With the 2022 breeding season underway, we continue to feature a series of breeders' mating plans. Today we have Brian Moore of Brushy Hill, LLC, breeder of recent G1 Saudi Cup winner Emblem Road (Quality Road).
Before getting into Brushy Hill's mating plans this year, we asked Moore about the story behind the mating, which was put together by the late Mike Recio, that produced Emblem Road.
“That was a Mike Recio special,” Moore said. “All the matings up until last year and our entire portfolio is because of Mike's involvement. Emblem Road's dam Venturini (Bernardini) was out of a great race mare from a really exciting family. We bought her in foal to Temple City in 2016 and we felt like we got a great deal at $62,000. That first foal by Temple City went up to Canada and was stakes placed there. At that point we felt like we had a little bit of support behind the mare, so we wanted to go big with her breeding. Mike was super high on Quality Road that year and felt like he was the big horse on the upswing. Turns out he was right.”
Emblem Road fetched $230,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale with South Point Sales Agency.
In 2020, Venturini produced a colt by Nyquist who sold for $185,000 at the Keeneland January Sale to OXO Equine, but Moore said the mare died shortly after foaling that year.
“It's unfortunate because we've done so well with all the babies out of her. She was producing runners, so it will be exciting to see what will happen with the Nyquist colt and hopefully this is the jumping off point for Emblem Road. We'll be watching and rooting for him.”
Moore said that Brushy Hill's program will be sending 15 mares to the breeding shed this year. While at one point they had over 25 mares, he said they have since scaled back due in large part to the loss of partner and advisor Recio.
“It was kind of a regrouping because he was our partner in a lot of these and obviously the advisor on all of them,” Moore explained. “We also thought that last year was a good time to do it. We weren't sure what the market would look like this year so we didn't want to get caught holding too much.”
Moore noted that maintaining a boutique-sized broodmare band helps them focus on their goal of seeking quality over quantity.
“It allows us to pick stallions that we really like without getting bogged down on what our total stud fee bill looks like,” he said. “I think the market is such that you have to breed to quality. Everyone knows that the middle market can be tough, so you have to try to play to the top of the market as best you can. For us, that means finding mares that maybe didn't make it as superstar racehorses but have quality, exciting, active families.”
ALMADA (m, 8, Lonhro (Aus) – Amerique (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)) to be bred to Violence
This year Almada will be going to Violence. Of course he was hot when he came off the track and we have always loved him.
Almada is a really nice mare out of a great European family. She had a filly a few years ago that we sold to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners called Dressed (More Than Ready). We expect great things from her this year and we think the mare will get support from her on the track, so we're going back to a really nice, proven stallion for Almada. She had an Improbable colt a few days ago. We went unproven last year and this year we're going back to proven.
CATENARY (m, 7, Arch – Grand Pauline, by Two Punch) to be bred to Good Magic
Catenary is a big, beautiful Arch mare from the family of GIISW Keen Pauline (Pulpit). She never really made it as a racehorse but we love an Arch mare any chance we can get one and obviously her family is impressive. She had terrible luck last year from a breeding standpoint and with her being such a big mare, we have to be really careful about getting huge foals.
This year we are sending her to Good Magic. He has had some tremendous foals. While most of what we do is to sell, if we end up with a good filly that's by Good Magic and out of a nice Arch mare, that is something we would be totally content to keep and race in our own stable. We look at everything in terms of being as commercial as possible without getting to the point to where it's not something we would want to race ourselves.
CELIA'S SONG (m, 7, Distorted Humor – Warbling, by Unbridled's Song) to be bred to Audible
Celia's Song is named after my daughter, so she's one that will stick around with us for a while. We bought her as a 2-year-old and she won some races for us. She had a beautiful Ghostzapper colt last year. She foaled late, so we decided to keep her open.
This mare is out of a great family and we also used to own her dam, a multiple stake-producing mare. Forensic was one of the first mares we bought for our breeding program, so she's another one that is a sentimental favorite.
Going back, this mare has had a Lemon Drop Kid, a Flatter, a Mastery and a Speightstown. It's a really blue-blooded family and she's a nice Medaglia d'Oro mare, so we try to breed her to as much class as we can. She will be going to Practical Joke. He's one that was a great horse to watch on the track and we've been big supporters of him. It's an easy decision for us to breed to Practical Joke. The battle we have is cutting the list down of who we want to send to him because he checks so many boxes of what we're looking for in a stallion. Plus, Forensic is a smaller mare with a slighter frame and we think Practical Joke will complement some of her size shortcomings.
OSAGE TREATY (m, 5, Declaration of War – Legendary Peace, by Peace Rules) to be bred to Mitole
This is a really beautiful mare. She was a $170,000 yearling and a nice turf mare, which we always like. We first bred her to Street Boss and this year she will be going back to Mitole. Last year we had one Mitole foal that we absolutely love. I know this is his third year which is always a roll of the dice, but he was such an impressive racehorse that we think adding speed to her turf pedigree is going to be really exciting. It's an easy formula for us.
VENKAT (m, 7, Distorted Humor – Stormy Welcome, by Storm Cat) to be bred to Upstart
We love her family and this mare is beautiful physically. We kind of struggled with her this year in deciding what we wanted to do with her, but in the end it was kind of a roll of the dice but we're going to go with Upstart. He's a horse that we've always liked. I really like Flatter as a stallion. When we started breeding, he was relatively new and we really liked the foals we had by him. I think Upstart is great value at $10,000 this year and I've always liked how Airdrie has managed their stallions. If we're right and he has a big year this year, with this mare's page I think we have the opportunity to do really well with the horse.