Former jump jock Chris Gracie turning to bloodstock
by Linda Dougherty
Chris Gracie has parlayed a successful career as a steeplechase rider into a burgeoning bloodstock business, as evidenced by his 25-head consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Midlantic Fall yearling sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds Oct. 2 and 3.
Under his Gracie Bloodstock LLC banner, Gracie’s offerings include a full brother to recent Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (Gr. 3) winner Chublicious ($533,754) and a pair from the Bright View Farm of Christine Connelly, a leading breeder in New Jersey.
His consignment also includes yearlings by such sires as Trappe Shot, Gemologist, Discreet Cat, Bellamy Road, Eskendereya, Can the Man, Alpha, Majestic Warrior and Hat Trick (JPN).
Based on 80 acres in Kirkwood, Pa., located in southern Lancaster County, Gracie Bloodstock offers a wide array of services, including sales prep, broodmare management and foaling, breaking and training, lay-up and rehabilitation, and pre-purchase and pre-sale evaluations.
“I used to be a steeplechase rider when I was younger,” said Gracie. “I got too big to ride, so I enrolled at the University of Kentucky and then worked for a lot of people out there.”
As a steeplechase jockey, Gracie competed in the mid-Atlantic region, and among his victories were the 2006 Maryland Hunt Cup aboard Bug River; the 2003 Maryland Hunt Cup Timber Stakes on Swayo; and the 2004 Grand National Timber Stakes on Make Me a Champ.
“About four years ago I came to Pennsylvania, although I started selling yearlings more than seven years ago.” he said. “At my farm, I foal about 25-30 mares a year and we sell locally – primarily the Fasig-Tipton Timonium yearling sale and the December mixed sale at Timonium. This is the biggest yearling consignment I’ve had so far.”
Sure to attract interest from yearling buyers at Timonium is Hip 89, the full brother to Chublicious.
Sired by Hey Chub, a son of Carson City who stands in New Jersey, he’s out of the Arch mare Sassy Broad, and is being consigned by Gracie for the Joe-Dan Farm of Danny Lopez, who stands Hey Chub. Though he’s sired just 36 foals, Hey Chub has gotten 24 winners from 27 to start, including two stakes winners. They have total earnings of $2.3 million, for an AEI of 1.73.
“Having Chublicious win the De Francis right before the sale was a huge page update,” said Gracie. “The yearling full brother I’m offering is a great individual and New Jersey-breds have sold well at Timonium in the past. They still have a lot of value.”
In addition to Hip 89, Gracie is selling four other yearlings for Joe-Dan Farm, all by Hey Chub. Among them is Hip 357, the first foal out of Geeky Gorgeous, a multiple stakes winner of $525,644 and a half-sister to Chubble Maker (by Hey Chub), winner of the New Jersey Breeders Handicap and $244,906. The yearling, a dark bay or brown filly, is a January foal.
Speaking of Geeky Gorgeous, another in the Joe-Dan contingent is Hip 165, a colt out of Thatholeinmypocket. The colt is a half-brother to both Geeky Gorgeous and Chubble Maker, as well as stakes winner Lookinforchange ($208,508).
For Christine Connelly’s Bright View Farm, Gracie is offering two New Jersey-breds. Hip 217 is a filly by Jump Start out of Act of Glory, by Honour and Glory, who is a half-sister to stakes winner Freud’s Honour ($226,580). Also for Bright View is Hip 373, a filly by Afleet Alex out of Hana J, who is the dam of two stakes winners, including California Derby winner Exit Stage Left ($157,750), and multiple stakes winner Silent Appeal ($325,541).
“Christine (Connelly) always breeds good horses, and she’s had the family of Hana J for a number of years. It’s a great family,” said Gracie.
Other yearlings in the Gracie consignment to watch are Hip 42, a Pennsylvania-bred Bellamy Road filly who’s a half sister to Miss D’Oro, a graded stakes-placed, stakes winner of nearly $300,000, and a Pennsylvania-bred Discreet Cat colt (Hip 33) who’s a half-brother to stakes winner Closing Vision ($400,943).
“Fasig-Tipton did a great job getting more yearlings for this sale, and maybe some people who weren’t able to get what they wanted at the Keeneland September sale will find a good horse here,” said Gracie. “And we have a lot of horses in this consignment that are eligible for the rich state-bred programs in the mid-Atlantic region.”