Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt, who have been involved in the Thoroughbred business for more than 20 years, will begin dismantling their breeding and racing operation July 12 in Lexington. Phase one of the Texas couple’s dispersal will be held following the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale, with Bluewater Sales serving as agent.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time and we’re getting pretty old,” said Bill Heiligbrodt July 10 while watching the dispersal’s horses being shown to prospective buyers at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks complex. “All of these horses, they’re owned by family, and we made a family decision that this (a dispersal) was the best thing to do. I don’t know for sure that our two children want to do this (breed and race Thoroughbreds).”
There are 80 broodmares, horses of racing age, yearlings, and a stallion cataloged for phase one of the Heiligbrodt dispersal. Not included in that total are 12 foals at the sides of the cataloged broodmares. Each mare with a foal will be offered as one lot. One of those lots is stakes winner Richbabe (by Richman) and her 2011 Street Sense colt, which is a half brother to grade III winner Richwoman (by Successful Appeal ). Richbabe was bred to Bluegrass Cat this year.
“A lot of nice horses are in here that we raced, so there’s always an emotional attachment even though it’s been pretty much a business for us,” Bill Heiligbrodt said. “We’ve got bunch of 2-year-olds in here that are pretty close to racing and that’s what I’ll miss the most, running those 2-year-olds that are in training. I picked out some of the better ones to come here.”
Grade II winner and stallion Bwana Charlie, a 10-year-old son of Indian Charlie, is in phase one of the dispersal as are the stakes-winning gelding Snug, who is an earner of more than $600,000, and 2011 added-money winners Hisse and Local.
“Those barns (where the Heiligbrodt stock is located) have been busy right from the start,” said Bluewater’s Meg Levy of the response so far to the dispersal’s horses. “Certain people are going straight to those barns.”
The Heiligbrodt’s horses should appeal to buyers, according to Levy, because the couple “concentrated on 2-year-olds and sprinters—particularly speed—in their buying and breeding programs. (Yearling-to-juvenile) pinhookers will like the precociousness and trainers will appreciate the physicals. It’s interesting to see the mares and foals together because they all have the same body type.”
Horses for phase one of the dispersal were chosen “to suit the clientele that normally comes to this (Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling) sale,” Levy said. “They are horses with some of the better pedigrees and better form as far as racing.”
Bill Heiligbrodt said the other phases of the dispersal will be conducted in conjunction with the Fasig-Tipton Texas yearling sale in August and the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. fall mixed sale in October. The Heiligbrodts’ horses also will be sold in Louisiana and in Kentucky in November. According to Heiligbrodt, he and his wife own “in excess of 200” Thoroughbreds.
“We enjoyed meeting the people and we enjoyed the competition,” said Corinne Heiligbrodt of the couple’s involvement in the Thoroughbred business. “But mainly we enjoyed the horses, from the time they were babies and all the way through.”
Bill Heiligbrodt didn’t rule out returning to the Thoroughbred game at some point after the dispersal is finished.
“We’ll look at it; we have a lot of friends in racing and it will be hard not to, especially if Texas racing gets slots and Louisiana stays where it is,” he said. “But we’ll be careful and take our time.”
Among the top Thoroughbreds bred and/or raced by the Heiligbrodts (including horses owned in partnership with others) are Appealing Zophie, Cashier’s Dream, Golden Ballet, Lady Tak, Posse, and Sis City.