Ask Rick Porter and Vinery Farm manager Tom Ludt to comment on the sales histories of the 2-year-old Kodiak Kowboy and his dam, Kokadrie, and the two men spin a circular tale. The story begins with Porter, who purchased Kokadrie at Keeneland’s 2003 November mixed sale for $110,000. He didn’t keep the Coronado’s Quest mare for long.
“Every once in a while I feel like I want to get into the breeding business,” said Porter, who races competitors like Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) winner Hard Spun under the title Fox Hill Farm. “I’ve bought the mares and sold their foals, gotten the mares back in foal, and planned on keeping them – but every time I’ve gotten cold feet and said, ‘I’m not going to do this.’ Kokadrie was one of those mares. I bought her in foal to Maria’s Mon, took the foal, bred her back to Posse, and sold her the next year.” Posse stands at Vinery.
Enter Robbie Lyons, who purchased the mare for $75,000 at Keeneland’s 2004 November mixed sale for his Hartwell Farm with partner Dr. Kirk Shiner.
“She was a lovely-bred mare and certainly had every right to produce the horse she did,” said Lyons, who resold the mare to BJB Holdings at Keeneland for $43,000 the following year. “Kodiak Kowboy is a nice, correct, good horse, and things ended up going great with him. I’m very pleased Vinery bought him; it’s a great thing they do, making a point to support their stallions in the marketplace. It certainly worked out well for them in this case.”
Take Kodiak Kowboy’s career earnings ($344,825 to date) and compare them with the figures he sold for at auction: $40,000 as a weanling in Keeneland’s 2005 November breeding stock sale; $70,000 as a yearling at the OBS 2006 select yearling sale. Then review his record, which includes a string of four impressive victories (three of them stakes, one a win in the Saratoga Special (gr. I)). Looks like Vinery, made a good investment when it purchased Kodiak Kowboy at OBS last year.
“At Vinery we’re unique because most racehorses we purchase are by stallions we stand,” said Ludt. “We put a heavy emphasis on first-year crops from our sires, and we liked Kodiak Kowboy right away. He’s been a great purchase from day one.”
Now Vinery is preparing to send Kodiak Kowboy to the Breeders’ Cup, a series his sire tackled in 1998 with a fifth-place finish in the Classic (gr. I). Porter, pleased with the colt’s success thus far, has entered an equal partnership in him with Vinery.
“Tom came to me and said, ‘Look, this is a nice 2-year-old. Do you think you’d be interested in becoming a partner?’” Porter remembered. “I said, ‘That’s Kokadrie’s baby! That’s like not going to the wedding and just going to the funeral! Still, I decided to take a gamble. All of these things are gambles; thankfully this was one that paid off so far.”