The following article first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
As a freshman sire of 2012, the Pulpit stallion Sightseeing has come a long way through the course of the Saratoga race meeting. Before the sport at the Spa began its seasonal run, the stallion was just another well-pedigreed horse with barely enough panache on the racetrack to earn a berth at stud in Kentucky, where he went to stud in 2009 at Nathan Fox’s Richland Hills Farm near Midway.
Then in the opening graded stakes of the meet, the 8-year-old bay got his first stakes winner when the blaze-faced filly So Many Ways won the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes, and on Sunday, So Many Ways came back to win the G1 Spinaway Stakes and stake a claim as the leading juvenile filly in the East.
These are still early days to fully evaluate the current crop of juveniles, but the freshmen sires of 2012 have struck early and well. In addition to Sightseeing, his fellow freshman Henrythenavigator had his first G1 winner with Pedro the Great in Ireland, and this crop of young sires is looking above average.
That is good news to the Kentucky stallion corps, which has been depleted the last few years by deaths and exportations in excess of new stars coming to the fore.
But Sightseeing is beginning his innings at stud much like Gainesway’s stalwart sire Tapit, another son of Claiborne’s home stallion Pulpit (by A.P. Indy). Already the sire of champions and top-class international performers, Tapit has risen up the stallion ranks to be a leading sire and now commands one of the highest fees in Kentucky.
Tapit had another rising star in the Spinaway, as his previously unbeaten daughter Teen Pauline was the heavy favorite for the race. She set a torrid pace of :22.29 and :45.13 while So Many Ways drafted along in third.
Racing well in hand, So Many Ways finished strongly to win from Sweet Shirley Mae (by Broken Vow), who closed to overtake Teen Pauline, with the highly regarded Seasoned Warrior (Majestic Warrior) in fourth.
Three of the first four in the Spinaway are A.P. Indy-line fillies: So Many Ways, Teen Pauline, and Seasoned Warrior. The quality and speed of this line are among the obvious reasons that the Dehere mare Happy Scene went to Sightseeing in 2009, which resulted in the birth of the Spinaway winner in 2010.
Bred in Pennsylvania by John R. Penn & John C. Penn, So Many Ways is an instructive case about the pressures that owners face when breeding horses for the market. The Penns bought the mare carrying her first foal to a cover by the Danzig stallion Brahms for $17,000 at the 2006 Keeneland January sale.
That looked like a pretty reasonable purchase until the Penns went to the sell the mare’s offspring. They didn’t manage to sell one for as much as $10,000 — well below the cost of raising a yearling to age of sale — until they bred So Many Ways in Pennsylvania.
Then at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s Timonium’s Eastern September sale of yearlings, the clever agent Jim Schenk purchased the Spinaway winner for Maggi Moss on a bid of $22,000.
Schenk said: “Maggi called me in August when the New York-bred sale was going on. She thought the New York-breds were selling through the roof and wanted to try buying a Pennsylvania-bred.”
As a result, Schenk went to the Timonium fall sale, where the New York-breds did sell very well, and after extensive looking at the prospects on offer, found the Pennsylvania-bred So Many Ways. Schenk said, “This filly was a real horse. Every good filly has a personality. When you approach this horse, she’s different. She walks great, is really correct, has enough size, is really nice.”
The filly had passed all the inspections, was well-regarded at the barn, and all that remained was buying her. Schenk said: “Maggi was right that everybody was trying to buy New York-breds and nobody was shooting for Pennsylvania-breds. I had told her I thought we could get the filly for $20,000 because nobody was looking. I bid and somebody else got to $20,000 first. That was my limit, but the bid kept hanging, and I finally bumped it to $22,000 and got her.”
Almost immediately, Schenk recalled, “Maggi called and said, ‘She’s so beautiful I’d have paid that for her.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s good because we got her.’”
One of the things that Schenk seeks in a state-bred prospect is star quality. He said, “When you buy these horses that are state-breds, you have to buy one that can run in open company to make money.”
Schenk was convinced that So Many Ways qualified for that distinction, and she has proven him right.