Chestertown was a standout on paper from the moment he was entered in the OBS March sale, and he more than backed up that billing in the flesh and on the track, which yielded big headlines when he commanded $2-million, a sale record and the highest price ever for a son or daughter of Tapit at a two-year-olds in training sale.
Horses bred like Chestertown are ultra-rare commodities in the juvenile marketplace, being by a top commercial sire and out of a near champion sprinter in Artemis Agrotera. A horse like Chestertown might go through the sales ring as a high-profile yearling, but almost never as a two-year-old, so shoppers at OBS had a unique chance to weigh this type of blue-blooded pedigree with performance on the training track. Chestertown, a stunning gray colt, stood out every step of the way.
That West Point Thoroughbreds and Rob Masiello were so keen to land the colt should hardly be a shock, as he is bred very similar to their Grade 1-winning millionaire Ring Weekend: a son of Tapit out of a Mr. Prospector-line mare. Ring Weekend was acquired as a yearling.
“That's the most expensive horse we've ever bought, but we felt good the whole time,” West Point CEO Terry Finley told reporters. “We didn't think we'd have to give that much money, but we were really happy when that hammer fell. ... I was thinking about this colt all week.”
The mouth-watering appeal of Chestertown comes from both sides of the pedigree. He is the first foal out of Artemis Agrotera, who raced as a homebred for Chester and Mary Broman. The Bromans have been among the leading breeders in New York for several decades, often sending their mares to Kentucky to be bred to top-flight stallions and then returning the mares to the Empire State to foal. Artemis Agrotera was one of the Bromans' best-ever runners, winning the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park over a route of ground as a two-year-old and returning as a premier sprinter as a three-year-old in 2014 when she whalloped her elders by 6 1/2 lengths in the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga and followed with a game victory by a head in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont. Off those two scores, she was a finalist for the Eclipse Award for champion female sprinter.
Chestertown breezed a smooth eighth in :10 1/5 in the OBS under tack preview for respected New York-based consignor Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock.
"Not only did [Chestertown] perform on the track, he performs back at the barn when you look at him," said David Ingordo of Lane's End Bloodstock. "He has the mental component that is very important with Tapits. This is a horse I could stand at Lane's End one day and we could be rewarded if he hits the right marks. ... This has it all."
It is notable that, of all horses, Chester and Mary Broman reserved the name Chestertown for this colt and also were eager to stay in for a piece of his racing career with West Point, Masiello and Siena Farm.
The Bromans' consignor, Becky Thomas, is a stalwart in the New York-bred industry while also consistently making her presence felt nationally, including selling a $11-million yearling at Keeneland in 2005.
“She is a dynamo in the industry,” Terry Finley said. “She has done the Bromans' work forever and is a very, very straight shooter. That is what I like. She loved this horse.”
The colt will be trained by Steve Asmussen, who knows the intricacies of Tapits about as well as anyone, having trained four of his best progeny including champion Untapable and Belmont Stakes winner Creator, and having a deep familiarity with generations of the sire's family developed by Winchell Thoroughbreds. Tapit himself received his early training lessons at the Asmussen family training center in Texas.
Price includes all acquisition costs and all training, veterinary, and insurance expenses until January 1, 2020.
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