Jane Lyon reveals the sires selected for her Summer Wind Farm star mares
Michele MacDonald reports on the dam of American Pharoah and others
The kindling from two decades of devotion and a lifetime of dreams flamed into a bonfire of success for Jane Lyon and her Summer Wind Farm in 2018.
Now, as she finalises 2019 matings for her expanding group of about 40 elite broodmares, ebloshe has a redoubled sense of optimism while hoping to replicate the likes of Summer Wind-bred champion Game Winner and Grade/Group 1 winners McKinzie, Mozu Ascot and Chasing Yesterday.
Bestowing credit upon her mares, particularly those from families she has developed such as the dams of Mozu Ascot and 2017 multiple Grade 1 winner Moonshine Memories, Lyon says they have given her "an awful lot of pride that maybe I was doing something right".
“My goals are the same as they were in the beginning – to raise some really good horses in the Bluegrass and do it the way it’s supposed to be done,” she adds, recalling that when she and her husband, the late Frank Lyon jnr, purchased the farm in 1995, they had no experience in the sport.
Summer Wind has arisen from her girlhood dream of raising high-calibre racehorses. A petite blonde with a soft Southern accent, Lyon transformed that dream into reality with a steely determination to constantly enhance her broodmare band, adding blue-chip acquisitions annually.
Her matings this year include sending her most savvy purchase, the dam of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, to Tapit as one of seven mares she has booked to Gainesway Farm’s three-time leading North American sire, who stands for $225,000.
Lyon is the only breeder in the world to own close female relatives of both of America’s recent Triple Crown winners. She plans to breed five-year-old Holiday Music, a Harlan’s Holiday half-sister to Justify she acquired privately prior to Justify’s initial Grade 1 victory, to American Pharoah for a quintessentially Classic-orientated foal.
Continuing to broaden her perspective internationally, Lyon has shipped two mares to Banstead Manor Stud to be covered by Frankel this season. Two of her newest acquisitions are Galileo mares, and Lyon will send one of those, Key To My Heart, to Justify.
“If I can match the results of 2018, I’ll be as happy as I can be,” Lyon says in looking forward to future racing by Summer Wind-breds including those that will result from these matings.
“I know the odds are not in my favour,” she cautions in a nod to the elusive nature of top-level success, “but we also have a lovely group of yearlings this year and a really strong group of new two-year-olds.”
Passion for her horses is first and foremost with Lyon. She loves nothing more than lavishing her mares and foals with carrots and affection, and she is well known for leaving lipstick marks on her racehorses’ noses from kisses before they compete.
Aspirations for American Pharoah's dam
Littleprincessemma, the now 13-year-old dam of American Pharoah who Lyon bought for $2.1 million the year before he became the first horse in 37 years to conquer the Triple Crown, is the queen of Summer Wind.
Lyon has not sold any of Littleprincessemma’s offspring publicly, although she did privately sell to Coolmore the now four-year-old St Patrick’s Day, a Pioneerof The Nile full-brother to American Pharoah who is Group-placed.
Since delivering St Patrick’s Day, Littleprincessemma has produced Chasing Yesterday, a three-year-old filly by Tapit who has won the Grade 1 Starlet and two other stakes races in Summer Wind silks and is being pointed to the Kentucky Oaks by trainer Bob Baffert; Theprinceofthebes, a juvenile full0brother to American Pharoah who is in early training for Lyon, and a yearling colt by Tapit named Triple Tap.
Littleprincessemma is carrying a full-sister to Chasing Yesterday and Triple Tap, due in early April, and Lyon already is looking forward to keeping another daughter of America’s 2015 Broodmare of the Year.
“I will probably keep all of Emma’s fillies. It thrills me that Chasing Yesterday is proving that she’s special,” says Lyon, who named the chestnut in memory of her late husband.
Prior to his death, Frank Lyon had given his blessing for his wife to keep the filly, easing their vow to sell all their yearlings annually.
“I always knew that Emma would not be a one-horse wonder as a broodmare,” says Jane Lyon, who continues to retain other fillies to race, as well as a few colts who did not make sales due to slight injuries.
Lyon says she toyed with the idea of sending Littleprincessemma to a stallion other than Tapit this year, but since Chasing Yesterday and Triple Tap are such outstanding individuals physically, she decided to try the mating again.
Other Summer Wind mares currently booked to Tapit are Whatdreamsrmadeof, a $1.65m acquisition who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Curalina; Amazing Belle, an $800,000 half-sister to Unrivaled Belle, a Grade 1 winner and dam of twice champion Unique Bella; and Feathered, a $2.35m purchase and a Graded winner who was multiple Grade 1-placed.
