Vineyard Haven Sold to Godolphin
by Steve Haskin
Date Posted: 11/1/2008 9:06:24 PM
Last Updated: 11/3/2008 2:05:55 PM

Champagne winner Vineyard Haven has been sold to Godolphin.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos

Vineyard Haven  , winner of the grade I Champagne and Hopeful Stakes, has been sold to Godolphin for an undisclosed price by Bobby Frankel, who was majority owner of the colt, in partnership with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Louis Lazzinnaro.

 

Frankel said he’s been agonizing over the decision to sell the son of Lido Palace – Princess Aloha, by Aloha Prospector, and has been second-guessing himself, but was made the proverbial “offer I couldn’t refuse.”

 

“I haven’t been feeling good about selling him,” Frankel said. “I have seller’s remorse, but it’s a lot of money to turn down. I really believe this horse is a serious Triple Crown threat. That’s how good I think he is. I really didn’t want to sell, and in my heart I feel terrible about it. He’s perfectly sound, he does everything right, and he loves to train. He’s the kind of horse you dream about having. I’ve never X-rayed this horse, and to be honest, I was actually hoping something would show up and he didn’t pass the vet’s test. But he was clean as a whistle. The vet even told me he has great bone and is going to make a terrific 3-year-old, which kind of made me feel even worse about selling him. I’m no greenhorn when it comes to buying and selling horses. I know the risk. I know something could happen at any time, but I was willing to take that gamble.

 

“I had turned down their initial offer, which was very high, but they came back with a higher one and we closed the deal two days ago. There’s nothing in writing, and if it was today I might not have sold him, but I gave my word, and that means a lot to me. Believe me, this is a great horse, and if he wins the Kentucky Derby I’m going to be proud of him. There’s no way I could ever root against him.”

 

That is unless he manages to get another horse to the Derby.

 

Frankel purchased Vineyard Haven after the colt’s 4 1/4-length maiden victory at Calder on June 28. In his first start for his new owners he finished third in the slop in the Sanford Stakes (gr. II) after losing a shoe. That was followed by back-to-back daylight victories in the Hopeful and Champagne, the latter by 5 3/4 lengths, to establish himself as the leading 2-year-old in the country. Instead of running him on a synthetic surface in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), Frankel decided to send the colt to Florida to prepare for next year’s Triple Crown. Vineyard Haven’s only battle remaining this year is for the Eclipse Award, where he’ll likely duke it out with BC Juvenile and Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) winner Midshipman, who also finished second in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I).

 

This gives Sheikh Mohammed the top two juveniles in the country and the two early favorites for the Kentucky Derby. It is expected Midshipman, who is trained by Bob Baffert and races under the Darley Stable colors, will join Vineyard Haven in Dubai, but no official announcement has been made regarding the BC Juvenile winner. That would mean both colts would probably have to face off against each other at some point next spring in Dubai.

 

Frankel said Vineyard Haven, who is still at Belmont Park, will be shipped to Kentucky where he’ll be put in quarantine before going to Dubai.



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