Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms is reviving its West Coast racing division. Juddmonte purchased three yearlings for $1,105,000 during the first week of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington that eventually will be sent to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in California, Juddmonte's Kentucky farm manager Garrett O'Rourke told The Blood-Horse Sept. 18.
"Prince Khalid decided he wanted to have some horses back on the West Coast again," O'Rourke said. "We always had horses out there until (Hall of Fame trainer) Bobby Frankel died, but we just haven't had any since then. We had a tradition of winning a lot of those nice races out on the West Coast, and I think it would be nice to get back to doing that again.
"There's a very strong stakes program out there," he added. "A lot of people say it's not as strong as it used to be, and from a prize money point of view, that might be true. But there's still a very, very strong stakes schedule out there."
The Elusive Quality colt is out of a champion. The chestnut yearling is a full brother to stakes winner Elusive Heat and a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Southwestern Heat (by Gone West). The Curlin colt is out of an added-money winner and is a half brother to grade I winner Into Mischief (by Harlan's Holiday).
"Obviously, we were looking for a dirt speed type of horse (to race at Santa Anita Park)," O'Rourke said, "and that was definitely the case with the first horse we bought, the Elusive Quality out of (sprint star) Xtra Heat. But you can only use your best judgment and see what happens after that. One of our most successful horses on the West Coast was (homebred) Skimming, who was by Nureyev out of a Lyphard mare, and he won two Pacific Classics (gr. I, 2000-01) on the dirt, so who knows? You can just use your best judgement and aim for it."
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who is based on the East Coast, has conditioned most of Juddmonte's racehorses in this country since Frankel's death.
Juddmonte also bought a First Defence —Chanceisalady colt for $200,000 Sept. 19 at Keeneland during the auction's ninth session. But O'Rourke said Sept. 20 that plans for that horse's racing career probably wouldn't be finalized until November. The colt's sire stands at Juddmonte.