Also: homebred Unenchantedevening, dam of Moonshine Memories; stakes winner For Royalty, a $2.35m purchase who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Constellation, and Steidle, a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Princess Of Sylmar who is owned in partnership.
A confirmed fan of Frankel
Lyon’s decision to send mares to Frankel stems from her admiration of the Juddmonte superstar as well as the success of Mozu Ascot, the son of Frankel produced by her homebred multiple Graded winner India.
“I fell in love with Frankel the first time I saw him, and who wouldn’t be in love with him? He is just a dream for Juddmonte and everyone,” Lyon says.
Mozu Ascot was a strikingly handsome colt growing up at Summer Wind, Lyon says, but his market potential was apparently limited by his compact size and some epiphysitis.
He was listed as unsold at $275,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in 2015 but, after being acquired by Japanese interests, he progressed to win the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen in stakes record time last year.
Lyon did not want to ship the now 16-year-old India, a daughter of Hennessy, to Britain for another breeding to Frankel this season due to concern for the mare’s health, so she received Juddmonte’s approval to send India’s unraced four-year-old daughter Secret Sigh, by Tapit.
Joining Secret Sigh in visiting Frankel will be Shehadmefromhello, a 13-year-old Empire Maker mare who is carrying a Candy Ride full-sibling to multiple Grade 1 winner Separationofpowers.
Shehadmefromhello was a $1.1m purchase at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton November sale.
“I’m just hoping for a couple of fillies,” Lyon says, laughing, about the Frankel matings while imagining the possibility of keeping daughters of Frankel for her broodmare band.
Her admiration of Frankel also drew her to acquire Juddmonte-bred Argumentative for 425,000gns at the 2018 Tattersalls December mare sale. The 12-year-old daughter of Observatory, already the dam of juvenile Group 1 winner Epicuris, is in foal to Frankel.
Considering Argumentative’s projected May foaling date, no 2019 mating plans have been made at this point.
In hopes of “the possibility of creating an animal that is attractive to any market,” Lyon has been adding more European influence to her band, particularly with Galileo mares.
In addition to Key To My Heart, an Irish stakes winner purchased at Keeneland last November for $1.75m, Lyon bought Rip Van Winkle’s full-sister A Star Is Born for $750,000 at the recent Keeneland January sale.
Now in foal to War Front with a full-sibling to multiple Group 1-placed stakes winner Fleet Review, nine-year-old A Star Is Born is one of three mares Lyon plans to breed to rising sire star Quality Road, who stands at Lane’s End Farm.
Others going to Quality Road are India, who has a yearling filly by Frosted, and another Hennessy mare, More Hennessy, a 12-year-old who was a $1.5m purchase in 2015 after her second foal, Quality Road’s son Hootenanny, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
More Hennessy was in foal to Galileo when Lyon purchased the mare and she has kept the resulting filly, a now three-year-old named Shadow Play who is in training with Bill Mott.
Lyon is also sending at least two mares each to Scat Daddy’s sons Justify and Mendelssohn at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. In addition to Key To My Heart, Lyon has booked Talkin And Singing, dam of multiple Grade 2 winner Danzing Candy and stakes winner Cedartown, to Justify.
“He's a magnificent horse, and no horse will probably ever again do what he did,” Lyon says of the nearly 17-hand tall Justify, the first horse in history to win the Triple Crown undefeated and unraced at two. In considering his size, Lyon says she and Summer Wind manager Bobby Spalding chose strong-bodied but medium-sized mares as mates.
Lyon indicated that she is keen to breed to Mendelssohn, the half-brother to hot sire Into Mischief and multiple champion Beholder.
Since Mendelssohn won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and subsequently performed well on dirt, winning the UAE Derby and placing in Grade 1 American races, his versatility is a major complement to his deep pedigree, she says.
Four-year-old Longtime Love, an unraced Summer Wind homebred by Smart Strike out of Giant’s Causeway’s half-sister Love Me Only will go to Mendelssohn along with homebred Test Of Time, a seven-year-old unraced Unbridled’s Song half-sister to India.
Cultivating an India empire
The family of India is particularly meaningful to Lyon since India’s dam, stakes winner Misty Hour, was a Christmas gift from her husband in 1997. Now 24, Misty Hour still resides at Summer Wind with many other pensioners – both mares and geldings bred at the farm – that Lyon protects with gentle kindness.
“They’ll be here until they take their last breath,” she declares.
