Warrendale Client Blackstone Farm On The Rise
RSS Feeds Friday, July 27, 2018

With an emphasis on elite breeding and top conformation, Fasig-Tipton's The Saratoga Sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., attracts selected yearlings from some of the most prominent breeding entities in North America.

This year is no exception, as the 255 head cataloged for the Aug. 6-7 auction include entries from such leading breeders as Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Calumet Farm, Fred W. Hertrich III, Machmer Hall, Newtown Anner Stud, SF Bloodstock, Spendthrift Farm, and WinStar Farm, among others.

While those entities and others have multiple yearlings in the Saratoga sale, the lesser-known Blackstone Farm leads all breeders with eight yearlings selected for the boutique auction.

Located on 350 acres in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania near Pine Grove, Blackstone is quickly establishing itself as a major commercial breeding entity for partners Douglas Black, Christian Black (not related), and Mark Weissman.

Established in the mid-2000s, Blackstone has elevated its program since Douglas and Christian Black partnered in 2010, with Weissman joining the team later. Christian Black said he handles the matings and day-to-day operations of the farm, with Douglas Black in charge of administrative and business affairs. Weissman does not have an active role in the operation, Black said, but has a passion for the horse industry.

The eight Saratoga selected sale yearlings are all Pennsylvania-breds out of mares purchased by Blackstone at public auction in prices ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. The sires of the yearlings represent established stallions such as SpeightstownTiznow, and Candy Ride and first-crop stallions like Constitution and Liam's Map with stud fees ranging from $17,500 to $100,000.

"We are trying to breed better-pedigreed horses, and then the individuals have to be able to accommodate those pedigrees," said Christian Black, adding that the Saratoga sale group indicates Blackstone's program is on the right track. "It's an acknowledgement from the industry that we can have eight horses that can fit the program both from a physical to a pedigree point of view."

The yearlings cataloged in the sale were chosen by the Fasig-Tipton selection team from 11 shown by Blackstone, which was represented by its first Saratoga selected sale yearling in 2014 with a son of More Than Ready. Consigned on behalf of Blackstone by Taylor Made Sales Agency, that colt was purchased by GMB Racing for $145,000—the same price at which he had been bought back as a weanling the previous year.

Named Tom's Ready, he is the most accomplished horse bred to date by Blackstone, winning or placing in 12 of 21 starts, with earnings in excess of $1 million before being retired to Spendthrift Farm.

Trained by Dallas Stewart, Tom's Ready won the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) and Ack Ack Stakes (G3) late in his 3-year-old season and in 2017 captured the Bold Ruler Handicap (G3). Tom's Ready also placed in six stakes, including runner-up efforts in the Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) and Lecomte Stakes (G3), with third-place finishes in the Forego Stakes (G1), Kelso Handicap (G2), and Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by Twinspires.com (G2).

The Broad Brush mare Goodbye Stranger was bought by Blackstone for $40,000 from the Gainesway consignment to the 2013 Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale while carrying Tom's Ready in utero.

Blackstone, which led all Pennsylvania breeders in 2016 with horses that earned $1,587,775 in purses, has also been represented by Delaware Oaks (G3) winner Dark Nile, multiple stakes winner Bronx Beauty, and stakes winners The Critical Way and She's a Big Winner (bred in partnership).

"It takes a long time to to build a breeding program that is capable of doing what we're doing, and we feel we've done that in a short time," said Christian Black, who said he had experience with Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds in Europe before relocating to the U.S.

With 35-40 yearlings of 2018, Blackstone will have 13 selling at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Christian Black said, including three selected for the revamped Book 1.

Blackstone's yearlings at Saratoga are offered on their behalf by three consignors—Taylor Made, Warrendale Sales, and South Point Sales.

The Blackstone-breds cataloged for The Saratoga Sale are: Hip 15, Distorted Humor colt, Warrendale; Hip 75, Take Charge Indy colt, South Point; Hip 84, Candy Ride filly, Taylor Made; Hip 87, Liam's Map filly, Taylor Made; Hip 113, Tiznow filly, Warrendale; Hip 172, Speightstown filly, South Point; Hip 218, Constitution filly, Taylor Made; and Hip 246, Speightstown colt, Taylor Made.

"We're not married to one consignor," Black said. "We spread it around. There can be different factors that play into it because certain horses fit certain consignors. For example, you can have a horse with international appeal, and we feel that a particular consignor is best to show this horse to as many people in that group of buyers we think that horse might appeal to."

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