The 2-year-old Thoroughbred had been bred to race, but Kip Elser of Kirkwood Stables in Camden, South Carolina, believed a sport horse career was ..

Danta And Robertshaw Still Believe In The Thoroughbred Hunter

Jan 23, 2020 – 2:58 PM

It didn’t take Ron Danta more than a few minutes to decide he wanted Lucca in his barn. The 2-year-old Thoroughbred had been bred to race, but Kip Elser of Kirkwood Stables in Camden, South Carolina, believed a sport horse career was more his speed.

Danta and his partner Danny Robertshaw also base out of Camden at their Beaver River Farm, so Danta went to Kirkwood to take a look. Danta watched Lucca (Fit To Fight—Fraulino, Alwasmi) pop over his first couple of logs and liked what he saw.

“It’s kind of sad nowadays—you look back, and so many of the great, great hunters we had over the years were Thoroughbreds,” said Danta. “Danny had Protocol, who was undefeated in the 4’ regular working hunter and champion at [the Pennsylvania National], Washington, Madison Square Garden [New York] and the Royal Winter Fair [Toronto] in the same year. So many of those horses were such great show horses, and now the trend is people won’t even look at a Thoroughbred. They all want to go to Europe to look at warmbloods.”

13/03/2019 ; Wellington FL ; Winter Equestrian Festival - Week 10

Lucca showing with Hunter Kay at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Sportfot Photo

Natural jumping form is important to Danta when looking at an off-track Thoroughbred, as are the usual conformation basics—a nicely-angled shoulder, a hindquarter that isn’t too upright.

Danta and Robertshaw don’t get too hung up on a Thoroughbred’s pedigree. There are some families that carry the same genetic stamp, but Danta has seen people become crazed over a racing pedigree, only to realize that sire’s success rate is as variable in the show ring as it was on the racetrack.

These days, Danta leans toward a horse with a natural lead change. Lucca checked all the boxes, and longtime client Pauline Lampshire agreed to purchase him.

“As we’re getting older, we’re finding with the young horses we buy, if they don’t have a natural lead change in them we don’t really want to look at them because, unfortunately, lead changes affect the jump,” Danta explained. “They land, and then they want to get nervous about the lead change at the end.”

From the beginning, it seemed Lucca had found his calling. He had the “fun,” laidback attitude that made the horse show environment a breeze.

Now 16, the chestnut has shown in the open divisions as well as the Take2 Thoroughbred hunter classes with Hunter Kay, bringing home championships from venues like the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida) and the Tryon International Equestrian Center (North Carolina). Last September Lucca won the hunter final at the inaugural $20,000 Take2 Hunter and Jumper Finals held during the Kentucky National.

Danta said he wishes there were even more opportunities for horses to compete in Take2. He also expects he’ll make the Take2 Finals in Kentucky a part of the stable’s schedule again in 2020. While in Florida for the winter season, Danta expects he and Robertshaw will make the rounds to local training centers to look at Thoroughbreds that may be ready for a career change.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to go home with a few more than we came with,” he said.

TDN Rising Star COAL FRONT Settling in at Spendthrift

TDN Rising Stars Settling in at Spendthrift ( Started and consigned by Kirkwood)

Coal Front | Horsephotos

By Katie Ritz

Two ‘TDN Rising Stars’ have found their way onto the growing stallion roster at Spendthrift Farm. Coal Front (Stay Thirsty) and Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief) earned the ‘Rising Star’ title in their first and second starts, respectively, and both went on to become graded stakes winners. Both of these new sires will be a part of Spendthrift’s Share the Upside program, allowing breeders to have a continued breeding right throughout a stallion’s career. Spendthrift’s Stallion Sales Manager Mark Toothaker spoke to us about how the two were settling in and the first reactions from breeders.

Toothaker said he believes Coal Front is one of the most striking freshman sires coming in this year. “He’s such a well-balanced horse. He’s got a big hip and is very correct, but just has eye-dropping beauty.” He said that breeders have already been drawn to him as well. “When you let him out onto the show ring and stand him up to people, they just step back and say, ‘Man, that is just about as pretty a horse as they make them.’”

The son of Bernardini’s Stay Thirsty was a $575,000 2-year-old purchase, bought by Robert LaPenta at the 2016 OBS April sale. Coal Front is out of the Mineshaft mare Miner’s Secret, and is a half to Conquest Titan (Birdstone), a stakes winner at two that went on to place second to Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile) in the GII Holy Bull S. at three. Miner’s Secret is a half to the multiple graded stakes winner Woodlander (Forestry), as well as to stakes winner and sire Admiral Alex (Afleet Alex).

Coal Front is crossed 3×3 to A.P. Indy, which Toothaker said breeders have taken note of as well. “He’s really the best performer on that cross at three-by-three. A lot of people who are really into pedigrees are excited about Coal Front, and I think breeders are going to find a whole gold mine of genetics that they can tap into to get a great chance at a quality horse.”

Coal Front earned ‘Rising Star’ status on debut, breaking his maiden at Keeneland as a 3-year-old and beating the field by 6 1/2 lengths. He went on to take the GII Amsterdam S. at Saratoga and Parx’s GIII Gallant Bob S. later that year.

At four, he won the GIII Mr. Prospector S., and then claimed three more stakes wins the next year including the G2 Godolphin Mile at Meydan and the GIII Razorback H. at Oaklawn. Toothaker said he recalls the Razorback as one of his most impressive wins. “He drew the 14 hole that day, but was able to overcome that disadvantage and win in a very impressive fashion.”

The Razorback was also Coal Front’s first time stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth, and he won by a neck, getting past graded stakes winners Copper Bullet (More Than Ready) and Rated R Superstar (Kodiak Kowboy).

Coal Front retired after his 5-year-old season, finishing with over $1.8 million in earnings. Each of his five graded stakes was won at different tracks and at different distances, from six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. Toothaker said of Coal Front’s versatility, “Coal Front didn’t need to have his own racetrack, he could take his track with him. He won at different distances all over the world. Breeders are going to love his versatility, and be very impressed with how talented he was.

Our Hip 75 sells for US $280,000 in New Zealand

Well done! Our  More Than Ready colt that made $280k last night at Karaka.  We are lucky to partner with top class horsemen like Eoin Kemp and Kilgravin Lodge. We plan to get a few more yearlings with him in 2020 and do it again. The colt sold to Cypress Point Agistment – Hong Kong.

We don’t have results yet for the Savabeel colt.