On September 13, one outstanding yearling colt shone like a copper penny—his breeder Alina Muther’s Copper Penny Stables, that is. Consigned to the recent Keeneland September sale by Gerry Dilger’s Dromoland Farm, the dark bay son of Orb – Tally Ho Dixie, by Dixieland Band brought $1 million from the team of Eric Fein and Kerri Radcliffe.
This million-dollar moment was bittersweet for Muther, a resident of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and her small operation. “That moment that he brought that price, I wanted to put my head down and cry, and not in a good way,” she recalled. Just last year, Brookdale Sales consigned the weanling colt to last year’s Keeneland November sale, where he went under the hammer for $175,000 to Trabu Purchases.
The Michigan native added, “While I was happy—of course, happy—for the people, hopefully someone will come back and buy one of my weanlings and yearlings in the future. It’s a little tough. It is a little tough to leave that kind of money on the table.” The extra funds would have gone to good use; Muther said, “It gives you money to go out and be able to purchase better broodmares.” Despite the fact she did not pinhook the Orb colt herself, Muther is thrilled for his new team. “Being a good sport about it, I wish the new connections all the luck in the world with him,” she said, adding hopefully, “You never know. Maybe this Orb will do really well.”
Currently, Muther maintains eight broodmares, including stakes-placed Tally Ho Dixie, whom she missed out on purchasing as a youngster. At the 2012 Keeneland January sale, she stumbled across the same mare—by then the dam of graded-placed stakes winner Kyriaki (by Scat Daddy)—who failed to attain her $72,000 reserve at that auction, then purchased her privately. Three years later, Muther had planned to send Tally Ho Dixie to Arch, but when the mare was rejected for his book, mated her to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb instead. “He’s just a beautiful stallion. I love Malibu Moon ,” she said enthusiastically.
For 2018, Tally Ho Dixie is carrying a full sibling to the seven-figure yearling. “I knew that he was a nice-looking weanling, so why not take a shot at redoing the breeding, since you have one really nice one on the ground? I was happy in that regard when I saw the colt go for a million,” Muther said. Along with four other mares, Tally Ho Dixie is boarded at Joe and Vanessa Seitz’s Foxborough Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. Muther boards one mare at Rhapsody Farm near Plymouth, New York.
In Maryland, she has two mares at Anchor and Hope Farm near Port Deposit. The Old Line State holds a special place in Muther’s heart. She and her husband own a home in Annapolis; Copper Penny-bred Tritap (by Tapit), a graded-placed track record setter, stood several seasons at Heritage Stallions near Chesapeake City. At the 2008 Keeneland November sale, Muther spent $75,000 on the Ikari mare Victory Road, then carrying Tritap, two of whose full siblings later became black-type winners. At the 2010 Keeneland September sale, Tritap sold for $450,000 to Ron Winchell.
Muther said, “Unfortunately, Tritap died [in 2016], but I was able to get two foals out of my Maryland mares, two colts, that I just sold to Brandon and Ali Rice [of RiceHorse Stables] down in Ocala to have them start.” She plans to keep them in the Mid-Atlantic, noting, “A couple of ’em, I’ve kept to race myself because maybe they were Pennsylvania-bred. Or the two Tritaps, for example—they’re Maryland-bred by a Maryland sire, so they’d be eligible for the Maryland Million and Maryland races that would be restricted to Maryland-breds.” A yearling Congrats filly out of her mare Ever Adored sold for $140,000 to CJ Thoroughbreds at the recent Keeneland September sale, but Muther wanted to keep her. She said, “The racing part is tough because it’s hard to turn down—like, I would have loved to have kept the Congrats filly, but it’s hard to turn down $140,000 when you really need the money, especially towards the end of the year.”
Hopefully, Tritap’s progeny will do her proud, just as her Orb colt, or Copper Penny-bred graded stakes winner and 2013 Kentucky Derby starter Falling Sky, have. Muther mused, “Truly, what you need in the business is the ability or the good luck to get a good one once in a while, which can carry you through the bad times.”