Kentucky Derby Consignor Standings Presented By Keeneland: Sierra Farm Was Home Court For Strong-Willed Nadal

Nadal’s presence had been looming over the Kentucky Derby trail since he broke his maiden in January at Santa Anita Park, and he formally threw his hat in the ring on March 14 with a front-running score in the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, establishing himself as a favorite for the Derby, now scheduled for Sept. 5.

There was a time though, when the excitement around the Blame colt’s potential barely registered a whisper outside the property lines of Sierra Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Nadal was an especially big foal when he was born on April 27, 2017. So big, in fact, that complications from the birth ended up claiming the life of his dam, the placed Pulpit mare Ascending Angel. He was just the second foal out of the young mare, making her death even more impactful.

Farm owner Ed Hudon, then in his late 70s, and his wife Sharon were among the hands called in to get Nadal out and standing.

“Ed and Sharon came up to the barn, and they’d stopped going to foalings a year or two before that, and for whatever reason, that was one of the foalings they came to,” said farm manager Michael Callanan. “Sharon, Ed, myself, and our night watch were all in there pulling on him, and he was a tough, tough foaling.”

Nadal proved no easier to deal with once he was on his own among Sierra Farm’s other youngsters.

“He was tough,” Callanan said. “All he wanted to do was fight with everybody, so we had to be careful with some of the other yearlings and separate them a little bit because he was just an alpha male out in the field.”

Though he was a lot to handle, Callanan said he also discovered that Nadal had a bottomless gas tank. As the horse prepped for the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling sale, the farm manager found he couldn’t tire him out. Paired with his massive size for any foal, much less one born in late April, the Sierra Farm staff had to work diligently to keep Nadal from being overly bulky going into the auction.

Unfortunately, Ed Hudon never saw the colt – or any of the September sale class that season – go through the ring. He died shortly before the start of the Keeneland September sale at age 80.

This is made especially tragic considering it would be a watershed renewal of the marathon sale for Sierra Farm. The operation sold a first-crop American Pharoah colt for $1.4 million during the select Book 1, and two horses from the consignment have points on the 2020 Kentucky Derby trail. The other is American Theorem, who earned four points for running second in the G1 American Pharoah Stakes last September and finished seventh to Nadal in the Rebel.

Nadal was entered in the Keeneland September sale as Hip 1279, and Callanan expected a solid response for the colt, but he was underwhelmed with how the public received him.

“I thought we were going to be in great shape, and at the sale, just nobody was on him.” Callanan said. “It was very strange… We were aggressive with our reserves that year, because in Book 1, we got $1.4 million for an American Pharoah colt, so we put a pretty realistic reserve on him to move him on.”

The colt was picked up by pinhooker Randy Bradshaw for $65,000 at the September sale. Six months later, Bradshaw sold Nadal for $700,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Selected 2-Year-Olds In Training Sale; a staggering leap from his initial purchase price.

“It did surprise us, but Randy had been telling us all along that this horse was something special,” Callanan said.

Though Nadal’s dam Ascending Angel only had two foals, the first was a filly: the placed Angel Number by Lemon Drop Kid, who Sierra Farm has kept to join its broodmare band.

Like Nadal, Callanan described Angel Number as an especially large horse who can be a lot to handle. She made her final start on Jan. 3 at Tampa Bay Downs, and she is scheduled to visit Blame for her first mating, producing a cross that looks awfully similar to her famous brother.

The post Kentucky Derby Consignor Standings Presented By Keeneland: Sierra Farm Was Home Court For Strong-Willed Nadal appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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