This past fall, Bar of Gold chose the perfect moment to shine. Already a multiple state-bred stakes winner, the then-five-year-old mare had been knocking on the door of a graded triumph for some time. On November 4 at Del Mar, she finally delivered, defeating some of the country’s best racemares in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). A New York homebred for Chester and Mary Broman, Bar of Gold upset a talented field at odds of 66-1.
“It was an extraordinary thing, but that horse had a whole lot of ability. We liked the way it was bred,” said Chester Broman. Bar of Gold is by Medaglia d'Oro out of the Bromans’ homebred Khancord Kid. That daughter of Lemon Drop Kid won the 2010 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3T) and was named that year’s New York-bred champion turf mare. At the 2000 Keeneland January Sale, Broman purchased Khancord Kid’s dam, the Storm Cat mare Confidently, then in foal to Mr. Prospector, for $1 million. A full sister to stakes winner Yankee Gentleman , eventual broodmare sire of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah , Confidently was out of grade 1 winner Key Phrase (by Flying Paster).
Despite the best efforts of trainer John Kimmel, Bar of Gold couldn’t seem to manage a graded win until the Breeders’ Cup. The mare placed in last year’s Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (G2) and Ruffian Stakes (G2); in previous seasons, she hit the board in several other graded stakes. Broman credits the team of Kimmel and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., for Bar of Gold’s Breeders’ Cup success. While most of the field chased speedy Unique Bella on the lead, Ortiz rated his mount and Bar of Gold just nosed out runner-up Ami's Mesa for the victory. Among her rivals in the Filly & Mare Sprint was eleventh-place finisher and stablemate Highway Star, long regarded as the superior of the two mares. The millionaire daughter of Girolamo, also a Bromans homebred, had roundly defeated Bar of Gold several times before and won four graded stakes wins in her career.
The Bromans had already planned to head west to the Breeders’ Cup with Highway Star and brought Bar of Gold along as an afterthought. Broman remembered, “We went out at the last minute. I was told when we nominated Highway Star to go and we talked about it—I might want to nominate the other horse.” He added, “I figured I was out there with Highway Star…[and] might as well bring out the other horse,” noting, “And it was a stroke of luck and it worked out right.” While Highway Star will continue running this year, Bar of Gold has been retired with a record of seven wins from 25 starts and earnings of $1,551,000. Bar of Gold’s mate for the 2018 season is undecided. “When we pick out all our breedings, we do it by committee,” Broman said of an expert group that includes Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock and pedigree consultant Alan Porter.
Broman purchased 300-acre Chestertown Farm—near Chestertown, New York, forty-five minutes north of Albany—in 1995. A TOBA member for two decades, Broman has been New York’s leading breeder several times. A Long Island native, he was born in Pinelawn, went to school in Farmingdale, and currently resides in Babylon. For Broman, the owner of a general contracting company, the equine industry marked another summit to be conquered. He said, “Well, it was just a challenge. I always wanted to be a farmer. You know, I worked hard all my life,” adding, “I’m a businessman and I sort of made it work.”
As of 2017, the Bromans own 33 weanlings (now yearlings), 33 yearlings (now two-year-olds), 26 juveniles (now three-year-olds), and 15 older horses (now five-year-olds and up). Currently, Chestertown Farm is home to about three dozen broodmares, including Artemis Agrotera, winner of the 2013 Frizette Stakes (G1) and 2014 Ballerina Stakes (G1). Dam of a Tapit colt last year, she is in foal to Uncle Mo for 2018. The Bromans also bred Friends Lake, who won the 2004 Florida Derby (G1) at 37-1. But the highlight for Chester Broman was Bar of Gold’s Breeders’ Cup glory. “It had to be the race the other day,” he recalled, modestly adding, “So that was an exciting time.”