In a sale that has featured Eclipse Award-winning runners and champion-producing broodmares, the most photographed horse on the grounds at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale might have come in Book 5, when the chrome-laden colt Southern Phantom sold to Southwest-based Danny Caldwell for $20,000.
The 3-year-old Bodemeister colt will continue his search for his first victory at Remington Park in Oklahoma, where Caldwell is a perennial leading owner. His first seven starts came in New York for owners Calumet Farm and Southern Equine Stable and trainer Eric Guillot.
The colt has finished third on two occasions, hitting the board during last year's Saratoga meet, then finishing in the same position during his most recent start, a Feb. 2 maiden special weight at Aqueduct.
Despite his lacking race record, Southern Phantom gained a cult following among fans for his unique markings: a bald white face with one blue eye, and long socks on all four legs that spiral up to his belly. When the colt was out of his stall at the Select Sales consignment, he was often followed by onlookers with their cell phone cameras pointed in their direction.
“Everybody wants a pretty horse,” said Don Waits, who signed the ticket on Caldwell's behalf. “I was willing to go up to $25,000, or maybe more. You never know.”
Unrelated to Southern Phantom's own racing future, Oklahoma is home to North America's most lucrative racing program for paint horses, which compete at Quarter Horse distances. Waits said that should endear him to the population there.
“The cowboys will love him in Oklahoma,” he said.
If Southern Phantom can right the ship under his new shedrow, he poses some intriguing options as a stallion prospect. The obvious appeal is for those breeding in hopes to replicate his unique markings over any on-track abilities, but his page features a few familiar names to the stud book.
Among them are stallions Tale of the Cat, Johannesburg, Fed Biz, and Stanford. Grade/Group 1 winners Preach, Minardi, and Joking can also be be found in the female family.
“Mr. Caldwell stands Da Stoops, so if the horse does well, he may stand him. It's hard to know,” Waits said. “This was a quick buy.”
After purchasing the colt, Caldwell was active on social media, answering fan questions about Southern Phantom's future, and assuring that he will be well looked-after whether he races or not.
He will have an opportunity to race again if that's still his passion. If not I will make a decision on his next career but I promise he will be well taken care of in our stable. It's refreshing (for horse racing)to see a beautiful horse like Phantom have such a great fan base.
— Danny Caldwell (@ILoveFastHorses) November 14, 2019
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