Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

July 24, 2011

Pictures of Faith, Sky’s First Foal with a Bullet, Skype at Trackside Farm

On Saturday I had the chance to visit Sky and Faith for the first time since the beginning of May. Faith was just about three months old at the time and it was amazing to see how much she has grown. It won’t be very long till she’s weaned from Sky, which is just crazy to think about because I feel like just yesterday I posted about Skype being weaned.

Here are a few pictures of Faith and Sky that I took yesterday. Faith is about 5 1/2 months old here.

For those of you that have forgotten what Faith looked like when she was first born, here is a picture of her and Sky that was taken when she was only a week old.

Shortly after returning from the farm on Saturday, I received some very good news. Sky Above, who is a 2-year-old colt by Artie Schiller and the first foal out of Sky, breezed four furlongs in 48 seconds flat on the all-weather training surface at Fair Hill on Saturday morning. It was the fastest of 20 workers on the all-weather surface that morning. The next fastest work was :48.40. Sky Above has a steady work tab and hopefully he will make his career debut very soon. It would be excellent to see him take a maiden special somewhere before Skype sells in the Keeneland September sale. Actually, “excellent” is probably not strong enough of a word. Perhaps “game changer” would be a more appropriate phrase.

Speaking of Skype…I recently received an update from Tom Evans of Trackside Farm and she is doing very well. Skype was moved to Trackside Farm in Versailles in the middle of June to be prepped for the September sale. Trackside Farm will also consign Skype. Mr. Evans said he is happy with the way she is developing. Hopefully she will keep getting bigger and stronger and she will have all the looks of a racehorse in September. As always, all there is to do is be patient and keep my fingers crossed.

That’s all for now. Hope everyone had a great weekend and has a fantastic week.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Australian poet, Pam Brown, that I read the other day.

“A horse is the projection of people’s dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.”

March 27, 2011

A Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy. Part 3

Part three of the “Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy” series is going to be pretty short because his stallion career has only just begun. Hopefully some of you will still find some of the provided statistics interesting.

On June 28, 2007, after being unable to recover from an injury, it was announced that Stevie Wonderboy would be retired from racing for stallion duty at Airdrie Stud. His initial stud fee was $17,500; however, his fee would drop to $15,000 in 2009 and $10,000 for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He would stand his first season in 2008, covering 107 mares that would result in 73 live foals. The following year, Stevie Wonderboy covered 53 mares that resulted in 38 live foals of 2010. This past year he covered 59 mares. Obviously the number of live foals of 2011 by Stevie Wonderboy is not yet known. Based on his prior live foal percentages, one can expect around 40 live foals to be born this year. I honestly do not know how large his book is this year, but I would assume that it will once again be in the 50-60 range.

Although he has yet to have starters (his first foals are two-year-olds of 2011 and will race this year), Stevie Wonderboy’s progeny have had some decent success in the sales ring. Below are the sales statistics for Stevie Wonderboy for 2009, 2010, and 2011. All information was provided by The Blood-Horse‘s Stallion Register.

2009

Weanlings – 8 offered, 4 sold; $53,000 average, including a filly out of Road to the Ball that sold for $72,000 at the Keeneland November Sale.

2010

Weanlings – 2 offered, 1 sold for $35,000
Yearlings – 65 offered, 40 sold; $28,845 average, including a $170,000 colt out of Harlan Honey and a $90,000 colt out of Beloved by All. Both horses were sold at the Keeneland September Sale.

2011

Yearlings – 2 offered, 1 sold for $34,000
Two-year-olds – 7 offered, 3 sold; $20,000 average.

The sales numbers are decent for a horse whose foals have yet to hit the track, but there is definitely room for improvement. Buyers are willing to pay more for horses by a stallion that has a proven record of producing high-class performers on the racetrack. Hopefully, dozens of two-year-olds from Stevie Wonderboy’s first crop will break their maidens in 2011 and a handful will be stakes performers and stakes winners.

