Havre de Grace, 2011’s Horse of the Year, is “doing terrific” in retirement, according to her owner, Rick Porter, and he’s planning to send her to one of Central Kentucky’s two major breeding stock auctions in November.
“I know which one, but I’m not going to reveal it right now,” said Porter in a July 18 telephone interview. “I’m talking to both Keeneland and Boyd Browning (the president of Fasig-Tipton), and I just would rather not say. I’d rather face them later. I want to be able to hide after I tell them.”
Porter announced the end of Havre de Grace’s racing career in April after a she injured a ligament in her right front ankle. At that time, he was open to selling the 5-year-old daughter of 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam privately.
“I’m not considering that now unless somebody makes me some ridiculous offer,” Porter said. “From what I hear, she looks like a million bucks. I’m hoping she looks like about $10 million bucks.”
Carrying the colors of Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Havre de Grace won nine of her 16 races while earning $2,586,175. She captured seven added-money events, including the 2011 editions of the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I), and Beldame Invitational Stakes (gr. I). In addition to being honored as Horse of the Year, she was 2011’s champion older female.
Havre de Grace is under the care of Taylor Made Sales Agency in Kentucky.
“I talked to Mark Taylor last night, and he said she is just as happy as can be,” Porter reported. “She goes out in a paddock for two or three hours a day. Dr (Larry) Bramlage (who examined Havre de Grace following her injury) says she can go out for three hours. But apparently most of the time, at the end of two hours, she’s had enough of the heat and she comes to the gate because she’s ready to go back inside.”
Porter said Havre de Grace wasn’t bred to a stallion this year for several reasons. One was that it was getting late in the breeding season when she was retired. Another was that anyone willing to spend a lot of money on the bay mare for her broodmare potential probably would prefer “to start fresh” and make his or her own choice of a mate, Porter said.
Asked which horse he would breed Havre de Grace to, Porter replied, “Bernardini , because I think he’s the best stallion right now. But I’m saying that without looking to see if she fits with him properly,” he added.
Trained by Larry Jones, Havre de Grace ran for the last time in March, winning the New Orleans Ladies Stakes by 4 ½ lengths at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
“She has it all,” Porter said. “She has an unbelievable race record, and Mark Taylor has said he’s never seen a better-looking mare. Larry Jones has said she’s the closest thing he’s ever seen to a perfect horse. She also has a pretty nice pedigree. When you put it all together, she’s the whole package.”
Bred by Nancy Dillman in Kentucky, Havre de Grace is out of the winning Carson City mare Easter Bunnette.