a little over a length in front with Erick Lopez keeping a hold on her down the backstretch. It looked like High Frontier may challenge the winner but even showing a little greenness, Our Tiny Dancer was much the best. The stretch run held only one question – how far would the New York-bred win by? – and she answered in emphatic style at the line.

Trained by Amira Chichakly, the filly started her career in New York and was third on debut at Belmont Park before two under-par turf performances at Saratoga. Fate intervened for this race when raining the card off the turf at Delaware Park so One Tiny Dancer could show her love of the dirt surface.

Bred by Larry Botting, Our Tiny Dancer was originally offered as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga fall mixed sale where she was a $9,000 RNA. She was later offered by Top Line Sales at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale and purchased by John Moirano from Top Line Sales for $25,000.

Moriano was joined by Pines Stables, John Irwin and Salle P Thoroughbred Racing in the racing partnership.

Our Tiny Dancer‘s dam Dance I Can was one of 78 mares bred to Union Jackson in his debut season in New York. Owned by Stonestreet Stables during his racing career and still co-owned by the operation as a stallion, the son of Curlin won six of 11 starts with two stakes victories and a Grade 3 placing in the Aristides. He stood the 2021 season for $2,500 in Hudson, New York.

His Grade 1-winning dam Hot Dixie Chick is a familiar name to New York racing as the winner of the 2009 Grade 1 Spinaway and Schuylerville. Also the dam of Grade 3 winner Pauline’s Pearl, Hot Dixie Chick is a half-sister to 2017 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

Our Tiny Dancer is the first foal out of the 11-time winning New York-bred Dance I Can, who placed in 27 of her 34 starts for over $122,000 in earnings.

Dance I Can had a colt by the late The Lieutenant last year and was bred to Leofric for 2021 before visiting Frank Conversation this year.


Grade 1 winner Combatant retires to Rockridge

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

Combatant, winner of the 2020 Santa Anita Handicap, joins the stallion roster at Rockridge Stud in Hudson for the 2022 season. Benoit Photo.

Combatant, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in 2020, has been retired and will stand his first season in 2022 at Rockridge Stud in Hudson. The 6-year-old son of Scat Daddy out of the Boundary mare Border Dispute is currently being syndicated and will stand for $7,500 LFSN.

“A Grade 1-winning son of Scat Daddy is a great complement to the New York stallion market and a perfect fit for our program,” said Rockridge’s Lere Visagie.

The Hronis Racing-owned Combatant was sold to Brian Levings of Levings Racing to stand at Rockridge in a deal brokered by Matt Bowling of Bowling Bloodstock, Colt Pike and David Ingordo.

Combatant will remain in Kentucky through the end of the Keeneland September yearling sale for inspection by breeders interested in the New York breeding program. For more information on shares, contact Erin Robinson (859) 421-7531 (NY) or Colt Pike (817) 597-5233 (KY).

“I’ve had fun on the racing side and decided to dip a toe in the stallion market,” Levings said. “New York has a strong program and has shown that stallions from the Empire State can have a bright future.”

Bred by Paget Bloodstock and originally sold as a yearling for $320,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September sale, Combatant broke his maiden in his second start and finished second in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes to end his 2-year-old season. He placed in back-to-back stakes at Oaklawn Park and finished fourth in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby field. Combatant later placed in two stakes as a 3-year-old and then sold as a racing and stallion prospect at the 2019 Keeneland November sale.

Combatant competed exclusively in stakes company for trainer John Sadler after being purchased by Hronis Racing, winning the 2020 Big Cap over a field that included Midcourt, Endorsed and Hofburg, after a third in the Grade 2 San Pasqual to open his 4-year-old campaign. He also placed in two other graded stakes that season before retiring with a record of 4-5-6 in 30 starts and earnings of $1,062,915.


Star sire Laoban dies at 8

Thursday, May 27th, 2021
Laoban winning the Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Credit Coglianese Photos.

Laoban winning the Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Coglianese Photos.

By Evan Hammonds

Laoban, a star from the first crop of Uncle Mo and the leading freshman sire in New York in 2020, died unexpectedly at WinStar Farm in Central Kentucky, it was reported May 24. Laoban, winner of the 2016 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and the sire of two graded stakes winners in his first crop, was just 8.

Laoban, out of the Speightstown mare Chattertown, was bred in Kentucky by Respite Farm and was a $40,000 purchase by Milfer Farm at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. GEM Stables bought him from the Legacy Bloodstock consignment at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale for $260,000. He was campaigned by McCormick Racing and Southern Equine Stables and trained by Eric Guillot. His lone win from nine starts came in the Jim Dandy, but he was well regarded—all seven of his starts at 3 came in graded stakes company. He placed in Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes (G3) and Aqueduct’s Gotham Stakes (G3).

