Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm enjoyed a classic double this year when homebred Super Saver scored in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Drosselmeyer captured the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Also enjoying a classic double was Taylor Made Sales Agency. Drosselmeyer was a graduate of Taylor Made's sales program and so was Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Lookin At Lucky.
Taylor Made consigned Lookin At Lucky to the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale for Gulf Coast Farms, which bred the son of Smart Strike in Kentucky. At that time, the colt was not very appealing to buyers because of some conformation problems and radiographic results that raised red flags in the minds of shoppers. He ended up being bought back for $35,000 and the following year, at Keeneland's sale of 2-year-olds in training, he worked well, indicating his imperfections wouldn't hurt him as a runner, and brought $475,000 when consigned by the Jerry Bailey Sales Agency. Bailey and Lance Robinson are the managing partners of Gulf Coast.
Drosselmeyer, in contrast, was a "beautiful horse," as a yearling, according to Taylor Made's Frank Taylor. The colt had a rich, red chestnut coat and well-defined muscles. He attracted more attention in Taylor Made's 2008 Keeneland September consignment and sold for $600,000 to Maverick Racing, a WinStar-associated venture.
Taylor Made consigned Drosselmeyer for its longtime clients, Oregon lumberman Aaron Jones and his wife, Marie. Frank Taylor is the couple's key adviser and he said he and the Joneses work as a team in running their commercial breeding operation, which is based at Taylor Made's Central Kentucky farm and has approximately 20 mares.
"They (the Joneses) try to breed the best to the best; that's the bottom line, and that's what we did with Drosselmeyer," Taylor said. "We took a multiple grade I-winning filly (Golden Ballet) and bred her to (Distorted Humor) one of the best sires in the world."
In addition to breeding the best to the best, Taylor said, the Joneses rely on another strategy in their breeding operation that involves an effort to continually upgrade their broodmare band.
"Generally our philosophy is to try to exchange out 10% or 15% of the mares every year and bring in 10% to 15% new ones," he said. "That means they usually end up selling two or three every year and end up buying two or three. Some mares make it (as producers), and some of them don't. They get older, have physical problems, or maybe don't have the right kind of foals. Also, you might get a lot of certain family and you want to diversify some. We basically look at each mare every year and rank her and see how she fits in the program."
Drosselmeyer, according to Taylor, "was always a standout. He was really good-looking and well-balanced, but he did toe out a little bit. I always give a big range (of prices) based on kind of where I think the market is at the time (when predicting what a yearling will bring). I told Marie I thought he would bring $500,000 for sure and that he could bring a $1 million. He ended up bringing $600,000, so it was a good slid sale."
Keeneland scored a classic triple of sorts this year. In addition to Drosselmeyer and Lookin At Lucky being graduates of its sales, Super Saver's dam, Supercharger, also was sold at a Keeneland auction when she was carrying him. Consigned by Lane's End, agent, to the 2006 November breeding stock sale, she brought $160,000 from B.T.A. Stable, agent, and ended up in WinStar's broodmare band.
Private Feeling, Lookin At Lucky's dam, and Drosselmeyer's dam, Golden Ballet, both also went through the Keeneland November sale.
Private Feeling (in foal to Open Forum) brought $17,000 from Locht Again Bloodstock when she was consigned by Will Farish's Lane's End, agent, in November 2003. The following November, when Private Feeling was in foal to Grand Slam, Lane's End, agent, sold her to Gulf Coast for $130,000. Aaron and Marie Jones purchased Golden Ballet for $1.6 million from Craig and Holly Bandoroff's Denali Stud, agent, at the 2001 Keeneland November auction.