Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Jockey Rafael Hernandez guides Pink Lloyd to victory in the $125,000 dollar Bold Venture Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)
It is every Thoroughbred breeder's dream to find that perfect match of mare and stallion, a union that will not only produce a good racehorse, but boost business at the annual yearling sales.
John Carey has been perfecting the Ontario breeding, sales and stallion business for some 40 years and his T.C. Westmeath Stud in Shelburne is firmly established as one of the most successful in the country.
He has bred stakes winners, sold stakes winners, and brought some of the best stallions in Ontario racing history to the province.
All impressive accomplishments indeed.
But above all that, Carey will forever be known as the breeder and consignor of one of the greatest sprinters in Canadian racing lore, the remarkable Pink Lloyd.
Purchased for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's Canadian Premier Yearling sale at Woodbine racetrack, he recently won his 22nd stakes race when he bulled his way through rivals to take the Bold Venture Stakes (G3) Aug. 15 at Woodbine.
In fact, for four years since he made his career debut in August 2016, the tall and leggy 'Lloyd' has rolled through stakes victories for the ownership group Entourage Stable and trainer Robert Tiller, piling up purses that are just $23,000 (CAD) shy of $2 million.
He is second only to Grade 1 winner Heart to Heart (American-based earner of $2.038 million) as the richest CTHS sales graduate in the long history of the sale and he's gaining quickly on that fellow.
“He is something, isn't he?” Carey said after watching 'Pinkie' overcome a bit of a crowded journey to win the Bold Venture. “It's a fairy tale. You can never know when you breed them that one could be this good.”
Pink Lloyd, a son of Carey's amazing stallion Old Forester (Forestry) from the mare Gladiator Queen, a daughter of one of Carey's first stallions, Great Gladiator, is three-for-three in 2020 as an 8-year-old in what is likely his last season of racing.
Following his Bold Venture victory, Tiller said, “He's eight years old; these are four-year-olds and five-year-olds and he just keeps doing it and doing it. I just cannot believe a horse could stay this good in every season of the year and keep winning. He's a blessing.”
Pink Lloyd's exploits, including his eight-for-eight campaign in 2017 that netted him Canadian Horse of the Year, Champion Sprinter and Champion Older Male honours, have also provided Carey, wife Doris and twin sons Tyler and Trevor with the ability to continue doing what they love: breeding and selling racehorses.
Carey, an eighth generation horseman from Ireland, has bred dozens of stakes winners in addition to Pink Lloyd and in his latest stakes-calibre runner, Forester's Fortune, is another super advertisement for Old Forester.
Forester's Fortune, produced from the mare Nursery Song by Beau Genius, did not reach his $12,000 reserve at the 2018 CTHS sale and was later acquired by the late Laurie Silvera. As a 2-year-old in 2019, Forester' Fortune was third in the Victoria Stakes and this year, racing for Silvera's widow Claudia and Archie Lee, Forester's Fortune was second in the Greenwood Stakes at Woodbine. His earnings have gone past $100,000.
Carey's 2020 Canadian Premier Yearling Sale consignment of almost two dozen yearlings includes some well-bred youngsters by Old Forester. Carey's young stallion-on-the-rise, Souper Speedy, is also well represented in the sale.
Will another Pink Lloyd come out of this year's sale? That would be difficult to envision, but what the powerful and popular gelding has done for Carey, and Ontario racing, is shown the world that great racehorses can be found in Ontario.