Nathan Fox is hoping for some déjà vu with Purim, a son of Dynaformer he is standing at Richland Hills Farm in Midway, Ky. Fox put his name on the Thoroughbred industry map more than 20 years ago, going out on a limb to buy Dynaformer for $700,000 from breeder Joseph Allen. Fox didn't have the money, but he convinced a bank that he could syndicate 80% of the horse for $22,500 per share, even though, as he admits today, “no one was buying any horses then” because of a slump in the breeding industry.
“I felt like that Sham-Wow guy,” Fox recalled. “I called people up and didn't let them get off the phone until I sold them a share. Most people I sold shares to didn't even know what a syndicate was. One person came to the farm on a tour and didn't leave until I sold him a share. I had to explain to him how he was going to get his money back. He still owns it. I don't know how many millions he's made.”
Dynaformer got off to a fast start, with five stakes winners form his first crop of 47 foals—46 of which were starters. He has brought stamina and soundness into the breed—two fading qualities in an era of Tiffany horses.
Fox said he made some mistakes with Dynaformer, selling his own shares when he needed to pay the banker (“I won't do that again,” he vowed), and after standing him for five years, the horse was moved to Robert and Blythe Clay's Three Chimneys Farm, also in Midway, where his success has only gotten bigger.
Dynaformer, with 114 stakes winners lifetime from 1,158 foals of racing age, became one of the Thoroughbred breed's elite stallions. His 9.8% stakes winners from foals puts him in extremely select company. With the victory last weekend by Augustin Stable's Rainbow View in the Gallorette Handicap at Pimlico, Dynaformer moved into the lead among sires of 2010 American Graded Stakes winners, with five.
What made Fox take a chance on Dynaformer in the first place?
“The main thing I focused on was I wanted a horse that came from a sire-producing family,” he said. “When I got here from Texas, two of my favorite horses were Roberto and Darby Creek Road, and Dyaformer is by Roberto out of a half sister to Darby Creek Road.”
The one thing missing from Dynaformer's resume is a top son at stud, and Fox believes Purim, out of the Lord At War mare Kirsteena, will fill that hole. Raced by E.J. Sukley, one of Dynaformer's original shareholders, Purim is named for a Jewish holiday, according to Fox. He was unraced at two, then won American Graded Stakes at three, four, and five (on dirt and turf), capped by the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes at Keeneland.
“I couldn't be more confident in where I sit, that I am repeating history with Purim,” he said. “It's scary how many similarities there are.”
The absence of a successful stallion son traces to several things, said pedigree authority Frank Mitchell.
“With his earlier crops in particular, even the good colts didn't get that much of a shot because they didn't' have big fancy families,” Mitchell said. “And, realistically, Dynaformer's been unlucky. I guess you'd say his three best sons were Barbaro—by 10 lengths—Perfect Drift, and probably Purim third. Purim is a beautiful horse, much better looking than his sire.”
Barbaro died as a result of injuries suffered in the 2006 Preakness Stakes. Perfect Drift was a gelding, and Purim is just getting started, his first crop being yearlings of 2010.
Dynaformer hasn't enjoyed the commercial success other stallions with his performance records at stud have had. “He doesn't get 2-year-olds or much in the way of sprinters,” Mitchell said. “And so many buyers want 2-year-olds and colts that have a fair shot at being stallions. But he is one of the very ones in terms of production and quality of offspring.”
“The breed needs more soundness and stamina, and you're seeing it come through Dynaformer's daughters right now,” said Fox. “Dynaformer is a tough, aggressive horse. Purim is smart, classy and an easy horse to get along with. But he's no lapdog, either.”
Copyright © 2010, Ray Paulick
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