PALADIN BAY: The bargain of a lifetime
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

by Jennifer Morrison


A young couple, an impulsive horse purchase, and a plucky filly are the storylines behind the amazing tale of CTHS Ontario Yearling Sales graduate Paladin Bay.


The daughter of Sligo Bay (Ire) – Stormin Wife by Stormin Fever changed the lives of Harold and Jessie Ladouceur in 2013 and 2014, not to mention helping Ericka Rusnak get a good kickstart to her breeding career.


Early in the second session of the 2012 select sale, the Ladouceurs noticed Paladin Bay in the ring. The filly was well put together but had an old splint injury that seemed to turn off prospective buyers. Harold had to have her, and he stuck his hand up for $10,000.


It was a risk, since the Ladouceurs were struggling to get their small stable off the ground and had two young children at home.


“We no more had $100 to spend on a horse than $10,000,” said Jessie. “It was crazy, really.”

They went in search of a partner but had no luck, although a friend loaned them some money to cover the cost of the filly.


By the time the filly, christened Paladin Bay, began serious training as a juvenile in the spring of 2013, it was apparent she had ability. One of her first riders, jockey Gerry Olguin, told the couple he thought they had a special horse in their barn.


In her first five career races as a two-year-old, Paladin Bay placed in three stakes races including the popular Muskoka Stakes for yearling sale graduates. She won her maiden in her sixth outing by more than five lengths.


Paladin Bay continued to improve by leaps and bounds, so the Ladouceurs tried her in the prestigious Princess Elizabeth Stakes following her maiden victory. With an impressive burst of speed around the final turn of the 1 1/16 mile race, Paladin Bay took off to win the $250,000 race over favoured Lexie Lou, the eventual 2014 Queen’s Plate winner.


The fun didn’t end there, as Paladin Bay ended her first season of racing with a victory in the Ontario Lassie Stakes to bring her first-year earnings over $380,000.


The Ladouceurs bought their first house the following spring while they prepared their prized filly for her sophomore campaign.


Paladin Bay laid it all on the line in her second outing of 2014 as she defeated American-bred My Conquestadory by a nose in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes. That important victory was her final run before the Woodbine Oaks for Canada’s best three-year-old fillies and Paladin Bay, coming off that hard effort in the Selene, finished fourth to Lexie Lou.


She would finish 2014 with another stakes placing and following some shares in a few starts as a four-year-old was retired. The Ladouceurs sold Paladin Bay for $170,000 (US) at the 2015 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale to Calumet Farm.


Jessie called the Paladin Bay year’s a “life experience” where many things fell into place that allowed them to purchase the filly and build up their successful stable.


(Note – There is a half sister, by Silent Name (JPN) to Paladin Bay in this week’s CTHS Ontario sale which takes place on Aug. 30 beginning at 12 noon.)


Photo Cutline: Paladin Bay wins stretch duel to take G3 Selene Selene Stakes on May 18, 2014 - Michael Burns Photo