Among the other foals Misty Hour produced was stakes winner Pilfer, who went on to deliver Grade 1 winners To Honor And Serve and Angela Renee after being sold as a yearling, as well as Lyon’s homebred broodmare No Curfew, by Curlin.
Now nine, No Curfew produced the Flatter colt that topped last year’s Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale at $520,000 and a yearling colt by Union Rags, and she is carrying a colt by Honor Code due in March. No Curfew is one of three Summer Wind mares set to be bred this year to Into Mischief, joining Sweet Lulu and Princess Arabella.
A Grade 1 winner by Mr Greeley and a $3m purchase by Summer Wind in 2014, Sweet Lulu has a yearling Uncle Mo filly and is carrying a filly from the first crop of Gun Runner due at the end of March.
Princess Arabella’s 2018 yearling colt by Uncle Mo sold at Keeneland for $925,000 to SF Bloodstock and Starlight Racing, and the stakes-winning daughter of Any Given Saturday is currently in foal to Into Mischief with a filly due in April.
Other stallions Lyon plans to patronise with more than one mare include Uncle Mo and Ghostzapper.
Grade 1 winner and $2.4m purchase Aubby K, a ten-year-old daughter of Street Sense who on February 5 delivered a Tapit filly that Lyon says is the mare’s best foal to date, has been tabbed to go to Uncle Mo, as has $1.05m acquisition Belle Watling, by Pulpit, and $2.2m Tapicat, by Tapit.
Meanwhile, Ghostzapper will greet Funny Feeling, a full-sister to Grade 1 winner and sire Jimmy Creed, and Zinzay, a Smart Strike mare out of a half-sister to multiple Grade/Group 1 winners Music Note and Musical Chimes, the latter winner of the 2003 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.
Quality all the way through
Virtually all the mares in Lyon’s band are notable for blueblood connections and some have fan followings, perhaps none more than Eblouissante, the half-sister to Zenyatta purchased at Tattersalls for 1,100,000gns in 2016. The ten-year-old Bernardini mare has a yearling colt by Dubawi, is carrying a filly by Candy Ride due in April and will go back to Candy Ride.
As a proven sire with a compact frame, Candy Ride is a good match for the towering Eblouissante, Lyon says.
Looking at her other mares, Lyon says Love Me Only, an 11-year-old daughter of Sadler’s Wells purchased for $2.1m in 2011, is in foal with a War Front filly and is set to return to War Front.
Love Me Only also has a yearling colt by War Front, and her two-year-old Tapit filly was purchased by Shadwell for $800,000 at Keeneland last September.
Love Me Only’s first foal was Storm The Stars, a Group 2 winner by Sea The Stars who placed in both the Irish and English Derbys as well as the Grand Prix de Paris.
Unfortunately, some of Lyon’s mares have come to the end of their producing careers. Runway Model, the dam of McKinzie, has been pensioned after being diagnosed with a condition that limits her ability to retain a pregnancy.
Runway Model’s last foal is a juvenile filly from the initial crop of Liam’s Map that Lyon has retained and named Map Maker.
In trying to further develop the family, Lyon acquired Runway Model’s daughter Malibu Model last year for $750,000 at Keeneland, and the now six-year-old by Malibu Moon is due to deliver a Curlin foal this month.
Malibu Model will be bred back to Street Sense, sire of McKinzie, who was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as American champion three-year-old male after two Grade 1 wins in 2018.
Breeding is such a difficult and sometimes heartbreaking endeavour, Lyon says while discussing the family of Game Winner, the champion juvenile colt of 2018 and the early favourite for the Kentucky Derby.
The son of Candy Ride proved to be the last foal of Lyon’s seven-year-old homebred Indyan Giving, a daughter of A.P. Indy and champion Fleet Indian who died from complications following colic surgery.
Fleet Indian, acquired privately after going unsold at $3.9m at the 2007 Keeneland November sale, also died young, succumbing to colic at age ten.
Another Grade 1 winner acquired by Lyon, Tapit’s daughter Careless Jewel, a $1.85m purchase in 2013, stands at the sunset of her producing career. Concerned about Careless Jewel’s occasional colic troubles, Lyon says she would pension the mare after she produces a colt by Union Rags due this month.
Careless Jewel has an attractive yearling American Pharoah filly named My Cartouche.
Mares acquired by Summer Wind gain a special life, and Lyon places their welfare first even while pursuing her dreams of sporting glory.
She views her mares as beloved family members and does not follow other breeders in selling older individuals or those with problems, preferring to retire them or carefully place them with people she knows.
“Those mares that have been producing foals for me don’t owe me anything,” Lyon says.
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