Handicap Division

Virtual Stable Additions pt. II

Heir of Light (outside) after finishing last in the Darley Alcibiades.

In the second part of the virtual stable additions, I have three fillies which would make for exciting prospects to watch in 2020. The first on the list is Heir of Light, a 2YO by The Factor out of an Unbridled’s Song mare named La Song. She sold for $100,000 at the OBS March sale to Robert Masterson and Crystal Springs Farm.

I’ve seen this filly in person a couple times already and she’s been impressive both times even if the performance didn’t match the appearance. The first time was in the Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, where I believe she was thrown a bit over her head. She was asked to compete with the likes of eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly winner British Idiom and Gr. I winner Perfect Alibi. The best she did in the race was seventh before throwing in the towel.

In the next race at Churchill Downs in late November, she broke much better but had a terrible time and faded to the back of the field by the home stretch. The numbers suggest she regressed even more in this race from the previous and especially so since the beginning of the year. However, her first two races give me hope that she’ll improve with age, especially considering her pedigree. The Factor is a son of War Front, who has the ability to throw several types of racehorses. His sons show a wide range of preference for mares: Declaration of War recently sired the Melbourne Cup winner and The Factor also has impressive horses on the grass like Bandua and Factor This. If she doesn’t show any improvement racing on the dirt, a start on the grass could yield favorable results.

Temple City Terror

Temple City Terror at Keeneland in October.

If you’ve paid any attention to my social media, you know I am obsessed with this gorgeous daughter of Temple City out of a More Than Ready mare. She was sold for $22,000 at Keeneland September to Pocket Aces Racing.

I know it’s not in PAR’s wheelhouse to breed mares, so I really hope whoever purchases TCT for a broodmare really thinks her career through because she’s got a lot of potential on and off the track.

As a racemare, she’s as tough and gritty as they come; she doesn’t know how to quit. Since she made her debut in January, she’s run almost every month and steadily improved in every start. At Keeneland in October, she came devastatingly close to breaking her maiden, but came up on the wrong end of a photo with a horse who sold for twelve and a half times what she did as a yearling and who was trained by Chad Brown, the king of turf racing in America. When I say I was bitter over it, that might be an understatement. I was some kind of salty over that picture.

However, she finally got her last to first victory in November over Churchill’s lawn, and she had energy to spare. The video of that race is below.

Off the track, she is the sweetest filly -contrary to what her name might imply. There is no terror in this mare, but there is flashy. Pocket Aces Racing recently posted pictures of her from her vacation in Ocala, and she’s a showboat. She loves having her picture taken! I think she’ll get better with age and in the cooler weather. She’s all legs and not very heavy, but she seemed to prefer racing in the later part of the season. Considering how many nice races are run in the fall, you will not hear me complaining. She is returning to her trainer Brendan Walsh at the beginning of January.

Heavens Whisper

At one point, this gorgeous girl was available to be claimed for $6,250 at Oaklawn Park. For a lot of people, 2019 was the year of the claimer and I have nothing against it. She went onto my claim watch back in April because I firmly believed she was going to step forward later in the year. I was not wrong…I’m just devastated I couldn’t claim her for myself. She’s tough as nails, runs like a really good mare, and she could have a fantastic 2020 ahead of her if they don’t go crazy putting her in over her head. She’s only run off the board twice in fourteen starts this year with the best figures of her life being put up in the last three starts.

Pedigree wise, I am in love with Hat Trick (JPN) and it’s been that way for a long time. I think she’s going to make a great broodmare if they branch out and invest in stallions with a strong female line like Flatter, Mendelssohn or Mr. Speaker. Her dam is very young with only one other named filly to her credit, and her daughter is already showing a lot of improvement despite only being four. Now, maybe she’s not the Kentucky blue hen prospect everyone strives for at the sales, but someone with a vision and with the patience to let her find a spot in their program will be greatly rewarded. Since Heavens Whisper’s sire is in Brazil, I can’t access statistics for Hat Trick (JPN) as a broodmare sire, but with Sunday Silence up there, I imagine he’s got some potential.

Personally, she’s one of my favorite rags-to-riches stories of 2019. Vasilika was another and she went for very big money to Japanese interests. I would love to see American breeders and owners start taking an interest in bringing back sound, stamina laced pedigrees to tracks. This trend of breed to sell to breed is going to kill this industry. If the connections opt to sell Heavens Whisper at the conclusion of her career, I hope whoever buys her really puts thought into who she visits and doesn’t just throw her at the first commercial sire in the book. She deserves the best chance to make her mark.

2 replies »