By Lucas Marquardt
Three Chimneys Farm’s Palace Malice (Curlin) made a successful entrance into the yearling sales market at the recently concluded Fasig-Tipton July Sale, with four yearlings selling for an average of $187,500, placing him second behind only American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) among first-crop sires. Leading the way for the GI Belmont S. and GI Met Mile H. hero were a pair of fillies who sold for $275,000 and $250,000, respectively. As part of an ongoing series showcasing sires with their first crop of yearlings in 2018, the TDN‘s Lucas Marquardt sat down to talk with Three Chimneys COO Chris Baker to discuss the prospects of Palace Malice, as well as the regally bred Fast Anna (Medaglia d’Oro).
LM: Palace Malice’s yearlings have generated a significant amount of attention, and you’ve seen a lot of them. Do they have a typical shape and size?
CB: What you’re consistently seeing are physicals that have a durable, adaptable, balanced, athletic frame. Maybe not as much mass as your average Curlin–a little more size and a little height–and a little cleaner and more length like Palace Malice himself has. And they seem to have that kind of physical and mental toughness that he has that made him such a durable and versatile racehorse. So, he seems to have imparted his best qualities in his offspring.
LM: You mentioned his durability and toughness. What were your impressions of his development on the racetrack? He was a Belmont winner, but he obviously was not limited to excelling at long-distance races.
CB: He was obviously a top colt of that 3-year-old class, which was a strong group… To be a Saratoga winner at two, Classic winner at three, and Met Mile winner at four, it’s just an outstanding body of work.
He was obviously a brilliant distance horse, going 12 furlongs in the Belmont, but also was a brilliant miler. Todd Pletcher called him one of the most versatile horses that he’s had.
LM: What kind of mares were peoples sending to him, based on that versatility?
CB: It was a broad spectrum of mares. People thought that he might do turf, too, with the Royal Anthem on the dam side. So, mares have come in different shapes, sizes and pedigrees. Oddly enough, I think that’s a benefit–the diversity of the mare pool that he was bred to helps him a lot.
LM: And how about his stud fee? Considering how well Curlin has been doing, a $20,000 fee could offer real value to breeders for a son of Curlin.
CB: I think the $20,000 fee is where we felt we needed to be, so we could stand by that fee through the first four years and see what his runners did–and breeders responded strongly to that. His first several books were huge. I think he had 250 or 275 mares bred in his first two books. So, we got a great response and a great following and the Curlin momentum has helped with that.
LM: What can you tell me about Fast Anna?
CB: It’s a Classic pedigree, you know–a classic American distance on the sire side and then some precocity and brilliance through Dreaming of Anna on the dam side. Fast Anna himself was just a fast, brilliant horse. Combine that with his physical–he has the confirmation of a two-turn horse. He’s got some length. He’s got some stretch, the angles of his top line and his hind leg all look like a horse that would be fast and carry it. And he’s a beautiful horse on top of that. Not just mechanically well-conformed, but an attractive horse as well.
LM: Do you have a good feeling about what you’re seeing on the ground and how that may translate to the 2-year-old sales next year?
CB: His offspring will be attractive to commercial people in general and the pinhookers. Surprisingly–or maybe not surprisingly–the physicals of some of those do look early as well. He had so much speed himself–I think it loans itself to the 2-year-old market. But I think like him, they look like they’ll go on and do more.