Starship Truffles: From Claimer to Million-Dollar Mare

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(By Avalyn Hunter)

If any proof were needed that a Thoroughbred can be quite a volatile asset, one need look no further than Starship Truffles. An $11,000 yearling at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, she doubled her value at the June 2011 OBS sale of 2-year-olds in training (after being bought back for $29,000 two months earlier at OBS' 2011 spring sale). Racing for Starship Stables, the Ghostzapper filly broke her maiden at first asking at Calder in November 2011. At that point, she looked like a pretty good bargain, but she was badly beaten in her only other juvenile start, an optional claimer on the turf at Gulfstream. Put back on the dirt for her next two starts as an early sophomore, she ran a little better but still could not finish in the money.

Starship Truffles finally got back to the winner's circle in a mile claimer at Calder on April 21, 2012, and was claimed by Frank Calabrese for $16,000. But her slide wasn't over yet, as the filly dropped her next two races in claiming company, beaten about nine lengths each time. The second time, she was claimed by New Life Stable for $6,250.

Starship Truffles changed hands again in September 2012 when she was sold privately to Chasing Tails Stable for an undisclosed price, but it seems safe to say that New Life Stable made a decent profit on her, not just on the sale but at the track. Prior to changing hands, the filly had won three starter races -- by a combined 20 lengths--and had finished third in another starter allowance.

That was pretty good, but the best was yet to come. By the end of the season, the one-time $6,250 claimer was a stakes winner, her victory coming in the restricted Claiming Crown Glass Slipper Stakes (a non-black type race), and boasted a bankroll of $146,805. This year, she has won five of her eight starts, peaking July 6 with an impressive victory in the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I). Nine days later, Starship Truffles sold to Castleton Lyons for a cool $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Summer horses of racing age sale.

Starship Truffles' meteoric rise in value was a case of everything coming together at the right time--an improving filly, a sire that had picked the perfect time to get hot with three graded stakes winners on July 6, and a sale taking place before any of the luster could wear off. Obviously, very few horses will enjoy this combination of factors; sadly, it's far more common for a horse to lose value than gain it. Nonetheless, Starship Truffles' story demonstrates that given an eye for picking out a horse capable of improvement and a bit of luck along the way, there's still money to be made in the Thoroughbred game.

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