The Next Generation of Thoroughbred Breeding (first published in the May 2021 Equiery)
by Katherine O. Rizzo
Breeding Thoroughbred racehorses in Maryland has a history spanning over four centuries. In more recent years, however, the industry has been marked by a dearth of new blood among the people producing these great Maryland-bred horses.
While Maryland-bred horses are never far from the national spotlight, one such horse this past season shone an even brighter light on Maryland’s Thoroughbred racing industry. In 2020, Knicks Go raced into the headlines by winning the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and then in January of this year, won the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational.
Since then, breeder Sabrina Moore’s cell phone seems to have never stopped ringing.
GreenMount Farm sits on 43-acres in Glyndon and was purchased by Moore’s grandfather in 2006. “It really all got started as a hobby farm,” Moore explained, adding, “My mom rode horses as a kid and tried her hardest to get all four of her kids into riding but I was the only one who really stuck with it.”
Her mother, Angie Moore, first got involved with Thoroughbred racing through a few partnerships in some horses. This early experience was not what they were looking for and soon the Moores welcomed a broodmare in foal to Fantasticat to GreenMount. Since then, the Moores were hooked and began a steady breeding program.
“My mom can get super emotionally attached to our homebreds, which isn’t always great for business,” Moore explained. “So after a while she handed the reins over to me to manage the farm. My mom opened this door for me.”
While some breeding farms offer services for every aspect of the industry, Moore focuses on the broodmare and foals part. “Raising them to race became completely unrealistic,” she said. Although GreenMount has kept some of their homebreds to race under their own banner, Moore finds selling the foals as weanlings and yearlings is the best business model for the farm.
Currently the farm owns three broodmares but also boards horses for clients. All the GreenMount horses are Maryland-bred, though Moore sends their mares to Kentucky to breed to stallions there. “As soon as they are confirmed pregnant, they come back to Maryland to foal,” she explained.
“Sabrina has an outstanding work ethic and a lot of enthusiasm,” said bloodstock agent Bill Reightler. “She’s a pleasure to work with. Reightler first worked with GreenMount through Angie Moore, helping them navigate through those early years. Sabrina Moore then apprenticed with Reightler for many years before establishing her own consignment company out of GreenMount. “Sabrina works hard and deserves all the credit,” Reightler added. “In a short time, she has done quite well.”
At GreenMount, Moore does everything from foal watch to working with the youngsters prepping them for sales. “I love it all!” she said.
Reightler explained that Moore embraces the industry’s lifestyle that demands a lot of time working under people and learning from those at the top before making a name for oneself. “We don’t have enough young people dedicated to this sport right now,” he said. “For Sabrina, its more of a passion than a hobby.”
Knicks Go certainly has brought a lot of attention to GreenMount Farm, but to Moore, he’s just one of many bright horses that have come from the farm. Angie Moore claimed Kosmo’s Buddy, Knicks Go’s dam, near the end of her racing career. “She’s a sprinter and we wanted to breed her to a stallion with some speed of his own,” Moore stated. “His sire [Paynter] had some buzz about him and really nice deep lines. Plus he was very fast.”
At the time, Paynter was just getting started with his stud career, which is something Moore tends to look for when breeding their mares. “The freshman sires are always attractive,” she said. “They tend to have a lot of buzz about them, which is good for future sales.” Moore added, “Sometimes we have to pick the more trendy stallions from a consignment stand point.”
Also important to Moore when making matches for her broodmares is finding physical conformation traits that match and/or enhance those of her broodmares.
As a foal, Knicks Go matured quickly and thus, Moore felt it would be better to sell him as weanling versus waiting till he was a yearling. GreenMount sold him through Reightler in 2016 for $40,000 to Northface Bloodstock. The following year, Korea Racing Authority bought him for $87,000. Since then, Knicks Go has earned $4,588,995 for owners Korea Racing Authority.
“It really has been a whirlwind. I was a bit shocked when all the calls came through,” she said, adding, “It’s exciting to see his fan base grow on social media too!”
The Next Chapter
Moore couldn’t be more excited about the next chapters of GreenMount farm with their broodmares in foal to great stallions and several youngsters to prep for the 2021 sales.
“I have two yearlings that we are going to sell at the Kentucky sales this fall,” she said. Both are fillies, with one (Tiznow x Pinkprint) being GreenMount’s first Kentucky consignment and the other being a filly (Accelerate x Ostourah) Moore purchased as a weanling with the intent to resell as a yearling. The Accelerate filly has been invited to the Kentucky select sale and the Tiznow yearling is going to the Fasig Tiptons Kentucky October Yearling sale.
Moore is equally excited about her current broodmares and their breedings for this season. Pinkprint (Not For Love x Kosmo’s Buddy) is a GreenMount homebred that is Knicks Go’s half sister. After having a year off from breeding, “she has been bred to More Than Ready,” Moore explained.
Mystic Love (Not For Love x Memories of Mystic) was bred by Dark Hollow Farm and raced by GreenMount Farm until 2014. As a racehorse, she won over $200,000 and has found success as a broodmare as well. Her 2019 foal by Bernardini won the 2020 Maryland Horse Breeders Association Yearling Show and sold for $100,000. That filly, named Where’s Bridgit by her new owners StarLadies Racing, is now in training with Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. Mystic Love has a Malibu Moon colt born this year and has been bred back to Improbable.
Perdona (Blame x Exhilaration) earned over $170,000 on the track before Moore purchased her as a broodmare. She produced a Yoshida foal this year and has been bred to Vekoma this season.
“This is the time of year I get most excited,” said Moore. “With foals being born and mares being bred back and all the young horses to prep for sales. It’s just a great time of year!”
For 2021, Sabrina plans to keep moving forward and doing what works best for GreenMount Farm. As is true for most involved in Maryland’s Thoroughbred industry, Sabrina loves what she does and the accolades for Knicks Go have been fun, but the true joy is working with her horses, and watching them succeed.
Fun Fact: Itsallaboutthebens
Knicks Go may have launched GreenMount Farm into the international spotlight, but it is another foal that won Moore’s heart. Moore bred broodmare Gemstone’s Jewel (by Clever Trick) to Outflanker and in 2012, out popped a slightly awkward looking foal. “He just never looked the sales part so we kept him and raced him ourselves,” Moore said. William H. Wolfendale II trained Itsallaboutthebens for GreenMount Farm and raced him exclusively at Maryland tracks for his 15 starts. In two years on the track, “Ben” won once, finished 2nd three times and 3rd three times for $45,143 in career earnings. “I just love him and was really on the fence about selling him after he finished on the track,” Moore said. “He was just one of those horses that wanted to have a job and it would have been selfish to keep him at the farm just to look at him.” Katie Marquette now owns Ben as a foxhunter. “I’m just so happy for him and his new owner,” Moore added.