Mating Plans, Presented By Spendthrift: William S. Sparks

Sarah Harper | Coady Photography

As we approach the opening of the 2024 breeding season, the TDN staff is once again sitting down with leading breeders to find out what stallions they have chosen for their mares, and why.

Today we caught up with Williams S. Sparks of Monroe, Louisiana. Originally from Arkansas where he grew up attending Oaklawn races with his grandfather, Sparks has assembled a band which reflects his philosophy of breeding to race.

“I'm really deeply committed to breeding a sound racehorse who is going to do what they do best–run,” said Sparks. “Regional breeding and racing are the backbone of this business and I love it. I wish I didn't so much, but I do.”

The Monroe dealership owner boards with Sara Patterson of Cedar Run Farm in Arkansas and with Wayne and Cathy Sweezey in Kentucky, and utilizes Ron Moquett as his conditioner.

BESS (8, Mineshaft–Brenda Leigh, by Forest Wildcat) will be bred to Petrov
This is a hard-knocking mare who made almost $300,000 over 38 starts. I bought Bess as a yearling and raced her until she was claimed away. Ron Moquett and I bought her back. She is in foal to Beau Liam and is in the Arkansas breeding program. Like a lot of other folks, I am impressed with the look of these Petrov foals.

Gunite | Sara Gordon

DANCE FOR DADDY (8, Scat Daddy–Dance to the Sea, by Gone West) will be bred to Gunite
I have bred speed into this mare and her last couple of offspring speak to that, including 3-year-old colt Ceepeegee (Army Mule). This colt broke his maiden in September, and my partner Keith Johnston and I are excited about his prospects. I had actually entered him at last April's OBS and once my wife and I saw him there she asked, “why exactly are you selling this horse?”

Dance For Daddy is currently in foal to Volatile. The next move is to send her to Gunite with hopes for a precocious foal. This mare has shown she can get an early runner. Gunite is a grand-looking horse who proved himself a fighter at the races. I hope he passes that on.

FINE FAMILY (5, Upstart–Great Family, by Harlan's Holiday) will be bred back to Girvin
I was fortunate enough to partner with Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud in racing Fine Family. She is in foal to Girvin for this year and I think the plan is to go back to him. Bret obviously knows what he is doing, so I am just following his lead. Girvin is certainly proving to be a successful sire.

MARTZ (12, Scat Daddy–Opulent, by Meadowlake) will be bred to either Complexity, Nashville or Yaupon
Ron Moquett picked out Martz as a 2-year-old at OBS. We raced her and kept her to breed. She is a big, strong mare who throws lovely foals. I have an affinity for Scat Daddy mares. Martz's best foal so far is MSP Sarah Harper (Vancouver {Aus}) who's mating recommendation was the product of John Prather. Martz has big, nice yearling colt by Astern (Aus), and we are going to breed her to speed. I am certainly liking what I am seeing from both Complexity and Yaupon.

MAXINE'S TAP ROOM (8, Bourbon Courage–Sunday In Malibu, by Malibu Moon) will be bred to The Big Beast
This is a stakes-placed mare who was quick, but who unfortunately had an abbreviated racing career. She's in the Arkansas breeding program and alternates between Arkansas and Kentucky stallions. The Big Beast is going to be a super addition to Arkansas and I'm a fan of the good-looking son of Yes It's True.

Fine Family | Coady Photography

SARAH HARPER (6, Vancouver (Aus)–Martz, by Scat Daddy) will be bred to Nyquist or Street Sense
Our plan with Sarah Harper is to have her compete at Oaklawn this spring and then she will head to the breeding shed. She's just been spectacular and nicks well with a lot of stallions. Wayne [Sweezey] and I are talking it over, but Nyquist or Street Sense are our options in that order.

TIPAZAR (9, Tapizar–Tipsy At Midnight, by Midnight Lute) will be bred to The Big Beast
I raced this mare in partnership with my friend Jim Brown. We are breeding Tipazar in the Arkansas program, and the plan is to continue to alternate every other year with that state entity and then with a Kentucky stallion.

TRIP MOM (16, El Corredor–Fifty Mil Short, by Johannesburg) will be bred to either Highly Motivated or Runhappy
Trip Mom, who I have bred and raced in the Arkansas program, was recommended to me by the late pedigree consultant, Les Brinsfield. Upon entering the business, I had the good fortune to meet Les, and also John Prather through friends George Waggoner and Monty Hinton. They provided me with valuable guidance and endless hours of pedigree discussion.

Interested in sharing your own mating plans? Email [email protected].

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