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It’s hard to know whether breeder Harvey Clarke should keep all his yearlings or sell them all. From a broodmare band of modest size, Clarke has bred some impressive stakes winners. Those he kept and raced are not household names, but among the yearlings that Clarke has sold are 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another (by Flower Alley), 2013 Champagne Stakes winner Havana (Dunkirk), and Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat), who won the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on the weekend.

That a small operation with around 10 broodmares can produce animals of such quality is a great tribute to the breeder and the people who raise his horses. Stopchargingmaria was bred in partnership by Clarke and the Seitz family’s Brookdale Farm LLC, where Clarke boards his mares, and Brookdale consigned both I’ll Have Another and Stopchargingmaria to the sales.

Neither brought in much money, with the Kentucky Derby winner initially selling for $11,000 and then reselling for $35,000 as a 2-year-old in training, and Stopchargingmaria bringing $47,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale and reselling to current owner, Repole Stable, for $220,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March auction of select 2-year-olds in training last year.

Whereas I’ll Have Another had been an immature little duffer as a yearling, Stopchargingmaria was a nice yearling. By the time she came to the juvenile sales, she was really coming along.

At the OBS March sale, she breezed a furlong in :10 1/5, and she showed her strength and athleticism well. With a stride length of about 24.25 feet, Stopchargingmaria was striding three-quarters of a foot longer than the very good average stride length of the March sale, which was about 23.5 feet. That was an excellent effort. It earned Stopchargingmaria a BreezeFig of 69 from DataTrack International and placed her in the advisory service’s top-ranked category of young prospects.

As an individual back at the barn, Stopchargingmaria was a neatly made, not overly large example of her sire’s better type. She had a good shoulder and hindquarter, especially for her size and body weight. At the walk, she was pleasing, with a free and easy extension. She has a feminine head with an attractive and expressive eye.

This filly is not lacking in character and courage either. She has won five of her nine starts, with a pair of placings, and she went past $1 million in earnings with victory in the CCA Oaks.

Nor did it take Stopchargingmaria much time to show that she was worth every penny paid for her. The filly won her début on July 19 last year, taking a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special at Saratoga by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:04.69.

Stopchargingmaria earned G1 black type with a second in the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga and a third in the Frizette Stakes at Belmont. Then on Nov. 3, she broke through for her first stakes victory in the G3 Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct before adding the G2 Demoiselle at the end of that month.

The filly’s first stakes victory was especially timely because her dam, the Montbrook stakes winner Exotic Bloom, went through the sales ring the next day.

Exotic Bloom, the dam of Stopchargingmaria, was sold at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November auction. With her first foal a graded stakes winner, Exotic Bloom brought $500,000 from Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings in foal to Metropolitan Handicap winner Quality Road.

Seven years earlier, Clarke acquired Exotic Bloom in company with owner-breeder-trainer Fred Seitz at the 2006 OBS June sale of 2-year-olds in training. A well-known clearinghouse sale that annually turns up plenty of good horses, including contemporary stars like Goldencents and Wildcat Red, the OBS June auction has labored in the shadow of Florida’s trendier sales in March and April but has now come into well-earned regard as a good place to buy a horse.

Clarke and Seitz picked up Exotic Bloom for $65,000, one of the stronger prices at the June sale in 2006, and she won the Windward Stakes and My Charmer Stakes for them, placed third in the G3 Seaway Stakes, earning $257,281.

Exotic Bloom has a 2-year-old filly by leading sire More Than Ready, and the mare has a yearling colt by champion Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat), who is closely related to the CCA Oaks winner. At the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale in May, the More Than Ready filly sold for $510,000 to Stonestreet Stables. She was the second-highest price of the auction, behind only the War Front colt Old Mountain Lane.

*The preceding post was first published earlier this week at Paulick Report.

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