Talented 3-year-old colt Thousand Words seems to have an uncanny knack for knowing exactly how fast he needs to run to hit the wire first. The son of Pioneerof the Nile is undefeated in three career starts, but his largest margin of victory is the three-quarters of a length by which he won last Saturday's Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
“He knows exactly what he has to do,” said bloodstock agent Joe Seitz, who consigned the colt on behalf of his family's Brookdale Sales when he sold for a $1 million price tag at the Keeneland September sale. “Every time he's asked for more, he just does it so well.”
Thousand Words' steady demeanor and intelligence may well have come from his dam, the multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Pomeroy's Pistol. At the very least, Seitz noted, he inherited her conformation.
“He's so much like his mother,” the agent said. “It's so great when mares reproduce what they are.”
Unusually, Pomeroy's Pistol hit the trifecta of being bred, owned, and trained by Amy Tarrant, also the breeder of Thousand Words. The Vermont native got into racehorses in the early 2000's and has had success both on the track and as a commercial breeder.
Her first horse, in fact, was a Florida-bred mare named Bold World (Fortunate Prospect). Tarrant purchased her as a 2-year-old at the 2001 OBS April sale, and under the conditioning of Ron Taylor, Bold World won seven stakes races through a 13-start career.
“'Well this is easy,' I thought then,” Tarrant said, laughing.
Tarrant's association with the Seitz family began as Bold World's racing career ended, and Fred Seitz (Joe's father) consigned her to the 2002 Keeneland November sale.
A couple years later, Tarrant was training a mare she owned named Habiboo. Just as the multiple graded stakes-placed daughter of Unbridled's Song was winding down her career, Joe Seitz called Tarrant on a whim to ask about her plans for the mare.
“I'd heard from everyone that (Fred) was just a straight up guy, very honest to deal with,” Tarrant said. “So when Joe called and I heard his last name, I immediately knew the kind of person I was working with.”
Instead of selling Habiboo as a broodmare, Tarrant decided she'd try her hand at breeding. She knew she wouldn't want to keep working as a trainer forever, but she also wanted to find a way to stay in the industry; thus, Hardacre Farm was born.
With the younger Seitz' help, Tarrant established her broodmare band on the Florida farm. She sends her mares to Kentucky to be bred, for the most part, but they foal in Florida to take advantage of the state-bred program. Tarrant is very hands-on with their day-to-day care, despite splitting her time between the Sunshine State and her home in Vermont.
“I was very impressed with her right away,” Seitz said. “She'd done it all herself and was really knowledgeable. She's become a dear friend and a wonderful client.”
Tarrant also continued to train through 2017, saddling the winners of 112 races from 1,137 starters.
It was her homebred Pomeroy's Pistol that launched the breeder/owner/trainer to the next level of the racing game. The mare took Tarrant to the 2011 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, finishing a very respectable fourth.
“That was a real personal highlight for me, for sure,” Tarrant recalled.
On the bloodstock side, Habiboo struck first when her 2010 colt Transparent (Bernardini) sold for $725,000 as a yearling. He just missed black type in the 2013 G2 Pennsylvania Derby, finishing fourth and the gelding wound up earning over $400,000 in his career.
Another son, Life Imitates Art (More Than Ready), won a Grade 3 in 2016, and Bellera (a 2016 filly by Bernardini) won the G3 Comely in 2019.
Tarrant's commercial breeding operation grew its reputation with the foals out of Pomeroy's Pistol as well. Her first, a filly by Smart Strike, brought $325,000 at auction, and Tarrant kept her second foal, a colt by Malibu Moon, to race. When Thousand Words was born in 2017, both Tarrant and Seitz thought they had a special horse on their hands, but their faith in him grew as he matured.
“He was a nice baby, but he just blossomed into such a man before the yearling sale,” Seitz said. “He's just a sculpture, absolutely perfect with impeccable conformation. It was wonderful to watch him develop; he was just so easy and so professional, and it sounds like he still is.”
When the colt hammered for $1 million and went to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Tarrant couldn't have been more pleased.
“We knew he would be the star of the sale for our farm, but I was thrilled that we got what we got,” she told bloodhorse.com. “It's great for the farm, and you put so much out there that it's great to get some of it back. We've done it long enough now that we know which ones will do well. He's worth every penny.”
Building on her son's success in last fall's G2 Los Alamitos Futurity, Pomeroy's Pistol brought $475,000 as a supplement to last month's Keeneland January sale. She was in foal to Arrogate and was purchased by agent Mike Ryan.
Tarrant has enjoyed the ride thus far with Thousand Words and is looking forward to cheering him on as he continues to progress toward a run in the 2020 Kentucky Derby. He would be her first starter in the Run for the Roses, another milestone for the hard-working all-around horsewoman.
“It's been a long, wonderful journey,” Tarrant summarized. “I'm excited to watch him.”
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