First Crop Snapshot: Summer Rolls On For Lord Nelson’s First Foals

by | 09.18.2019 | 10:29am
Spendthrift Farm's Lord Nelson, winning the Grade 1 Triple Bend

The late summer is an active time in the life of a foal, either adjusting to becoming a weanling or preparing for the experience in the near future. For some, it also means getting ready for an early appearance in the sale ring during the autumn's mixed sales.

Whether they're headed for a sale in the coming months, the coming years, or they're pointed straight for the racetrack, the foals from the first crop of Spendthrift Farm's Lord Nelson will have the additional challenge of laying the foundation for their sire's reputation in every arena they enter. How they grow, how they sell, and ultimately how they run will define how future sons and daughters of Lord Nelson are perceived to do the same.

As we reach into the fall months, Lord Nelson's first foals get a little bigger, and the patterns of what they might look like as fully-formed adults get a little clearer.

In this month's installment of “First Crop Snapshot,” we look at a trio of young horses at different stages of independence from their dams, but all inching closer to what they're going to be when they grow up.

Colt out of New Key, by Majesticperfection
Born March 24
Bred in Kentucky by Fletcher & Carolyn Gray
Boarded at Calabria Farms, Midway, Ky.

What are your impressions of the foal so far?

Carolyn Gray: “He's outstanding. He's really smart, really good bone, good size, correct. Bernard (Vertuca, owner of Calabria Farms) has foaled our mares for a number of years, and he ranks him right up towards the top.”

New Key is an unraced mare out of a stakes-placed runner on the turf. What made her a good fit for Lord Nelson in your eyes?

Fletcher Gray: “She's a big mare and a good mover. We weren't able to get her raced because she came up with a problem, but she should have had some speed, and Lord Nelson definitely had some speed. We just stayed within the same class.”

Carolyn Gray: “She's a fairly good-sized mare all-around, but she's built totally different from him. We loved him as a racehorse and loved his courage and how he got through everything after he retired. There was a lot to be attracted to about him, but we just thought it would be a good match.”

What are the long-term plans for the colt?

Carolyn Gray: “He is entered in the Keeneland November sale. We talked with Mark Toothaker at Spendthrift and we'll continue to see how he develops over the next 30 days or so. I don't expect anything to change. We'd like for him to be kind of a standout, and I think he will be. Maybe he can help showcase the sire.”

Filly out of Anahauc, by Henny Hughes
Born April 10
Bred and boarded by Spendthrift Farm, Lexington, Ky.

We checked in on this filly back in June. How has she come along since then?

Ned Toffey, Spendthrift Farm: “She's done really, really well. She's compact, fast-looking. We just couldn't be happier with her.”

How does this filly fit the mold of what you've seen from Lord Nelson's foals so far?

Toffey: “He's been very consistent with what he's thrown. Lord Nelson's a very well-put together, well-muscled horse. When you look at him, you tend to think speed, and that's very much what you see with this filly. She's very well-muscled, very correct, and very fast-looking.”

Has she been weaned yet?

Toffey: “Not just yet. That's coming up soon.”

Colt out of Goldrush Girl, by Political Force
Born March 21
Bred and boarded by Spendthrift Farm, Lexington, Ky.

What do you think of this colt?

Toffey: “This guy has done nothing but improve, which is saying something because he was nice to begin with. He's very strong, very athletic, with maybe a little more scope than some of the others. This is one of our best foals overall on the farm, and he just continues to get better.”

The dam is Grade 2-placed at two. How do you expect that to blend with Lord Nelson, who ran well from two to four, but got better as he got older?

Toffey: “Between Lord Nelson and the dam, he certainly has the potential to be precocious. There's nothing about his looks that would suggest otherwise.”

What did you expect to see from Lord Nelson's foals at this point in the crop's development, and how does this colt fit that profile?

Toffey: “Lord Nelson is just a great-looking horse. John Fort has a reputation for buying a very good-looking horse, and I would say he outdid himself with Lord Nelson. He's just a great-looking horse. He's got good size and good scope, and you're seeing that in his foals. They're well-muscled, have athletic shapes and great hindquarters, good bone, correct. You hope to see some degree of consistency in the type. I think people tend to think the best stallions stamp their progeny, and I think you're really seeing that from Lord Nelson. He's certainly getting a consistent type.”

Is this one still with his mother, too?

Toffey: “This one's weaned. He's taken it all right in stride.”

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