Well-Stocked for Keeneland September, There is Nothing Random about Cove Springs' Success

Richard and Connie Snyder and their yearling half-sister to GI Alabama S. winner Randomized | Amy Lanigan

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Richard and Connie Snyder moved their commercial breeding operation from New Mexico to Kentucky nine years ago with the aim of competing at the highest levels of the game. The Snyders' Cove Springs Farm seems to have that goal well in its grasp after a memorable August which saw the operation represented by its first Grade I winner when Randomized (Nyquist) captured the GI Alabama S. and by a high-water mark in the sales ring when a colt by Not This Time brought $725,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. Cove Springs will hope the momentum carries into the new month with offerings from Book 1 straight through Book 6 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, including a half-sister to Randomized who sells in Book 3.

Asked how the couple first got involved in racing, Richard Snyder paused before admitting, “Oh my goodness. That's too long ago. I can't remember that far back.”

Straddling breeding in New Mexico and Kentucky, the Snyders decided to commit to the bluegrass nearly a decade ago.

“We've had horses for a long time,” Snyder said. “We were breeding some horses in Kentucky and we decided, if we were to be successful and where we wanted to be, we needed to be here in Kentucky.”

The Snyders hung the Cove Springs sign outside their new farm on Paynes Mill Road in Versailles in August of 2014. One of their first big investments for the new farm was French Passport (Elusive Quality), who they purchased in foal to American Pharoah for $200,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

“She was the first big-money mare that we bought,” Snyder said. “If you are going to live here and compete with these guys, you've got to play the game. You've got to compete.”

The unraced French Passport is a half-sister to graded winners Smooth Air (Smooth Jazz) and Overdriven (Tale of the Cat), as well as to the dam of multiple Grade I winner Got Stormy (Get Stormy).

“We were very familiar with the family,” Snyder said of the mare's appeal. “It's a deep family. At one time we had a stallion that is back in that family. So we just kept up with the family and knew it well and when she showed up in foal to American Pharoah, we knew this was where we were going to start.”

After RNA'ing for $225,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase, the mare's American Pharoah colt sold for $550,000 at the 2021 OBS March sale. French Passport's second foal bred by Cove Springs was Randomized, who was purchased by Klaravich Stable for $420,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September sale. Klaravich came back to purchase the mare's yearling colt by Justify for $410,000 last September.

Randomized, a maiden winner at Aqueduct in March, was well-beaten in the GI Acorn S. in June, but rebounded with a win in the Wilton S. at Saratoga in July. She glided home a front-running four-length winner of the Alabama Aug. 19.

What was it like to watch the farm's first Grade I winner come down the stretch in front at Saratoga?

Snyder laughed. “It was unbelievable,” he said.

Snyder admitted he was impressed with French Passport's Nyquist filly right from the start.

“Did we know she was going to be a Grade I filly? Of course not,” he said. “But she always had a tremendous air about her and a great, great walk. She always wanted to do more than we would let her. This mare's babies are all like that.”

Through the Hidden Brook consignment, Cove Springs will offer a half-sister by Frosted to the Alabama S. winner as hip 1711 during Sunday's sixth session of the two-week auction.

“I love her,” Snyder said of the yearling. “She is beautiful and has the same aura about her. She knows she is who she is. And she's a great-moving filly. She's maybe not be as big as Randomized, but she's a beautiful filly.”

Cove Springs's September contingent is led off by a Book 1 filly by Justify (hip 133), who sells during Monday's first session of the auction with Four Star Sales. The yearling is the first foal out of Gaels Win (Daaher), a half-sister to graded winner T.D. Vance (Rahy) and to graded-placed Bergerac (Rahy) and Philippe (Mineshaft). Her third dam is Grade I winner Fantastic Find (Mr. Prospector), who produced multiple Grade I winner Finder's Fee, the granddam of Flightline.

“She is drop-dead gorgeous,” Snyder said of the bay filly. “She's a big, scopey, great-moving filly. And it's an outstanding family. I think buyers will appreciate this pedigree. It's loaded with both turf and dirt runners. So I think she will appeal to a wide range of people. We are expecting big things for her.”

The Snyders purchased Gaels Win, who is currently in foal to Tapit, for $375,000 at the 2020 Keeneland November sale.

“She was in foal to Into Mischief when we bought her,” Snyder said. “Unfortunately, she aborted that foal, so this is her first filly.”

Cove Springs has about 20 broodmares of its own and is home to some 10 to 15 outside mares.

The plan is to sell their foals as yearlings, Snyder said, adding, “That's Plan A. It doesn't always work out. Consequently our sales are pretty good, but our racing stable is not always on top. But we do have some nice horses in training at the moment.”

The operation enjoyed success in the sales ring in Saratoga when its colt by Not This Time out of Speightstastic (Speightstown) (hip 171) sold for $725,000 to Repole Stable and Spendthrift Farm.

“Realistically, we thought he would sure bring $500,000 to $600,000, so he brought more than we expected of course,” Snyder said. “But he was a beautiful horse. And I think he has a huge future in front of him.”

The couple will stay busy straight through to Book 6 of the Keeneland September sale when they will offer a colt by Good Samaritan out of Lightning Dove (Uncle Mo) as (hip 3752) with the Legacy Bloodstock consignment.

“We have some other really nice horses in the sale, all the way from Book 1 to Book 6,” Snyder said. “We have a great horse in Book 6. We are pretty proud of him.”

Connie and Richard Snyder are reaping the rewards of some 35 years of working together towards a common goal.

“Connie and I work hard at it,” Snyder said. “This is what we do and this is what it takes to get there. If hard work and want-to is the key, we should move forward.”

The Keeneland September sale begins with a pair of Book 1 sessions Monday and Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. Book 2 sessions Wednesday and Thursday begin at 11 a.m. Following a dark day Friday, the auction continues through Sept. 23 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

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