The success of prominent broodmare Life Happened has been indelibly linked to the ascension of Carrie Brogden, co-owner of Machmer Hall Farm and consignor Select Sales. That's what makes it somewhat jarring to see the mare's War Front filly being offered at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale under a different shedrow.
The War Front filly, who goes through the ring Monday as Hip 27, is being handled by Eaton Sales, and she is expected to be an early source of fireworks at the elite auction. She is a half-sister to two-time turf champion Tepin and Grade 2 winner Vyjack, both bred and sold by Brogden's operations.
Brogden hadn't gone to see the War Front filly by Saturday afternoon, but other members of the Select Sales team that ventured over to Barn 9 came back with positive remarks. It wasn't for seller's remorse that Brogden hadn't made it over. In fact, she is rooting for the filly to succeed.
“I don't think it's weird,” Brogden said. “I hope she does great. It's like an ex-boyfriend – even though he's married with two kids, I'm so happy for him. My time with him was great, and now you just keep on keeping on.”
Life Happened was an unraced Stravinsky broodmare with a forgettable produce record when Machmer Hall bought her for $4,500 at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Her biggest selling point at the time was being a half-sister to Disco Rico. Two years later, the mare had Vyjack, by Into Mischief, followed the Bernstein filly Tepin. Life Happened had four foals for the Machmer Hall operation, and three were winners.
Machmer Hall and the broodmare also benefitted from a resume boost from Prime Cut, a son of Bernstein who went through the ring as a weanling at the same sale Brogden landed Life Happened. He went on to be a Grade 2-placed runner and ran in the 2011 Belmont Stakes.
Both Vyjack and Tepin had graded stakes wins when the decision was made to offer Life Happened, in foal to Harlan's Holiday, at the 2014 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale. She sold to Solis/Litt, on behalf of LNJ Foxwoods for $750,000. The mare sold privately to her current ownership between the 2015 and 2016 breeding seasons, and she was a finalist for Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in 2016.
“Now, we've started keeping some of those kind of mares, but we tend to sell on those kind of big updates,” Brogden said. “At the time, we were thrilled to bits, and she went on to do well for everyone.
“I really see it as a challenge of development,” she continued. “To me, it's more challenging to take a young mare like that and develop her production. That's what I get my greatest reward from. If I sell something for $20,000 and it becomes a Grade 1 producer, would I be irked with myself? Yes. But with her, Vyjack was already out there, Tepin was a Grade 3 winner on the dirt, and she was on a May cover.”
The Machmer Hall broodmare band still has a few traces of Life Happened's family in its ranks. The primary link is Sca Doodle, a stakes-placed Scat Daddy filly whose dam is a half-sister to Life Happened. Select Sales handled a Candy Ride filly out of Sca Doodle at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale that sold to Korean interests for $85,000.
As the female family continues to expand, Brogden remains on the lookout for other mares tied to Life Happened with the hopes of carrying on the success the mare had with the operation. However, it's much harder to buy into the family today than it was a decade ago, and much of that has to do with the mare's time at Machmer Hall.
“When I see that family and I can buy back into it, do I always strive for that? Yes, but it's hard when it booms like it has so far,” she said. “Anything real close up is hard to find affordable.”
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