Coglianese Photos/David Alcosser

Gemologist Made Big Impression As a Weanling

The Triple Crown nominee brought $310,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale.

Gemologist , winner of the April 7 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I), was a weanling when he made his first and only appearance in the auction ring.

Consigned by the sales division of Will Farish’s Lane’s End Farm, agent, he brought $310,000 from Maverick Racing at the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The bay colt carries the colors of Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm.

Winner of all five of his career races for trainer Todd Pletcher and a Triple Crown nominee, Kentucky-bred Gemologist was foaled and raised at G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Shawnee Farm near Harrodsburg, Ky. The 3-year-old’s sire is Tiznow , who stands at WinStar near Versailles, Ky., and the colt is out of the unraced Mr. Prospector mare Crystal Shard.

Humphrey and the Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust bred Gemologist, who captured the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) last year and has earned $784,855.

“Tiznow is kind of an interesting horse to breed to because you get away from a lot of the inbreeding that we do (in the Thoroughbred industry),” said Shawnee manager Pete Cline of the mating that produced Gemologist. “He obviously was a fantastic racehorse and is a very good sire. Given where the mare was in her (breeding) career, we had kind of figured out by that time what kind of stallion she needed. She had thrown good horses and we thought that she fit Tiznow well. She needed something with big bone and some substance. I wouldn’t have called her delicate, but the foals she had were more refined (than not) and you had to be careful not to breed her to something light. He (Gemologist) looked more like Tiznow as a weanling for sure.”

Selling Gemologist wasn’t anything unusual in Shawnee’s commercial routine, according to Cline.

“We have constraints due to the number of yearling stalls that we have, so we typically will sell a handful of weanlings every year, and he was one that I picked out that I thought would represent himself well and he did; he fetched a nice price,” Cline said. “He was a very forward kind of weanling. He ended up being a kind of rawboned type and he was a little hard to fill in and get ready for the sale. But I thought he was a good enough individual.

“He was forward not only physically, but also mentally,” Cline continued. “It takes a pretty forward kind of horse to go there (Keeneland) as a weanling and go through what they have to go through at a sale. That’s a pretty big deal for a horse that age. Horses have personalities like people and some are a little backwards and shy and some are a little bolder. I guess I would describe him as being more on the bold side.”

Mike Cline, who is Pete Cline’s brother, manages Lane’s End, which is near Versailles. His memories of Gemologist as a weanling are similar to those of the Shawnee manager.

“Shawnee prepped him for the sale and we just sold him,” Mike Cline said. “He was a very big, forward, rawboned-looking horse. He was a January foal, but he was mature for his age and he had a big, solid top in him. He was kind of powerful and ‘scopy’ with a nice hip and shoulder. He was a probably a little bigger and leggier than some of the Tiznows.”

At the Keeneland November auction, Gemologist “drew a lot of interest,” Cline remembered. “He had six or seven different veterinarians scoping him (examining his throat endoscopically) and he had a lot of looks at his X-rays. He was well-received. He brought what we thought was a very fair price.”

Shawnee’s Humphrey purchased Gemologist’s dam when she was in foal to A.P. Indy for $460,000 at the 1997 Keeneland November sale. At the 2010 edition of the Keeneland November auction, Humphrey sold the then 16-year-old Crystal Shard through Lane’s End for $23,000 to Tony Holmes. She was in foal to Colonel John at the time.

“Being the size of operation that we are, we can’t keep all of the families,” Pete Cline said. “Crystal Shard was getting toward the end of her breeding career and we had three of her daughters and some of them were in production. We just opted to let her go because we had plenty of the family.”

Last year, Crystal Shard produced a Colonel John colt that Holmes bred and then she was bred to Giant's Causeway . Her offspring in addition to Gemologist include the stakes winners Clear Destiny (by Deputy Minister) and Sydenham (by A.P. Indy).