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Country Day Makes TDN’s List of Regional Value Sires for 2020

Excerpted from TDN

 

By Chris McGrath

After our exhaustive survey of Bluegrass stallions, good manners demand at least a browse through the alternatives available elsewhere in North America. But this must be a very different exercise, and a pretty unsatisfactory one too. The Kentucky market is entirely coherent, with hundreds of stallions clustered within a few miles of each other at fees to suit all budgets. Regional stallions, in contrast, serve regional mares. If you’re in Ohio, you’re not going to van a mare down to Too Much Bling (Rubiano). If you’re in Texas, equally, you don’t need telling that you can’t have too much of that guy.

Each regional market is organic, and value must be judged accordingly. Is your state program sustained by slots, for instance? Are you splitting a fee between 10 buddies from the bowling alley at a couple of hundred bucks apiece? Or are you trying to beat the Bluegrass at its own game–to breed another Chrome in California; or launch another Malibu Moon in Maryland, another Mr. Prospector in Florida?

So this is just a cursory cross-section picked from some (but by no means all) of the principal regions. They’re at various stages of their careers, at different fee tiers, and have only one thing in common: the potential–in a single, highly subjective opinion–to punch above their fees.

 

LOUISIANA

COUNTRY DAY (Speightstown–Hidden Assets, by Mt. Livermore), Peach Lane Farms, $2,500

Having been reduced to just four mares in his sixth season, last year Country Day was moved from Kentucky to make a fresh start in the Pelican State. How apt, then, that at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day, his daughter Break Even launched her flamboyant spree of six straight wins, highlighted on Oaks day at Churchill by the GII Eight Belles S.

It had been on the equivalent card the previous year that a member of Country Day’s debut crop, Will Call, had become his first graded stakes winner. He went on to run fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint–the race in which Country Day himself had enjoyed his finest hour, when second in the 2011 running. Only a few days ago, moreover, Will Call’s sister, Play On, landed her third black-type success; and their sire’s overall record now stands at 59 winners from 78 starters.

You have to look past Country Day’s relatively modest track career to account for a runner as freakish as Break Even, albeit his versatility in terms of surface was replicated when she switched to turf to run away with a Saratoga stake last summer. You very seldom see a horse clock such wild fractions with such a contained, relaxed air. The most striking thing about Country Day’s pedigree is that the bottom line so closely mirrors that of Giant’s Causeway; and, farther back, it traces to the Calumet foundation mare Blue Delight, through one of her three GI Kentucky Oaks winners. His dam, meanwhile, was a graded stakes winner who has produced four stakes scorers besides Country Day.

So it all makes sense, quite apart from the emergence of Munnings and others to advertise Speightstown as a sire of sires. Country Day, remember, produced Break Even from the most unpromising material: under the first two dams, there is otherwise a solitary black-type third at Canterbury Downs. And nor has he been a one-trick pony.

Country Day was welcomed to his new home only by a couple of dozen mares, but that surely has to change. It’s not hard, after all, to break even at this kind of money–and you might yet get a Break Even of your own.

 

 

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Country Day daughter Break Even wins the G2 Eight Belles Stakes

Undefeated Break Even Romps in the Eight Belles Stakes

Richard Klein’s homebred filly went gate-to-wire to win by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:22.13.

 

The home team took a runaway victory in the $250,000 Eight Belles Stakes Presented by Derby City Gaming (G2), where the Klein family homebred Break Even won the first graded stakes on the May 3 Churchill Downs card.

“This is a homebred on homebred,” said Richard Klein, who owns the 3-year-old filly’s sire Country Day and raced her dam, Exotic Wager, who tragically had to euthanized earlier this year. “This is emotional because my parents aren’t here to be a part of it, but I went to the cemetery yesterday and told them we were going to have a good weekend, and they would be a part of it. I told them just hold each other’s hands and smile.”

The family bred and raced Break Even’s sire, graded-placed stakes winner Country Day, a son of Speightstown , who was relocated from Crestwood Farm to Peach Lane Farms in Louisiana for this year’s breeding season.

Klein said he and trainer Brad Cox had some reservations about Break Even’s first test at seven furlongs, but they had no concerns about her speed.

“She is a very talented filly that we knew was good from day one. This is as good a sprinter as we have ever had and we’ve had some good ones,” the owner/breeder said.

As expected, Break Even and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan flew out of the gate and had opened up a 2 1/2-length lead ahead of the field of eight other challenges by the opening quarter, which she rocked in :22.08. When she blew through the first half-mile in :44.14, Cox began to worry a bit.

Break Even, now undefeated in four starts, broke her maiden Jan. 1 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots by five lengths. Since then, she won consecutive races by 4 1/2 lengths each, including the listed Purple Martin Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

“The most impressive thing about Break Even is how laid back she is,” Cox said. “A lot of times horses that go that fast are keyed up in the mornings; they pull, pull, pull. Not this filly. She gallops around every morning nice and easy. This filly handled everything well today. She is a very mature filly from a mental standpoint.”

Cox said Break Even won so impressively she will be considered for the June 8 Acorn Stakes (G1) going a mile at Belmont Park. He said they’ll wait to see who comes out of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) and aims for the stakes on the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) under card.

Break Even is the third black-type winner for Country Day. The others are grade 3 winner Will Call and black-type winner Play On, all of them bred and raced by Klein and trained by Cox.

Country Day is a graded-placed, multiple stakes winner, who banked more than $500,000 when he was retired. To date he has sired 37 winners out of 57 to race. His progeny have earned more than $2.32 million and average $40,721 per runner. He is standing at Peach Lane Farms in Opelousas, Louisiana.

“It is tough standing a stallion, but I hope people will start taking a look at him,” Klein said.

 

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Country Day Moves to Stand at Peach Lane Farms

#22 COUNTRY DAY 9_27_13 JOYCBreeders Cup placed multiple stakes winner Country Day is moving to Lora Pitre’s Peach Lane Farms in Opelousas for the 2019 breeding season.

Country Day captured three stakes and placed in five others. He finished second in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. II) in which he was beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Country Day, who raced at nine tracks, won on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces. He recorded a 105 Beyer speed figure when scoring by six lengths at Fair Grounds at 3 and a 102 when winning the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park the following year. Country Day was retired with a record of 7-4-2 from 19 starts and earnings of $503,829.

The son of Speightstown out of the graded stakes winning Mt. Livermore mare Hidden Assets entered stud in 2013 at Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm near Lexington for Bertram, Elaine, and Richard Klein who campaigned him during his racing career. Country Day is a half brother to multiple stakes winners Due Date and Good Deed and traces back in female family to Calumet Farm’s blue hen Blue Delight, whose other descendants include major winner and sire Alydar.

With his third crop being two-year-olds of 2018, Country Day already has a graded stakes winner, Will Call to his credit. Will Call, from Country Day’s first crop, won the 2018 G3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint S. at Churchill Downs and currently has a record of 11-6-1-1 with $271,837 in earnings. Additionally, from his second crop, Sir Brogan is a stakes placed winner.

“Mr. Klein and I have had a business relationship for several years. He’s a class act and a pleasure to work with. I am very excited about this new Country Day partnership and appreciate his continued support of the Louisiana Bred Program,” says Pitre.

Country Day is standing for a 2019 fee of $2,000 live foal payable when foal stands and nurses for owners Richard Klein and Lora Pitre. Special consideration will be given to stakes mares.

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