Every good story in Thoroughbred racing leads to another. Case in point, the stakes results at Parx Racing and Belmont Park Sept. 21 drew a straight line to Central Kentucky, and specifically to the Keeneland sale grounds where the 13-session September yearling sale was nearing completion.
At Parx, jockey Sophie Doyle earned her first grade 1 win aboard Street Band in the $1,090,000 Cotillion Stakes. The affable rider was given a leg up in Bensalem, Pa., by trainer Larry Jones. Jones famously has trained three winners of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) for Airdrie Stud owner Gov. Brereton C. Jones. Street Band was foaled and raised at Airdrie.
About a half hour prior to the Cotillion, Peter Brant’s Significant Form was an easy winner of the Noble Damsel Stakes (G3T) at Belmont. The winning rider, John Velazquez, won his first grade 1 long ago. The score aboard Significant Form was his 660th graded stakes win, tying him with fellow Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey for first on the all-time list (stakes have been graded in North America since 1973).
Significant Form was bred by…Brereton C. Jones.
Airdrie, like many other farms, is coming off a strong September sale. They rang the bell at $2.9 million during Book 1 with a colt by War Front—Believe You Can (winner of the 2012 Oaks). During the sale’s run the Brereton C. Jones/Airdrie Stud consignment sold 37 of its 49 yearlings led to the ring for $6,556,200, good for an average of $177,195.
“We were very lucky. We had an extremely strong sale, and it is easy for us to look at it as a positive,” said Jones’ son, Bret. “There was a good-feeling atmosphere throughout. There was as good a feeling going around the pavilion as I could remember.
“We showed as much as at any other sale that I can remember, and we were busy for Books 1 through 5 and from the first day of showing we were absolutely slammed. It was tricky in spots, but the top was absolutely incredible. The back ring was pretty strong the last several days of the sale…at least for our horses. For as much as horse racing has been through in 2019, it’s pretty remarkable the sale has held up as well as it has. That speaks as to how much people who are in this game love this game and that we’re all out looking for the next great horse. Hopefully, people have found them in the last two weeks.”
As for the consignment-topper, Bret Jones said: “We thought for a long time that he was a special colt. Honestly, if he was able to get through all of the hurdles one has to get through, we thought he was going to sell very well. You can never expect $2.9 million, but we thought he was going to bring a good price.”
Brereton Jones, with his wife, Libby, started Airdrie Stud in 1972 on land that had once been part of Robert Alexander’s Woodburn Stud, one of the oldest horse farms on the continent. For the family’s contributions to the sport, Jones was asked to speak as the Honor Guest Sept. 27 at the Thoroughbred Club of America’s annual dinner.
“It’s been very emotional. Dad doesn’t spend as much time at the sale barn as he once did,” Bret Jones said. “There was a time when Dad would only leave to go to the restroom. But every time he did come out, people went out of their way to offer congratulations and say how happy they were for him.
“It has made Dad feel as special as he deserves to be. That was really a big deal for Dad—and all of us—to see that kind of outpouring. It was very impactful.”