Jeffry Morris, long a top consignor and boarder of Thoroughbreds in Central Kentucky, is entering a new phase in his career, as he and his son, Stuart, will enter the stallion business in 2003. Their first prospect will be Malabar Gold, a son of Unbridled currently in training in Southern California.
Morris operates Highclere Farm on Harp-Innis Pike near Lexington. As a consignor, Morris' Highclere Sales, as agent, led the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale by average. Selling only two horses, he still was able to rank among the leaders by gross, with $1,400,000.
"Since my son got out of school, and then spent a year in Australia, we've been trying to figure out what to do with Highclere in terms of trying to broaden the scope of things. Some folks approached us to get involved with stallion management. You know, the pie has to get bigger if you're both going to eat. We still are going to maintain our (sales) market pressence and running our boarding operation, but this will give us another dimension."
Malabar Gold, a 5-year-old by Unbridled out of the Tsunami Slew mare Stormy Spell, races for B. Wayne Hughes and is trained by Ron Ellis. So far, he has six wins from 14 starts and has earned $301,622. On April 21, Malabar Gold won the San Simeon Handicap (gr. IIIT). Going down the hill of the Santa Anita turf course, Malabar Gold got the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.73, establishing a new stakes record.
Malabar Gold is out of a half-sister to grade I winner and sire Seattle Song, and graded winner Lucky Spell. He originally sold for $1 million at the 1998 Keeneland September yearling sale and made four starts for Marshall Naify's 505 Farms. In July of his 3-year-old year, Malabar Gold was resold to Hughes for $600,000 out of Naify's disperal sale held following his death that April.
"Malabar Gold has all the criteria that breeders are looking for in a stallion--pedigree, speed, and conformation," Morris said. "He's from the immediate family of Unbridled's Song and has shown brilliant speed on the racetrack. To top it off, he is a magnificent looking individual, proven by the fact he was a million-dollar yearling."
According to Morris, Malabar Gold will race exclusively for Hughes until his retirement. Currently two other investors have purchased 50% of the horse. At least 50% of Malabar Gold will be released on his retirement for purpose of syndication, which will be handled by Morris.
As for entering the stallion business, Morris said, "We're just starting with the one horse and we'll take it one at a time. I don't think it would be difficult to add a few more horses. We shouldn't have to make substantial changes to the property right now."Complete list of First Year Stallions of 2003