Barbara D. Livingston

'Nothing Elaborate' About Mating that Produced Corinthian

Ben Walden, Jr., who bred Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian with Hargus Sexton, said there was "nothing elaborate" about why he chose to mate the Easy Goer mare Multiply to Claiborne Farm's stallion Pulpit.

Ben Walden, Jr., who with Hargus Sexton bred Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian, said there was “nothing elaborate” about why he chose to mate the Easy Goer mare Multiply to Claiborne Farm's stallion Pulpit.

In trying to determine which sire to go to for the mare owned by his Gracefield Equine and Sexton, Walden said he recalled advice that his father, the late Ben Walden, Sr., gave him.

“My dad used to emphasize the physicality of the mating as being the most important factor,” the younger Walden said of his father, who managed Dearborn Farm. “So this was strictly a balance mating. I thought Puplit would fit her because he was a well-balanced, medium horse and she had size and lot of bone.”

Corinthian’s sire, Pulpit, is among the leading sires in North America in 2007 and has been represented by 10 stakes winners, including four flat graded stakes winners and one graded steeplechase winner, this year. In addition to Corinthian, Pulpit is the sire of Del Mar Oaks (gr. I) winner Rutherienne, Peter Pan (gr. II) winner Sightseeing, and Jaipur Stakes (gr. III) winner Ecclesiastic.

Walden bought then-2-year-old Multiply for $20,000 from the Claiborne Farm consignment to the 1994 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages sale. She never raced but quickly became a success as a broodmare. So far, the seven yearlings produced from the mare have sold at public auction for $4,690,000. Her first foal was grade II winner Desert Hero. Corinthian is the second stakes winner produced by the mare, who died earlier this year. Corinthian was sold for $385,000 at the 2004 Faisg-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale.

Corinthian’s breeders have a long history of success that dates back to when Walden’s grandfather, Julien Walden, was a prominent Kentucky tobacco farmer. Sexton, who had interests in insurance, was also involved in the tobacco warehouse business with Julien Walden. Sexton entered the Thoroughbred business with Ben Walden, Jr., and Vinery in the 1980s. The Sextons have seven or eight broodmares in partnership with Walden and another 30 to 35 on their own.

Gracefield, which is located where two prominent Standardbred farms previously operated in Lexington, is owned by Walden, who also is president of the Hurricane Hall operation near Georgetown, Ky. Hurricane Hall is a partnership comprising Walden, Brad Kelley, Pat Madden, and David Hanley.

Walden said he and Sexton retained ownership in  Be Fruitful, Corinthian’s full sister, who recently broke her maiden at Belmont Park.

The Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner also has a connection to the Beck family’s Gainesway Farm, as did Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow did one race earlier.

Corinthian, who enters stud in 2008 at Gainesway, “has just great quality,” said Michael Hernon, Gainesway’s director of sales. “He is exciting to look at. He's big, bold, masculine, and athletic. We are just delighted beyond words.”

Hernon said Gainesway was also interested in Corinthian as a stallion because the colt’s female family is replete with successful sires, including Lyphard and Nureyev.

See Related Story: Corinthian Blows Away Foes in Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile