News Archive

Latest News









News and Updates

Window of Opportunity exists in today's horse economy





                                        by Barry Butzer, Sun Valley Farm



Falling prices, overproduction, credit crisis and a world economy in turmoil are the day’s headlines everywhere you look.  We have become a culture reliant on financial data available almost moment to moment-- “fast food finance” is the term I use.  We are so transfixed on tomorrow that we forget that today is the only thing within our control.  If you have been involved, or would like to get started, in the Thoroughbred industry, I personally feel that this is very likely the time to get on board.


After years of double digit gains in sales prices for the Thoroughbred, 2009 will become known as the year that turned back time.   It was a year of diminishing auction returns, falling stud fees, and the over-production correction that will ultimately turn this business inside out.  If you are a supply and demand believer, the recent changes exacted upon this market may well set the stage for tremendous gains in the future for those with enough fortitude to see it through.


Sun Valley, like any other responsible entity, has made necessary adjustments to our business plan.  I personally feel that many of those most severely affected by today’s problems, were those who were inexperienced or overly-optimistic about their own operations, many of them heavily leveraged.  Getting in “when it’s hot” is a recipe for disaster, and certainly takes more money, at a time when you generally get less for more.  We have never subscribed or advocated any of our clients and friends to take such action, in fact, just the opposite.


Now that the correction in the horse industry is well underway, elements of value are beginning to present themselves in the marketplace.  For instance, the mares available for sale on this website are priced at near historic lows.  The procurement costs for these mares has been reduced, along with the fees of the stallions to whom they are currently in foal.  This does not mean that their value is less, it only means that they are available for less.  Our ability to select “the next important producer” continues at a steady pace, almost one stakes horse per month, as evidenced by last week’s G1 performance by millionaire Kodiak Kowboy.  Additionally, with 2010 stallion fees falling another 30% next year, the savings alone could be substantial enough to offset the care of your mare’s annual board at Sun Valley.  All of these tangibles are hard to ignore, and have created a scenario similar to the early years at Sun Valley.  History repeats itself, and one of my favorite quotes puts it best-- “For some reason people take their cues from price action rather than from values.  Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get”—Warren Buffett.  Our goal at Sun Valley, is to always offer uncompromising value and integrity to all of our business relationships and to provide a means of support that extends long after the sale.  

Call or email today to find out what Sun Valley Farm can do for you.  Happy Holidays to all, and best wishes for a happy, healthful and prosperous New Year.


Bearcatt "pounces" to win $150,000 Woodstock Stks!


Bearcatt, with Emma-Jayne Wilson up, wins Sunday's $150,400 Woodstock at Woodbine


By Bill Tallon, The Daily Racing Form

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Bear's Rocket was a hot item but finished second as the 4-5 favorite here in last Saturday's $100,000 Wando Stakes.

Bear It's True was cold on the board and finished last of six as the 14-1 outsider in Sunday's $150,400 Woodstock.

But, Bearcatt was just right, capturing the six-furlong Woodstock at just under 6-1 to give trainer Reade Baker and the Bear Stable of Danny Dion their first stakes win of the meeting.

Bearcatt, a Kentucky-bred who was purchased for $190,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's July yearling sale, started twice here at 2, finishing second at five furlongs and then graduating at the same distance while prominent throughout.

Baker, however, had maintained that Bearcatt would be effective coming from off the pace and was vindicated when the colt rallied from last place in the Woodstock to score by a going-away 3 1/4 lengths under jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson.

"Obviously, you can do whatever you want with him," Baker said.

Bearcatt had been amongst the Florida contingent wintering with Baker at Palm Meadows but did not see action in the south.

"I'd been toying with putting him in the entries at Gulfstream, but there was a race in the proofs for the condition book at Woodbine on opening day," Baker said.

"I entered him there, but the race didn't fill."

The lack of a prep obviously had no bearing on Bearcatt's performance but, with the next open stakes race for 3-year-old being the 1 1/16-mile Marine here May 16, his connections may be looking out of town for a shorter trip.

Bear's Rocket, who had finished a close second in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream and a respectable sixth in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, should be looking to redeem himself in the $150,000 Marine.

