Worth The Wait

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The team from Spendthrift Farm felt fairly optimistic heading into the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale, even though the Kentucky operation dispatched just one member of that year’s crop to the strongest regional market in the United States.

Hip 428, a colt by Dominus out of the Chief Seattle mare Aspen Mountain, fueled the optimism. The chestnut with a blaze and one white stocking featured a strong recent update and would sell late in the opening session, hopefully after buyers were over any pre-sale jitters and around the time they get anxious hoping to fill orders before leaving the sales grounds for a Saturday night in Saratoga.

Representatives of Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables stuck around and landed the colt for $140,000, a price that now looks like a bargain but well above the overall sale’s average of $81,739 and median of $65,000. Later named Build To Suit, the now 6-year-old ridgling earned New York’s champion male sprinter honor of 2019 with three wins and a second in four starts.

“It seems like forever ago we sold him as a yearling,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift’s general manager.

Sold by his breeder and consigned by Taylor Made Sales, Build To Suit went through the ring that night as a half-brother to Bolo, third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Grade 2 San Felipe during the run-up to the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Bolo, a son of Temple City who later became a Grade 1 winner in the 2019 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita Park, also finished 12th in that year’s Kentucky Derby.

“We thought that was a really good price,” Toffey said. “Of course that mare is now a Grade 1 producer with Bolo winning his Grade 1. We had a decent little run of raising and selling some nice New York-breds up there, using a couple different farms.”

Build To Suit, who finished a close second in the John Morrissey at Saratoga and won the Hudson at Belmont Park during his 2019 season, was born at Keane Stud in Amenia. He’s the seventh foal out of Aspen Mountain, now 18 and still a member of B. Wayne Hughes’ broodmare band at Spendthrift.

A $210,000 yearling buy at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale and a half-sister to the dam of Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Grade 1 Pacific Classic winner Dullahan, Aspen Mountain didn’t win in two starts under Hughes’ colors for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

Aspen Mountain retired in late 2005 and was bred to Parker’s Storm Cat to produce her first foal in 2007. Two of Aspen Mountain’s first four foals are minor winners while her next three are stakes winners or stakes-placed – Bolo, Grade 3-placed Let Me Go First and Build To Suit.

“We still have her,” Toffey said. “We sort of bred her wrong for a while – maybe not so much wrong but didn’t have much luck with her. Spendthrift bought her right before I came on board, to race, and she had a tremendous amount of ability.

“She just had some ticky, tacky lameness issues that shortened her career and at no point did she get to show what she was capable of. Even though it’s not there in black and white there definitely was a lot of talent there. The pedigree has filled out even more with Mine That Bird and Dullahan, that’s two pretty serious horses. It’s nice when they go that way. Sometimes you pay a ton of money for all that stuff and they don’t realize it. That’s been the nice thing, her pedigree has filled out beautifully.”

Build To Suit helped boost the pedigree even more. Unraced at 2, he won or placed in all six of his starts at 3 on the NYRA circuit for trainer Chad Brown and owners Klaravich Stables and Bill Lawrence.

He went to the sidelines in the fall of 2017 and spent a significant period with Bruce Jackson at Maryland’s Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center in 2018 before his championship season.

“We got a lot of help from Bruce Jackson down at Fair Hill,” Brown said after the Hudson. “He and his team did a great job with this horse. He sent this horse back to us in good shape, and he’s running as good as he ever was. He won’t do anything that would get you excited in the morning. He always runs a little bit better than I think he’s going to. He’s a real cool horse to be around and he’s earned everything that he gets. He’s all heart.”

Build To Suit sold at Keeneland November last year as part of the downsizing of the Klaravich-Lawrence partnership, but returned to Brown as the sole property of Klaravich. The now 6-year-old was training at Payson Park for a 2020 return.

Build To Suit
Ch. r. 2014, Dominus–Aspen Mountain, Chief Seattle.
Breeder: Spendthrift Farm.
Owner: Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence.
Trainer: Chad Brown. 2019 record: 4-3-1-0. $187,750. 2019 stakes: Hudson Handicap.


Download the 2019 NYTB Awards Dinner program

NYTB published the winners on the organization’s website (https://www.nytbreeders.org/) and social media channels on the original date of the event. At the same time, NYTB launched a microsite at nytbawards.com to host a video presentation produced by PM Advertising featuring the top performances of all nominees and showcasing the winners. 


Other champion New York-bred male sprinter finalists

Gr.h. 2014, Freud–Chantess, Unbridled’s Song.
Breeder: Hidden Lake Farm, Gunston Hall Farm and Anthony Grey.
Owner: All In The Family Racing.
Trainer: Linda Rice.
2019 record: 6-2-0-1. $112,480. After five-win 2018 campaign, opened 2019 with back-to-back wins including Hollie Hughes Stakes. Also placed in Grade 3 Tom Fool.

Celtic Chaos
Ch.h. 2013, Dublin–Let Joy Reign, Awesome Again.
Breeder: Spendthrift Farm.
Owner: Zilla Racing Stable.
Trainer: Brad Cox.
2019 record: 8-2-2-0. $146,364. Pulled mild upset in John Morrissey at Saratoga, second of back-to-back wins in middle of campaign. Veteran of 38 starts pushed career bankroll to $674,761 by year’s end.

Gr.g. 2016, Adios Charlie–Rooney Doodle, Lit de Justice.
Breeder: Larry Rivelli and Richard Ravin.
Owner: Richard Ravin, Patricia’s Hope and Larry Rivelli.
Trainer: Larry Rivelli.
2019 record: 6-3-2-0. $204,890. Well-traveled gelding pushed career earnings to $477,385 with wins at Arlington, Hawthorne and Mahoning Valley, the last in a stakes.

My Boy Tate
Dk.b./br. g. 2014, Boys At Tosconova–Backslash, Sharp Humor.
Breeder: Michelle Nevin.
Owner: Little Red Feather Racing and Michelle Nevin.
Trainer: Michelle Nevin.
2019 record: 1-1-0-0. $82,500. Made one start of 2019 count with score in New York Stallion Series at Aqueduct in November.

Ch.g. 2014, Bustin Stones–Heck, Heckle.
Breeder: Laurel Least and Joseph Lech.
Owner: Ronald Brown.
Trainer: Chris Englehart.
2019 record: 11-6-0-2. $195,166. Busy campaign included two claims and wins at Aqueduct, Saratoga and Finger Lakes. Won Leon Reed Memorial at Finger Lakes in October. Closed 2019 with 10 lifetime wins, and made it 11 at Aqueduct in February 2020.