Mar 25, 2010


When Congaree was retired to stud after a brilliant racing career Stonerside manager John Adger commissioned me to round up a few mares that would complement the stallion.

I went straightaway to Toronto and came back with three Canadian stakes winners with a capital outlay of roughly $l00,000 for the trio (perhaps a little less with the currency differential).

Early returns indicate that our knack for finding top value in mares continues unabated.
The threesome of Brattothecore, La Grande Mamma and Leading Role earned a composite $l million from 62 starts in their racing days.

Soundness was the dominant theme of our search on behalf of Bob and Janice McNair.
Congaree’s fore legs were suspect, to say the least, and one could only ferret out lively prospective mates and hope. Canadian racing is conducted without analgesic nostrums such as Bute so it stands to reason that horses capable of stakes wins have displayed sufficient rigor to overcome some limitations in the sire’s makeup. Pretty elementary reasoning but it had worked splendidly a few years before when we helped launch the career of Canadian stallion Archers Bay.

Bratttothecore got off the blocks first when her City Zip colt named City Style won a stakes in Louisiana and followed it up with a placing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He is now in Dubai with the Darley population which was included in the Stonerside sale of its entire Thoroughbred investment.

La Grande Mamma produced a Congaree colt named Kettle River who won back-to-back races at Santa Anita and Hollywood, in the process earning a berth in the weekend’s Sham Stakes. He faltered in that salty spot but is a horse that bears watching in the second tier three-year-old races.

Leading Role was placed in the Stonerside Texas program and has a couple of foals that are considered promising.

Our handiwork showed up in other venues from Los Angeles to Miami to Barbados in recent days. Sweet Vale is the dam of Sterwins who took the Barbados Gold Cup. I recommended the purchase of Sweet Vale who did not stand training after three starts.
She has outdone herself as a producer.

Bickerson has Canadian antecedents, too. Winner of Gulfstream Park’s Forward Gal stakes, her second dam is Lil Ol’ Gal who I happened to buy for a friend in my fledgling role as caretaker for the British Columbia stallion Bold Laddie.

Lil Ol’ Gal was about l4.2 hands, hence the name, but lightning fast. She broke the world record for 3 1/2 furlongs first time out. I bought her back for a healthy buck as a 4-year-old for John Franks and she went on to win the Ontario Fashion Stakes at Woodbine. The diminutive mare was a favorite of Franks’ broodmare band.
At Santa Anita, Harris Farm’s Red Sun ran his record to four wins in five starts. I bought her dam (by Affirmed) for Franks although she became one that got away during one of his periodic dispersals. Her four stakes horses have run out $1 million or so.