One of 27 black-type stakes winners from the first crop of Uncle Mo, Laoban was a perfect fit for the New York market, he was syndicated in a joint venture among Southern Equine Stables, Sequel Thoroughbreds, McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, and Woodford Thoroughbreds. He stood his first three seasons for $7,500.

“Outstanding physical, son of a freaky sire, speed to burn, and a great ownership group,” said Woodford Thoroughbreds’ Matt Lyons. “A no-brainer.”

“He looks just like Uncle Mo. He’s gorgeous,” said Sequel Stallions’ Becky Thomas in late 2016. “The mares that will be presented to him will be second-to-none as we intend for him to follow in the footsteps of current leading freshman sire Mission Impazible. Laoban offers a unique breed-back option to our Kentucky clients as well as a perfect reason for your New York breeders to stay home.”

She was spot on. Laoban had 79 foals from his first crop. Last year he was represented by 13 winners from 36 starters and had three stakes winners. His $1,559,748 in progeny earnings ranked him second on the national first-crop sires list and that total was good enough for him to rank fifth on the overall New York sires list.

The star of the crop has been Simply Ravishing, who was bred by Meg Levy and raced by Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing, and Nehoc Stables. After winning the P. G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga in early September, she made the big time with her 61/4-length score Oct. 2  in Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1). Later that month Laobanonaprayer won the first of two stakes races for New York-breds. In late November, Keepmeinmind scored in the Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) after finishing second in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (G1).

Such a stellar performance by a first-crop sire had Kentucky farms inquiring, and a deal was announced in October 2020 to move Laoban to WinStar Farm, where he stood for $25,000.

“My phone lit up before the filly crossed the wire at Keeneland,” said Becky Thomas of Sequel Stallions. “In the following days we were overwhelmed with calls from all of the very top stallion farms in Kentucky.

“Laoban is stamping his foals and proving to be a cookie-cutter of the Uncle Mo style of stretch and athleticism. Since receiving the foals from New York, they certainly looked the part, but once we started training them at Winding Oaks, I knew he was going to be something special. Then, for him to become the first New York stallion to sire a grade 1 winner in his first crop is absolutely incredible. It is truly a humbling experience to be a part of what is becoming such an important young stallion.”

This year Laoban ranks second on the second-crop sires list.


A chemist and a dentist bred a Derby horse

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Cheryl Prudhomme and Michael Gallivan, breeders of Kentucky Derby contender Brooklyn Strong, at Saratoga Race Course. Photo provided.

By Paul Halloran

Cheryl Prudhomme and Michael Gallivan had lengthy professional careers that had nothing to do with horse racing – Prudhomme as a chemist and Gallivan a dentist. Yet, horses were part of their lives since their youth and they couldn’t ignore what Gallivan calls a “passion” for equines, nor would they ever try.

Their paths first crossed at a New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc.’s Awards Dinner in 2005. They have been working together for 15 years and were married in 2015. They are the quintessential small breeders, keeping about 10 broodmares on their Shamrock Hill Farm in Fort Edward, about 15 miles northeast of Saratoga.

They do almost all of the work themselves – from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year – tending to the horses and everything else that comes with running a farm, from replacing fencing to repairing sheds. At least one of them is there virtually at all times.

“We haven’t left the farm together in five years,” Prudhomme said.

That will change this weekend.

Prudhomme and Gallivan will make the 800-mile trip from Fort Edward to Louisville, dropping off and picking up a few mares and foals, with a very important stop Saturday to watch their wildest dream come true.

Brooklyn Strong carries hopes and dreams of small breeders and their community in Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby. Photo provided.

When Brooklyn Strong breaks from the starting gate in the 147th Kentucky Derby, he will be carrying more than the 126 pounds assigned to the horses in the Run for the Roses. The gelding that Prudhomme and Gallivan bred and foaled will be bearing the hopes and dreams of his small-town connections who, for one day at least, will be playing in the biggest of leagues.

“We were a nervous wreck before the Wood Memorial,” said Prudhomme. “I’m still trying to figure out what the Kentucky Derby will be like. It’s going to be so exciting. It’s almost surreal.”

“It’s a dream but that’s all it is – a remote dream,” said Gallivan, who was a practicing dentist for 47 years and retired from his “real” job only a few months ago. “People spend millions trying to get a Derby horse.”

