If only it always worked this way: buy a horse privately; win a grade I; and head to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Forget always; for Matt Gatsas, just once is OK. Of course he wouldn't mind also winning the Breeders' Cup race.
Negligee, made her first two starts for Norm Casse, who bought her to pinhook but put her in training with his son, trainer Mark Casse, when she did not reach her reserve at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. February auction.
The daughter of Northern Afleet , bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks Farm from the Relaunch mare Naughty Notions, broke her maiden July 25 at Woodbine in a $62,500 claiming event. She was then wheeled back in the Ontario Debutante, and sent off at 17-1, ran a game race despite being wide and was beaten just a half-length by Franny Freud.
Franny Freud just happens to be trained by John Terranova II, who trains the horses owned by Sovereign Stable.
"John really likes Franny Freud, so when this filly ran second that day, he mentioned to me we should try to buy her," Gatsas said the morning of Nov. 5 from Santa Anita, where the Breeders’ Cup races will be run Nov. 6 and 7. "She gave ‘Franny’ all she could handle. When we did our due diligence, we saw this was a filly we wanted to own."
Sovereign Stable purchased Negligee and she was pointed to the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct, but when that race was rained off the turf, she was instead directed to the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. At 12-1 odds, Negligee won the Alcibiades by a half-length.
Interestingly, Sovereign Stable only keeps an ownership interest in its horses if they do not fully sell out when syndicated, and with Negligee, it owns no interest in her. It did, of course, make money with the syndication.
"We make our money from the mark up and from the private sale of horses," Gatsas said. "If they don’t get fully syndicated, we will keep whatever is left over. We have owned as much as 50% of horses."
There are 26 different individuals that own a part of Negligee, anywhere from 3-10%.
For Gatsas, it is like a dream come true for a kid who grew up going to the races at Rockingham and Suffolk with his father, Mike, and later followed his dad into ownership.
"We want to expand Sovereign Stable and have horses that compete at the highest level," Gatsas said.
That level has been reached with Negligee, and with 26 owners, one can only imagine the wild winner’s circle scene that would occur should she win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.