LNJ Foxwoods Setting The Gold Standard


The Roth Family's Golden Valentine | Scoop Dyga


For the Roth Family's LNJ Foxwoods, topping 2019 will be a tall order.

The spring got off to a good start when Country House (Lookin at Lucky), who the Roths had bought into after he broke his maiden five starts earlier, posted a 65-1 upset victory in the GI Kentucky Derby.

But for Jaime Roth–the 'J' in LNJ alongside her parents Larry and Nanci-there is no question about what the highlight of the year was. That honour falls to Covfefe (Into Mischief), the winner of five of her six starts on the year culminating in a win in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint despite slightly missing the break from the rail draw. She was the first 3-year-old to take that contest and earned an Eclipse champion statuette for champion female sprinter. LNJ Foxwoods had purchased Covfefe, whose dam is a half-sister to Arch, for $250,000 as a yearling and she has since been retired and is in foal to Constitution, last year's runaway champion first-season sire in the U.S.

“There will be nothing like winning a Breeders' Cup with a filly that was so well bred and that you love so much, and being a 3-year-old and the one post and all that,” Roth reflected. “Other than getting married, I think it was one of the best moments of my life.”

Having assembled a high quality broodmare band since entering the game in 2012, the Roths likely have many good moments ahead. Jaime, a lifelong sports fan who followed the Triple Crown as a kid and later obtained a masters in Sports Business and did public relations work for the New York Knicks, was looking for new challenges in 2012 when, during a trip to Del Mar, she was introduced to Alex Solis, who had recently launched a bloodstock advisory joint-venture with Jason Litt. Roth said she and Solis hit it off because of their shared interest in the pursuit of buying fillies to develop a broodmare band. Soon, Jaime's parents Larry and Nanci were on board with the plan. Larry Roth had made his fortune as a key figure within the eyewear company Marchon, which was sold in 2008.

“When I had met Alex he was pretty realistic about the sport and the difficulties of the sport and the financial aspects of it,” Jaime Roth said. “We were always a breeding operation; the racing was kind of the upside if it happened, but that was never really the plan and I don't think a lot of people know that. When we retire horses a little bit early, for instance Covfefe, there is absolutely nothing wrong with her and people want to see her race. I get it, but for us as a breeding operation it was a no-brainer to get a head start on breeding her.”

LNJ Foxwoods burst onto the American scene with the purchase of four well-bred yearling fillies at Keeneland September in 2012. Roth admitted that Europe was “never really on our radar, but Jason and Alex are always looking at trends and seeing where the market might be a bit down and taking advantage of it.”

“In 2012 they thought the market in Europe was a bit down,” she said. “They went to Tattersalls first and struck out, then they went to Arqana [December] with the hope of buying Gold Round.”

Gold Round (Ire) (Caerleon), a then 15-year-old half-sister to the 14-time Group 1 winner Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa), was a member of the Wertheimer & Frere draft. She had previously produced the G3 Prix du Lys winner Goldwaki (Ger) (Dalakhani {Ire}) and was offered carrying a full-sibling to that colt.

“She was a little older, but a half-sister to Goldikova,” Roth recalled. “I don't think [Solis and Litt] thought they were going to get her. They were going to get on the train and go to Paris, but they put a bid in and the hammer went down and they got her.” The pricetag was €520,000. “We were very excited,” Roth added. “At the time she was in foal to Dalakhani and we were just hoping to get a filly.”

Roth's wish was granted-six fold. After producing a daughter of Dalakhani the following Valentine's Day, Gold Round has left the Roths six consecutive fillies. The Dalakhani filly, named Golden Valentine (Fr), was the first runner and winner for LNJ Foxwoods in France under the stewardship of Freddy Head, and she went on to win the G3 Prix Minerve.

Next came Golden Attitude (Fr) (Redoute's Choice {Aus}), a winner at Chantilly who later picked up a listed-placing in the U.S. She was followed by the current 4-year-old Golden Box (Kitten's Joy), second in a pair of listed races at Longchamp, and a 3-year-old filly named Luck (Kitten's Joy), both in training with Alain de Royer Dupre. Gold Round has a 2-year-old daughter of Tapit who is currently in pre-training with Barry Eisaman in Florida and a filly foal by Kitten's Joy's four-time Grade I-winning son Oscar Performance born earlier this season. The 23-year-old Gold Round has now earned a much-deserved retirement.

