For Roderick Wachman and David Egan, the 10-year-old Cherokee Run mare Cayala is a gift that keeps on giving.
Egan pinhooked Cayala as a weanling in 2007, paying $75,000 for her at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale and re-selling the filly for $140,000 the following September at Keeneland's yearling sale – a tidy profit. When Cayala's racing career ended (she ran both in the United States and Europe), Wachman and Egan bought her as a broodmare prospect for 17,000 guineas (about $27,500) at the 2011 Tattersalls December sale.
Cayala failed to get in foal her first year when bred to Darley's Street Sense, but a 2013 mating to the young Spendthrift Farm stallion Into Mischief resulted in pregnancy, and Cayala was offered for sale that November at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale by John Stuart's Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services. When bidding stopped at $52,000 and she failed to exceed her reserve price, the partners decided to take her home.
Cayala foaled a colt on April 1, but he was no April Fool's joke. Consigned by Wachman's Kingswood Farm, agent, he topped the first session of Book 2 of the 2015 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale when J.S.B. Stable bid $150,000 on the newly turned yearling. The colt was named One Liner and now races for WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing. Trainer Todd Pletcher has guided him through a perfect career of three wins from three starts.
His most recent victory came in his stakes and two-turn debut, Monday's Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park, a race that gives the winner 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Under John Velazquez, One Liner came from off the pace to run down Petrov in the stretch and draw out to win by 3 ½ lengths.
Cayala was one of just two mares owned by Wachman that foaled in 2014.
“Even a blind pig will find a truffle now and then,” said Wachman, a native of County Kildare, Ireland, who started Kingswood Farm in Kentucky in 2001 and now specializes in buying maiden mares, breeding them and re-selling them before they have their first foal.
Cayala (bred in the name of Kingswood Farm, although Wachman said Egan deserves credit as co-breeder) was meant to be part of that program. “We're going to hang on to this one,” he said of Cayala after One Liner's Southwest Stakes win.
Cayala did not have a foal in 2015, but she has a yearling full brother to One Liner and is in foal to Ashford Stud's Verrazano on a May 12 cover.
The dam of One Liner was one of four mares Wachman bred to Into Mischief in 2013, the year after the first crop by the son of Harlan's Holiday hit the track. His stud fee was $7,500 at the beginning of the 2013 breeding season. It now stands at $75,000.
Included in that initial group of foals for Into Mischief was two-time Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents (now standing alongside his sire at Spendthrift Farm), Canadian champion Miss Mischief and graded stakes winner Vyjack.
The other three mares bred to Into Mischief by Wachman – Elusive Temper, Ubusuku and Surmount – all sold for a profit in 2013.
“I love Into Mischief,” said Wachman. “He's just a good stallion and was moving his mares up at the very beginning. We were quite familiar with Goldencents (Wachman liked him as a yearling despite a $5,500 sale price at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall sale). What I really like about Into Mischief is that he gets a good type of a horse; they look like runners. To me, that's unfortunately a very important part of the business. You have to have something saleable instead of something that runs. People want to buy models. The cart is in front of the horse.”
One Liner had the looks and the ability to run.
“He's with a barn that knows how to develop horses,” Wachman added.
One Liner broke his maiden at Saratoga in July then was flattered when the second- and third-place finishers came back to run two-three behind Practical Joke – another son of Into Mischief – in the G1 Hopeful. He developed what Pletcher described as “baby issues” and was sent to WinStar Farm for some time off in the late summer and fall. He came back to Pletcher's South Florida stable in December, then won a Jan. 26 allowance race at Gulfstream Park by 2 ½ lengths.
“His pedigree would suggest a mile but he certainly won like a horse that another sixteenth of a mile won't bother,” said Wachman.
Can he successfully stretch out to the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby? “Only time will tell,” he said. “He was very green when he ran (in the Southwest).”
Wachman has been around horses most of his life. After graduation from high school in Ireland he came to the United States and landed a job with Russell Jones at the Walnut-Green Bloodstock Agency in Pennsylvania. He returned to Ireland to attend college and worked for yearling consignors and Cheveley Park Stud in Newmarket before heading out to Australia and New Zealand. He went back to England for a year and then to Kentucky in 1994, where he work for Fred Seitz at Brookdale Farm and then for John Stuart at Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services.
“All were great educators,” Wachman said. “Russell Jones taught me the business when I first moved here. In Australia, they really give young people an opportunity, and that was a great experience.”
Fellow Irishman Eric Foster was a partner in Kingswood Farm until he married and relocated to Australia in 2009. Part of Kingswood's business was boarding horses at a farm south of Lexington off Harrodsburg Road, but Wachman gave up that business. He retained the Kingswood Farm brand and consigns horses in that name.
“I stopped farming in 2014 but now breed, race, trade and buy and sell horses,” he said.
He's also keeping an eye on the 2017 Kentucky Derby contenders.
“There's a lot to look forward to and absolutely we are excited,” he said. “But I'm realistic, too. There are 200 horses on the Derby trail and there will only be one winner.”
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