It cost Mark Schwartz only $5,000 to buy Brooklyn Strong at the 2020 OBS Spring sale of 2-year-olds in training; he spent 10 times that to enter the Derby. Prudhomme and Gallivan shelled out $10,000 to breed their mare Riviera Chic to Wicked Strong, resulting in the birth of a bay foal on Jan. 20, 2018 at Shamrock Hill. Three years later, he will be one of 20 horses from the 2018 crop of 19,664 North American foals to run in the biggest race in the world; that’s .1 percent.

“We don’t have expensive mares and we can’t afford expensive stallions. But we do a good job and our horses always run,” said Prudhomme, who grew up in the Greater Boston area, went to a small Catholic high school (Saint Clement, now closed) and earned a full scholarship to Regis College, where she majored in chemistry.

They have bred stakes horses, including Meriwether Jessica, who won the 2010 Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga Race Course and ran second in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes in 2007 at Aqueduct; and Bellacourt, who ran third to My Miss Aurelia in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga in 2011. They chose to breed to Wicked Strong with the idea of producing a horse that could run long. A Kentucky Derby starter? That’s another story altogether.

Cheryl Prudhomme and Michael Gallivan hosted a group of nuns from the Daughters of Mary order at Shamrock Hill Farm in Fort Edward. Photo provided.

“A million things can go wrong,” said Gallivan, who grew up in Guilderland and graduated from Christian Brothers Academy, Providence College and Temple University’s Kornberg School of Dentistry. “This horse happens to have a good owner and an up-and-coming trainer (Danny Velazquez).”

For the breeders, the road to the Derby has been one marked with elbow grease and endurance. Prudhomme cashed in her 401K to buy the farm, but still commuted back and forth to Massachusetts to work for a few years in order to make ends meet. Gallivan, who got his equine education from champion show horse trainers Joe Stewart and John Bell, recalls struggling through dental school with the support of his first wife, Margaret.

“That’s when I learned about poverty,” he said. “If you don’t experience the valleys, you never appreciate the peaks.”

A friend convinced Gallivan, who has five children and seven grandchildren, to attend that New York Breeders event, hoping to cheer him up after Margaret’s death in 2003. He saw Prudhomme again at a horse auction a month later, took her to dinner at the Anvil Inn in Fort Edward for their first date, and they went to the Travers together (surviving a pungent ride caused by Gallivan stepping in dog excrement at the farm). They were together 10 years before formalizing the arrangement in a ceremony on the farm.

On Saturday, they will pull into Churchill Downs in their Dodge pick-up truck and take their place among blue-blood breeders including Juddmonte, Stonestreet, Phipps, Godolphin and Calumet. Prudhomme said she typically cries at “My Old Kentucky Home” when she is watching on TV. She has no idea what state she will be in when she hears it live, but she knows she will never forget it.

“For a horse from Fort Edward to make it to the Kentucky Derby is unbelievable,” she said.

But not impossible.


First mares in foal to Honest Mischief

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Honest Mischief (outside), standing his first season in 2021 at Sequel Stallions New York, has first mares checked in foal. Coady Photography.

Stakes winner Honest Mischief, who started his stud career last month at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson, has his first mares in foal.

The mares in foal include the winning Exchange Rate mare Tradeable and Caragh Queen, an unraced daughter of Hard Spun and half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Always Dream, for breeder William J. Butler.

Others are Dobra, a Smoke Glacken mare who won nine races and $202,681 for Ron Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stables and Delta Delight, a Union Rags half-sister to graded stakes winner and $463,340-earner JJ’s Lucky Train for breeder Allen Poindexter.

“We are happily overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of support that we are getting for our exciting new sire,” said Sequel’s Becky Thomas. “And we are thrilled that the first mares sent by some of our favorite breeders are in foal so early. We hope they get another Firenze Fire and A Freud of Mama to run here in New York.”

Honest Mischief, a 4-year-old son of Into Mischief out of the Grade 1-winning Seattle Slew mare Honest Lady, stands for $6,500 LFSN for a syndicate. Honest Lady is a half sister to classic winner and top sire Empire Maker, along with sires Chester House and Decarchy.

Bred and campaigned by Juddmonte Farms, Honest Mischief won four of nine starts with three seconds and a third for $287,464.


Naughty New Yorker back to Empire State for retirement

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

Naughty New Yorker, New York-bred Horse of the Year and champion 4-year-old and up male in 2007, returned to the Empire State after being pensioned in Canada. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Graded stakes winner and champion New York-bred Naughty New Yorker recently returned to his home state after being pensioned from stud duty in Canada.

The 19-year-old son of Quiet American arrived at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in Greenfield Center just outside Saratoga Springs this week after standing at Chris Blake’s Ascot Stud in Port Colborne, Ontario. Naughty New Yorker entered stud at Ascot in 2012 after a 67-start career that saw him win 11 stakes and earn $1,089,884.

