Win, lose or draw in the Breeders’ Cup Classic this Saturday, it’s a cinch Catholic Boy’s dam Song of Bernadette will command a seven-figure sum at the Fasig-Tipton Bloodstock Sale on Sunday.
Fasig-Tipton’s Lexington complex is little more than an hour’s drive east of Churchill Downs where Catholic Boy is second-favourite for the $6 million grand-final of the BC Championships.
More Than Ready’s champion colt will be gunning for his third Group 1 this year following the Belmont Derby and Travers Stakes in New York. The only horse to complete the Travers – Classic double has been Juddmonte Farms colt Arrogate in 2016.
But why would Kentucky breeders Fred Hertrich and John Fielding sell Song of Bernadette now? “That’s a million-dollar question and it’s because we can’t afford to own her,” Hertrich said. “With the commercial breeding operation that we have, we don’t keep mares of that value. We put them back in the marketplace.”
Hertrich (pictured with Song of Bernadette) operates Watercress Farm on 600 acres at Georgetown in the heart of blue-grass country just north of Lexington.
There’s no telling what she will sell for, but it will surely be a major multiple of the $140,000 Hertrich and Fielding paid at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale. “Somebody will be rewarded because she’s a fantastic mare,” Hertrich said. “It will be a bitter-sweet moment because of what she’s done for us and the farm. But we also know that whoever purchases her will be very, very happy.”
Song of Bernadette (Bernardini – Winner’s Edge by Seeking the Gold) was retired a maiden after five starts but had the pedigree and conformation that attracted the partners. And, she didn’t figure to sell for that much back in 2014.
That’s all changed in the last twelve months. Song of Bernadette, who is only nine, is the type of broodmare a lot of people would love to keep but she will go under the hammer as Lot 188 from the Taylor Made consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Sale on Sunday.
Not only is Catholic Boy a top-class horse, but he has proven to be among the most versatile of modern times. That’s among the other reasons why Hertrich expects his mare to sell so well.
“She has worldwide appeal. She’s had a More Than Ready that’s a Group 1 winner on the turf, as well as the dirt. He’s the greatest fighter I have ever seen. So we’ve had inquiries from people from Australia and from Japan. We’ve had European interest, and of course North American interest.
“She is in foal to top sire War Front and rarely do you find a mare for sale that has already produced a Group 1 winner that is under 10,” Hertrich said. “ She’s had a foal every year and is the whole package. People can envision 10 foals that could be produced by the mare.”
Hertrich is fan of More Than Ready having bred and sold the Vinery legend’s 2017 BC Juvenile Fillies winner Rushing Fall. He’s a sportsman but also a businessman. It’s time to take some money, and a lot of it, off the table.