Financier Carl Icahn is shutting down his successful Foxfield commercial breeding operation, selling all his mares and weanlings without reserve at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The more than 40 horses include grade I winner and group II producer Lite Light, who went to Edward Evans for $675,000 Tuesday. Evans also purchased her weanling colt by Thunder Gulch for $190,000.
"It's been fabulous, but Carl has so many other investments," said Rob Whiteley, Foxfield's director of operations. "Rather than reload and start another cycle, he's choosing to phase out now. We've had a long run of profitability, and things are still good. But it's just a matter of his interests being focused in other directions."
Icahn entered the Thoroughbred game in 1985, teaming with Peter Brant to purchase Miss Oceana for $7 million and Larida for $4 million at the Newstead Farm dispersal conducted by Fasig-Tipton. Also that year, the two men bought Key Partner for $2.15 million and Liberty Spirit for $2.1 million.
Whiteley, who has been involved with Icahn almost since the beginning, made the first acquistions for Foxfield beginning in the late 1980s. They included Meadow Star, a $90,000 yearling who became an Eclipse Award winner, and a Lilac Garden, a $210,000 2-year-old in training who became the dam of Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Blushing K. D.
Alone or in partnership, Foxfield has bred more than 50 added-money winners. They include San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (gr. IT) winner Sunshine Street; Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) winner Vaudeville; Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Great Navigator; Strub Stakes (gr. I) winner Helmsman; Test Stakes (gr. I) winner Fabulously Fast; and Canadian champion Larkwhistle. Foxfield sold Eclipse Award winner Silverbulletday in utero.
Icahn might not get out of the Thoroughbred business entirely.
"Maybe we'll look for some stallions," Whiteley said. "I wouldn't rule out further participation."