“We have great news,” Old Friends posted on its Facebook page. “Naughty New Yorker has arrived. He has retired from stud duty at Ascot Stud in Ontario and we wanted him to come back to New York!! He’s beautiful. We look forward to opening back up for tours soon. Stay tuned for details!!”

Naughty New Yorker finished 83rd on Canada’s general sire list in 2020 and had his best showing on that table in 2017 when he ranked 66th. He sired Dirty Dozen, a Pennsylvania-bred who compiled a record of 6-8-5 from 45 starts and earned $121,245; New York Mint, an Ontario-bred two-time winner and earner of $29,855; and Almost Dancer, another Ontario-bred winner who earned $14,293.

Bred by Dr. William Wilmot and Dr. Joan Taylor of Stepwise Farm, Naughty New Yorker was purchased by Fox Ridge Farm for $145,000 at the 2004 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Campaigned by Fox Ridge and trained throughout his career by Pat Kelly, Naughty New Yorker compiled a record of 12-10-10 over eight seasons.

Naughty New Yorker won three of 11 with one second and two thirds, earning $271,799, in 2007 en route to being named New York-bred Horse of the Year and champion 4-year-old and up male. He also helped his dam, the Known Fact mare Naughty Natisha, earned New York Broodmare of the Year honors in 2007.

Stepwise purchased Naughty Natisha, in foal to champion and Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, for $150,000 at the 1998 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She produced eventual stakes winner Pupil on that mating and later produced stakes-placed winner Deceived and Unavenged, a five-time winner and earner of $861,747 in Japan.

Naughty Natisha also produced winners Thin Disguise, Carthon, Elusive New Yorker, Fast and Furious, Jacob’s Arch, all bred or co-bred in New York by Wilmot and Taylor. Thin Disguise is the dam of multiple stakes winner and 2018 champion New York-bred 3-year-old filly Midnight Disguise and Grade 3 winner, $662,774-earner and 2018 champion New York-bred older dirt female and female sprinter Holiday Disguise.


Windylea Farm looks to maintain momentum into 2021

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Windylea Farm’s Jemography, a 5-year-old New York-bred gelding by New York sire Big Brown, wins Feb. 4 allowance at Aqueduct. NYRA Photo.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog

When Phil O’Neill thought about buying another farm to expand his Vermont-based Windylea Farm operation, it only made sense to expand into New York.

A mainstay in New York racing for more than 40 years, O’Neill found a perfect property just a few miles from the original Bennington, Vt., farm in nearby Hoosick Falls, N.Y., in 2017. That move saw Windylea’s New York farm take over as the home of the operation’s broodmares.

“When you look back at the stability of the New York program and the longevity of it, it made perfect sense [to buy the New York farm],” said Kip O’Neill, Windylea Farm’s controller. “Where we’re located in Vermont is only about eight miles from the New York border, so back in 2014-2015, my father started looking for property over there where we could still utilize the same staff and grow our business over into New York state.

“As we grew the breeding operation, outsourcing mares for that longer period of time to stay compliant with the New York program was just getting cost prohibitive.”

Kyle Willard, already an important member of the Vermont team, was named farm manager of the new farm and the expanded Windylea was up and running.

Windylea Farm’s New York division, a commercial breeder and breed-to-race operation, houses approximately 20 mares and the O’Neills keep about 25 percent of each foal crop. But it was one of the horses they sold in 2016 that brought them the most success in 2020.

Sold for $35,000 as a weanling then $200,000 as a yearling, the Windylea-bred Lead Guitar made a huge splash in the New York-bred program in 2020 with a four-race win streak that included two stakes victories. Her domination of the New York female turf division in the second half of the year earned her a spot as a finalist for the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ championship honors in the female turf and female sprinter divisions.

Lead Guitar, finalist for New York-bred championships in female turf and female sprint divisions, is product of Windylea Farm breeding program. NYRA Photo.

“Lead Guitar was always a very forward filly, we still own the mare (Eleadora) and she actually is being bred back to Maclean’s Music this year. She just had a Mo Town colt [Jan. 19],” said Kip O’Neill. “So seeing Lead Guitar on the track as really a follow up to [Windylea Farm-bred] Runaway Lute, he was really one of the first really good homebreds that we had, but more recently with her success and knowing that we still have a young mare that’s producing is very gratifying and just helps our program overall.”

Primarily based at Finger Lakes for most of its time in operation, Windylea has expanded into other states in recent years both with horses it breeds and buys. The farm currently runs in New York, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Minnesota with plans to send some of its horses to other jurisdictions to run in 2021.

