By Amanda Duckworth
Last Saturday, Lincoln Collins wasn’t in New York for the GI Belmont S., but it still proved to be a highly memorable day. After all, he manages the My Meadowview broodmare band for owner Leonard Riggio, and the number of Classic producing mares in the herd doubled when Tapwrit crossed the wire in front. (Click here for Steve Sherack’s pre-Derby story).
“I was watching it on television, and it was a surreal feeling,” said Collins. “You hope it might happen, but when he is running well, then he is still running well, and then you realize he is going to win it, it still takes a couple of days for it sink in.”
As for Riggio, who also watched the race on television, the win continued to provide confirmation of the high-quality program he has put into place.
“Obviously, the fact our mare’s colt won the race was great,” said Riggio. “It’s a good feeling, and it is a validation of the advice and stewardship that we are getting from Lincoln and from Alan Porter, who does a lot of our breeding analysis. We have a good team.”
By Tapit, Tapwrit is out of Grade I winner Appealing Zophie, who My Meadowview purchased for $1.1 million at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale. Not surprisingly, the Belmont winner is her best foal to date.
“Appealing Zophie has had nice foals before,” said Collins. “She had a couple that looked promising that just didn’t pan out for one reason or another. Of course, she was also bred to the best sire of dirt horses in the world. Although, when Tapwrit was bred, Tapit’s fee wasn’t as high as it is now.”
While Appealing Zophie is responsible for the first Classic winner bred by My Meadowview, she is not the first mare the operation has owned before they became a Classic producer.
One year after acquiring Appealing Zophie, My Meadowview went to $1.55 million to secure Grade I producer Oatsee at the 2008 Keeneland November mixed sale. Although Oatsee was already a successful broodmare, the Forestry colt she had produced that February would turn out to be her best. Better known as Shackleford, he won the GI Preakness S. in 2011 and earned $3 million during his career.
“I know there are people who have bought the dams of Classic winners after they have produced them, but we feel especially lucky to have two dams of Classic winners that we bought before they were the dams of Classic winners,” said Collins. “Plus, one of those Classic winners we were lucky enough to breed.”
Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that the My Meadowview band is relatively small and currently numbers 22 active broodmares. Although both Appealing Zophie and Oatsee were seven-figure purchases, it was all part of a long-range plan.
“Len wanted to have a high-quality broodmare band,” said Collins. “You go into it as you have to go into anything in the horse business by hoping that if you buy a reasonable number, some of them will work out.
“We’ve been lucky to have two or three that have worked out, and that becomes the foundation of your broodmare band going forward. It’s just gratifying. It seems we have been at it a long time, but in fact, 10 years is pretty quick to end up with a Classic winner.”
In 2015, Denali Stud consigned Tapwrit at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale, where he sold to owners Bridlewood Farm, Robert LaPenta, and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners for $1.2 million.
“You just never know where they are going to come from,” said Collins. “Obviously he was a lovely horse, and he made a lot of money at the yearling sale, but as everybody knows, that doesn’t always work out.
“I am very happy for the group that owns the horse. Not to minimize the importance of Mr. Malone and Mr. LaPenta, but the fact that part of the horse belongs to a syndicate is great. I think as time goes on, group ownership is going to become more and more important. When they can succeed at the highest level, it’s a big help for the game.”
Both Oatsee, 20, and Appealing Zophie, 13, currently reside at Denali.
“Denali is super,” said Riggio. “The treatment we get there, and more importantly the treatment our horses get there, is very professional. They are responsive and constantly sending updates. They do it all, and they do it well.”
Anyone looking to buy into Tapwrit’s family will have a chance to do so soon, and Oatsee also remains a productive member of the broodmare band.
“Appealing Zophie has a yearling colt by Speightstown that is in the Saratoga sale,” said Collins. “She wasn’t in foal for this year, but she is currently in foal to Frosted on one early cover, so that nicely takes in the Tapit angle.
“Oatsee continues to thrive. She’s got a yearling by Malibu Moon, and she has a foal by Ghostzapper. Both are colts, and she was covered by Hard Spun earlier this month.”
The success of first Oatsee and now Appealing Zophie have justifiably been points of pride for My Meadowview.
“Trying to do something like this has a large share of frustrations, but it is gratifying when it works out,” said Collins. “When you sit back and reflect about trying to breed a Classic winner, and all of the famous operations that haven’t managed to do it, it is rather humbling when it actually happens.”