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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Abel Tasman illustrates her breeder is clearly exceptional

Another Grade 1 contest falls to a graduate of Clearsky Farms

Bob Baffert: trains Abel Tasman for China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms
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Less than a decade after the late Irish-born businessman Eamon Cleary established Clearsky Farms in Kentucky, the operation is producing top-class talents at an incredible rate.

The world's best horse, Arrogate, was bred by Clearsky Farms, as was last year's three-time Grade 1-winning sprinter Lord Nelson and 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day.

The stud had gone close in a Churchill Downs Classic before, with graduates Mohaymen finishing fourth to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby last year and Firing Line runner-up to American Pharoah in the race in 2015.

Now Clearsky Farms can boast a Kentucky Oaks-winning graduate to add to all those achievements, after Abel Tasman was steered by Mike Smith to a one-and-a-half-length success in the race on a sloppy track on Friday.

Daddys Little Darling, Normandy Farm's homebred daughter of Scat Daddy, was second, with Lockdown, a Juddmonte homebred by First Defence, in third.

Ever So Clever – yet another Clearsky Farm alumnus – was a staying-on ninth in the race.

Abel Tasman, winner of last year's Grade 1 Starlet Stakes, is trained by Bob Baffert for the China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms. Her career was overseen by Simon Callaghan until March.

She hails from the third crop of Quality Road, a son of Elusive Quality who was a four-time Grade 1 winner in the Florida Derby, Donn Handicap, Metropolitan and Woodward Stakes.

Abel Tasman is one of four top-level winners sired by Quality Road, who stands at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky at a fee of $35,000. The others are Hootenanny (Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf), Illuminant (Gamely Stakes) and Klimt (Del Mar Futurity).

Abel Tasman is out of the Deputy Minister mare Vargas Girl, who has produced three other winners including Sky Girl, a daughter of Sky Mesa who struck in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes.

Vargas Girl is a half-sister to Bevo, winner of the Grade 1 Futurity Stakes, and Moonlight Sonata, who scored in the Grade 3 Washington Lassie Stakes and produced the stakes winners Beethoven, La Appassionata and Wilburn.

Abel Tasman was not sold at $65,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2015.

The run of success for Clearsky Farms, led by Arrogate's brilliant victories in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup, pays high tribute to the legacy of Cleary, who passed away in 2012.

The stud, home to around 30 broodmares, is run by Cleary's sons Bernard and Eamonn.

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Abel Tasman is one of four top-level winners sired by Quality Road, who stands at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky at a fee of $35,000
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