Taking a Shot With Imperialism


As the bloodstock adviser to wine mogul Jess Jackson, Kentucky bloodstock agent John Moynihan played a major role in the purchase of the sale-topping, $2.3 million Distorted Humor colt (now named Brock) at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select juvenile auction earlier this year. But, Moynihan said, he has gotten just as many questions and heard just as many comments about the Imperialism colt that Jackson's Stonestreet Stables bought for $225,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training.


Named Certainly Royal, the colt is a member of his sire's first crop and is by a stallion that is not well-known. But he was physically impressive enough that he didn't get lost in the crowd at OBS.


Southern Chase Farm, agent, consigned the dark bay or brown juvenile to the auction after purchasing him for only $21,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. The previous year, as a weanling, the colt had brought only $6,000 at the OBS October mixed auction.


The colt worked a quarter mile in :21 3/5 prior to the OBS March sale. He wasn't the fastest, but he "was a beautiful horse on the racetrack and he galloped out extremely well," according to Moynihan.


Back at the barn, "he was outstanding physically. He was a gorgeous-bodied horse and very correct," Moynihan said. "He had a lot of bone and looked like he would be very sound, so we took a shot."


The colt also impressed the bloodstock agent just before he stepped into the sale ring during the opening session of the two-day OBS March auction.


"He looked like he would have a great mind," Moynihan said. "I was watching him in the back walking ring and he just stood there like a statue. Not a lot of stuff bothered him. Lord knows, we've had horses with worlds of ability that have been squirrelly upstairs and they never seemed to get there. They ended up injuring themsleves. They ended up not being able to maintain their weight. There are a myriad of issues that you go through with horses like that. The horses that are real grounded, channeled, and have a tough mental outlook on things are the ones that you want and that's a big part in their success."


Moynihan shops the OBS March sale with a different attitude than he does the Fasig-Tipton Florida auction, where outstanding pedigrees are much more common.


"I know ahead of time that the horses I like usually aren't going to have a lot of pedigree," he said. "Not that the sale hasn't had them (horses with impressive pedigrees) in the past, but if you go there with the intention of buying something, the horses you're probably going to land on are going to be good-looking horses that went great on the track, and they're not usually going to have those Distorted Humor-type of pedigrees. This horse kind of fell in the realm of that type of horse."


The colt is out of the unraced Gold Alert mare Dover Court, who has produced six winners, including Miss Grimsby (by Saint Ballado), who finished second in the Woodside Handicap at Bay Meadows and the Bara Lass Stakes at Santa Anita Park in 2001. The colt's sire won the Pat O'Brien Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar in 2005 and the San Rafael (gr. II) and San Vincente (gr. II) Stakes at Santa Anita in 2004. He also finished third in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.


Imperialism stands for a fee of $5,000 live foal at Get Away Farm near Ocala, Fla. According to equineline.com, the 9-year-old son of Langfuhr has 45 juveniles in his first crop.

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