10/26/12 - UPPERLINE
Multiple graded stakes winner Upperline, who captured the listed Rood & Riddle Dowager Stakes at Keeneland last weekend, has been retired by her connections.
Originally scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton November sale, owners Mike Stidham, John Adger, Jack Hodge, and Arthur B. Hancock III have decided to keep Upperline and have sent her to Hancock's Stone Farm near Paris, Ky.
The 5-year-old Upperline (Maria's Mon - Snowflake, by Caerleon) has won nine of 25 career starts, and has earnings of $772,988. In addition to the Dowager, Upperline notched victories in the Arlington Matron (gr. III), Arlington Oaks (gr. III), and Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT).
01/02/2011 - Forever Together, No Matter What, Arthur Hancock IV and a visit to Stone Farm
By Barbara Livingston
Courtesy of the Daily Racing Form
There is a comfort to a traditional horse farm, the type that lacks bells and whistles and chandeliers. The moment you step onto Stone Farm, with its touches accented with grey and yellow, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. The farm’s simple motto: “We’re trying to raise you a good horse.”
When I visited last week with a friend, Arthur Hancock III and his son Arthur met us in the office. The older Arthur, who created the farm in 1970, is known far and wide not only for his horsemanship but also for his gift for storytelling. It didn’t take much goading for him to share a few tales of immortal horses he’d known such as Forli, Buckpasser, and a bold foal who grew up to be Fusaichi Pegasus.
He also discussed the farm’s method of introducing maiden mares to their new life as broodmares. Before maiden or barren mares are put together in a field, they are placed in stalls across from each other so they can ‘talk.’ Then they are put out together and eventually moved into fields with more mares.
We could have listened all day, but there were horses to see - two of George Strawbridge’s most accomplished mares. I’m a big fan of Mr. Strawbridge’s breeding program and have been honored to photograph some of his best mares, primarily at Derry Meeting Farm – including Annie Edge, First Approach, Reiko, Heartbreak, a cantankerous and amazing mare named Waya….
On this day, young Arthur was kind enough to assist us with No Matter What and Forever Together.
Broodmares are fascinating, although many people barely notice their names. A sire’s name is bandied about regularly. Handicappers talk knowingly about the brilliance of Elusive Qualitys or the ability of Broad Brushes to get a distance. But most mares seem mere words, in small font, listed after the stallions in programs and past performances.
Everything about No Matter What should be bold-faced. Bred by Arthur Hancock III and Stonerside Ltd., the daughter of Nureyev – Words of War won the Grade I Del Mar Oaks and a listed French stakes, while earning $185,726. But No Matter What’s Grade I racing career was just a prelude. Now 13, she has already produced three stakes winners: millionaire Rainbow View (G1), Just as Well (G1) and Winter View (multiple graded stakes winner).
All of those Grade Is have seemingly left her difficult to impress. The farm staff had No Matter What beautifully prepared, and even her hooves were scrubbed clean. Her rounded body reflected a broodmare in foal, and her lovely feminine features were softened beneath a bright red winter coat. Her class and beauty were readily evident as they stood her up for a portrait.
But while she was very polite, she was as difficult to photograph as any I remember. It was nearly impossible to get her ears forward, although we tried everything we could imagine. No dice. In perhaps 15 minutes, she pivoted both ears forward only twice – and for only the briefest time. Usually, one ear – or both – stayed back.
We finally gave up and let her back into her paddock. With that, her ears propped forward and, with a light step, she eagerly jogged back to her paddock-mates. Soon joined by a dark bay friend, she burst into a relaxed gallop, and they quickly disappeared over the horizon.
Broodmare manager Jerry Hobbs, who has worked with No Matter What for several years, said of her lack of interest: “She’s a well-mannered horse, and it’s a pleasure taking care of her. But she just likes to eat and be with her friends.”
Forever Together, meanwhile, had been at the farm only a few weeks, having retired after the Breeders’ Cup. She and her new paddock friend, Extravaganza, were waiting in the barn. Forever Together was led out, and she was comfortable and responsive for portraits. Her 6-year-old body still shouted ‘racehorse,’ and her dapples and points were still rich and dark.
After formal shots, the assistant broodmare foreman Joey Littrell led Forever Together to an expansive paddock, while young Arthur partnered with Extravaganza.
I’d visited Forever Together nearly a year ago at Jonathan Sheppard’s Pennsylvania farm and been fascinated by how she clearly ruled her paddock. Informed Decision and two other paddock mates paid heed whenever she approached for, while she seemed innocent enough, she might suddenly pin her ears and pivot her powerful hind end their way. No one debated her superiority, at least the day I was there.
But such was not the case at Stone Farm. Extravaganza obviously had not read about Forever Together’s Breeders’ Cup victory, Eclipse Award or reputation for being quirky, or perhaps she simply felt her pedigree and record – the daughter of Elusive Quality had won at Keeneland in April – were worthy of respect.
When released together, they moved gingerly around the snow-crusted field, each carefully striding out on the slick footing. Forever Together occasionally pinned her ears, tossed her head and swung her hips toward the young bay. Extravaganza? She pinned her ears and offered her own backside, without ever really trying to connect.
When Forever Together couldn’t intimidate the filly, she instead approached me with mischief in her eyes. I waved my white flag immediately and backed away.
