Benoit Invests in Top Keeneland Mares to Breed in Louisiana

Excerpted from reports


Evelyn Benoit is not your typical horse breeder.

Most buyers of a top-class, $850,000 Thoroughbred mare at public auction would plan a mating for the following breeding season to one of North America’s more fashionable stallions.

Not Benoit.

At the Nov. 11 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Grovendale’s James Keogh won a bidding war to acquire the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed mare Moment of Majesty for $850,000 from Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency’s consignment.

The 9-year-old daughter of Saint Liam was purchased in the name of Benoit’s Star Guitar Inc., named after the Louisiana breeder’s top homebred Star Guitar.

Keogh said Benoit bought the mare specifically to breed to Star Guitar, who stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $4,000—a far cry from the $100,000 fee for Curlin, the Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm stallion to whom Moment of Majesty was bred this year.

A day later, Benoit struck for another high-priced mare to breed to her stallion Star Guitar, going to $550,000 for the durable runner Five Star Momma during the fifth session of Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale.

Sold in foal to top WinStar Farm stallion Tiznow, Five Star Momma topped the Nov. 12 session, in which the sale enters a new realm, beginning Book 3 after the best lots in the auction were offered in Books 1 and 2.

Keogh said Benoit’s decision to breed such an expensive mares to Star Guitar reflects her desire to give the stallion the best opportunity to succeed.

“It’s not about the money with her. It’s about the horses,” Keogh, part of Benoit’s team of advisers, said of the disparity between the mare’s purchase price and the stallion to whom she will be bred. “It’s family to her. She loves (Star Guitar) so much. He means the world to her.”

Racing for Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable, Star Guitar won 24 of his 30 starts, including 22 stakes, and retired as the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner of over $1.7 million. In his only graded stakes placing and rare venture outside Louisiana, Star Guitar finished third in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.

Represented by 36 juveniles of 2016, Star Guitar has had two winners from six starters to date, and Keogh said Benoit is getting ready to send out several of her promising homebreds trained by Al Stall Jr.

Keogh said the breeder has supported Star Guitar since he entered stud, sending some 15 of her 22 broodmares to the stallion annually.

“He’s a beautiful-looking horse. He’s show-hunter pretty,” Keogh said. “He’s a fabulous-moving horse. He wouldn’t break eggs, he’s so light on his feet.”

With his breeding and superb running ability, Star Guitar likely could have been gone to a farm outside Louisiana, but keeping him in the Bayou State fit with Benoit’s support of the state breeding program. Star Guitar’s fee will remain at $4,000 for 2017.

“It’s everything to her to support Louisiana’s breeders’ program,” Keogh said. “She had several offers to stand him in Kentucky, but she wouldn’t consider it because she wants to support Louisiana racing and breeding. She is passionate about racing. She watches racing three hours a day.”

Louisiana Bred Colt Sells for $350,000 at Keeneland September; A Record High Price for a Louisiana Bred in Keeneland History

img_4337 An Accredited Louisiana-bred yearling colt by Curlin sold for $350,000 on Wednesday, September 14, Day 3 of the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. This is the highest price ever for a Louisiana Bred to have run through the Lexington, Kentucky Sale.

Bred in Louisiana by Hargroder Farms, LLC, the attractive bay colt is out of Moonlight Lover, an unraced Bernardini mare. Consigned by VanMeter-Gentry Sales as agent, he was purchased by Katsumi Yoshida.

Breeder Don Hargroder says of the colt, “This colt was very special from the time he hit the ground, and we are very proud to have been part of his life. Several years ago, I said my goal was to get national respect with Louisiana breds, and I think we did that with this colt. His dam has a very attractive Lewis Michael filly by her side and we are shopping now for stallions for her next breeding. ”

“As Louisiana follows the trend of the rest of the country with smaller foal crops, our breeders have embraced the idea of quality over quantity,” states Roger Heitzmann, III, Secretary/Treasurer of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He continues, “This colt is a prime example of where I believe we are headed. I believe you will see Accredited Louisiana Breds selling at higher prices moving forward.”

Four-Win Saturday Gives Louisiana Native Lanerie Lead In Keeneland Jockey Standings


 Corey Lanerie
Corey Lanerie

Jockey Corey Lanerie won with half of his eight mounts on Keeneland’s Saturday card, taking over the lead in the local jockey standings with a total of 14 wins. With just four racing days remaining, Lanerie has a one-win lead over both Javier Castellano and Luis Saez, both of whom were absent on Saturday.

Lanerie won his first leading rider title at Keeneland last fall with 25 wins over the course of the meet. Castellano captured the leading rider title for last year’s Spring meeting with 21 victories.

The wins began in the first race on Saturday for Lanerie, when he piloted Cheray to a one-length starter allowance victory for trainer Mark Cristel. His next win came in the fifth race, booting home Mike Maker’s Try Your Luck to a 9 1/4-length maiden special weight victory. He captured back-to-back events to close out the day, winning the seventh aboard Scooter Dickey’s Shadow Rock and the eighth on Charlie LoPresti’s Dear Elaine.

Castellano spent Saturday riding at Charles Town Race Course in West Virginia, where he won two races including the Charles Town Classic aboard Stanford. He is scheduled to return to Keeneland for racing on Sunday. Saez, who got off to a smoking-hot start at the Keeneland Spring meeting with seven wins over the first three days, has been riding in New York since Wednesday, and captured three races, including two stakes, on Saturday’s card at Aqueduct.





Benoit Purchases Roan Inish for $500,000 at Keeneland

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Canadian Oaks winner Roan Inish, an Elusive Quality  mare in foal to Arch  was purchased by Evelyn Benoit’s Star Guitar Inc. for $500,000 during  the second session of Keeneland’s January horses of all ages sale.

The price for the 9-year-old mare consigned by Mill Ridge Sales was the highest of the Jan. 12 session at the time she went through the ring.

A homebred racing for Robert Costigan in Ireland and Canada, Roan Inish won two of eight starts, with four placings, and earnings of $598,619.

Roan Inish was produced from the two-time Canadian grass champion mare Inish Gloria.

Georgia Keogh, the daughter of James B. Keogh, who operates Grovendale, signed the ticket on behalf of Benoit, who raced Star Guitar and plans to breed the mare to that horse who now stands in Louisiana.

“She’s a beautiful mare, she’s in foal to Arch,” James Keogh said. “We just loved the Elusive Quality, loved the racehorse. She belonged to the Costigans, and Evelyn said she just had to have her. She’ll breed her to her stallion in Louisiana.”

Roan Inish will be sent to Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana.

Glenye Cain Oakford contributed to this story