There are moments in the commercial marketplace when even a high-priced figure doesn’t fully illustrate how valuable a moment is.
When the Broken Vow mare Bella Jolie sold to Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm for $1.6 million during the early portion of Tuesday’s session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale, the seven-figure price tag was only part of the reason consignor Wayne Lyster swelled with emotion.
Lyster operates Ashview Farm along with his sons Bryan and Gray. They are a small, family-run operation working against the odds of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in trying to produce top level horses from relatively tiny stock.
One of the eight babies the Lysters had on the farm in 2012 was a son Super Saver their mare Bella Jolie had produced, a colt now better known to the racing community as Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and likely champion Runhappy.
To say Runhappy is the gift that keeps giving for the Lysters is understatement, as Bella Jolie provided the family with one their greatest success ever in the sales ring.
“We couldn’t be more pleased, I mean that’s pretty big deal for Ashview Farm,” said Wayne Lyster, who also co-bred 2001 2-year-old male champion Johannesburg. “We’re a small farm, I run it with my sons and my family. And to have it happen here at Keeneland and a really strong, good price , there is just no way to describe it.
“But it’s not all the price and it’s not all the money that’s important. For me to be able to co-breed this champion sprinter with my two sons, there is no value that you put on that. And therefore it’s very hard to describe how good a feeling I have as a father.”
Bella Jolie got a massive boost with Runhappy’s Breeders’ Cup win this past Saturday but also boasts a solid female family. The 8-year-old bay mare, who sold in foal to Cairo Prince, is out of the mare Jolie Boutique, who has also produced stakes winner Millennium Storm.
“I’m hoping that Runhappy’s dam will make me happy,” Banke laughed. “I like her looks. Cairo Prince, we’ll wait and see. It’s not the mating that I would have looked for but we can breed her to many, many good stallions. And who knows? Cairo Prince could be another freak. But I think she’s young enough and she has produced a wonderful race horse so that’s always a good indicator.
“She has a long career ahead and we’ll take very good care of her.”