The following post first appeared at Paulick Report last week.
My Conquestadory, winner of the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes on the opening day card at Keeneland, is a powerful testament to the smaller breeders who operate with limited numbers and necessarily restricted opportunity. Yet they manage to produce quality racers year after year.
The Alcibiades winner was bred in Kentucky by Paul Tackett, who has bred Thoroughbreds for decades and is now 75. Tackett said that My Conquestadory was his first G1 winner, “although I had multiple graded winner Hopeful Word, who ran in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and placed second in the G1 San Antonio, then was third in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap.”
Now unbeaten in two starts, My Conquestadory won her début at Woodbine, defeating colts in the G2 Summer Stakes. She races for the Conquest Stable of Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell.
That is a serious resume for a young racer, and Tackett said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever bred a horse as good as her.”
Operating his own farm and breeding operation, Tackett keeps only 10 mares these days, “although I had 25 at one time.”
In such a trim operation, Tackett really had to like something about the dam of My Conquestadory, the Malibu Moon mare Golden Artemis.
“The dam of My Conquistadory went to the races early (a 2-year-old maiden special weight at Belmont Park on June 5, 2008), and she just ripped through the mud to win pretty well, and those kind of mares really appeal to me,” Tackett said. “They have all that precocity and natural ability that I think makes a good racehorse.”
Golden Artemis immediately ran back in stakes company, and she was third in the Astoria Stakes at Belmont 24 days later, beaten 13 1/4 lengths. Stepped up to the G2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, Golden Artemis was bumped at the start and finished last. She did not race again for seven months.
Tackett said, “Golden Artemis really was a nice filly, then must have gotten hurt because she was laid up for months, and when she came back, maybe she wasn’t as good. Then she went into the claiming ranks (was claimed for $35,000 at Saratoga in 2009), but was trained well, and did some winning before I got her.”
Trainer Gary Contessa had claimed the filly for Winning Move Stable and placed her successfully in claiming company to win twice and finish second twice in her last four starts for him.
“Near the end of her career,” Tackett said, “I tried to buy the mare from Gary Contessa privately, but he said that she had a chip in the knee but that she was running pretty well and didn’t want to sell her. She went in for $5,000, but there were a bunch of claims, and I got out-shook for her. “Then the people that had her took her and ran her again for the tag ($8,000), there were four or five in the shake, and I came out lucky that time.”
Tackett said, “God takes care of little children and fools, and I’m no little child.”
This is one small breeder who is no fool, either. He has made a practical decision with this highly promising 7-year-old G1 producer and has entered Golden Artemis in the Fasig-Tipton November breeding stock sale.
The breeder said, “Golden Artemis is what we try for, but at my age, I don’t have a lot of help, and I’ll have to go to the barn myself and foal that mare. I think she has put herself in a category where I can’t afford to own her.”
In addition to Golden Artemis, Tackett has consigned the mare’s weanling filly by Desert Party to the FT November sale, and he has the yearling half-sister by Horse Greeley in Fasig-Tipton’s October yearling sale, where she will have a pair of important updates.
A practical horse breeder, Tackett said that My Conquestadory “was not a real good weanling, but as a yearling she got bigger and stronger every day, and she was a much better yearling. I told my son, who owns a piece of this mare, that this filly looks a lot like the big fillies that used to run in the big New York races like the Beldame: big, scopy fillies with a lot of power.”
The breeder noted that the sire of the Alcibiades winner, Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Artie Schiller, “gave a little more bone, substance, and size to the foal, and that worked out well to produce My Conquestadory.”
Golden Artemis, is “about 15.3 and good-looking and lengthy,” Tackett said. “She puts a nice yearling on the ground. And when My Conquestadory worked in 10 flat and sold for $240,000, I thought maybe I should go back to the sire.” That has worked out pretty well.
In her first sale experience, cataloged as Hip 2568 at the 2012 Keeneland September sale, My Conquestadory drew attention and was hammered down for $70,000 to Biltmore Mansion Racing. Pinhooked to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March auction this spring, the filly sold out of the Eisaman Equine consignment.
From everything we’ve seen from My Conquestadory, there is enough upside in this young athlete to make everyone feel good.