By Jessica Martini
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Kazamias, who has predominately raced homebreds, has been slowly building up a commercial broodmare band at his Kaz Hill Farm in Middletown, New York with an eye towards selling yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Sale. Through the Paramount Sales consignment, the breeder will offer four yearlings at this weekend’s auction and all four were purchased in utero at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.
“I would say he has added a facet to the business,” explained Kazamias’s bloodstock advisor Mike Slezak. “He still does the homebreds, he still breeds a bunch of mares to Bank Heist every year and a few to Here’s Zealous, although he is getting up there in years. But he had dabbled a little bit in the commercial market maybe a decade ago and we kind of got talking about it a couple of years ago and he said, ‘Why don’t you buy me one mare at Keeneland.'”
The mare Slezak picked out at the 2014 Keeneland January sale was Royal Affection (Vindication). He paid $35,000 for the 7-year-old mare who was in foal to Shackleford. That Shackleford colt sold for $125,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Sale and was pinhooked the following year for $310,000 at the OBS April sale
“That worked out pretty nicely,” Slezak said. “So he said, ‘Let’s try it again.'”
For his next purchase, Slezak targeted multiple Grade I winner Megahertz (GB).
“When I told him we should go after Megahertz, he said, ‘We’re never going to get Megahertz,” Slezak recalled. “I said, ‘Well, we can’t get Megahertz unless we are there and bidding on her.'”
Megahertz, who won over $2.2 million on the racetrack and had sold for $2.1 million at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, was purchased in foal to Quality Road for $40,000 at that same auction in 2015.
“I still can’t believe we got Megahertz for anything in our price range, but she was older and I think when a mare gets older and goes through the market, people discount them. She’s older and she’s had a couple of decent horses, but no black-type earners. But it’s not like she’s an aberration in her family. She has all these other nice siblings and the page is deep. I thought we needed to give her a shot. She was in foal to Quality Road. We got her for basically the stud fee and sold the baby for $100,000.”
With another successful result under his belt, Kazamias green-lighted another mare buying spree at Keeneland. This time, Slezak came home with five mares, including multiple Grade I winner Spun Sugar (Awesome Again) whom he purchased in foal to Street Sense for $20,000. The mare had been purchased as 5-year-old for $4.5 million.
“Spun Sugar is right up there as one of the great mares of her generation,” Slezak said. “And, while she hasn’t yet reproduced herself, she is still Spun Sugar–you can’t beat that with a stick. And then you go to the New York sale with a Street Sense out of her.”
That Street Sense filly will go through the Saratoga Sales ring Sunday night as hip 615.
“I love the Street Sense,” Slezak said of the yearling. “She just looks like a two-turn horse. My prediction is, look for her in the [GI] Alabama [S.]. I’ve got 20-20 vision, look for her in the Alabama in 2020.”
Also at the 2016 November sale, Kazamias purchased Beach (Tapit), a Gainesway-bred daughter of multiple stakes winner Starfish Bay (Elusive Quality) in foal to Karakontie (Jpn) for $50,000. Since the purchase, the mare’s full-brother Blind Ambition has become a multiple stakes winner and was recently second in the GIII Troy H. at Saratoga. While her 2-year-old first foal just graduated at Indian Grand, her yearling colt will sell Saturday as hip 362.
Kazamias’s Fasig quartet also includes a filly by Kitten’s Joy (hip 429) out of Fupeg’s Delight (Fusaichi Pegasus), who RNA’d for $27,000 at Keeneland November; and a colt by Awesome Again (hip 462) who is out of Jennifer Loves Ed (Rockport Harbor). That mare RNA’d for $27,000 in 2016.
“I think our lesson on the female side of the family, for us it’s just looking for any female families that are being cultivated,” Slezak said. “Sometimes I think people give up pretty quickly on mares, but when you look at Gainesway with Beach’s family, or Adena Springs and Shadwell were both in on Spun Sugar’s family, her dam and her daughters, Fupeg’s Delight is a Georgia Hoffman bottom line that the Ramseys then cultivated. If those people are taking five, six, seven years or sometimes one or two or three generations, those families always seem to percolate with some good horses and some good sales results. I think if you’re patient and you keep an eye out for that kind of a mare from a family that wouldn’t just throw you a good New York-bred, but might throw you a horse that could be competing on a Saturday afternoon at Saratoga–that’s what we are trying to do.”
In addition to adding broodmares via the public auctions, Kazamias’s team also keeps an eye on the claiming ranks for potential broodmares.
“As we’ve been upgrading the broodmare band, we’ve claimed a few cool ones,” Slezak said. “We claimed Spun Sugar’s daughter by Bernardini [Shareeha] in Kentucky. Once in a while, you spot one and you think, ‘What’s a mare like you doing in a $7,500 claimer?’ So we snatched her up.”
Kazamias, whose silks were carried to victory by recent Saratoga maiden winner Royal Heist (Bank Heist), will continue to race his own homebreds. The commercial broodmare band meanwhile, might be expanded to up to 10 mares in the coming years. The burgeoning commercial operation is already expanding in the sire department.
“This year we branched out to Kentucky for the first time,” Slezak said. “We sent six mares to Kentucky this year. We went to Munnings, Bodemeister, Super Saver, Kantharos and we sent Megahertz to Arrogate.”
As the operation approaches its third Fasig-Tipton sale, it is aiming high, looking for success, not just in the sales ring, but also on the racetrack.
“Rather than just selling big, we want them to then run big,” Slezak said. “That’s our goal. If things go well, maybe we’ll be breeding a graded stakes winner at Saratoga in the next few years.”
The Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale gets underway Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion.