A minority interest in Arkansas Derby (gr. I) winner Bodemeister has been sold to Mike and Tiffany Moreno of Southern Equine Stable, Ahmed Zayat confirmed April 25.
The 3-year-old son of Empire Maker will remain in training with Bob Baffert under Zayat Stable management and will continue to campaign under the Zayat silks, the owner said.
Southern Equine Stable now owns a third of the colt, who is seeking to become the first winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) who did not race at age 2 since Apollo in 1882.
“I was approached by many people in the industry looking for a chance to buy into this colt,” Zayat remarked. “I picked Mike because he’s a great sportsman and somebody who has spent a great deal of time and money building up a high-quality broodmare band which will be good support to the colt when he eventually retires to stud. Mike is very excited about Bodemeister, as are we.”
Although Zayat declined to comment on purchase price, he called the deal “a very healthy, lucrative arrangement for us.”
Bodemeister breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 4/5 April 24 at Churchill Downs in preparation for his Derby bid. He has two wins and two seconds in four starts with earnings of $704,800, beginning his career in January before breaking his maiden at Santa Anita in his second start. Following a second in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), he rolled to victory in the April 14 Arkansas Derby, drawing off to win by 9 1/2 lengths.
“He worked great yesterday and we couldn’t be more thrilled about the way he’s going over the track leading into this race,” Zayat said.
Bodemeister, an April 28 foal out of the Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent, was bred in Virginia by Audley Farm. Zayat purchased him as a yearling for $260,000 during the third session of the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale from Brookdale Sales, agent.
Horses campaigned by Zayat Stables finished second in the Derby in 2011 (Nehro) and 2009 (Pioneerof the Nile ). Zayat also had Z Fortune (10th) and Z Humor (14th) in the 2008 Derby. He was approaching the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Eskendereya, considered by many to be that year’s prohibitive favorite, until the horse was scratched the Sunday before the race with a soft tissue injury in his left front leg.
Broodmares owned by Moreno include Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister--Blush With Pride, by Blushing Groom), the dam of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winners Jazil (in 2006) and Rags to Riches (2007) and grade II winner Casino Drive. She was purchased by Southern Equine for a record $14 million at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale.