What a Girl

(Article appeared in the April 13, 2002 issue of The Blood-Horse)

David Greathouse can't remember who it was that first told him Battle Creek Girl was for sale. It was the winter of 1980 and Greathouse and his brother, John Jr., were looking to purchase some fillies off the racetrack to breed to stallions at their family's Glencrest Farm near Midway, Ky.

No matter who the middleman was, priced at $60,000 by owner Warren Kemper, Battle Creek Girl fit the bill for what the brothers were looking for. As an added bonus, she was in heat when they purchased her as a 3-year-old. They bred her to farm stallion Full Out and sent her back to the track.

Thus began a story that has now seen Battle Creek Girl (His Majesty --Far Beyond, by Nijinsky II) produce six stakes winners, five stakes producers, foals for 15 consecutive years, and a $5.3-million yearling. Her most recent success story is Parade Leader (by Kingmambo), who won the recent New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.

"When we bought her, we really didn't know if we were buying her to breed or race," David Greathouse said recently from his Glencrest office. "When she was in heat, we decided to breed her and she caught on one cover."

Previously stakes-placed for trainer Jim Padgett, the Greathouses sent Battle Creek Girl to trainer George R. "Rusty" Arnold II. In just her second start for her new connections, she won an allowance race at Churchill Downs.

"We were thrilled that she won in just her second start for us," Greathouse said, "but she had never raced on turf and with her pedigree, we thought we should try her (on grass)."

Battle Creek Girl made three starts on grass at Arlington, and was fourth in the Smart Deb Handicap and fifth in the Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT). She was then sent to trainer John Russell in California, for whom she made five starts at Del Mar, four on turf. Included was a win and close second, both in allowance company on grass.

Her final start was a fifth-place finish in Del Mar's Torrey Pines Stakes on dirt, after which she was shipped to Glencrest to begin her second career. Her first foal was a filly and for 15 straight seasons at the start of her career, Battle Creek Girl never missed a year.

"Even if they weren't runners, producing foals 15 straight years is quite an accomplishment," Greathouse said.

But they were runners. "They were good-looking foals, and we got good money for all of them," he said.

Her second offspring was an Ack Ack filly they sold as a yearling and later purchased at auction as a broodmare. Will To is the only member of the family remaining at Glencrest. Now 20, the stakes-producing mare has a yearling colt by Flying Chevron, but did not produce a foal this year. She was recently bred to Smart Strike.

Battle Creek Girl's first stakes winner was Tricky Creek, by the Glencrest stallion Clever Trick. His story is one Greathouse remembers well.

"He really is the best story, because he was the first in the family to be a real runner," he said. "About a week before the (1987 Keeneland September) sale, he jabbed something in his eye. He went through the ring and Herb Stevens bought him for $41,000, but he turned him back because of the eye."

Knowing Rusty Arnold, one of Battle Creek Girl's trainers, was looking at horses, Greathouse suggested he inspect Tricky Creek. For $40,000, Arnold purchased the colt the next morning for one of his clients, Glenn Bromagen. He originally raced for Bromagen, William Puttman, and Arnold, with Bromagen's Ashbrook Farm taking full ownership just before Tricky Creek won the 1988 Brown and Williamson Stakes (gr. II).

While Tricky Creek was still winning stakes the following year, Battle Creek Girl's next foal, Wavering Girl, was busy becoming the 1989 champion juvenile filly in Canada. By the Glencrest stallion Wavering Monarch, Wavering Girl was purchased by trainer Mike Doyle as a yearling for $38,000. She raced for the Windhaven Farm of William and Valerie Graham.

"By the time those two were running, we had bred her to Phone Trick," Greathouse recalled. "That was Speed Dialer, who Will Farish bought as a yearling."

Farish, the owner of Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., paid $235,000 for Speed Dialer, who counted the 1991 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. II) among her wins.

At that point, the Greathouses decided they would step Battle Creek Girl up a notch, sending her to Forty Niner in 1990 and Private Account in 1991. They also decided because her value had increased so much it was the appropriate time to sell her.

At the 1991 Keeneland November sale, Farish purchased the weanling Forty Niner--Battle Creek Girl colt for $200,000. He also was the underbidder on Battle Creek Girl, whom the Greathouses bought back for $500,000.

The Forty Niner colt had an OCD in his stifle, so a deal was struck between the Greathouses and Farish. The colt would return to Glencrest and Farish would purchase Battle Creek Girl. Greathouse refused to say how much Farish paid for Battle Creek Girl, except that it was for "more than the RNA price. Everybody was happy with the deal," he said.

The Forty Niner colt was syndicated among a group of friends and named Chrys and later gelded. He won 10 races and $231,324.

Battle Creek Girl's subsequent foals have been bred by Farish and longtime partner E.J. Hudson.

For Farish and Hudson, Battle Creek Girl has produced three stakes winners: Edgewood Stakes winner Everhope (by Danzig), and Kingmambo full siblings Parade Ground and Parade Leader. Parade Ground, a graded stakes winner of nearly $800,000, stands at Lane's End.

Twenty-five-year-old Battle Creek Girl has a 2-year-old filly by A.P. Indy owned by Farish and Hudson. Named New Harmony, she is in training in Camden, S.C. Battle Creek Girl was covered by Dixie Union for the second time this season on March 21. She also has a yearling colt by Belong to Me and a 3-year-old colt by Kingmambo who was sold as a yearling for $5.3 million.

Two of Battle Creek Girl's daughters are owned by Farish and Hudson: 8-year-old Battle Hymn (by Danzig) produced a Gold Fever colt this year and was bred March 25 to Seeking the Gold, and stakes producer Speed Dialer, who is due in April to Spinning World.

Another of her daughters, Everhope, is owned by Farish and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and kept at the latter's Shawnee Farm near Harrodsburg, Ky. She produced a Kingmambo colt this year and was bred March 19 to A.P. Indy.

"When we bought her, it was a nice Darby Dan family," Greathouse said reminiscently of Battle Creek Girl's dam, Far Beyond, who is a half-sister to the good stakes winner Miss Swapsco. "But Wings of Grace (dam of champion Soaring Softly and grade I winner Plenty of Grace) came later, Devil's Bag (champion) came later, Rahy (a leading sire) came in the pedigree.

"You are fortunate if you get a mare like this once in your lifetime. Everything she's been bred to has worked, and she was very easy to get in foal. You could just lead her over there and she would get in foal. She always had early foals.

"She reminded me a lot of Courtly Dee. She was that type. She produced stakes winners, plus all her fillies went on to be stakes producers.

"All her foals did was run, and run, and run."

In fact, they haven't stopped yet.