Frankfort Park, Hernon Soaking in Oaks Experience

Olive and Brendan Gallagher & Erika Goncalves & Ellie | ThoroStride


Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) heads into the GI Kentucky Oaks as the morning line favorite, while Take Charge Paula (Take Charge Indy) will be more of a price, but they came into the world the same way. Literally. The two fillies were born a few weeks apart at Brendan and Olive Gallagher's Frankfort Park Farm in Lexington and were foaled out in the same stall.

Take Charge Paula, winner of the GIII Forward Gal S., arrived March 2, 2015, and Monomoy Girl, who most recently won the GI Ashland S., made her entrance on March 26.

“They had pretty different temperaments,” said Brendan Gallagher. “Monomoy Girl was feisty as a baby, and Take Charge Paula was always a nicer filly, temperament-wise. In saying that, Monomoy Girl is talented, but as a baby she liked getting her own way a little bit.”

Incidentally, their personalities as foals were a bit opposite of their dams. Monomoy Girl is out of the winning Henny Hughes mare Drumette, while Take Charge Paula is a daughter of the winning Songandaprayer mare Perfect Paula.

“Drumette is very straightforward, she's a lovely mare,” said Gallagher. “She has a lovely temperament. The other lady, Perfect Paula, she likes to be the last one in from the paddock every day, and she likes getting her own way. But, they are two straightforward mares, and we wouldn't mind if we had a few more like them. They have both been here for the last few years.”

While carrying Monomoy Girl, Drumette was consigned by Pope McLean to the 2014 Keeneland November mixed sale where she sold to Michael Hernon's Highfield Ranch for $75,000. Hernon–the director of sales at Gainesway–and the Gallaghers own the mare in partnership. Gainesway is also where Tapizar, winner of the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in 2012, stands at stud.

“Drumette is a good mare, and she consistently produces good foals,” said Hernon. “Tapizar is a very fine individual. He had all the ingredients to make it at stud, and now he has seemed to produce a really top caliber runner in Monomoy Girl. I believe in the horse, and I believe in what I do.

“From the get go, Monomoy Girl was a serious foal. She was strong psychically, and she was a good, strong-willed foal but never mean. She was her own person, you could nearly see it from the very beginning, and I have seen a lot of foals arrive. She stood out, and she actually stood up in just under 20 minutes, which would be considered quite precocious.”

Meanwhile, Take Charge Paula was bred in the name of Envision Equine, in which the Gallaghers were partners. Perfect Paula is now owned solely by the Gallaghers.

“Perfect Paula, we originally bought her in England,” said Gallagher. “She's stakes-placed over five furlongs. We bought our partner out last year. We were lucky to hang on to her. We bought her outright for small money, and then she came up with Take Charge Paula.”

Frankfort Park Farm is located on what used to be Old Frankfort Stud, the home of 1992 Kentucky Derby winner Lil E. Tee. The property changed hands in 2006 and was originally meant to be more of a quarantine facility than a breeding farm. At the time, Gallagher, an Irishman, was the managing director of Emerald Bloodstock.

“We've been doing this a long time, and we've been in America here breeding horses for the last 10 years,” said Gallagher. “When we were in Emerald, we used to quarantine a lot more horses here then. We bought a lot of horses probably at the wrong time just before the market took a dip, and that's when Olive and I said we would come over here ourselves.

“Our farm manager, Erika Goncalves, has been with us the last five years, and we have a good team here. We have made a lot of mistakes, but I hope we have learned from them, and I am very happy with what we are doing at the moment.”

In addition to client mares, the Gallaghers will routinely foal out between 15-20 of their own. Their personal 2015 crop was made up of 19 foals, and in addition to Monomoy Girl and Take Charge Paula, it also featured The Tabulator (Dialed In), who won the GIII Iroquois S. last year before competing in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

“That particular crop has been a good crop,” said Gallagher. “I think nature wants to give you its best when you are breeding horses, but the problem is if you do 10 things right and one thing wrong, you are still in trouble. It's important to do all the little things as well as you can, and I think you tend to get a bit luckier then.”

Monomoy Girl has won five of her six career starts, but when she took the Ashland this April at Keeneland, it marked an important milestone for most of the people associated with her.

“She's the first Grade I winner we have bred, the first Grade I winner bloodstock agent Liz Crow has bought, and the first Grade I winner for her trainer, Brad Cox,” said Olive Gallagher. “Michael has bred one before with Zazu (Tapit), but for the rest of us it was a big day.”

Even though it wasn't a first for Hernon, it was still a memorable victory, and he has confidence in Monomoy Girl heading into the Oaks.

“This filly has really developed under Brad's skillful training,” said Hernon. “I am very impressed with him. It's a credit to him and his team, and it's hugely satisfying to have a filly of this level. I am closer to her; I have seen a lot of her. I actually think she halfway knows me. Zazu, of course, was located on the West Coast with John Sadler. Monomoy Girl is coming into the Oaks great. If a filly can outrun her, God bless is all I can say.”

As for Drumette and Perfect Paula, they remain at Frankfort Park and both delivered healthy foals by Shackleford this year. Perfect Paula had a flashy filly at the end of January, while Drumette recently produced a quality colt.

“We couldn't be happier with the foals, and it's exciting,” said Brendan Gallagher. “Let's hope that they can go on and do some of the good things their siblings have done. Shackleford gets good-looking horses, and they have good temperaments.”

Drumette, who is booked to Mastery, also has a juvenile full brother to Monomoy Girl named Cowboy Diplomacy and a yearling colt by Palace Malice. Now owned by Pocket Aces Racing, Cowboy Diplomacy was the highest priced Tapizar yearling to sell last year.

“He sold for $175,000, which was gratifying,” said Hernon. “I think he is a really good prospect, and I would frankly be surprised if he's not a runner of some significance in his own right. He was that good of a yearling.”

Perfect Paula has a 2-year-old Fed Biz colt named Unbeknownst to Me and is in foal to Medaglia d' Oro.

“We will have to wait and see what Michael wants to do with Drumette and the baby–there is every chance they might be in a November sale,” said Gallagher. “I'd say with Perfect Paula, let's hope she will be here for a good long time.

“It means everything to get horses to run in Grade Is and to be competitive and to win them. That's what it's all about.”


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