“Gold Round had a really nice Oscar Performance filly,” Roth said. “She's just another beautiful, nothing negative to say, gorgeous filly. She looks the part.” Reflecting on the last eight years with Gold Round, Roth added, “There were definitely times when we thought we'd retire her-we're not those people that are going to breed her until she's 25. You've always been told you can kind of tell when the foal isn't as good as the rest that maybe it's time, but every foal after every foal was just beautiful. The plan was always to retire her after this foal, which we are.”

Golden Valentine and Golden Attitude are today among LNJ Foxwoods's five-strong European broodmare band based at Ecurie des Monceaux in the Pays d'Auge region of France. Monceaux's Henri Bozo has bought into two of LNJ's mares, including Golden Valentine.

“To be involved with a guy with so much class and such well-bred horses was an honour,” Roth said. “Being interested in well-bred mares, he was interested in buying part of Golden Valentine and we thought we'd keep half and make some money.”

Golden Valentine and Golden Attitude have both foaled at Lordship Stud in Newmarket to facilitate their visits to Dubawi (Ire). Golden Valentine goes back to the Darley lynchpin after recently producing another colt by him, and she has a yearling son of Galileo (Ire) that will be offered at Arqana's August sale.

“It's kind of funny because when we bought Gold Round she then had five fillies, and Golden Valentine has now had two colts,” Roth said. “It's great to get colts, but I would like to get a filly out of her. She's booked back to Dubawi so we're excited.”

Roth described the two colts out of Golden Valentine as “just really pretty horses.”

“I've noticed they look a lot like Golden Valentine, which makes me excited because of what she turned out to be,” she said.

Golden Attitude was covered by Medaglia d'Oro before returning to Europe after her stint in the U.S. and recently foaled a colt at Lordship Stud.

“They say the Medaglia d'Oro is really nice, so that's great to hear,” Roth said. She noted that Golden Attitude never quite displayed all the talent the team felt was underlying. “She was with Freddy Head and she was always competitive, and then we had some hiccups with her. She came to the U.S. and went to Arnaud Delacour. She won first time out after a 16-month layoff and was really competitive at Belmont [when second in a listed race]. Then we were hoping to run her in a new mile and a half race at Santa Anita at the beginning of last year, and we were pretty confident that she'd hit the board or win that, but then we had another hiccup so we retired her. But she was really talented; I'm not sure we saw the best of her but the first foal looks to be really nice.”

The Roths also sold a piece of Aviatress (Ire) (Shamardal) back to Bozo after she won last October's Listed Prix de Saint-Cyr. Aviatress is out of Monceaux's triple stakes producer Manerbe (Unbridled's Song), a half-sister to Grade I winner and producer Zoftig (Cozzene), and was bought by LNJ Foxwoods for €450,000 as a yearling at Arqana. Aviatress's half-sister Marbre Rose (Smart Strike) is the dam of Lashara (American Pharoah), an exciting 3-year-old filly in the U.S. who recently broke her maiden at Gulfstream Park. Aviatress was just last week scanned in foal to Siyouni (Fr).

Two years after purchasing Gold Round, Solis and Litt secured another genetic gem when landing Landikusic (Ire) (Dansili {GB}) for 700,000gns at Book 1 of Tattersalls October. The bay filly is a full-sister to Zoffany (Ire), who at the time had his first yearlings. He has since boosted the pedigree further by becoming a useful sire and-after breaking her maiden at Dundalk for trainer Jim Bolger-Landikusic has produced a 2-year-old Galileo colt, a yearling filly by Frankel (GB) and, most recently, another Galileo colt. This season she visits one of the more anticipated first-season sires.

“We're really excited because she's booked to Blue Point, who looks to be a very exciting young sire,” Roth said. “His accomplishments at Royal Ascot were pretty remarkable. We'll probably plan to sell her offspring as well, but she's beautiful and being a full to Zoffany hopefully her babies will sell well.”

