Sale-topping Scat Daddy colt defies the odds

Hip 454: Scat Daddy colt was knocked down to MV Magnier for $3million

PICTURE: Keenland/mk Twist of fate results in Keeneland sale-topper
By Michele MacDonald 1:50PM 15 SEP 2016

As much as the story of how Secretariat's ownership was determined by a coin flip, the tale of the $3 million colt who topped Book 1 of Keeneland's September yearling sale illustrates how success in breeding and racing often is shaped by unpredictable twists of fortune.

Fred Mitchell, whose Clarkland Farm bred the Scat Daddy half-brother to exceptional champion Beholder and hot young sire Into Mischief, recalled immediately after the handsome bay colt went through the ring that he was conceived only after his dam had lost an earlier pregnancy that season.

Now the colt will go on to race in Europe for the Coolmore team, with hopes expressed by both MV Magnier and Mitchell that he could eventually become a successor for his star-crossed sire, who died suddenly last year at age 11.

"We had to breed [to the colt's dam] twice that year. She had an Eskendereya filly who coliced at two months old and had to have surgery and it didn't work. The old mare was pregnant with a February foal to Scat Daddy, and when we took her to the hospital, she absorbed that foal," Mitchell said. "So we had to breed her back and that's the reason we got a May foal."

The sale-topping colt was such an outstanding individual that he defied several sale axioms, including bias against late spring foals and older mares. He was born on May 17 last year, and his dam Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek, was 19 when she delivered him.

"He's a very good mover, he's very good looking and from a very good family. We've had a lot of luck with Scat Daddy in the past and hopefully it will continue," Magnier said, noting that what he called the two best juveniles in Europe this year are both by Scat Daddy – Coolmore's Phoenix Stakes winner Caravaggio and undefeated Prix Morny winner Lady Aurelia, owned by Stonestreet Stables and partners.

"I don't think anybody could have the disposition this colt has and the conformation he's got – you couldn't get a better individual anywhere," Mitchell said. "He took five days of showing and never missed a beat. The way he moved – it was like he was on air all the time he was out there, striding out unbelievably."

Mitchell said he thought the colt could top the sale and he even anticipated bids as high as $2 million, but he kept his target price at about $1.5 million

"To double that is just unbelievable," he declared. The price was the highest at the Keeneland September sale since 2010, when Besilu Stables paid $4.2 million for a son of A.P. Indy named Mr Besilu who never won a race.

Mitchell picked Scat Daddy for Leslie's Lady's 2014 mate because ten-time Grade 1 winner and three-time champion Beholder and Grade 1 winner Into Mischief both were sired by grandsons of Storm Cat, Henny Hughes and Harlan's Holiday, respectively. Scat Daddy, by Johannesburg, was a grandson of Hennessy, who also sired Henny Hughes.

"If you go back and look at Beholder's pictures as a yearling, the conformation is so similar. The head and the eye are almost identical, the stride and the hindquarters and the back legs are almost identical," Mitchell said.

"He's probably the prettiest Scat Daddy I'll ever see. Most of the time they are not as smooth and not as pretty as this colt," he added. "You can't knock the runners that Scat Daddy has had, and hopefully he'll be the one that takes Scat Daddy's place. I hope I can breed to him one of these days."

Leslie's Lady is back in foal to Medaglia D'Oro. The yearling colt's success in the sale ring has allowed Mitchell to dream about what could be in a future free from financial worries.

"Hopefully, [Leslie's Lady] has a filly so we can keep her and race her. And after this, I think we may be able to afford to keep her," he said.

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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