©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, LLC is thankful and pleased to announce that Rodney Richards, trainer of the 2016 Kentucky Derby prospect American Dubai, will join our team scouting horses for sale at auction.
At the recent Fasig-Tipton Fall Yearlings October Sale, Richards picked from our Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® shortlist Hip 293 as a young colt he really liked on day one of the three-day sale.
A bay colt by Curlin out of Party Chatter by Pleasant Colony, Hip 293 brought the hammer down for $350,000 as the day one sale topper. A half-brother to MSW/GSP Rock Candy, Hip 293 was consigned by VanMeter-Gentry Sales and purchased by agent Justin Casse for Joe Minor’s JSM Equine. Here’s the video of the sale:
On day three, Richards’ best pick of the day was Hip 1034, which also sold as the $350,000 sale topper. A bay colt by Bernardini out of Desert Gazelle by Smart Strike, Hip 1034 purchased by Stonestreet Stables from the consignment of Brookdale Sales, agent. Here’s the video of the sale:
Overall, Fasig-Tipton cataloged 1,250 yearlings for the October sale and I created a shortlist of 23 colts that had an A+ or A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Grade Index. Of those, six colts sold for over $100,000. Here’s a look at those horses:
Richards liked all of the above mentioned colts, but hips 293 and 1034 were his two best of the sale picks.
“Those two colts had the ideal body type characteristics and beautiful, fluid stride I look for in young Thoroughbreds,” said Richards. “Both colts have a lot of similarities and could develop into a classic runner.”
A third-generation Oklahoma horseman, Richards has always been around racehorses. His great-uncle Horace Hines was a trainer and his uncle Kenneth Richards was a jockey turned trainer, as was his dad, Jerry Richards. While his uncles stayed in Oklahoma, his father rode and trained on the West Coast, primarily at fair meets.
Born in Claremore, Okla., in 1966, Richards is part Native American. He graduated from Haskell Indian Junior College in Lawrence, Okla., now a four-year institution known as Haskell Indian Nation University. He ran track while in college and played football, his love for the latter a natural result of growing up in Sooner country.
Richards first made his living breaking young horses for others, but friends encouraged him to take up training and he took out his license in 2003. Like the two generations before him, Richards raced primarily Quarter Horses, traveling to Remington Park, Arapahoe Park and Blue Ribbon Downs. He also saddled a few Thoroughbreds in those years.
Richards now maintains a public stable of about 15 head and is the primary trainer for Richard Keith’s growing stable of young horses. He met Keith when the latter was searching for a new trainer for his then-three Thoroughbreds; a mutual friend introduced the two. Not long afterward, in 2013, Richards and his father, Jerry, traveled to the Ocala sales, marking the first time he selected horses for Keith. They brought back two, including the filly Giacomo Belle, who has two wins and a second in nine starts.
The next time Richards returned to the Ocala sales, Keith came along, with the goal to select Derby-caliber horses. With the help of Lexington-based bloodstock agent Fletcher Mauk, the team selected American Dubai, among others, at the 2015 March sale.
“You want to spend smart money at the sales. You don’t want to just ‘buy horses,’ ” Richards said. “American Dubai caught my eye. He’s got the body type I like.”
While American Dubai is Richards’ first attempt at reaching the Kentucky Derby, he is not—or not yet—the trainer’s top earner. That distinction goes to King’s Water Lilly, winner of the 2009 Enchantress Stakes. The filly compiled a 3-4-3 record in 16 starts for earnings of $238,884 in her three-year career for owner Oscar Aguilar’s 4 Eagles Racing Stables.
Richards and his wife, Starlyn BigRope, a three-quarter Apache, make their home in Mescalero, N.M., near Ruidiso. The couple has two children, a four-year-old Chasen Rope and one year old MorningStar.
The Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale begins this Tuesday, November 8, and continues through November 20.
The Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® is a powerful sales analytical tool that helps buyers make the best decisions and investments when purchasing horses at auction. In addition, it also a powerful tool that helps horse owners and breeders take the guesswork out of breeding their horses.
If you would like the team of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, LLC to help you make the best decisions and investments at auction or, if you are making plans to breed your horses for next year, please feel free to contact us at Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, LLC.
(Parts of this blog were compiled, with permission, from a Keeneland news story about Rodney Richards.)