Bear's Prospector, an impressive winner over 6 1/2 furlongs here April 18, also is a Marine candidate.

--- Bearcatt was produced from the Sun Valley Farm mare NASCAT (Hennessy-Becky Be Good, by Naskra) who resides at Barry Butzer's Sun Valley Farm.  Congratulations to the connections of Bearcatt, Sun Valley's 137th stakes horse!


Swiss Ace "wire-to-wire" winning Oakleigh Plate-G1!


"Swiss Ace scores in the Oakleigh Plate-G1"


Swiss Ace goes "wire-to-wire" winning Australia's Oakleigh Plate-G1!

Reprint TDN 2/22/09.  Swiss Ace entered top form during last year's Queensland winter carnival, capturing the G2 Sir Bryne Hart Stakes before placing third in the G1 BTC Cup over the same trip as the Oakleigh Plate (G1, A$400,000).  He resumed January 31st to finish seventh, defeated 2 1/2 lengths by Scenic Blast in the G1 Lightning Stakes.  Jumping straight to the lead in a capacity field, the bay came out swinging and fought back when headed in the straight by Lucky Secret, to give his recently deceased sire Secret Savings his third G1 winner.  --- Swiss Ace was produced from the Sun Valley Farm mare Rapid Serve (Carson City-Tennis Partner, by Northern Dancer) who was sold to Nasser Abdullah Lootah's Emirates Park Stud, breeders of Swiss Ace.  Congratulations to the connections of Swiss Ace, Sun Valley's 134th stakes horse!



Strong Showing for Sun Valley at Keeneland September




                                                              by Barry Butzer                                                            

  September 20, 2008


The landmark Keeneland September Yearling Sale held in Lexington, KY is beginning to wind down, and the results are now in the record books.  Through Book Five, some 2,492 yearlings have been reported to have found new homes, accounting for proceeds of over $313,000,000. While the average selling price of over $125,000 is nothing to sneeze at, the average showed an 11.5% decline from yearlings sold at the 2007 venue.  That being said, buyers and sellers alike, have heaped praise upon these results in such economically challenging times.  


Sun Valley and their clients would have to agree, that this sale provided them with results that were nothing short of glowing.  The first ten yearlings through the auction ring, produced from mares sold by Sun Valley Farm, averaged $188,000.  Many of these yearlings took different paths on their way to the Keeneland.  Some of them were bred by Sun Valley Farm and their clients, raised on Sun Valley, and sold as weanlings last fall or as yearlings this past week.  Others were produced from mares sold to clients a few years back, raised on their owner’s farm or another Central Kentucky nursery, and were spread among various consignors.


In Keeneland’s Book 2, a bay colt (Tiznow-Storm Celine) led the charge at $435,000.  Sun Valley had owned and sold both the first and second dams.  This daughter of Storm Cat has produced two stakes winners to date, and rewarded her connections handsomely.  Longtime Sun Valley clients David and Jean Coia’s One Special Lady did not disappoint on day four of the sale, as her Tale of the Cat colt lit up the board at $270,000.  One Special Lady could not have been more aptly named for the Coia’s, as her total sales progeny now nears $750,000!


 As Book 3 began, two Sun Valley homebreds sold for $270,000 and $120,000, both showing impressive gains from their initial purchase prices in 2007.  A strapping son of the Sun Valley mare Attitude caused a stir when entering the back walking ring, selling to Jay-Em-Ess Stables for $270,000, from the consignment of Gerry Dilger’s Dromoland Farm.  Mr. Dilger had purchased this colt as a weanling for $150,000 at the Keeneland November 2007 Breeding Stock Sale, and stands the colt’s sire Eurosilver.  A lovely daughter of Tale of the Cat and the Sun Valley mare If Angels Sang made $120,000 for her owners, Kathryn Nikkel and Judy Hicks.  Kathryn and Judy purchased the filly and her dam privately from Sun Valley last year. In the final hour of the sale, another Sun Valley graduate stepped up to the plate and delivered the grand slam.  Bred by Charley Trimble and raised at Sun Valley, this elegant daughter of Maria’s Mon and Miss Allen, landed a spot on the day’s sales topper list at $310,000. 


