When Chad Reed's parents gave him a $5,000 budget to pick out a mare at the 2009 Keeneland November mixed sale at age 11, he never dreamed it would eventually result in a Breeders' Cup starter.
But that's exactly what happened when the adolescent Thoroughbred enthusiast signed the ticket for the Carson City mare Golden Kitty with his father, Rick, at the 2009 Keeneland November mixed sale, after which she went on to produce Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. I) contender Flashy Ways.
"I was bored at the sale so I started looking through the (catalog), and (Golden Kitty) had a good page--lots of black-type with grade Is and grade IIs," said Chad Reed.
Golden Kitty, who was in foal to Catienus at the time of the sale, was consigned by Ramsey Farm, agent.
While the Reeds no longer own Golden Kitty's subsequent foal, Flashy Ways (also by Catienus), they are traveling to Southern California with just as much enthusiasm as if she was running in their own colors. After all, Chad, now 14, could be the youngest-ever breeder of a Breeders' Cup starter.
"If Flashy Ways were to win (the Juvenile Fillies Turf), it would be one of the best experiences of my life," said Reed, who has aspirations of one day becoming a veterinarian.
Reed, who attends the Ninth Grade Academy in Harrodsburg, Ky., explained how he had grown up observing his parents' love for the industry and enjoyed studying the reasons behind their breeding and sales decisions. The Reeds own TCR Ranch near Harrodsburg, where they board around 30 mares.
"Over the years I had just listened to my parents and what they were saying about their horses," said Reed. "(At the sale) I showed Golden Kitty to my dad and asked him if she was a good one. "
Rick Reed was initially apprehensive about his son buying Golden Kitty considering she was in foal to a regional sire and TCR is a commercial breeding operation. But in the end, he allowed Chad to follow his instincts about the mare, who is from the female family of champion Dreaming of Anna and grade I winners Road Princess, Down the Aisle, Kitten's Joy, and Precious Kitten. The latter horse is also by Catienus.
Although the Reeds were impressed early on by Flashy Ways, Golden Kitty's second foal, she was relatively overlooked when they brought her to the 2011 Fasig Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, she fetched a mere $3,500 from LA Thoroughbreds.
Flashy Ways stays warm with a friend at TCR Ranch; all photos courtesy of the Reed family
"We had seen her run every day in the field and she was very competitive; she didn't like to let the other fillies beat her--she was always out in front," said Rick Reed. "But when you go to the yearling sale, it's really hard to relate that to any buyers because they just watch them walk, see them physically, and make a judgment based on that."
Flashy Ways (right) as a foal with some friends at TCR Ranch
Since the Reeds already had quite a few horses at their farm and the auction was a considerable distance away in Maryland, they decided to let the filly go in spite of the modest price.
Trained by Richard Baltas for Riley Racing Stable, Flashy Ways will enter the Juvenile Fillies Turf after breaking her maiden by 5 1/4 lengths at Del Mar Aug. 16, followed by a decisive victory in the Oct. 8 Surfer Girl Stakes on turf at Santa Anita Park.
The Reeds have kept up with Flashy Ways' career through Baltas, who came to TCR to see Golden Kitty and her weanling Big Brown filly, born April 16.
Rick Reed commended Baltas for choosing the right path for Flashy Ways to get to the Breeders' Cup.
"After she won by 5 1/2 on the synthetic he said, 'I really think this filly wants to go a mile on the turf,' " Reed noted. "He waited several weeks specifically for the Surfer Girl Stakes, kept her in good condition, and she rated professionally and won the race."
Depending on what kind of performance Flashy Ways turns in Nov. 3, her weanling half sister by Big Brown could be a hot commodity at the upcoming Keeneland November mixed sale. The filly will be consigned by Three Chimneys, agent in Book 2. Her dam, Golden Kitty, is in foal to Summer Bird for 2013 and may also be sold at an upcoming auction following the Breeders' Cup.
Golden Kitty with her now-yearling Forestry filly (sold for $10,000 at the 2011 Fasig TIpton KY fall mixed sale)
Some may think it's a fluke that Chad Reed planned the mating that resulted in a stakes-winning, Breeders' Cup-bound horse. But it's not the first accomplished horse for which he has been responsible.
A year before Chad purchased Golden Kitty, his father gave him a $2,000 budget to buy a mare at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. At 10 years old, Chad picked out the Lord Avie mare Sister Baby while in foal to Artie Schiller for $1,500 from Blackburn Farm, agent.
The mare went on to produce Hammer's Terror, who the Reeds sold as a yearling for $40,000. The son of Artie Schiller won this year's Charlie Barney Stakes at Woodbine and the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park. He also ran third in the 2012 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT).
"Part of this business is always luck," said Rick Reed. "When Chad hit the first one, I chalked up a high percentage to luck. But when he (bought) the second (stakes-producing mare), I lowered the percentage to how much was luck because that's very hard to duplicate."
Only time will tell if Chad Reed's good fortune and keen instincts will continue to shine in the form of Flashy Ways.
Chad Reed with Flashy Ways' weanling half sister by Big Brown