A.P. Indy was the leading sire at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale based on the average price of $858,043 brought by 23 of his offspring. But Friesan Fire , who is by the 1992 Horse of the Year, got lost in the crowd and was bought back for $725,000 by the Vinery’s Dr. Tom Simon, who bred the colt in the name of Grapestock.
“We felt we had a lot of interest, and to be blunt about it, I was surprised he didn’t sell, but today I’m really happy,” said Vinery general manager Tom Ludt, who will be rooting for the bay 3-year-old to win the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Friesan Fire, who races for the partnership of Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, no longer is being overlooked. Trained by Larry Jones, the colt comes into the Run for the Roses with victories in this year’s Louisiana Derby (gr. II), Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), and Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at the Fair Grounds. He has career earnings of $603,265. At Churchill Downs April 27, Friesan Fire turned in a sizzling five-furlong work of :57 4/5.
“When we go to stallions outside our farm, we breed, typically, to sell commercially, so we’re looking for the right mating that is going to be attractive to the buyer,” Ludt said.
Friesan Fire is the second foal out of the 10-year-old Dehere mare Bollinger, who was a group I winner in Australia. He resembles his dam physically, which might not have been a good thing when he was a sale yearling.
“The mare is very wide in front for a Thoroughbred, but she was obviously able to run through that and didn’t have any problems,” Ludt said. “The layman’s term for it, I guess, is that it’s a gap between the knees. Friesan Fire looked just like his mom, and maybe it threw some people for a curve when they saw him even though he had a beautiful body. Buyers are looking more and more for the perfect horse.
“Our owner (Simon) paid a lot of money for the stud fee, and he (Friesan Fire) was out of a group I winning mare, so he (Simon) was a little bullish and said, ‘I’m not going to let this horse sell cheaply.’ Even though we usually tend to be pretty conservative, we were aggressive with our reserve, and it’s turned out well. Friesan Fire has continued to blossom, and he’s already done enough that we can stand him as a stallion, but we’re hoping there is much more on his plate. With his Australian pedigree, he’s going to have shuttle capabilities, and the Simon family owns a farm in Australia.”
Bollinger did not produce a foal this year, but she is in foal after being bred to Smart Strike in February.