“In 2021 we’re looking to expand over the border into Canada and we’ll be racing up there at Woodbine and we’re looking to expand some of our footprint in different jurisdictions here in the U.S. as well from a racing standpoint.” O’Neill said. “Our breeding population is pretty stable, we have over 20 mares and that’s a good number. We’ll continue to invest in better mares and retire some of the older ones but that number is pretty stable for us. Then we’ll continue to look for opportunities to purchase within the New York sales and other sales.”

Windylea Farm is also focused on providing aftercare to racehorses in its stable with the operation purchasing a retraining farm in Naples, Fla., to provide their horses the training needed to find new careers after racing.

“Any time you invest like we have in this breed or really anything else you have to look at the whole picture,” O’Neill said. “Once we grew our program to a point where we could no longer continue to retire them just as pets, we looked to see how we could find a second career for horses.

“The obvious with mares if they’re bred well enough is to put them in the breeding shed, but when you’ve got colts and geldings, and mares that aren’t that well-bred, then really to be a good custodian to the sport you’ve got to find a second home and a second life for them. These animals, they want to be active and they do better when they’re active so that was why we invested in that. We’ve been fortunate enough over the last year or so up in this area, finding a couple of different venues who have done great work with the few horses that we’ve provided them and we continue to get videos of past [Windylea] Thoroughbreds in the hunter-jumper world and in the dressage world and that’s gratifying to us.”

Even though Windylea is focused on expanding into other racing areas, the O’Neills have no plans to move the main operation elsewhere. In addition to the area being their longtime home, O’Neill also points to the New York-bred program’s support of both owners and breeders as another reason they base their breeding program in the Empire State.

“There really isn’t one out there that supports owners and breeders top to bottom like the New York program,” he said. “When I say top to bottom, from a breeders’ standpoint you can win money whether you’ve got one of your homebreds in a state race at Saratoga or a $5,000 claimer at Finger Lakes. That really has kept the program afloat because we do have a lot of small breeders and the program really needs to continue that support, otherwise you’re going to see it become very top heavy.”

Ranked ninth among New York owners last year by earnings with nearly 50 percent of their horses hitting the board, Windylea is already making an impact in 2021 as the leading New York-bred owner through March 1 by earnings ($226,546) and winners (seven from 18 starts). Windylea’s winners in 2021 include Jemography, a New York-bred gelding by Big Brown who won his third straight race Feb. 4 at Aqueduct.

 

Read more about Windylea Farm

 


First foal out of Midnight Disguise arrives

Friday, February 12th, 2021
Constitution - Midnight Disguise filly at Gallagher's Stud as photographed by Barbara Livingston.

Constitution – Midnight Disguise filly at Gallagher’s Stud. Barbara Livingston photo.

By Susie Raisher

Midnight Disguise, 2018’s New York-bred Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, delivered her first foal just after midnight on January 11 at Gallagher’s Stud. The filly is by Constitution, best known in the New York-bred community and beyond as the sire of the reigning state-bred Horse of the Year Tiz the Law.

The newest addition is a multi-generational homebred for the proprietors of Stepwise Farm, Dr. William B. Wilmot and Dr. Joan M. Taylor. They acquired Naughty Natisha at the 1998 Keeneland November Sale – less than ten years later, she was honored as New York’s Broodmare of the Year. She produced Thin Disguise for the couple in 2006 and although she only won once, her exploits in the breeding shed have been outstanding. Her daughters Midnight Disguise and Holiday Disguise combined for three year-end trophies in 2018. The half-sisters earned more than $1.1 million and have nine stakes victories between them. Both were trained by Linda Rice. Midnight Disguise was campaigned by Wilmot, Taylor, and their son, Devin T. Wilmot, winning the Busanda, Busher, and Bouwerie during her championship year. The trio co-bred the big mare’s foal.

Midnight Disguise and her Constitution filly at Gallagher's Stud. Barbara Livingston photo.

Midnight Disguise and her Constitution filly at Gallagher’s Stud. Barbara Livingston photo.

Holiday Disguise, owned by Lady Sheila Stable and stabled at Edition Farm, is also expecting her first foal this year. She was bred to Uncle Mo. Thin Disguise is back in New York and stabled alongside Midnight Disguise at Gallagher’s Stud. She is due to foal a Ghostzapper in early April. Midnight Disguise is booked to Candy Ride.

Four-time Eclipse Award winning photographer Barbara Livingston, the chief photographer for the Daily Racing Form, is based in the Saratoga Springs area and visited with mare and foal February 11. She can be reached here for your photo needs. New York Thoroughbred Breeders encourages you to submit your foals at nytbreeders.org/foals.