As we approach the opening of the 2023 breeding season, the TDN staff is once again sitting down with leading breeders to find out what stallions they have chosen for their mares, and why. Today, we catch up with George Adams at Housatonic Bloodstock, who serves as the Director of Stallions and Breeding for Wasabi Ventures Stables.
This filly became Wasabi’s first stakes winner last year when she won the All Brandy Stakes at Laurel, and she also won an allowance for them after they claimed her at Monmouth. Originally a $57,000 yearling, she has good size and is well-made, and we’re sending her to one of the more exciting freshman stallions in this year’s crop in Nashville. A wickedly fast sprinter, he’s a gorgeous specimen, and the cross is a good one. Plus, she’s a half to a stakes horse of last year by Great Notion, from the same Gone West sire-line.
Wasabi really upped its game at the Keeneland November Sale, buying five mares for a total of $247,000, and this one was the most expensive at $77,000. A maiden mare, she’s a full-sister to the TDN `Rising Star’ of last summer Disarm (Gun Runner). We wanted to send her to a proven horse, and she gets that in Liam’s Map, who should still have some upside as his best-bred crop comes to the races this year. This mating results in loads of line-breeding to some great Tartan Farm names like Fappiano, In Reality, Dr. Fager, Aspidistra and Rough n Tumble.
Another purchase from Keeneland November who will be bred for the first time in 2023, she is another for whom we tried to find a proven stallion to fit. Physically, she’s a great, big filly, so should match nicely with Candy Ride. And he has done very well with the Empire Maker sire line from which this filly hails. Her family can also show some versatility on the track, and Candy Ride should play into that, as well.
MAD GRACE (8, English Channel—Floating Island, by A. P. Indy), to be bred to Aloha West
This was a hard-knocking, versatile racemare that Wasabi claimed and who will be bred for the first time in 2023. She has a lot of page, and there are turf horses and dirt horses, sprinters and routers on it. We’re sending her to Aloha West, a first-year stallion that is going to get every chance from the folks at Mill Ridge. He was exclusively a dirt sprinter himself, but his pedigree contains the same type of versatility that Mad Grace showed, and we won’t be shocked if he gets horses that run longer than he did, and on turf. He’s a beautifully balanced horse, very nicely-made, and we’re excited to have a share in him and send a couple of mares to him.
FLORAL HALL (4, Bodemeister—Painted Lady, by Broad Brush) to be bred to Greatest Honour
Another Keeneland November purchase, this one carrying her first foal by Frosted, she goes to another first-year stallion that we are very high on in Greatest Honour. Physically, he’s an incredible specimen, and we think the turn of foot he showed to win those Derby preps for Shug McGaughey over a surface and configuration that should not have suited his style means he’s got a huge shot and offers a lot of value where Spendthrift priced him. This mare’s family has had plenty of success with Pulpit-line stallions, and a few by Street Cry, who happens to be Greatest Honour’s broodmare sire. So we like this pairing a lot.
WILD FOR LOVE (13, Not for Love—Sticky, by Concern) to be bred to Tapiture
One of Wasabi’s first broodmares, Wild for Love delivered her first foal for us in the form of stakes winner Local Motive by the Maryland stallion Divining Rod, a son of Tapit. She has a two-year-old filly of ’23 by Maximus Mischief that brought $160,000 as a yearling in 2022, but since then we’ve gone back to that Tapit/Pulpit line with her–she’s in foal to Tacitus currently, and we will send her to Tapiture this spring. Tapiture gets such a high proportion of runners and winners, and plenty of stakes horses, too–and his numbers with Not For Love mares are pretty incredible (4-for-4 winners to runners, two stakes winners plus another black-type placed). We hope we get another Maryland-bred runner to earn us breeder bonuses for years just like Local Motive.
WOWWHATABRAT (11, Louis Quatorize—Kim the Brat, by Smart Strike) to be bred to Blofeld
This mare was a warrior, running 74 times over eight years and earning over $300,000. She was stakes-placed at two and four, and comes from the family of New Money Honey, Any Given Saturday, and a good horse named Second of June. After slipping last year, she is carrying her first foal by Jimmy Creed and looks like she’ll be our first mare to foal this year. We are going to breed her back locally to Blofeld—the numbers he has put up are pretty amazing, with his first 14 foals to race all having won, and now he’s sitting at 29 winners from 37 runners (out of just 50 foals). He had the winners of both Maryland Million two-year-old races in 2022. He has a couple of decent winners out of a full-sister to Wowwhatabrat, and this mating doubles up on Broodmare of the Year Misty Morn, and adds two more crosses of her dam, Grey Flight. Too far back to count as the Rasmussen Factor, but hopefully still effective.
Interested in sharing your own mating plans? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.