The first five books of September revealed plenty of highs and lows, and the analysis of the entire sale is a work in progress.  As for Sun Valley Farm, and the businesslike approach to our equine investments for ourselves and clients, Keeneland Books 2 and 3 clearly illustrate careful planning pays off.   While these four comprehensive sessions at Keeneland turned in a healthy average of $162,000 (approximately 3.5X stud fee) overall, Sun Valley graduates commanded results averaging over $205,000 (6.6X stud fee).  Clearly, the Sun Valley yearlings not only exceeded the Keeneland average by 26% , but most importantly did it with significantly less stud fee investment per yearling, thereby adding an additional 25% profit.




A "Kodiak Moment" in the Saratoga Special-G2!
Photo by Adam Coglianese

KODIAK KOWBOY, out of the Sun Valley mare KOKADRIE, boldly scored an impressive win in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes going six and one-half furlongs over the fast main track at Saratoga Race Course!

KODIAK KOWBOY broke sharply from post one, but jockey Shaun Bridgmohan chose not to have him engage in the early pace battle. Sitting just off the leaders down the back stretch and around the turn, KODIAK KOWBOY was full of run, but with another colt alongside, he was boxed in. A seam opened between the two pacesetters at the top of the stretch and KODIAK KOWBOY didn't hesitate to split his rivals with a powerful move. Clearing the field, he took off for home and galloped on to win by three lengths. He stopped the clock in 1:15 4/5, which equaled the stakes record.

“He ran well,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “The concern today was the inside. He had such a beautiful stalking trip in all three of his victories; (in those races) he was in a three-wide stalking position."

“Today, he overcame a little bit," continued Asmussen. "What I love was that, down in between horses, he was looking for somewhere to go, and when it opened up, he punched through nicely. I think the final time was excellent for a two-year-old.”

“I saw the hole turning for home, and he was willing,” Bridgmohan said. “He did everything I wanted and was very gutsy today. He got a lot out of this race. He was professional in doing it. He broke smartly, and he rated himself a little bit. The horses were going pretty good up front, and he sat in behind them pretty nicely and it opened up right at the top of the stretch. When I pointed him, he was just willing and just shot right through there. Then, he went about his business. It was pretty professional for a two-year-old. I had a comfortable lead, and I knew The Roundhouse would be coming, but I knew I had enough to hang on.”

KODIAK KOWBOY races for the partnership of Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm. He has won four straight races and four of his five lifetime starts and he has earned $294,825.

Adam Coglianese photo





Kodiak Kowboy wins Bashford-G3 in sparkling performance!
Photo by Reed Palmer

Courtesy of Churchill Downs

By: John Asher

KODIAK KOWBOY completed a memorable day for trainer Steve Asmussen as he rallied from third to pull away under jockey Corey Lanerie to a comfortable 2 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s 106th running of the $165,150 Bashford Manor Stakes (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

A son of the hot first-year sire POSSE, KODIAK KOWBOY covered six furlongs over a “fast” track in 1:09.15 and paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.40. Dr. Nick rallied from last in the six-horse field under Mark Guidry to grab the runner-up spot and paid $5.20 and $3.60. Crackalackin, ridden by Jamie Theriot and one of three horses in the field trained by Asmussen, paid $3.80.

KODIAK KOWBOY , who is owned by Vinery Stable, won his third straight race following a loss in a two-furlong race in his career debut at Canada’s Woodbine on April 29. He nearly doubled his career earnings as the winner’s share of $101,373 raised his bankroll to $204,825. He had returned to Woodbine to win the $125,000 Victoria Stakes in his previous start. It was the second victory in the Bashford Manor for Asmussen, who won the race with Lunarpal in 2004. He saddled KODIAK KOWBOY's sire, POSSE, to a runner-up finish behind Lone Star Sky in its 2004 renewal.

