Sunday morning luck strikes again in Keeneland
Less than 48 hours after what was arguably his greatest achievements in the horse business, Rosilyn Polan was back at Keeneland with a pair of yearlings due to go through the ring on Sunday. Earlier in the week, during Book 2 of Keeneland’s September Sale, his foal City of Light from the mare Tapit Anchorage became the likely top seller when he was sold for $ 1.7 million. at Woodford Racing, Talla Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds.
But now it was Book 3 and the fiery breeder and shipper was ready for the second round.
“Of course, as exciting as the Anchorage colt is, now that I’m here with another shipment it’s really behind me and that’s where I’m focusing now,” Polan said at Barn 28 then that she was standing next to her stalls. Accelerate foal and Sharp Azteca filly. They wouldn’t quite bring what their first offering sold for, but the duo made over $ 160,000 in total.
Although the Sunday Morning Farm owner thought about her last two offers from the auction, it was clear that most of the other sellers were still obsessed with her farm’s past success as a steady stream of supporters passed. to express their congratulations.
“People have been really happy for me, people that I don’t even know,” she said. “People ask me if I expected this [result]. Well, no one has ever dreamed of reaching a million dollars. I knew people would love him, but no one even thinks of loving him for that kind of money. Words have not yet been coined to describe this feeling. The only thing that would have made the day more perfect would have been having my daughter Laiken there. She is always a big help to me and is my best cheerleader.
The day before Polan’s City of Light colt arrived, another colt from Lane’s End first crop sire, presented by Woods Edge Farm, grossed $ 1.05 million.
“I had said to a friend of mine, ‘Oh damn, I wanted to be the most expensive city of lights on sale,’” Polan said with a still a little incredulous laugh.
But even after achieving such a monumental goal, the rancher returned home that evening to commemorate the accomplishment by catching up on barn chores.
“My celebration is going well here,” she said, showing her heart. “The best thing about what I do is come home and work. I have fly masks to maintain and stalls to maintain. It keeps my feet on the ground and makes me happy. It fills me up.
Polan had a similar celebration ceremony last year, when his foal Practical Joke brought in $ 575,000 at the same auction. Now of course named Wit, he drew attention to his breeder earlier this summer when he became a GIII winner “TDN Rising Star”.
“I can’t compare the two horses or the two feelings,” she said when asked to describe the similarities between her experiences with Wit and with this one-year-old colt. “I will say that with both of them I felt so special.”
Polan admitted that with Wit, she didn’t realize how well received he would be until he was on the Keeneland pitch.
“He was so laid back about it, but when it came on sale, every time he walked out of his stall he got bigger and had more presence and was higher.”
But this City of Light yearling was different, she said. “The Anchorage colt has always been like this, whether on the farm or for sale, he always came out of his stall saying, ‘Let’s go’. At the sale, people would tell me, “It’s four in the afternoon and it’s still walking. But it’s always been his style.
For Polan, her powerful but easy-going stride and eye-catching presence was reminiscent of what she had seen in the foal’s dam six years ago at the Keeneland November sale.
“I was trying to buy a mare full of Will Take Charge,” she recalls. “I couldn’t buy anything, so I went to see every RNA after the sale. I watched a lot of it before I saw Anchorage, but the second I saw it, I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s it. I mean, she just fills your eye and she has so much presence. She’s a big, heavy mare that seems to hit the ground hard, but when I brought her home and chased her away she went across the field and her feet never touched the ground. sol, just like mine after this sale.
Polan sold Anchorage’s first Will Take Charge foal for $ 130,000 at the following November sale. This filly, named Tijori, won in her debut to win “Rising Star TDN” status. From the same sire, Anchorage produced a Will Take Charge colt that grossed $ 280,000. Now named Abaan, Todd Pletcher’s intern broke his young daughter earlier this month at Saratoga by over seven lengths.
“She continues to produce fabulous runners,” Polan said proudly. “At home, she’s my special mare. I’m sure everyone is going to say if I sell her a million dollar horse, of course it’s my special mare. But quite simply it is. She’s a queen and it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Polan remembers the feeling of astonishment she felt when Anchorage gave birth to her City of Light foal last February.
“I felt like the luckiest person in the world,” she said.
As the newborn climbed on wobbly legs, she thought back to the photo of coach Michael McCarthy sending City of Light to Lane’s End alongside his young daughter when the champion retired in 2019.
“In the photo, he was there in the van and the girl was hooting because she couldn’t believe her horse was leaving. So I contacted Allaire [Ryan] at Lane’s End and I asked if I could send him a picture of this colt because he was so special and I wanted to show this young girl that her horse was not gone. It was my first photo of the foal and as soon as he got up some horses give you that feeling and some don’t. This one was, ‘Oh my God, wow.’ “
According to Polan, the beautiful bay hasn’t lost an ounce of the “wow factor” from the moment he stood up until the moment he crossed the ring at Keeneland.
“He was a beast on the farm and never really got through a gangly stage,” she explained. “All summer, while we were preparing for the sales, he would walk 45 minutes on those hills, then he would go to the stall and lay down. He slept all day and sometimes I had to wake him up to feed him. He just had a good attitude. There was nothing super nice about him; he’s always been a man.
While the colt’s stall is now empty at Sunday Morning Farm, it will soon be filled by his Omaha Beach half-sister who calved in March.
“She’s like the princess of the farm,” Polan said with a big smile. “I don’t spoil them and I didn’t make it that way. She was just born like that.
Also on the farm is Wit’s younger brother – he is the son of none other than City of Light.
Polan said she currently has eight mares in her brood mare group.
“I count them 40 times a day and then I forget,” she jokes, then shares what she’s looking for in potential additions to her group. “It’s the same when buying a mare as when choosing which stallion to breed: if they weaken my knees, this is the one I want. I’m not emotional about where I’m going to spend all it takes. With my mares I must have a price limit and I’m just lucky that I got so lucky.
And luck, according to Polan, is what matters in this matter.
“Everyone says he is happy to see the small breeder can do it. Well, honestly, the great ranchers deserve it just as much as anybody else because look at the financial responsibility they put on the line for being who they are. I think it has more to do with luck than with hard work or intention or being there every night roaming your fields because we all do that. We all work hard and some of us are lucky and some of us haven’t had our chance yet.
No matter how modest Polan’s take on the reasoning behind these recent successes, she will keep the fond memories hidden to meditate on daily as she raises the next generation of future runners at Sunday Morning Farm.
“I think that’s what allows us all to work in the thoroughbred business,” she said. “It’s the carrot in front of the old hangman, or whatever they say, and it’s just amazing how much money like this can happen to anyone.”