B Wayne Hughes busy looking for his next star despite advancing years
B Wayne Hughes is looking forward to more than celebrating his 85th birthday in September.
The owner of Kentucky’s Spendthrift Farm is also clearly hoping to race more champions like his grand four-time Eclipse Award winner Beholder, and he and his team jumped into the first session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale with four purchases totaling $1.45 million.
“Mr Hughes wanted to spend some money tonight. We’re excited. We’ve got quite a few on our list,” said Mark Toothaker, Spendthrift’s stallion sales manager, in the midst of the buying spree that netted three colts and a filly.
Leading the Spendthrift purchases was a $750,000 colt by the farm’s phenomenal sire Into Mischief out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Silky Serenade. Consigned by Summerfield as agent for breeder Stonestreet Farm, the bay colt was listed as Hip 108 and is a half-brother to recent juvenile stakes winner Restless Rider.
Toothaker said Spendthrift currently has about 30 horses in training. The farm sent out its first runner in about ten years carrying its unmistakable orange and purple colors at Saratoga on August 5 and that competitor, the juvenile filly Into Mystic, also by Into Mischief, finished a promising second.
Into Mystic was one of a number of purchases Spendthrift made at juvenile sales this spring. The filly bred by Runnymede Farm was acquired for $650,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s April auction as one of four purchases for a total of $1,352,000.
A month earlier, at the OBS March sale, Spendthrift joined Town & Country Farms in buying a pair of colts by Bernardini and Candy Ride for a total of $910,000.
Hughes’s bold enthusiasm for the sport, illustrated by his venture into the Australian breeding business with the purchase of a farm in Victoria in 2015, is unmatched and the inspiration for the Saratoga yearling acquisitions, according to Toothaker.
“He does not slow down one bit. He laughs all the time and says ‘I’m the craziest guy. I’m buying horses and I’m not going to know if they’re good enough to be in the stallion barn until I’m 90 years old,’” Toothaker said. “That’s the magic about him. He keeps charging forward. He’s an amazing man. He’s always looking forward, never looking back.”
The billionaire co-founder of Public Storage, described as the world’s largest self-storage business with 2,300 locations in the United States and Europe, Hughes also started American Homes 4 Rent, which leases out 50,000 houses in 22 states.
Hughes sat in the lower level of the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion for the Saratoga sale after his team, led by Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey, pinpointed their prospects.
Striking early, Spendthrift began its buying with Hip 5, a grey filly from the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map and out of Grade 1-placed Jordy Y, by Congrats. Consigned by Vinery Sales, agent, the filly was bought for $250,000.
A More Than Ready colt from the family of Grade 1 winners Dream Rush and Dreaming Of Julia and consigned by St. George Sales, agent, as Hip 32 was Spendthrift’s next purchase at $300,000. The farm’s other acquisition during the session was a Tiznow colt from the family of Queen’s Plate Stakes winner Sir Dudley Digges who cost $150,000.
“We’re always looking for more fillies for the broodmare band down the road and to see if we have a colt that can wind up being good enough for the stallion barn,” Toothaker said of the reason for the purchases.
“This game is so much of a numbers game. It’s so hard. You’ve got to have numbers—you go through a lot of them to try to find that one who will wind up working for you.”
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