I know one thing for sure is that I’ll be rooting for every Stevie Wonderboy as if it were my own; just like I cheer for every Even the Score and just like I’ll someday cheer for every foal by Parading.

Go Stevie Wonderboy! Go Parading! Go Even the Score!

And of course…

Go Kentucky Wildcats!

March 9, 2011

Faith is a star

I already posted it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I wanted to put my good news on the blog as well. Faith was recently featured in an advertisement for Parading that was printed in the Blood-Horse and the Thoroughbred Times. The same ad also spent some time on the front page of the Claiborne website.

Here is the advertisement

As you can see, Faith is strutting her stuff in the picture on the right. I had a lot of emotions come over me when I saw this advertisement for the first time a couple of days ago. I was excited, happy, and slightly in shock. The journey Sky, Skype, and Faith have taken me on is truly amazing. This time two years ago, owning a horse was only a dream. This time last year, my dream had become a reality, I had been a horse owner for one month, and Sky had just been bred to Parading. Now a horse that I bred is being used in an advertisement for a stallion that stands at one of the most famous Thoroughbred farms in the entire world. It’s simply incredible.

Faith seemed to like getting her picture taken the other day. The picture used in the advertisement was from her first photo shoot. I hope that in a few years Faith will be getting her picture taken all the time…in the winner’s circle!

 

March 6, 2011

Sky will be bred to…

Last year when I bought Sky at the Fasig February sale, I was pretty sure that she would be bred to Parading. He has one of the best pedigrees in the stud book and he won on all three surfaces (just like Sky). Also, his stud fee was in my budget; standing for $3,500 LFSN. Just a few days after purchasing Sky, I reserved my season to Parading. It was a very simple and non-stressful decision.

This year I decided that I wanted to go another direction. Sky now has three foals on the ground; one by Artie Schiller, one by Even the Score, and one by Parading. Artie Schiller was best going a mile or longer on the turf, Even the Score was most successful at age 6, and Parading did not make a start until age 4. They all had very nice racing careers, but experienced most of their success at ages 4 and above. This year I wanted to breed Sky to someone who experienced success at age 2; someone more precocious than the other three stallions. I also wanted to breed Sky to someone who she nicked well with and matched physically.

So…the search began. I attended a number of stallion open houses, spoke with farm representatives, and frequented the Blood-Horse’s online stallion register. I made a list of stallions that I thought would be a good fit for Sky. Then I proceeded to constantly bug my good friend Frank Mitchell about which stallions on my list matched Sky from a physical standpoint. Some of the stallions on my list did not match Sky well, and so the list got shorter.

My final list had six stallions on it. I contacted the farm where each of the stallions stood to see if I could get a season to them. I was accepted for a few and turned down for a few. This brought the list down to about three stallions and then this past Thursday I made my decision.

Sky will be bred to…

Stevie Wonderboy

Stevie Wonderboy is the champion two-year old colt of 2005, comes from the A.P. Indy sire line being by Stephen Got Even, matches Sky well physically, and nicks well with her as well. I am very excited about the Stevie Wonderboy – Sky foal that will be born in 2012.

Thank you to all that assisted me in making my decision and a special thank you to Frank Mitchell for putting up with my constant e-mails and phone calls. Thank you to Airdrie Stud, the farm that stands Stevie Wonderboy, for all the help and for believing in my mare. Finally, thank you to all of the representatives of stallions that I did not select, but inquired about. Your assistance was much appreciated.

So…there ya go. Sky will be bred to Stevie Wonderboy in 2011. Maybe we’ll see that foal at the Spa in 2014.

February 13, 2011

I’ve Got Faith

A couple of days ago I asked for suggestions for a nickname for Sky’s new foal. I ended up getting a lot of suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites:

Fergie – suggested by Sean Feld; Fergie is the lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas, the group that performed at halftime of this year’s Super Bowl.

Aurie – suggested by Valerie; Aurie would be short for Aurora, the Latin goddess of the dawn who led the Sun across the Sky each day. The Observer suggested Eos, who is the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Skittle – suggested by JemMox; He came up with the name by combining Sky and little. Personally, I think it’s a great nickname…especially if the “i” was changed to a “y” for Skyttle.

