Peter M. Brant, one of the leading breeders of the 1990s, has returned to the Thoroughbred industry after a hiatus, with one of his purchases a gray Tapit filly acquired during the Nov. 9 second session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Consigned by Eaton Sales as Hip 255, the Jan. 28 foal was produced from the multiple stakes-winning Empire Maker mare Miss Empire, a half sister to grade I winner Bordonaro. Just prior to the filly going through the ring, Miss Empire was purchased by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $1,050,000, also from the Eaton offerings.
Represented by Eugenio Colombo, White Birch bought the filly after the agent and another bidder both apparently had bid $950,000 but the filly left the ring on what was listed as a $1 million bid. Colombo, in the rear of the pavilion, and the bidder inside the pavilion both apparently bid $950,000 simultaneously, with the bid board indicating the bidding had gone to $1 million.
After Eaton’s Reiley McDonald and Colombo conferred with Keeneland officials, the filly went to White Birch at $975,000.
"She's a fantastic filly, probably the best filly on the grounds, or at least the best of the Tapits,” Colombo said.
Among the best horses bred by Brant was Thunder Gulch, winner of the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Florida Derby, and Travers Stakes (all gr. I) before going on to a distinguished career as a stallion. Brant also bred French group I winner Torrential and in partnership co-bred grade I winner Wallenda.
Colombo said Brant, who bought Paid Up Subscriber for $1.1 million at the Nov. 7 Fasig-Tipton November auction, left the horse racing business to devote more time to his polo avocation.
At one time the highest-rated amateur player in the U.S., Brant is the co-founder of the Greenwich Polo Club, the Saratoga Polo Association, and the Bridgehampton Polo Club. He also chairs Brant Publications and previously operated one of the largest newsprint companies in the U.S.
Colombo said the 68-year-old Brant could no longer compete against polo players much younger than him and was returning to horse breeding and racing “with the same ambition and vision as before.”
The agent said Brant is committed to building a top broodmare band and racing stable. “The United States needs an owner with the passion and vision of Peter,” Colombo said. “He will be back at the very top, I guarantee you.”