By Steve Sherack
Kaleem Shah went to $1.8 million to acquire a pair of powerful-looking :9 4/5 breezers from the OBS March 2-Year-Old Sale earlier this spring. Both are expected to be in action this summer at Del Mar.
Arman (Bolt d'Oro), a $600,000 OBS March graduate and the first of the highly regarded duo to make the races, debuted with a visually impressive 'TDN Rising Star' performance at Churchill Downs June 23. Named after Shah's son, the bay is being aimed at the GIII Best Pal S. Aug. 14.
Shah, ahem, clearly made them an offer they couldn't refuse extending to a sale-topping, $1.2 million for OBS March boss Don Corleone (More Than Ready). He is nearing his debut in a spot still to be determined at the seaside track.
Both purchases were advised by Shah's primary trainer Simon Callaghan and bloodstock agent Ben McElroy.
“One thing that I've known is money does not buy you love, and money doesn't buy you a fast horse,” Shah said with a laugh. “Having said that, it all remains to be seen.”
Drawn widest of all in post 10, Arman had his work cut out for him after breaking toward the rear going five furlongs in his unveiling. Hung out in a four-wide fourth heading into the far turn, the 8-5 favorite began to rev up with a sweeping move approaching the quarter pole. He gained command as they straightened for home and leveled off nicely after a couple of left handers from Martin Garcia to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. He earned a respectable 74 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.
Shah–the founder and president of the Virginia-based CalNet, which handles intelligence analysis and telecommunications for its clients, including the U.S. federal government and military–made a special trip to Louisville to be on hand for Arman's unveiling last month.
“He's named after my son, so I had to be there,” Shah said. “He'll be 24-years-old soon and is doing his masters in cybersecurity at George Washington.”
Shah added of the four-legged Arman, “Most of the pundits thought that coming from the outside post at Churchill was a difficult task, but he got it done that day, so on to the next one. He's pointing to the Best Pal. We shall see what he does.”
Bred in Florida by Loren Nichols, Arman RNA'd for $52,000 as a yearling at OBS October. Offered on behalf of Nichols by Top Line Sales at OBS March, Arman brought $600,000 from Shah after motoring through an eighth in :9 4/5.
Already one of eight winners for promising freshman sire Bolt d'Oro (by Medaglia d'Oro)–currently ranked a narrow second by earnings via TDN Sire Lists–Arman is out of Beautissimo (Uncle Mo), an unraced half-sister to the stakes-winning and multiple graded-placed Two Thirty Five (Stay Thirsty). He hails from the extended female family of champion Halfbridled (Unbridled).
Don Corleone, meanwhile, topped the two-day OBS March Sale following a much-buzzed about :9 4/5 breeze from the Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), agent, consignment. Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, LLC, he was previously a $120,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by Lehigh Bloodstock, a pinhooking partnership led by Dunne. The dark bay is out of the unraced Indian Charlie mare Broad Spectrum, a half-sister to recent GIII Sanford S. winner Mo Strike (Uncle Mo). Don Corleone breezed four furlongs in :49 (32/61) at Del Mar July 21, his seventh workout since early June.
“Obviously, you've got to go one race at a time, and you don't want to get ahead of yourself,” Shah concluded. “We'll see how this all pans out. But, certainly, it's promising for now.”