The mares quickly made peace and settled in to graze, and as they wandered around the large paddock seeking out the best browse, they stayed close to each other – like best buds. Fascinating animals. Blessed are the broodmares, indeed.
Despite the cold morning, the tall young Arthur helped with an unusually positive attitude and good nature. His handsome features, from sandy light hair to blue eyes to a strong jaw line, were nearly obscured beneath a large knit black hat. But his smile, showing clearly how he loved working on his family’s farm, was enviable.
Arthur, 24, is one of six children, and the only son, of Arthur III and his delightful wife Staci. Gato Del Sol won the Kentucky Derby three years before Arthur IV was born, and he was too young to remember Sunday Silence in 1989. He remembers crying when Menifee got beat in the 1999 Kentucky Derby, falling a head short in his drive to catch Charismatic. And he remembers, with laughter, the day a yearling bred by Stone Farm and Stonerside, later named Fusaichi Pegasus, sold at auction for $4 million.
“I remember sitting in the front row with a bunch of my friends, and freaking out when they hit $2 million and kept going,” he said. “I obviously didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. I wish we could do it again, because now I understand the significance of it.”
He does seem to understand the significance of things in a manner belying his youth. But then again, his childhood was anything but ordinary.
“I think I was nine years old when I broke my arm in the foaling barn,” he said. “A mare started to foal and I ran to call someone, and I tripped over a chair and broke my arm. I used to watch mares from six at night till about ten, and do my homework there, when I was a kid.”
He smiled broadly recalling his time working with a bay yearling a few years back, a feisty daughter of No Matter What.
“Rainbow View and I used to have some good battles in the paddock. When you turned out the babies, she would drag people around in big circles. I was pretty good at holding onto the scrappy foals because I was still playing sports then. We had a lot of fun together,” he laughed.
Like his father and the rest of his family, Arthur is unusually grounded with a love of the land and the horses.
“I think we’ve all kind of lost touch, with cell phones and stuff, but not all people my age are crazy,” he said. “People are just unfocused. I live out in the country and try not to watch television. It’s been kind of tough to deal with as a young person, but the farm life is good, and the horses are good because (you know the saying): there’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
Just before we left, he smiled and added, “Hopefully, one day I’ll be an old man full of quotes, like my Dad.”
CHAMPION FOREVER TOGETHER RETIRED TO STONE FARM 11/15/10
Courtesy of the Thoroughbred Times Today
By Mike Curry
Forever Together, the 2008 champion turf female for owner Augustin Stable, has been retired to Stone Farm in Paris, Kentucky, after finishing sixth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) on November 5 at Churchill Downs for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
The six-year-old Belong to Me mare was beaten by two lengths in the Filly and Mare Turf, a race she won in 2008 to cement that year’s Eclipse Award for turf female. She amassed nine wins, five seconds, and seven thirds from 26 starts and earned $2,957,639 in five seasons.
“She went to Stone Farm a couple days ago,” said Barry Wiseman, assistant to Sheppard. “She only got beat four necks and a length last week.”
The gray or roan mare won graded stakes in Kentucky, California, New York, and Florida, and finished her career with four wins at the top level.
Bred in Kentucky by White Fox Farm, Forever Together is out of the Relaunch mare Constant Companion. She earned her first graded stakes win on dirt in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in 2007 and subsequently finished second on the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course in that year’s Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (G2). She won her turf debut in May 2008 in the Reluctant Guest Stakes at Arlington Park, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Forever Together won right off the bat, but it wasn’t until we put her on the grass that she showed her true form,” Wiseman said. “She went to Chicago and won the Reluctant Guest with Earlie Fires and then ran third in the Just a Game [Stakes (G1)]. After that race, [Sheppard] said, ‘I think we can go places with this filly.’ ” In addition to the Filly and Mare Turf, her other Grade 1 wins came in the 2008 and 2009 Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course and the 2008 First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
Champion Forever Together Retired
Courtesy of the Blood-Horse
Forever Together, who was voted the 2008 champion turf female after winning the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), has been retired from racing to become a broodmare for owner George Strawbridge Jr.
The 6-year-old daughter of Belong to Me is boarded at Arthur B. Hancock III’s Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., and will be bred to Smart Strike . When bred to Belong to Me mares, Smart Strike has sired this year’s leading 3-year-old male Lookin At Lucky and 2010 grade II winner Papa Clem.
Campaigned by Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, Forever Together was a two-time stakes winner on the dirt before she embarked on a career on the grass. She won her first three races, including the Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II), and then was beaten a neck in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II). After losing her next four starts, she was switched to the turf and promptly won the Reluctant Guest Stakes the year of her championship. Forever Together also captured the First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) and the first of two consecutive runnings of the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) leading up to her victory in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Forever Together went winless in six starts this year but managed to place in four graded stakes. She finished sixth in this year’s Filly & Mare Turf but was beaten just two lengths. She was retired with nine wins and a dozen placings from 26 starts and earnings of $2,957,639.
White Fox Farm is the breeder of Kentucky-bred Forever Together, whose dam, Constant Companion (by Relaunch), is a half sister to four stakes winners and three stakes producers, including the dam of grade II winner and successful sire Broken Vow .