, , , , , ,

The following post first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.

The legacy of Arthur Appleton’s breeding operation shone brightly on both coasts this weekend as Eden’s Moon (by Malibu Moon) won the Grade 1 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita and Doubles Partner (Rock Hard Ten) was victor in the G3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

In addition to the pair of graded stakes winners bred by Appleton’s operation, Bridlewood Farm bred, raised, and sold the major winner Southern Image, who is the sire of Calibrachoa, winner of the G3 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct on Saturday.

A successful businessman, inventor, philanthropist, and owner-breeder of Thoroughbreds, Appleton also planned to leave an enduring impact on the sport from his efforts at breeding and racing. To this end, “Everything was set up years ago to keep the farm running smoothly” after Appleton’s death in January 2008, according to Bridlewood’s general manager George Isaacs.

A well-established part of the plan was to diversify Bridlewood’s activity, and in addition to breeding and raising its own racehorses, the farm also provides services to other breeders. Among those who board at Bridlewood is Jack Hammer, breeder and co-owner of Santa Anita Handicap winner Ron the Greek, who was raised, broken and trained at Bridlewood.

Another part of Appleton’s plan for the farm’s self-sufficiency was encouraging cash flow from the sale of horses bred at Bridlewood. Both Eden’s Moon and Doubles Partner were part of that sales program, and both come from families that have a history at the farm.

No family is better associated with Appleton’s breeding than North of Eden, the second dam of Eden’s Moon and a Northfields mare who produced four stakes winners. Three of those were G1 winners: champion turf horse Paradise Creek (Irish River), Forbidden Apple (Pleasant Colony), and Wild Event (Wild Again). Daughters of North of Eden have produced G1 winners David Junior and now Eden’s Moon.

The latter is the second foal out of the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Eden’s Causeway. Isaacs said, “In planning the mating for Eden’s Causeway, I liked the idea that Malibu Moon was a big, strapping horse. We wanted some size in the mare’s foal, and we offered that foal as a yearling (at the 2010 Keeneland September sale) because we’re a commercial operation. She was a well-conformed, correct horse, and Malibu Moon was on fire. But she didn’t get any vetting or repository action, and I told Craig (Bandoroff, whose Denali Stud consigned the horse for Bridlewood), ‘Let’s just scratch her because nobody’s on her.’”

Fortunately for Bridlewood, the operation had a Plan B. Isaacs said that meant “we needed to take her to the 2-year-old sales, and since we weren’t going to Palm Meadows (for Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Sale in March) with a sales consignment, I enlisted Niall Brennan to sell her there. Even though it looked like nobody was on her once again, Niall convinced me to run her through the ring,” and the filly was an RNA at $110,000.

Isaacs said, “I guess third time’s the charm; I rolled up my sleeves and took her to Timonium (for Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sale); she prepped really well, and she had literally the 2-year-old breeze of the day on the track after it had rained all night, and they had sealed the track.” Due to that impressive work, Isaacs said, “Bob’s people showed a lot of interest in her.” Isaacs was referring to trainer Bob Baffert, who purchased the filly as agent for owner Kaleem Shah on a bid of $390,000.

Now a winner in two of three starts, with a G1 victory and earnings of $192,600, Eden’s Moon is a rising star in a family that has produced premium racers generation after generation.

The same can be said of Bridlewood’s other graded winner on Saturday, the Rock Hard Ten horse Doubles Partner. A good-looking horse who brought $450,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s 2008 Saratoga select yearling sale from Maverick Racing, Doubles Partner has won five of his dozen starts, and the lightly raced horse has won a stakes each of the last three years.

The dam of Doubles Partner is Serena’s Sister, a full sister to champion filly Serena’s Song (Rahy). Appleton bought their dam, along with Serena’s Song as a weanling, then resold the champion as a yearling and the mare when her daughter became a major attraction.

In mating Serena’s Sister, Isaacs said “she is not a really big mare. She’s by Rahy but is probably a little smaller (15 hands) than you’d expect her to be.” As a result, he has tried to compensate and “always sent her to a big, strongly made stallion, and she has outproduced herself,” with two stakes winners to date and some very good sales horses, which indicates that their size, strength, and balance are very appealing.

With sales producers like this, the future of Appleton’s plan for Bridlewood seems secure, and the sport will be the winner for his contributions.