Hargill broke alertly at the opening bell and battled with Motovato for the lead while leading the field through brisk fractions of :21.60 for the quarter mile and :45.19 for the half-mile. KODIAK KOWBOY and Lanerie patiently tracked the leaders three-wide in third, just ahead of Crackalackin, and Blackberry Road and Dr. Nick were at the back of compact field. Lanerie sent KODIAK KOWBOY after the leaders on the far turn, assumed the lead at the head of the stretch as the field of six spread across the track and drew away through the stretch. Dr. Nick was forced six-wide in the stretch as he rallied from last to gain second, while Crackalackin and Blackberry Road rallied for third and fourth, respectively. Motovato faded to fifth, while early pacesetter Hargill finished last.

“He broke sharp, and I could see that other horse (Hargill) up there pressing the three, so I wasn’t too worried about the three horse (Motovato)" said Lanerie. "My horse was a little more speedier than him. From there, I started to ask my horse; he had every opportunity to win. Those two hooking up in the middle of the turn, and my horse was just waiting for the call. I tapped him on the shoulder and he about jerked me out of the saddle. From there I just kept him busy. I was just a passenger.

“Steve and his team did a great job with this horse,” said Lanerie. “They threw everything at him that he might face today. He was well-seasoned, well-trained and ready to go. I was just a passenger and hung on to him.”

Asmussen would not speculate on where KODIAK KOWBOY might race next, but indicated that he had faith that the colt would thrive at longer distances.

“We’re very comfortable about him wanting to go further,” he said. “He definitely surprised us by that. When we first had him, he showed us some speed. I ran him a quarter of a mile and got him beat, but in every one of his races he was strongest at the end.”

When asked about his debut at two furlongs, Asmussen said, “A nice pot with a nice little horse that I thought could win. He’s got a great disposition, and he’s the kind of horse I thought could take it. He was outfooted that day and ended up fourth, but galloped out good, and Emma who rode him for us that day contacted us and said, “Don’t worry about him. There’s plenty in him. His laid-back attitude got him that day. I’ve been aggressive with some of the Posses, and I think they’re standing up to it. I liked a lot of them when we first started running at the beginning of the season, and I think I went 0-for-11 for them, first-time starters. I think about eight or nine of them won their second or third start, and he’s one of them. He has a very good disposition, and I thought he stayed on to the wire in nine flat – a lot of quality about him.”


KODIAK KOWBOY becomes Sun Valley's 115th Stakes Horse!


KODIAK KOWBOY becomes Sun Valley's 115th Stakes Horse!

KODIAK KOWBOY was a very impressive maiden winner at Churchill on May 26, just missing the track mark by 1/5th second.  KODIAK KOWBOY became the 115th stakes horse for a mare owned/sold by Sun Valley Farm with a decisive victory in the $125,000 Victoria Stakes at Woodbine on June 17, 2007.  Here he shadowed the leaders, rallied wide between foes and proved toughest as he dug in and edged away late.  "When we were in tight, he had his ears pinned and he was really game" noted winning rider Emma-Jayne Wilson.

KODIAK KOWBOY was produced from the Sun Valley mare KOKADRIE (Coronado's Quest), and was not the only Sun Valley connection in the $125,000 Victoria that day.  YES IT'S BULL (Yes It's True) finished two lengths behind to secure the 116th stakes horse for Sun Valley.  YES IT'S BULL was produced from the Sun Valley mare Heart of the Bull (Holy Bull). 




Flash! Homebred CHIN HIGH becomes Sun Valley's 101st Stakes Horse!


Chin High gives hometown trainer a win in Transy.

Hometown Trainer Pulls Huge Upset at Keeneland
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 4/7/2006 5:06:16 PM
Last Updated: 4/7/2006 6:42:29 PM

Chin High gives hometown trainer a win in Transy.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Neil Pessin is from Lexington and has stabled at Keeneland for years. On the opening day of the spring meeting Friday, his Chin High pulled a major upset in the $150,000 Central Bank Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds.

The son of Smart Strike shocked the solid field of turf runners by winning the mile grass race by one length under Shaun Bridgmohan and paying a whopping $139.

It was the third stakes win at Keeneland for Pessin, who won the Elkhorn (gr. IIT) and Keeneland Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) in 1993 with Coaxing Matt.

It was not hard to understand why Chin High was such high odds. He had started four times, breaking his maiden in his last start at Evangeline Downs. He had started once on turf, running fifth last year in a race at Arlington Park.