Float – suggested by Chris; A nickname that plays off the foal’s sire, Parading. I bet many of Parading’s registered¬† names will include the word float.

There were many other name suggestions, but those were just a few of my favorites. All of the name suggestions were great; however, none of the ones suggested will be used as the foal’s nickname. Instead, I will use a name that I came up with. Please don’t be too hard on me for not using a name suggested by one of the readers. I never had more than a goldfish growing up and so I’m taking advantage of being able to name an animal. Perhaps someday I’ll own a big stable of horses and every reader of the blog can name one. Which reminds me…I need to go buy a lottery ticket soon.

Anyway, back to the name of this foal. The filly was born on Super Bowl Sunday and I wanted to try to incorporate that into her name. I also wanted a short name, preferably just one word and only one or two syllables. Finally, I wanted something meaningful to me. I came up with a name that met all of those requirements.

The new filly will be nicknamed Faith.

After the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, Packers’ wide receiver Greg Jennings was interviewed on the field. During the interview he repeated the phrase, “To God be the glory.” I remember watching it live and thought it was really cool that Jennings remembered to give praise to God. Many athletes say, “I’m going to Disney World,” after winning a championship, but not Jennings. His words inspired me to go with a name that had a Biblical connection.

I began to think about some of my favorite Bible verses. One that came to mind was 1 Corinthians 13:13. It states, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Faith, hope, and love. They were all finalists for the nickname of the new foal. Then I began to think about each one a little more.

I have a lot of hope in my life. I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about the entire Thoroughbred industry being built on hope. I have hopes and dreams for my personal life and my career.

I have a ton of love in my life. I have the most supportive family in the entire world that loves me more than I can even understand. I have many close friends that love me. I also have a God that loves me and looks after me.

Now we move on to faith. I am less than three months from graduating and my future is still uncertain. Sometimes I lose sleep at night thinking about where I will be in a year. I have three horses that I have very high hopes for, but I know that this sport is one of the toughest in the world. It has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I can hope all I want, but that doesn’t mean my hopes will come true. What I need most in my life is faith.

I need faith that I’ll be okay when I graduate. I need faith to remember that God has a plan for my life and He will direct my paths. I need faith that whether Skype and Faith go on to be Grade 1 winners or low-level claimers that I’ll be okay. I need faith that my life is only slightly affected by things that I can control. The rest is up to the Big Guy. By nicknaming the foal Faith, I will constantly remember that I just need to “keep the faith.”

So…the nickname of the foal will be Faith. Thank you to everyone for all the support and kind words and a special thank you to the readers that suggested a nickname.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Faith taking a nap. Perhaps someday this little one will have a registered name like “MyFaithsintheSky.”

 

February 11, 2011

Name Game – The New Foal

Okay readers, I would like some help in nick-naming the new foal. Here is some information to help you out:

  • Her pedigree is Parading – Sky, by Menifee
  • She was born on February 6, 2011 – Super Bowl Sunday
  • She is a chestnut
  • She has a big sister named Skype and an older brother named Sky Above.
  • It is only her nickname, so I’d like it to be just one word and only one or two syllables.

It’s hard to name an animal that you’ve never seen so the following videos should help you out. These videos were taken just an hour after the filly’s birth. Enjoy the videos and I’m looking forward to seeing what names you can come up with.

February 6, 2011

The Parading foal is on the ground!

Just wanted to let everyone know the good news. At 6:30 AM this morning, February 6th, Sky gave birth to a healthy chestnut filly! I will post more about the little foal soon, including pictures and videos of her. I am so happy that there is now a horse on the ground that I bred. Remember… Skype was a week old when I bought her and her breeder is not me, but a wonderful gentleman named Sam Penn. This is the first foal that will go down as being bred by Travers Manley. This is a huge day for me and I could not be more proud.

 

Here is one picture that I uploaded from my phone. The foal is just one hour old here.

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