A Visit to Three Chimneys

Last month I had the opportunity to visit Three Chimneys Farm in Lexington. Kyle Wilson, in charge of stallion season sales, was on hand to show and discuss the stallions.

Big Brown jogging at Three Chimneys

First I'll mention something that many readers know, that Three Chimneys exercises many of their stallions by riding them on a training track outside the stallion barn. Big Brown, Good Reward, Flower Alley, War Chant, and Lewis Michael are ridden about a mile to a mile and a quarter, mostly at a jog or slow lope. According to stallion manager Sandy Hatfield, "They are all pretty sensible about it. Flower Alley is probably the toughest; he wants to bow his neck and take a hold of the bit. (Exercise rider) Brian continues to work with him to get him to relax, he has great hands and also talks and sings to them. War Chant is the most professional, Big Brown just takes it all in stride, Lewis Michael has a good time, and Good Reward is pretty good as long as there are no mares here early in the morning!"

Entering the barn to view the stallions, first out was Sky Mesa (TrueNicks,SRO), winner of the Hopeful (gr. I), Breeders' Futurity (gr. II), and second in the Haskell (gr. I) during his racing career. From a physical standpoint, Wilson calls Sky Mesa "exactly what you'd expect when you mix Pulpit and Storm Cat, with strength through the neck and shoulder."

At stud, he has sired 18 stakes winners, including grade I winners General Quarters and Sky Diva. General Quarters is out of an Unbridled's Song mare, Sky Diva out of an Unbridled mare, and grade I-placed stakes winner Third Dawn out of a Quiet American mare. This considered, it was not surprising when Wilson mentioned that Sky Mesa's book includes a lot of Fappiano line mares. Specifically with mares by Unbridled and his sons (TrueNicks A+), Sky Mesa has 10 winners, including two grade I winners and a graded-placed horse, from just 13 starters.

Sky Mesa also has graded winners out of mares by Pleasant Colony, Broad Brush, Carson City, Devil's Bag, Gulch, and Deputy Minister. Note that many of these lines represent "leggy" types—though Sky Mesa stands 16.2 hands, his powerful frame lends well to mares offering leg and scope. His 2011 fee is $30,000.

Next was Flower Alley (TrueNicks,SRO), a Travers (gr. I) winner and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at three. His first crop are two-year-olds of 2010. Included in this group is Bouquet Booth, who Wilson was touting to win the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (gr. III) later that day. Sure enough, she became Flower Alley's first stakes winner. We'll expect continued success from Flower Alley's runners as they develop. As Wilson explained, "Commercially it's certainly nice to have an earlier two-year-old, but you'd expect Flower Alley's runners to be better at a mile or further just like he was."

Flower Alley is inbred 3 x 3 to Mr. Prospector, albeit through two rather unique sons—Forty Niner and Lycius. The practice of introducing more Mr. Prospector might seem unorthodox, but Wilson mentioned that Flower Alley's first black type horse (Jam'n Jackson) is out of a mare by a son of Mr. Prospector.

Flower Alley's fee is $10,000.

Lewis Michael (TrueNicks,SRO) was next on the show list. The son of Rahy is a full brother to champion two-year-old filly Dreaming of Anna, from the immediate family of champion Kitten's Joy. A grade II winner on the track, he set a seven-furlong track record at Del Mar winning the Pat O'Brien (gr. II) in 1:21.17. His successful sire Rahy is now pensioned at Three Chimneys.

"We're obviously proud to have one of Rahy's best sons," Wilson said. "He's bigger than Rahy, and with his strong family and outcross pedigree should fit with just about any broodmare line. I'm interested to see how he does with El Prado considering he has Kitten's Joy under the second dam."

Lewis Michael stands for $5,000.

Danzig's grade I-winning son War Chant (TrueNicks,SRO) is one of Wilson's favorites: "He's a racehorse sire. He's a Breeders' Cup winner (2000 Mile), out of a Breeders' Cup winner (Hollywood Wildcat, 1993 Distaff), and now he's sired a Breeders' Cup winner (Chamberlain Bridge, 2010 Turf Sprint). At $12,500, I think he's a great value."

