Thousand Words A Veritable Picture at Spendthrift

Mark Toothaker said the Share The Upside program for Thousand Words sold out in less than an hour. Benoit

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It took just two words for Mark Toothaker to explain why he believes Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) will excel in the Spendthrift stud barn: looks and pedigree.

Those same characteristics are what kept the Albaugh-Spendthrift partnership bidding at the Keeneland September Sale until they brought the colt home for $1 million.

It didn't take long to find an appropriate name for the youngster.

“Eric Gustavon, our president, named him,” Toothaker recalled. “He's such a beautiful horse that the name was easy to come by. A picture is worth a thousand words because there's so much that you could say about this horse with his looks and his pedigree. So it's a cool name for what we hope turns out to be a very good stallion.”

The new Spendthrift colorbearer embarks on his career at stud as a three-time stakes winner and will stand his first season for $7,500.

At the 2018 Keeneland September Sale, Spendthrift and the Albaugh Family Stables were on the lookout for a yearling they could partner on and, as Toothaker recalled, Thousand Words fit the bill.

“We had bought Brody's Cause and Free Drop Billy from the Albaughs and had talked about teaming up if we found something we both landed on,” he said. “The first time we saw Thousand Words, he was such a beautiful yearling and one that we were both definitely on. So it made for a great partnership and we were thrilled to get the horse purchased.”

A member of one of the last crops from the late top sire Pioneerof the Nile, the January foal was bred in Florida by Amy Tarrant's Hardacre Farm and produced by the farm's homebred sprinter Pomeroys Pistol (Pomeroy), a multiple graded stakes winner who was runner-up in both the GI Prioress S. and GI Test S. in 2011.

As the youngster began training with Bob Baffert, the team at Spendthrift anxiously awaited a report from the Hall of Fame trainer.

“When the lightbulb finally came on for Thousand Words, Bob called Flavien Prat and told him `this is your Derby horse for next year,'” Toothaker said. “When Bob starts talking Derby, you start listening, so there was a lot of excitement around here leading up to that.”

After a winning debut in October, the speedy bay next took the GII Los Alamitos Futurity for an undefeated juvenile season.

The colt's sire won the same race in 2008, and Toothaker spoke on other current stallions who have thrived in the Los Alamitos Futurity, which was just downgraded to a Grade II in 2019.

“It's the same race Into Mischief won,” Toothaker noted. “Horses like Mor Spirit and Violence had won that race as well. So there are a lot of really nice horses that have won this race and certainly gone on to make a name for themselves.”

The son of Pioneerof the Nile continued his winning streak in his sophomore debut in the GIII Robert B. Lewis S., but then ran unplaced in his next two starts.

After a short layoff, he gave a runner-up effort behind stablemate and 'TDN Rising Star' Uncle Chuck (Uncle Mo) in the GIII Los Alamitos Derby and then took on Del Mar for a gutsy score in the Shared Belief S. over Honor A. P. (Honor Code) in his final prep before the GI Kentucky Derby.

While he claimed the number four spot in the TDN's Derby Rankings leading up to the first Saturday in September, two slots ahead of stablemate and eventual winner Authentic (Into Mischief), the sophomore reared and fell in the paddock minutes before stepping onto the track and was subsequently a late defection.

Toothaker recalled the unfortunate events of the day. “When we left the backside with Authentic and Thousand Words, we really didn't know which one of the two was our best shot. We were just thrilled that we had two chances and both of the horses were coming into the race fantastic, so we thought, who knows what's going to happen here? And then of course, you know the rest of the story. We're devastated, the Albaughs are devastated, we were 20 minutes from post time for the Derby and now here we are scratched. So it was about as low as you can get at that point.”

While the colt returned for two more Grade I starts in 2020, he ran unplaced in both and Toothaker explained that since the horse had not been the same after the paddock incident, the decision was made for him to retire.

When the announcement was made that the new addition would be a part of Spendthrift's Share The Upside program, Toothaker said they sold out of the program's portion of his book in under an hour.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “Our phones were just blowing up with texts and calls. We've probably got a waiting list of about 40 people for the Share the Upside portion. So his reception has been unbelievable.”

“He is that million-dollar yearling- he's gorgeous,” Toothaker continued. “He's just so correct. A beautiful head on him with a beautiful neck and shoulder. He's going to get a tremendous chance with the looks that he has and then with Pioneerof the Nile as a sire and out of a dam as good as Pomeroys Pistol. You could look up in a few years, and this horse could be right there at the top of the sire list.”

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