By Sue Finley
In the model of Chuck Fipke's gesture last week, V.E. Day (English Channel), who had been standing at Buck Pond Farm for a fee of $6,500 live foal, will now be offered to breeders free of charge, according to Buck Pond's owner Doug Arnold.
V.E. Day is owned by Magalen Ohrstrom Bryant. Arnold said that her close friend Johnathan Miller called him on Friday to talk about the possibility of following Fipke's lead.
“Johnathan had called me and talked to me about it, and I thought it was a great idea,” said Arnold. “We're in a situation where some people have not booked their mares, are unsure about the financial stability going forward, and the future is very bright for him. I have been around all the foals, and without a doubt, I have yet to see a bad foal. When you look at what makes a stallion, he's got a great race record, won the Travers, from a great old Darby Dan family, there's no better broodmare sire than Deputy Minister, and there's the way that the babies look. He's by English Channel, by sire of sires Smart Strike. No one knows who's going to make it and who isn't. I'm not sure they're going to be 4 1/2-furlong horses, but they have an opportunity to be really good racehorses. It's a good time to breed to him and the price is right.”
V.E. Day entered stud in New York in 2017, where he stood one season before being transferred to Buck Pond in 2018. He has a small first crop of 2-year-old and his first Kentucky crop are yearlings.
Arnold said that Bryant and Miller had approached him about relocating the horse to Kentucky, and that he felt it was a good opportunity for everyone. “Like I said, I haven't seen a bad baby. His numbers have not been great all along, which is a trend we're all seeing for stallions at his fee, but at this point, based on apples to apples, I wouldn't trade places with anybody. That's the type of horses he's getting. I think if somebody takes a chance with him, they'll be rewarded.”
V.E. Day's career included a win in the Curlin S. at Saratoga along with the Grade I Travers. He registered triple-digit Beyers at Belmont and Saratoga, and retired with earnings of over $1 million and wins on both turf and dirt.
Arnold was reflective when asked why gestures such as this one were important. “This is a little handout,” he said. “It's not a great big thing. I don't want to make it sound like people are going to show up with 100 mares. They're not. But I hope that people can look on this as an opportunity that we provided when things were bad.
“It's really hard to get your head around what's going on right now,” he said. “I went the other day and gave blood. That's a little thing. But it does make you think about the times we were living in. This thing has touched us all and we'll never go back to life the way it was before. It's a small gift to say, `hey, we get it. We care.' If people don't respond, that's fine. But at the same time, it's out there.
“We all used to look out for one another,” he said. “And now, this business has gotten so competitive. Maybe we'll all get back to embracing what's most important, and that's family and friends, and helping each other out.”