When Tony Lacy was signing sale tickets for yearlings last year, the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and Four Star Sales consultant didn’t know that two of the horses would distinguish themselves by having siblings running in this year’s Kentucky Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I).
Lacy purchased a half-sister to Big Brown, now named My Chestnut Girl, for $57,000 at the Keeneland September yearling auction for Malih Lahej Al Basti, a member of the Emirates Racing Authority in Dubai. Lacy’s name also appeared on the Keeneland September ticket for Mr. Hot Stuff, a full brother to Colonel John.
While reported as a sale, the transaction involving Mr. Hot Stuff was actually a buy-back at $200,000, so the Tiznow colt returned to his breeder, Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm.
“We were interested in the colt, but my guys weren’t able to swing it because we had bought enough horses early on,” Lacy said. “We were going to be in the $200,000 to $250,000 range, but I was told by WinStar that $300,000 was basically where it (the reserve) was going to be at. They said, ‘Go inside and check with your people to see if you’re going to be there. If not, and he doesn’t bring it (the reserve), sign the ticket. It’s a little flattering to have my name on it, but I don’t want to blow it up to anything more than it was.”
Doug Cauthen, WinStar’s president and chief executive officer, said Mr. Hot Stuff is being prepared for racing at High Point Training Center in La Grange, Ky.
“He’s a big black colt that looks a lot like his sire, Tiznow,” Cauthen said. He’s doing well; he’s got a beautiful way of going.”
My Chestnut Girl, a daughter of Horse Chestnut, is in England with trainer Henry Cecil. The filly was Hip No. 5031 in the Keeneland September catalog.
“I loved the Nureyev broodmare line with the Sadler’s Wells line in Horse Chestnut,” Lacy said. “We had been looking for a nice Horse Chestnut filly for a few years, and I knew Big Brown had just won by 11 ¼ lengths on the turf even though it wasn’t on her (sale catalog) page. I thought she could bring $100,000 because she was actually a very pretty filly, very balanced with lovely walk. I called Malih and he said, ‘Look, go for whatever you feel. If she makes $100,000, just do what you think is right.’ I was actually a little surprised when I got her for $57,000, but I was also delighted.”
My Chestnut Girl is showing promise, but there’s no hurry to get her to the races, according to Lacy.
“She’s a growthy filly, very stretchy,” Lacy said. “Big Brown ran for the first time at Saratoga (in early September), and I think her time schedule will be very much the same. Henry Cecil takes his time with 2-year-olds, especially the fillies, and he won’t ask her to do more than she’s able to do. He’s very patient, and Mr. Al Basti is very patient. They both realize she’s quite a valuable little filly right now.”
While he waits for My Chestnut Girl to be ready to run, Al Basti is enjoying the filly’s close connection to Big Brown and his growing fame after winning the Florida Derby (gr. I).
“As a member of the Emirates Racing Authority, he (Al Basti) is very aware of American racing because of which horses might be the next ones to come to Dubai for the World Cup (UAE-I),” Lacy said. “He really understands all the excitement about the Kentucky Derby and how important it is.”
Al Basti was in Kentucky for the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), and he is scheduled to attend Saturday’s Derby to watch Big Brown.
“It’s something he never would have imagined that he would have been involved in, in any sort of way,” Lacy said. “I’m just delighted he’s reaping the benefits of this and that he’s trusting me. I get more of a kick out of that than I do the sort of little bit of glory that you get from buying a filly like that. He’s a fantastic client.”