It was no surprise to Pessin, though.

"Yeah, we've kind of been pointing to this spot for awhile," Pessin said. "When we entered we thought we had a big shot to win. We don't own any of the family, so we weren't looking to get stakes-placed."

The winner, who completed the eight furlongs on firm going in 1:37 4/5, earned $93,000 for owner Ike Thrash.

Pessin said a final decision will be made later on a next start for his bay colt, but noted that Chin High is nominated to the Mid-America Triple series at Arlington Park.

Chin High was entered in an non-winner of one other than allowance race at Keeneland Saturday and Daily Racing Form had him 30-1 in that race.

But while the 4-5 favorite, Bobby Frankel-trainee To Sender, began retreating on the backstretch in the Transylvania, Bridgmohan had Chin High poised for his late kick.

Wherethewestbegins made the lead as the field turned for home and had every opportunity to spurt away to win, but he hung a bit down the stretch as Chin High and Le Plaix, under Edgar Prado, came with their big runs.

Chin High, fourth as the field reached the furlong marker, exploded to the lead and held off Le Plaix, with Wherethewestbegins staying on for third, a half-length behind the runner-up.

"t was a little bit difficult doing it but he kinda managed to bull his way through there and get ahead of them," Bridgmohan said.

Chin High was ninth in the field of 10 early as the Irish-bred In A Flash staked fractions of :22 1/5, :46 and 1:11 4/5.

"Midway down the backside I nudged him a little and thought I'd give him a little encouragement and he picked it up pretty good," the jockey noted.

The mutual board lit up on the dark and rainy afternoon at Keeneland. Chin High, owned by Ike Thrash, paid $139, $62.60, and $17.60. Le Plaix returned $24.80 and $11.20, and Wherethewestbegins was worth $7.20

It goes without saying that the gimmicks were huge. The extaca paid $1,239.20, the quinella $339.60, the trifecta $12,907.80, and a ten-cent superfecta with Unbridled Behavior fourth paid $3,409.34.

Keeneland's first of 15 racing days drew 18,031 people, a record for a Friday opening in the spring.  The previous record was 15,811, set last year. Friday's total included 3,417 students drawn by $10,000 in college scholarships.

In A Flash finished fifth, followed by Readily, Tompest, Dawn of War, Indian Hawke and To Sender.

"He got hit from behind by another horse about 50 yards out of the gate and never really relaxed after that," said jockey Alex Solis of the To Sender.

Bred in Kentucky by Sun Valley Farm, Chin High is out of the Sunny Clime mare Damie's Sis.


Sun Valley's Marsh Cat produces $1,000,000 Barretts 2yo!


2yo Colt (Grand Slam-Marsh Cat)



Marsh Cat (Storm Cat-Marshua's Echelon) became Sun Valley Farm's most recent success story when her current 2yo colt (by Grand Slam) was the second high seller at the Barretts Two Year Old in Training sale held on March 15, 2005. Congratulations and best wishes for continued success to Marsh Cat's owner, Jehan Malherbe!


The Merry, Merry Month of May...

Hip 43 didn’t hit the ground until May 9, but the son

of Grand Slam quickly made up for that late foaling

date. The bay blossomed early, showing enough as a

yearling that his connections decided to hold on to him

until the juvenile sales. It proved a wise move. The colt

tuned up for Barretts with an eighth in :10.20 during

the first preview and caught even more attention when

bringing a final bid of $1 million yesterday. Consigned

by Jerry Bailey Sales Agency, agent for Gulf Coast

Farms, he was purchased byHirokazu Sumida, agent.

Bailey, who is part of the Gulf Coast partnership, was

not surprised that the two-year-old turned outto be a

seven-figure sale. “I find that some horses just mature

that much faster than the others, and the birth date

doesn’t havemuch bearing on it,” he said.  “We raised

this horse and we kept him to break because we

liked him a lot. He is as good a horse that I’ve had for

many, many years.” Sumida signed the ticket for an

undisclosed buyer. It is likely that the million-dollar baby

will be heading to Japan in the future, but Bailey would

be more than pleased if he ended up racing in the U.S.

