Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Champion Havre de Grace Has Date With Tapit

Grade I winner Plum Pretty also booked to Distorted Humor, says owner Mandy Pope.

Mandy Pope, who paid $14.2 million in November for major broodmare prospects Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty, has taken major steps in what she believes will pay off handsomely. Pope has booked Havre de Grace, the 2011 Horse of the Year and champion older mare who raced for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms, to Tapit , and multiple grade I winner Plum Pretty to Distorted Humor .

Both stallions stand in Kentucky.

Pope, who owns Whisper Hill Farm near Citra, Fla., purchased Havre de Grace (Saint Liam--Easter Bunnette, by Carson City) for $10 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale from Taylor Made Sales Agency. The price was the third-highest ever for a broodmare or broodmare prospect. Plum Pretty (Medaglia d'Oro --Liszy, by A.P. Indy) was bought for $4.2 million from Taylor Made at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Both mares were moved to T. Wayne Sweezey's Timber Town Stable near Lexington, where they currently reside.

"We had a choice between (Irish-based) Galileo, Bernardini , and Tapit with Havre de Grace," said Sweezey. "Distorted Humor figured in a little but we were worried about too much Mr. Prospector (blood). We stayed away from Bernardini because we didn't want to get too close to Fappiano (by Mr. Prospector) top and bottom. And the idea of sending Havre de Grace to Galileo didn't suit Mandy. She likes to visit her horses and feed them carrots. Galileo was her first pick but then Tapit became her first choice.

"Mandy, who has been a friend 15 or 20 years and is a good horse person, keeps all her mares in Kentucky and the lion's share with us. All her babies are raised in Florida. The farm is beautiful and well staffed and that's where her horses go after being weaned.

"Mandy understands the business--how horses work, vet bills, maintenance--and understands pedigrees. We provide her with the information about the breeding, but the decision is 100% hers."

Tapit, by Pulpit out of the Unbridled mare Tap Your Heels, ranks fourth on this year's leading sires' list with progeny earnings of $9.1 million. He stands at Antony Beck's Gainesway Farm near Lexington. His 2013 fee is $125,000.

Plum Pretty, who raced for Peachtree Stable, won such stakes as the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I). "We worked with bloodstock agent John Prather when it came to Plum Pretty," Sweezey said. "I've worked with a lot of guys, and I think John's got a wealth of knowledge. He pointed out to us that Distorted Humor works best with mares with La Troienne in their family. And Plum Pretty does. They match up beautifully."

Distorted Humor (Forty Niner--Danzig's Beauty, by Danzig) stands at Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. Distorted Humor, who topped last year's leading sires' list and ranks ninth currently with $7.8 million, will stand in 2013 for $100,000.