(Edited) Hill ‘n’ Dale’s John Sikura and prominent owner and breeder Bruce Lunsford suffered a tough blow in June when the brilliant Grade I winner Madcap Escapade, whom they ownedin partnership, died of colic. Mares like that aren’[t easily replaced, but Sikura and Lunsford hope their latest purchase, Monday’s $1.3 million Smart Strike half-sister to Bodemeister, will ultimately help replace the void left in the Hill ‘n’ Dale breeding shed.
Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Donato Lanni outlasted a group of Japanese buyers land the filly from Brookdale Sales, which consigned on behalf of the Liebrecht family’s Virginia-based Audley Farm.
"I went and saw her two months ago in Virginia, and she's come a long way,” said Lanni. “But she's a beauty and is a real classy filly. Bob [Baffert] will train her.”
Foaled on Jan. 17, the filly, hip 45, was produced by GSW & GISP Untouched Talent (Storm Cat), whose stock soared earlier this year when her son Bodemeister won the GI Arkansas Derby for Zayat Stables and Baffert.
Favored in the GI Kentucky Derby, he ran a bang-up second to I’ll Have Another after setting a scorching pace, then ran second again to that foe in the GI Preakness S.
Bodemeister was retired to WinStar in August after being diagnosed with a shoulder injury.
Sikura is plenty familiar with the filly’s family. He bought her dam Untouched Talent in partnership for $500,000 as a juvenile in 2006, and campaigned her to a victory in the GIII Sorrento S. and a second in the GI Del Mar Debutante S.
|BAFFERT and SIKURA (Keeneland Photo)|
Hill ‘n’ Dale sold her to Audley Farm for $1.2 at the 2007 KEENOV sale in foal to Unbridled Song. Audley later sold Bodemeister to Zayat at the 2010 KEESEP sale for $260,000.
Audley’s Equine Consultant Dr. Jens von Lepel D.V.M. was on hand to watch the Smart Strike filly sell, and was all smiles in the back ring as Lanni offered his congratulations.
“We are more than pleased,” he said. “It’s amazing. It’s the best reward for my owners and my crew—they did so well. And we really have to thank Joe Seitz from [Brookdale], they did a great job. It’s a dream come true. Bodemeister made us so happy through the spring, and we knew we might have a chance with her if we put her on the market.”
Von Lepel, who has managed the Virginia-based Audley Farm’s horses for the past 15 years, was asked if the filly resembled her famous half-brother.
“Not really,” he said. “I would say she's very athletic and racy, but she's a different type. You can see the dam in her, like Bodemeister, but she's more a Smart Strike, while Bodemeister was more an Empire Maker.”
Untouched Talent has a Tiznow weanling filly on the ground and is back in foal to Unbridled’s Song. There could be more sales fireworks from Audley later in the year: Untouched Talent herself has been entered in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. However, it remains to be seen if she'll actually go through the ring.
"It's the owners' decision,” said Von Lepel. “It's hard for us. We'll see. She's a wonderful mare; we don't want to lose her.”