“It is a lot more satisfying when the horses you sell

stay here to race,” he said. “You like to follow them

and see how they do. We have a group of mares, and I

think it’s better advertisement when [the progeny] race

here. It’s easy to lose track of them when they go to

Japan.” But the bottom line is getting them well sold.

“I’m pleased there was someone here for this horse,”

Bailey said. “I wish them lots of luck. They’ve bought a

really good horse.” The bay juvenile is out of Marsh Cat

(Storm Cat), a half sister to Grade I winner Run Man

Run (Theatrical {Ire}).




Paddy's Daisy...Sun Valley's 89th Stakes Horse!


Paddy's Daisy cruising to victory in Keeneland's $100,000 Jessamine County Stakes.

Florida breeder/owner David Coia Sr, who spent his first several years in racing, selling all the horses he bred, picked a good one to keep in Paddy's Daisy.  "I had a good feeling about the filly" he said.  "Six hours after she was foaled, I was presented with an offer to sell her".
Paddy's Daisy has lived up to Coia's expectations in a big way. She has won three stakes: the second division of the November 26 Miesque Stakes (G3) at Hollywood Park, plus the Salem County and Jessamine County Stakes, also on the grass. She has won four of five races on the turf after finishing unplaced on dirt in her first start.
"If you look, you'll see her Miesque was run in faster time than the other filly's time" Coia said.  Coia bred Paddy's Daisy in the name of Stonehaven Farm, and he races her in the farm name. "It's not an actual farm, but I'm looking for one" said Coia, a resident of Dunedin, Florida, who emigrated from Scotland 40 years ago.
Paddy's Daisy was foaled at Barry Butzer's Sun Valley Farm near Versailles, Ky. "It was Barry's father who made the offer", said Coia, who bought Paddy's Daisy's dam, Mrs. Paddy (by Woodman), privately from Sun Valley.  "I board all my mares there".
Paddy's Daisy in trained by Todd Pletcher, whose father, J.J. Pletcher, was involved with Paddy's Daisy's early training. Co-owner of Pletcher-Massey Stables near Ocala, Florida, Pletcher had the filly in his care from September of 2003, until May of this year.
Coia, who is in business with sons David Jr. and Ricardo, is a real estate developer and owns Subway restaurants. The family business also is involved in developing a resort complex in Antigua.

reprint courtesy of The Blood-Horse, December 4, 2004


Sun Valley Weanlings Headline Keeneland's Biggest Day!


Sun Valley Farm Homebreds Headline Keeneland November Sale
Top Ten Weanlings Sold - Tuesday, November 9, 2004

#553  (Grand Slam-Heavenly Cat).  Bred by Twin Hopes Farm             $650,000
Purchased by Glen Hill Farm

#496  (War Chant-Dissemble).   Bred by Indian Creek/Stonerside         $625,000
Purchased by Stewart Armstrong

#542  (Fusaichi Pegasus-Gracie Lady).   Bred by Lux Investments        $535,000
Purchased by Foxtale Farm

#525  (Cozzene-Forest Key).   Bred by Jayeff B Stables                         $340,000
Purchased by ClassicStar, LLC

#331  (Giant’s Causeway-Rose Frances).  Bred by Marilyn Seltzer        $325,000
Purchased by Fleetwood Bloodstock

#481  (Came Home-Cristalline).  Bred by Jones, Sutherland, etal           $310,000
Purchased by DOC Bloodstock

#355  (Giant’s Causeway-Slide).  Bred by Pajet Bloodstock                    $285,000
Purchased by Athens Woods, LLC

#438  (Johannesburg-Attasliyah).  Bred by Ryan and Saylor                   $280,000
Purchased by Indian Hill Farm

#318  (Tale of the Cat-Prosper).  Bred by Sun Valley Farm                 $260,000
Purchased by DOC Bloodstock

#395  (Johannesburg-Tune in to the Cat).  Bred by Sun Valley Farm  $260,000
Purchased by Indian Hill Farm

Text reprinted courtesy, Thoroughbred Daily News (11/10/04).

Copyright 2017 Sun Valley Farm. All rights reserved.
Site designed and programmed by Hammond Communications Group, Inc..