The Roths laid out $500,000 at Keeneland September in 2015 for a Galileo (Ire) filly from the family of the Niarchos Family's excellent producer Aviance (Ire) (Northfields). Named Bureaucracy, she never made it to the races, but Roth said she thinks she is exactly the type of mare who will make waves for generations to come.

“She unfortunately never made it to the races, but from what we had heard from [trainer] Roger Attfield-and they're not ones to talk the talk–they said she was freaky talented. Roger would share an apple with her every day–he loved her. And then she had an injury and he was pretty devastated. But I think it's important, even if they don't make it to the track, knowing the talent is there; it's something you can get behind. We bred her to Twirling Candy and sent her to Monceaux. I think Henri was like, 'who is Twirling Candy?' But he's stepped up huge, and her babies are spectacular. She has the Twirling Candy filly, which is beautiful, and she just had a Siyouni filly and is booked back to Siyouni. We really like Siyouni-we're heavily invested in him. It was a disappointment she didn't make it to the races knowing the talent was there, but I say to my family all the time, 'this mare is going to repay us.'”

“It's exciting,” Roth added. “I feel like we have the right mares in France; we wouldn't send just any mares there. I think a lot of them are bred for that Classic distance. Golden Attitude had a little bit more speed than Golden Valentine, and we have a Tapit 2-year-old right now [out of Gold Round] with Barry Eisaman and she'll probably go to France. It'll be exciting to see how a Tapit will perform there.

“France is great; if I had to pick one other country to race in it would definitely be France. There's nothing better than being at Chantilly and having your horse win and seeing the castle in the background. We had a really good start [in France] and had a good feeling about it; it felt lucky so we continued.”

Roth said the plan continues to be to sell the colts and keep the fillies that LNJ Foxwoods breeds, with the aim of discovering the strongest branches of their families and breeding almost exclusively from their own stock.

“You have to bring the money into the operation, and we also want people to know that we sell really good horses,” she said. “It may be eventually like the Wertheimers, where you'll sell different branches, but at this point we have to see which is the one that works for us.”

And while they are still open to buying the right prospects at auction, Roth said the family's broodmare band has grown much quicker than expected, with their mares having produced predominantly fillies over the last eight years.

“The plan was always to breed better than we could buy,” she said. “If there is a mare or yearling in a sale that we'd love to be apart of the family, we'll try to pluck one out. But we have a lot more horses than we ever intended to. We'd actually like to have some colts to sell, but as it's worked out from 2012 to now we've bred predominantly fillies. And fillies from the lines we want to have, so it's pretty remarkable. We never imagined we'd race as much as we have; my dad certainly enjoys it, even though he can't watch the races-his head is down the whole time until they hit the wire.

“I think we have our foundation mares, and we'll maybe sell the ones that don't work for us but would certainly work for another operation. In the beginning you're afraid to sell because you don't want to sell one that ends up being a good one, but it's part of the business and if that were to happen I'd be really proud of what we bred. At the end of the day we are a breeding operation; Alex and Jason and Madison [Scott] put a tremendous amount of thought into who we breed to, trying to avoid faults from our mares with the stallions they pick, so I think that's why we've had such nice foals.”

The Roths currently have three fillies in training with Alain de Royer Dupre. In addition to the aforementioned daughters of Gold Round, Golden Box and Luck, there is Lions Den (Animal Kingdom), a 3-year-old daughter of dual Grade I winner Arravale (Arch) who was a $410,000 purchase from Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling sale in 2018. Luck and Lions Den are as-yet unraced, while Golden Box broke her maiden at second asking last spring but has been beaten in four subsequent tries since.

“Golden Box has shown a lot of ability, but mentally she was a bit tough so we've given her some time off and hopefully she'll come back running,” Roth said. “And [Alain de Royer Dupre] really likes Lions Den, it's just a matter of racing starting up.”

They will soon be joined in de Royer Dupre's yard by Forbidden (Fr), a 2-year-old daughter of Siyouni bought for €650,000 at Arqana last August. The bay is out of the American listed-winning Apple Charlotte (Smart Strike), a half-sister to the dam of Grade I-winning sprinter Marley's Freedom (Blame). Apple Charlotte has already produced the triple graded stakes placed Lottie (Arch).

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