Salty Adding to Baccari’s Big Season


Chris Baccari | Keeneland Photo

By Michael Adolphson

Over the last decade, Chris Baccari has built an impressive bloodstock operation. Centered around his Seclusive Farm right off North Elkhorn Creek between Lexington and Georgetown, Kentucky, Baccari Bloodstock has been making waves with its consignments, and even recently with its high-profile RNAs, selling million-dollar and six-figure stock regularly and growing a reputation as a source for high-caliber equine commodities.

With one chat or personal interaction with Baccari, though, it is easy to see that it is not just business as usual with the 47-year-old Texas native. The Venn diagram between being completely enamored with the horse and having a natural disposition for economics has allowed Baccari to transition with aplomb from the world of show horses just 10 years ago to becoming one of the brightest stars of the bloodstock world. Whether producing an athlete for his buyers or keeping them to compete in his colors, Baccari appears to be focused, if not consumed, with perpetuating quality and such has been on display on multiple fronts in 2017.

“We try to raise horses the best way we can and always try to make sure they’re the best they possibly could be when they leave our care,” Baccari said. “We have about 40 broodmares on the farm and about 12 to 15 of those are mine. Others are for clients like [country music star] Toby Keith, among others. We are proud of what we’ve done so far.

“Our first big horse was Reynaldothewizard (Speightstown) and we prepped and raised him and were very proud of him,” Baccari continued. “He was definitely a key horse and, of course, Salty (Quality Road) right now is one I am very proud of and still own. We have a great facility and are right on Elkhorn Creek, which, as a lot of people know, is great for a nutrient-rich environment. We make sure when we send them out that we’ve done everything for them to make them successful.”

Reynaldothewizard, a Listed winner in Dubai this year at the amazing age of 11, has been competing in graded or group stakes since age two and been a beacon of soundness and consistency. A winner of the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at age seven in 2013, he was also fourth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint a year prior.

Three-time Grade I-placed Salty is the poster child for such aforementioned excellence. Unable to be sold as a yearling, the Grade II-winning daughter of Quality Road was split into a partnership Chester Prince, who co-bred the bay filly with Baccari, and prominent global owner Gary Barber. Sent to Mark Casse, she has been a late bloomer in 2017 who has flourished with haste. After debuting in February at Gulfstream Park, she graduated at second asking just prior to taking the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks in early April.

That seems to be where the daughter of Theycallmeladyluck’s good luck ended. In her next four starts–all Grade I events–she drew the outside post thrice and had her fair share of tough trips. Living up to her moniker by consistently displaying class and grit, she placed in three of those races, only failing to hit the board when weathering a rough trip through the even worse weather conditions from her 14-post in the Kentucky Oaks, rallying to be fifth by four lengths in the slop to Abel Tasman (Quality Road). In Belmont’s Acorn S. next out, she again went wide from her outside post seven, but came within a length of said divisional leader in an impressive effort.

If it could have gone wrong, it did for Salty in Saratoga’s Coaching Club American Oaks next up. She leapt as the gate opened, losing all chance when spotting the field double-digit lengths. She went on to rally resolutely for third behind Abel Tasman and Elate (Medaglia d’Oro). The latter would go on to romp by 5 1/2 lengths in the Spa’s GI Alabama S., while Salty had to fight her way out of in inside ensnarement, eventually rallying well to miss second by a head to It Tiz Well (Tiznow).

Salty’s next test and chance for atonement happens this Saturday at Parx, in the $1-million GI Cotillion S. While it looks like more of the same: Abel Tasman will be there and incredibly tough to beat, It Tiz Well will fight on well from her front end spot and Salty has once again drawn closer to the wagering windows than the inside rail–one can wager that Baccari and his team are excited to see their lightly raced, improving charge with an unknown orbit of talent circle back and clash against the best yet again.

“She just won her maiden in March and has been running in Grade Is since, so that says a lot about her,” Baccari explained. “We got behind on her early in her career and [Casse] has done a great job of keeping her at that Grade I level. We actually almost sold her at the [Keeneland] September Sale, but her feet were stinging her and she was not quite 100%. You just can’t sell at the sale at anything less than their very best. Two weeks after the sale she was perfectly fine and since then they haven’t been an issue.

“She’s a true Grade I-caliber filly,” he continued. “She has had some unlucky starts, but she’s still improving and lightly raced. I’d like to see her run a race like she did in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and Acorn. She’s capable of running a mile in 1:35 or less and a lot of fillies she’s running against can’t do that. Last time [in the Alabama], I think maybe she was stuck down inside and forced to go a little quicker earlier than she wanted, but she still ran a great race. She’s a classy horse and I’m very happy I have horses who can compete at that level. We actually just sold her brother (by Candy Ride {Arg}) to [Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock for $800,000 at KEESEP] and we really liked him. We actually wanted to try to keep a part of him. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. Theycallmeladyluck (Dixie Union) has an American Pharoah [foal] by her side and is in foal to Into Mischief, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Very active at the aforementioned ongoing Keeneland September Sale, Baccari is pleased with the outcome so far, though he admits that improvements can be made. Some of his successes include the aforementioned Candy Ride colt (hip 103), a colt by Medaglia d’Oro (hip 713) who fetched $500,000 from Spendthrift Farm and a flashy Tapit filly (hip 116) who went for $700,000 to Don Alberto Corporation. All in all, he sold 10 through the ring for at least six figures and 13 overall for a combined $3.225 million.

A high-profile buy-back was a Tapit half-brother to champion older horse Honor Code (A. P. Indy) (hip 86), whom Baccari had purchased as a weanling in November for $1,050,000. Extremely high on the horse, Baccari seemed ho-hum on the outcome and confident in the future.

“The sale was pretty good,” he said. “I had issues with certain horses in certain books, but that’s okay. We’ll likely race those and, looking at the sale for the most part, it was fine. The Tapit colt, well, I haven’t decided what he will do yet. He might go to a 2-year-old sale or we might race him ourselves. I’m not worried about him at all because he’s very special. We pony all of our yearlings, so I get to see them move and he’s a very good colt and I wasn’t afraid to go to the next level with him. He’s always shown he’s a good horse. We also kept a full-sister to Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) and we really like her and the plan is to race her.”

For now, though, it’s focusing on future growth, as one can expect from a burgeoning and multi-faceted operation that still remains somewhat modest in size. One thing appears to be certain when interacting with Baccari–he is going to enjoy what he is doing and by all signs is going to do so while being successful on those aforementioned multiple fronts. That could include a possible Breeders’ Cup bid for Salty in either the $2-million GI Distaff or $1-million GI Filly & Mare Sprint.

“I have about five in training now, including Salty, but we’re going to add an additional six to eight this year,” he concluded. “I like that part of the game–racing the horses–and having fun with them. It’s also nice when you don’t have to try to sell and people start actually harassing you to buy your horse. I’m looking forward to both the racing and selling, as well as Salty running next year.”


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