War Chant's champion dam is by Kris S. (by Roberto), and Wilson mentioned that Three Chimneys has promoted inbreeding to Roberto.

"Sometimes people shy away from Roberto inbreeding due to temperament," Wilson explained, "but War Chant has a great disposition. We think more Roberto can add more bone and durability. War Chant already has two grade I-placed horses inbred to Roberto (Brilliant and Chattahoochee War)."

When the 17-hand 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given (TrueNicks,SRO) walked out of his stall, my first question to Wilson was about the size of his mares.

"We suggest sending him a medium-sized mare. He's a big horse, but Thunder Gulch (Point Given's sire) is 15.3 and he can sometimes throw back to that."

Though he was a champion on dirt, Point Given's offspring have excelled on turf and synthetics. He has sired Canadian Horse of the Year, champion 3-year-old filly, and champion turf mare Sealy Hill, Pacific Classic (gr. I) winner Go Between, and 14 other stakes winners. His fee is $7,500.

Grade I-winning sprinter Yes It's True (TrueNicks,SRO) has sired classy horses like Proud Accolade, B. B. Best, Chandtrue, and Aikenite—33 stakes winners to date—and he is one of Wilson's favorites.

"Physically, my favorite is Yes It's True. He's a fit, well muscled, and really well balanced stallion. He gets very correct foals, gets you a good two-year-old sales horse, and precocious spinter-milers. Plus, he's standing for a third of his yearling average, which is hard to find."

Yes It's True stands for a $15,000 fee.

Dynaformer (TrueNicks,SRO), who is still kicking along at age 25 (read article from The Blood-Horse), is Three Chimneys' most distinguished stallion and needs little introduction.

"He's in a world of his own," Wilson adds. "He can get a Derby winner (Barbaro), a champion two-year-old (Rainbow View), a top three-year-old (Harmonious), or a horse that can win a two-mile handicap worth $5 million (group I Melbourne Cup winner Americain). For such versatility, it's nice that he's finally getting the respect in the sales ring."

Dynaformer's fee is $150,000.

Big Brown, Exchange Rate, Good Reward, and Red Giant were yet to arrive home from their Southern Hemisphere shuttling destinations.

Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown (TrueNicks,SRO) has the farm "super excited" after his initial weanling crop were well received in the sales ring. Wilson calls the Big Browns "big, scopey, and good-minded." Big Brown, who stands for a $40,000 fee, will be a six-year-old next season and has reportedly filled out considerably during his time shuttling in Australia. IEAH has supported Big Brown with their best mares, including champion Stardom Bound. And for all you hardcore racing fans, Wilson made sure to remind me about Big Brown's "energy button" (video below).

Exchange Rate (TrueNicks,SRO), who was still at his shuttle destination in Argentina, is a graded stakes-winning son of Danzig. The stallion relocated to Kentucky after an impressive start in Florida, where he sired 10% stakes winners from starters during his initial five crops, including grade I winners Ermine and Swap Fliparoo. Exchange Rate's first Kentucky crop of two-year-olds hit the track in 2011. His fee is $25,000.

Multiple grade I winner Good Reward (TrueNicks,SRO), currently shuttling in Brazil, is by Storm Cat our of champion three-year-old filly Heavenly Prize, making him a full brother to sire Pure Prize. His first foals are two-year-olds of 2010. Already with 14 winners to date, his runners figure to improve with age. His fee is $5,000.

Grade I-winning Giant's Causeway son Red Giant (TrueNicks,SRO), the 10-furlong world record-holder at a mind-boggling 1:57.16, is currently at his shuttle destination in New Zealand. The stallion offers an impressive pedigree, and his dam, by Kingmambo, produced another graded winner in October when Wyomia captured the Mazarine (gr. III). Red Giant has first crop weanlings and stands for a $6,000 fee.

For more info about the Three Chimneys stallions, contact Kyle Wilson at kyle@threechimneys.com.

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