Phoenix Thoroughbreds Acquires Another Potential Star

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Amer Abdulaziz | Benoit Photo

By Bill Finley

On a buying spree, Phoenix Thoroughbreds has privately purchased the 2-year-old filly Honeyfromthesouth (Fed Biz-Brilliant Autumn, by Yes It’s True), who finished second behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Chasing Yesterday (Tapit) in her debut for trainer David Hofmans at Del Mar July 28. Chasing Yesterday is a highly regarded half-sister to American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile). Honeyfromthesouth will join Chasing Yesterday in the barn of Bob Baffert.

“In her first race she finished second behind a very good horse,” said Phoenix Thoroughbreds CEO Amer Abdulaziz. “She has a lot of potential and Bob Baffert really likes her as well. On his recommendation, we decided to acquire her.”

Honeyfromthesouth, a $150,000 KEESEP yearling, carried the colors of Five Star Racing Stables first out.

The news comes just two days after Phoenix announced that it had bought Mia Mento (Ire) (Casamento {Ire}), who won a maiden race in Ireland at Leopardstown July 19. The original plan was to run her in the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. Sunday at the Curragh, but she was not entered. Instead, Phoenix will be represented by Advertise (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), who is coming off a win in the G2 Arqana July S. at Newmarket.

Abdulaziz said Mia Mento may or may not have a start in Europe, but will eventually be shipped to the U.S. and be trained by Graham Motion.

The Phoenix business model involves both buying and selling horses, but it has clearly been in a buying mode of late. They bought seven yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, including, a $1.3-million Medaglia d’Oro filly. Out of the mare Dawn Raid (Vindication), she was the second most expensive horse to go through the ring and the most expensive filly. She will be trained by Steve Asmussen.

Abdulaziz said his group plans to be even more aggressive at the Keeneland September Sale, where, he says, they will be spending “huge money.”

While Phoenix races in Europe and Australia, as well as the U.S., Abdulaziz said that the U.S. will become their biggest market. They have lined up an all-star team of trainers to work for them that consists of Baffert, Asmussen, Motion, Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown.

The next big race for Phoenix in the U.S. will be the GI Travers S., where it will be represented by GI Belmont S. runner-up Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}).

“The horse is doing very well and we think he has a big shot of winning the Travers,” Abdulaziz said.

The colt is named after the New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is also a part-owner. Gronkowski attended the Belmont S., but is going to be a little trickier for him to make the Travers as it takes place during Pats training camp. Nonetheless, he is going to try.

“He is an amazing owner and I think our relationship with him is going to grow,” Abdulaziz said of Gronkowski. “We’re trying to get him to Saratoga. It’s in the middle of training camp, but we’re trying to charter a plane so he can come back and forth, watch the race and probably not miss more than two hours or so of camp.”

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