Splash of Vanilla, believed to be the first Palomino Thoroughbred entered in a Keeneland auction, arrived on the sale grounds in Lexington Jan. 15 around noon and then settled down in Barn 24. The 2-year-old filly is scheduled to be offered as Hip. No. 2176 during the Jan. 17 final session of Keeneland’s horses of all ages sale.
“To be the first, to bring one here, there is something unique about that, and hopefully someone will see her as a racehorse and not just as a palomino,” said Kevin Lay, who operates Minnesota-based Triple B Stables and bred the 2-year-old Ballado Chieftan filly in partnership with Thomas Bentley.
Splash of Vanilla is out of the unraced Guaranteed Gold mare Maid of Gold T B, who also is a palomino.
“My partner went to Ontario and bought this mare for the purpose of creating a regional palomino program,” Lay said. “Then we got to talking, he wanted to breed to my stallion Ballado Chieftan, and one thing led to another. We became partners on the mare and the resulting foals.”
According to Lay, if you breed a palomino mare to a chestnut stallion, she will produce either a palomino or a chestnut foal.
“We lucked out getting the palomino filly the first out because that’s what we really wanted to do,” Lay said. “If we breed her (Maid of Gold T B) again, we’ll probably breed her to a Kentucky chestnut stallion, We hope we can get them (her foals) to the races, get a race record on them, and improve their pedigrees.”
Most people who breed Palomino Thoroughbreds don’t end up racing them.
“They usually don’t take them to the racetrack because by the time the horses are 2, they (their breeders) have been offered a good price and they don’t want to take the risk,” Lay said. “People buy them for a variety of things because they catch their eye. If they look like an athlete, they can do anything that a Thoroughbred retired off the track can do. Most of them end up as show horses.”
Lay and Bentley sent Splash of Vanilla to Keeneland because “I thought she had the potential to be an athlete,” Lay said. “I wouldn’t be here if I thought she was just a palomino. If I didn’t think I could race her myself, I wouldn’t have come here and tested the waters.”
Lay added that the reserve for Splash of Vanilla will be reasonable.
“We want to sell,” he said. “In this market, you need income from just about anywhere that you can get it to keep any farm going. We’ll sell if the price is right, and we think the price will be there. But if it’s not, we’ll just take her home and train her.”
There is one downside to being the owner of a Palomino Thoroughbred.
“I’m going to have a heck of a time keeping her clean,” said Lay, who has two other horses in his Triple B consignment that will offered on the January sale’s final day.