After buying her first horse 10 years earlier, Ellen Charles turned to savvy auction buys to stock her increasingly successful Hillwood Stable. Among her 2010 purchases was a $380,000 2-year-old daughter of Quiet American named Buffgirl, the second highest-priced filly at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale.
“She looks at every horse I look at,” said Charles’ trainer Rodney Jenkins. “She walks me to death. I look for the benches; she keeps going.”
A client of Jenkins for six years, and also a client of David and JoAnn Hayden’s Dark Hollow Farm, Charles campaigned two stakes winners in 2010, the Tapit colt Bandbox and Not For Love’s daughter Love’s Reason, and had opened 2011 with six wins from 11 starts after winning 21 races in 2010.
Charles’ high profile 2010 runners have since added to the stable’s success. In addition to Bandbox retiring as a sire, Buffgirl – who never won in five starts – is the dam of Maryland-bred champion Laddie Liam and recent winner Dream Big Dreams (by Bandbox). Love’s Reason is the dam of Maryland-bred champion and graded stakes winner Majestic Reason.
- Ready to open for its fifth season, Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., operated in splendid isolation with the casino and racing program going strong. But change was on the horizon, as a new casino was on the drawing boards in Cleveland, Ohio, and slot machines were under consideration at Ohio racetracks. Penn National Gaming, developing casinos in Columbus and Toledo, also wanted to move Toledo’s Standardbred track to the Youngstown area, just 100 miles southwest of Erie, which would be another source of potential competition.
- Pennsylvania-bred Anthony’s Cross was making a name for himself in California as the 3-year-old son of Indian Charlie prevailed in the $250,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes-G2 at Santa Anita, a prep for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.
Breeder George Strawbridge Jr., who sold an occasional yearling at Saratoga through Derry Meeting Farm, noted: “We have discovered that in order to do well, you have to bring the proper individual. He was our best yearling [in 2009] – a magnificent horse.” Arianne de Kwiatkowski (daughter of the late Calumet Farm owner Henryk de Kwiatkowski) made the purchase for $300,000. Anthony’s Cross descended from a highly accomplished female family dating back more than 35 years with Strawbridge and his Augustin Stable, to his homebred T. V. Ad, the dam of six stakes performers. The colt was the second foal, and second graded stakes winner, from the Unbridled mare Screening, a daughter of graded stakes winner Recording, whose dam was graded stakes winner Ratings.