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Keeping Up With the Joneses

Former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones and his team at Airdrie Stud had a red-letter day at the Kentucky Oaks May 2.

The day started particularly well when the improving Mr. Nightlinger, bred by Brereton Jones and by his thoroughly-proven sire Indian Charlie, proved too swift for the rest in the Aegon Turf Sprint S. (gr. III). A TrueNicks A rated horse, Mr. Nightlinger is bred on the same In Excess/Damascus nick to the stakes winners Excessive Prayer, Pocketfullofpesos, and Hecamefromaclaim. While his preference for sprinting on the weeds may limit his career in North America, there looks to be a lot better in store if connections look abroad later this year.

The highlight of the day of course was the victory of the homebred Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Running under grey skies, the daughter of the Airdie-based stallion Proud Citizen, himself classic-placed, left no doubt as to who was best in the race, drawing off to a comfortable five-length victory. A classic winner in his first crop is a fantastic result for Airdrie's young son of Gone West and will certainly propel him towards better-quality mares in years to come. Proud Spell is a B+ TrueNicks rated filly bred on the same highly-successful Gone West/Danzig cross that has supplied the international group or grade one winners Elusive City (Prix Morny Casinos Barriere, Fr-I), Camarilla (AUS) (Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes, Aus-I), and We Can Seek (CHI) (Chilean Two Thousand Guineas, etc., Chi-I). With Proud Citizen's third dam being a full sister to Northern Dancer, there may be more than just a sire line/broodmare sire line nick at play here.

Airdrie has found its niche in providing stallions at competitive prices that allow the breeder access to the lucrative pinhooking market. An Airdrie stallion, usually priced at around $15,000 to $20,000 gives the breeder a good chance at producing a foal that can bring $75,000 to $100,000 as a yearling, the deepest part of the North American auction market. There is no one in the business that works harder in this part of the stallion market than Brereton Jones, his son Bret, and manager Tim Thornton - so days like Friday are ones to savior.

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