dennis o'neill, harvey clarke, i'll have another, paul reddam, racehorse selection, robert lewis stakes, steve shahinian
The following article appeared last week in Paulick Report.
One of the most selective owners of racehorses, Harvey Clarke, is the breeder of I’ll Have Another, the winner of the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Saturday. Clarke raced four graded stakes winners in 2010 from seven starters: Soldat, Yankee Fortune, Eye of Taurus, and Krypton. Last year, his stable’s star was Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Soldat, but Clarke bred and sold I’ll Have Another.
Clearly a believer in quality over quantity, Clarke has “five broodmares in Kentucky and is co-owner of a sixth with Fred Seitz,” according to Steve Shahinian, who selects racing prospects for Clarke.
Shahinian also is the man responsible for kicking I’ll Have Another out of the stable. He said, “As a yearling, I considered him immature and weak behind, and I recommended selling him because I didn’t think he’d improve enough.”
The chestnut son of Travers winner Flower Alley and the mare Arch’s Gal Edith (by Arch) improved so much by the following April, however, that Shahinian put him back on the radar for Clarke at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales April auction of 2-year-olds in training.
Shahinian said, “I liked the colt at the 2-year-old sales, and out of 1,200 horses, he still made my short list. I spoke to Harvey about him, told him that I might have made a mistake with this one, but at the end of the day, I made another one and let him slip off.”
In fairness, there weren’t a lot of buyers with an itch for this colt. He sold for only $11,000 as a yearling, when most buyers agreed with Shahinian that he wasn’t the “sales type” with the precocious development of mass that guarantees some speed. At the 2-year-old sales, the colt went a sharp furlong in :10.2 seconds, but even there he didn’t catch too many eyes. He wasn’t truly a 2-year-old sales type who wanted to sprint, even though he went fast.
Without Shahinian in the bidding on the colt for Clarke, the price for I’ll Have Another was only $35,000, and the winning bidder was Dennis O’Neill, brother to trainer Doug O’Neill and agent for owner J. Paul Reddam. Dennis O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another “trained like a really good horse, trained like a two-turn horse, from day one.” The Flower Alley colt won a sharp-looking maiden special last summer, then ran second to Creative Cause in the Best Pal, before finishing off the board in the Hopeful at Saratoga, where he reportedly came out of the race with sore shins.
The Lewis was his first start since, and I’ll Have Another has made the transition from interesting prospect to major stakes winner very nicely.
And despite his early perception of I’ll Have Another, Shahinian was one of those least surprised that this colt’s dam, Arch’s Gal Edith, could produce a high-class racer.
Shahinian said, “Everyone, including trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, liked the mare. She was a really nice 2-year-old that we got at the OBS March sale for $80,000 but didn’t get to the races early because she fractured a hock from kicking a stall wall. We gave her the time, she came back fine, and won a good maiden special at Belmont at 3. Then, she came up with a P1 chip in an ankle following a workout, we did surgery, and it didn’t work out well. We had a high opinion of her as a racehorse and thought she’d make a good broodmare.”
Unbeaten in a single start, Arch’s Gal Edith has made a good start as a producer. Shahinian said, “Her first foal [the Thunder Gulch gelding Those Wer the Days] had soundness issues but has ability, with four wins and a second in five starts [and earnings of $116,860]. The second foal was a Soto colt that I recommended to sell, and that was the right call. The third is I’ll Have Another.”
Clarke hasn’t caught any breaks with this mare, and Shahinian noted that she “just had a red-bag delivery of a Midnight Lute filly which did not survive.”
But the owner-breeder does have a 2-year-old Tapit filly out of Arch’s Gal Edith “with Darin Lamoureux in Ocala,” Shahinian said. “Darin’s a good hand. From 15 horses in the last three years, he has broken and supervised the early training of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and last year’s Derby runner Soldat.”
Another factor in favor of the Tapit filly is her strength and maturity. Shahinian said that the “Thunder Gulch was refined and good-looking, while the Tapit is a rugged, very robust filly, especially for a June foal. The mare is a linebacker herself, standing right at 16 hands and weighing 1,150 in training. Since the Tapit filly was a June foal, we took a year off, lost the Midnight Lute, and the mare will be going to Gio Ponti later this year.”