Castaway, who won a division of the Feb. 20 Southwest Stakes (gr. III), kept getting better and better as a yearling, according to Mark Taylor of Kentucky-based Taylor Made Sales Agency. Two years ago, Taylor Made, as agent, sold the 2012 Triple Crown nominee for $435,000 at the Keeneland September yearling auction.
“When I go back and look at my notes in the spring (of 2010), I wrote that he was a nice horse, but he was a little bit knock-kneed and a little coarse,” Taylor said. “Then, in the summer, I wrote that he was really improving. He had become leaner, and he had scoped out and grown. He looked a lot better. And then at the sale, my notes said, ‘Wow! Great over-stride, great walker!’ ”
Bred in Kentucky by Hertrich/McCarthy Livestock, 3-year-old Castaway is out of the winning Storm Cat mare Priceless Storm. She is a half sister to grade II winner Master Command (by A.P. Indy) and grade III winner Aurora Lights (by Pulpit ). Master Command captured the Meadowlands Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) in 2006 and the New Orleans (gr. II), National Jockey Club (gr. III), and Mineshaft (gr. III) Handicaps in 2007. Aurora Lights triumphed in the 2009 Selene Stakes (Can-III) and 2010 Sabin Stakes (gr. III).
Castaway’s sire, Street Sense , was 2006’s champion 2-year-old male and the winner of the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
“Priceless Storm is good-sized for a Storm Cat mare; she’s right at 16 hands, I would guess,” Taylor said. “Castaway wasn’t an overly big horse as a yearling. But he was so well-balanced that any little flaw he might have had just kind of faded away in your mind because you could see that he had so much balance. As he got older, his chest spread; he got to be a really correct, good-looking horse after wanting to be a little knock-kneed.
“And when he moved, he was just unbelievable,” Taylor continued. “He was one of those horses that looked like he could cover the length of the walking ring effortlessly in half the number of strides that other horses could.”
Prior to Castaway being offered at Keeneland, “he received “a phenomenal amount” of scrutiny from prospective buyers, according to Taylor. He also recalled that veterinarians examined the bay colt’s throat more than 10 times.
“It’s important how a horse performs when it’s game time and when they’re stressed,” Taylor said. “Some horses just melt at a sale and don’t handle it and some just step up and they’re the man. Castaway was one of those horses. He really showed his class when he got to the sale and I think it nearly doubled his value. We also knew his family well and knew he could ultimately have a stallion’s pedigree, so he had that upside to his advantage as well.”
Taylor recalled not being sure what Castaway, who is a member of his sire's first crop, would bring as a sale yearling.
“I tend to be conservative going into a sale,” he said. “In the summer, I was appraising him for like $150,000. By the time we got close to the sale, he had improved a lot, so I was saying the horse could bring $250,000. Then, at the sale, he didn’t turn a hair, and that kind of class is a big part of the equation.
“But because of the environment – we were in the throes of a recession – it was hard to know what any horse was going to bring,” Taylor added. “There were a lot of different people on him and a lot of them got blown out of the water. Some were thinking they might get him in the $100,000 range; others were thinking they might get him in the $200,000 range.”
When the bidding stopped at $435,000, Demi O’Byrne of the Coolmore Stud buying team was the winner. Castaway races for Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Sue Magnier, the wife of Coolmore managing partner John Magnier.
“I was surprised (by the price), but I wasn’t shocked,” Taylor said. “After we had shown the horses for two days at Keeneland, I knew my appraisal before the sale had been low. He separated himself from the rest of the group and attracted a lot of interest from the right people. I was really glad for the Coolmore connections because they’ve bought a lot of good horses off of us in the past. They are very thorough, they work hard, and they stepped up and paid a lot of money.”
“She has a 2-year-old Unbridled's Song filly and an Unbridled’s Song yearling colt, so she’s got a lot in the pipeline and hopefully, her resume can keep growing,” he said. “Let’s hope Castaway can keep marching toward the Triple Crown and keep paying dividends for his buyer and his seller.”