Gainesway opens door to Alex admirers; plans formal unveiling for early January.

Gainesway opens door to Alex admirers; plans formal unveiling for early January.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Afleet Alex Adapting to Stud Life

Afleet Alex, who recently arrived at Gainesway Farm, where he will stand for a $40,000 stud fee, is adjusting beautifully to his new life, according to Gainesway director of sales Michael Hernon, who said the horse will be shown Friday to breeders interested in sending mares to him.

Hernon said Gainesway will have a more elaborate open house to showcase Afleet Alex Jan. 8, the day before the Keeneland January sale starts.

"We're getting a ton of responses already, as you can imagine considering how charismatic and brilliant he was," Hernon said. "He's just a class act. He has a super temperament and is a beautiful horse to be around. We're going to start showing him (Thursday) afternoon. I don't know how many breeders will be here, but there will be a lot. It's a bit more for the people who want to breed mares to him and who want to see the horse. It's more for the business side.

"We are going to have an open house type of welcoming on the Sunday before the Keeneland January sale. Jess Jackson will be here, as well the guys from Cash is King and Tim Ritchey, so we'll put on a splash program."

Hernon said Afleet Alex is still in quarantine, and will not be turned out in a paddock until 30 days after arrival.

"Although he's in quarantine right now, he's in a spot where we can show him," Hernon said. "When they come in to the farm, you can't just turn horses out where other horses are because we don't know yet what they're carrying, if anything. It's just a safety precaution. Plus, this horse, as are all future stallions, must be vaccinated for EVA, so that's another reason why we want to keep him out of the immediate closeness of other horses.

"Following vet recommendation, we'll probably start turning him out in a paddock about 30 days from his arrival. In the meantime we'll continue to let him down and hand-walk him twice a day, as Tim was doing."

Ritchey rode in the van with Afleet Alex for the approximately 20-hour drive from Florida to Kentucky to make sure the horse arrived safely.

Hernon feels Afleet Alex has all the tools needed to make an attractive stallion prospect.

"He's attractively priced, which I think is important with him coming in late," Hernon said. "Looking at the long term, we want to position the horse right and get top books of mares, which will further improve his chances to succeed. What happens from the get-go is vital. He was such a precocious horse, and given his pedigree, it makes him an intriguing horse to mate. When you look back at his race record and his speed and the way he developed, there is no doubt he had it all."

According to Hernon, Afleet Alex is under a syndicate agreement. "Mr. Jackson bought a certain amount of equity, as we did, and Cash is King has retained their portion. We took a few shares and handled the sale of them to breeders who are committed to the horse and will support him through his life, particularly through years three and four, which will guarantee him high-quality mares in those years. Because there is overwhelming demand for the horse, Cash is King want to keep some equity, so they will be coming to town for the January sales and plan to buy a few mares. And we'll evaluate at that time their equity positions vs. the demand for the horse and look at the complexion of the picture."