When breeder Buck Woodson brought his weanling colt by War Front to Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale, he expected the horse would command good money.
“I put a reserve of $99,000 on him,” said the 84-year-old Charles Town native. “I knew he had the look of a good horse that was going to bring some money. There were a lot of people who tried to buy him from me privately before the sale.”
However, when the gavel dropped for Hip 608 Nov. 9, the sale price of $190,000 represented a record auction price for a West Virginia-bred weanling, besting the $185,000 brought by a Van Nistelrooy colt at the 2007 Keeneland sale. Consigned by Millenium Farms, agent for Buckstud, the War Front colt was bought by Kingsbury Stables.
The $190,000 price tag also rated substantially higher than the $115,000 median sale price for weanlings through the auction’s first three sessions and, six horses later, a weanling filly by prominent sire Candy Ride , out of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Desert Stormer would command the same $190,000 figure.
While his horse began generating more and more attention as the sale drew closer, Woodson knew he had the right pieces early on.
“From when he was very, very young he was a good looking colt who just had all the attributes of a good horse,” Woodson explained. “He has great size to him and an unbelievable head on him. Just a great mind and attitude. You could do anything you wanted with him. You’d ask him to stop and stand correctly and he’d just do it. You could stand next to him and set a firecracker off and he wouldn’t move.”
“People have told me he looks like The Factor," said Woodson. "I just loved the Danzig line with my mare and he (War Front) was in the price range I was looking at, so we decided on that mating. If his book wasn’t full for the coming year, I’d have still bred to him for the $60,000.”
The colt’s dam, the Old Trieste mare Dancing Trieste, raced six times and never won. His second dam, Argentinian-bred La Promenade (by Southern Halo), was group I-placed in South America. However, it was the potential cross Woodson saw with a stallion he stands that lead him to purchase her.
“We originally bought the mare for $20,000 to breed to the stallion we have (Ghostly Minister). Two of the best horses Old Trieste had were Minister Eric, who was out of a Deputy Minister mare and Sinister Minister, whose dam’s sire was a son of Deputy Minister. I thought it could work if we flipped the mating and bred our Deputy Minister stallion to an Old Trieste mare. That’s really why we bought her.”
Dancing Trieste has a yearling and 2-year-old by Ghostly Minister that Woodson currently keeps on his farm.
While it’s too soon to tell where he’ll end up, Woodson has heard rumors the War Front weanling, who he said has “as nice of a conformation you’ll find,” will end up out West.
“I’d heard second hand that the horse might eventually go out to Bob Baffert,” said Woodson. “You’d always love to see a horse you bred stay East, but that would be fine by me.”