Business plan

Robert Clay ‘flipped the business plan’ to end up with a high-level Olympiad – Reuters

When Robert Clay started Grandview Equine in 2018, he wanted to invest in foals that could one day become potential quality stallions. On Saturday, the former owner of Three Chimneys Farm has a big chance to see his business plan come to fruition when the Olympiad chases its first freshman win in the $1million Whitney at Saratoga Racecourse.

Coached by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Olympiad brings an unbeaten record in five starts this year, all to two rounds. He made a flashy 2022 debut in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park, winning by 7 1/4 lengths on his way to four graduated stakes wins this year.

Olympiad is owned by Grandview in partnership with LNJ Foxwoods [Larry, Nanci and Jaime Roth] as well as Everett Dobson’s Cheyenne Stables. In addition to the Olympiad, the ownership trio have enjoyed prosperity with the progressive stakes winner Scalding and Shoplifted ranked at Grade 1. The ownership group uses Alex Solis II and Jason Litt of Solis-Litt Bloodstock to select their horses at sales including Olympiad which was bought for $700,000 at the September 2019 Keeneland Yearling Sale.

“This partnership consists of partners and customers of mine before we put together this group,” Clay said. “We tried to buy foals and we have two seasons of foals.”

Clay said his long-standing relationship with the owners group has been beneficial.

“It’s easy to deal with because these people know what the risks are and they can take bad news because they’ve had a lot of it,” Clay said. “When the Roths got into the business, they came to us and we had their mares at Three Chimneys. Alex Solis was their advisor, so we had a relationship with them. Everett Dobson was an investor with me in some stallions, so we had all done business together. I was looking to spread the risk a bit. I pitched this proposal to them and made a two-year commitment, and the rest is history.

During his tenure at Three Chimneys, which was purchased by Goncalo Borges-Torrealba in 2013, Clay was responsible for the management and supervision of several influential stallions including Seattle Slew and Dynaformer. His current business has allowed him to switch roles and acquire unproven but promising young horses who could eventually become potential stallions.

“I was always raising capital to buy stallions and we lucked out,” Clay said. “Once I sold the farm, I said to these guys, ‘Let’s try to cross the street.’ It is a high risk business to buy foals. We played a numbers game and bought enough so we could maybe hit one or two and then sell them back to the stud farm. It kind of upset the business plan.

A breeding veteran, Clay understands the risks that come with having a model that caters more to colts than fillies. He said he is taking a strength in numbers approach to his plan.

“It’s like drilling oil wells. If you drill enough, you’re going to hit one,” Clay said. “You have to have enough of them, but you also have to have a buy-side skill set that gives you a fair chance. Fillies have residual value and you can breed her, put her in foal and sell her. That’s not not so with colts. Unless you have one that’s good enough to be a stud, it’s a high risk game. You have to play enough numbers. There are several partnerships at the moment playing the same game, at the same time there are people who are not playing as hard as before. It’s not a bad time to do that.

Olympiad seems like a shining example of what Clay’s operation was looking for. The 4-year-old son of Speightstown has won more than $1.2 million this year, along with progressive stakes victories in the Fair Grounds Race Course Grade 3 Mineshaft and New Brunswick Classic. -Orleans 2nd year.

After a win over returning rival Happy Saver in the Grade 2 Alysheba at Churchill Downs, he returned to the Louisville oval with flying colors under regular rider Junior Alvarado, fending off fellow American Revolution aspirant Whitney in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster. His last loss came on his last start last year when he was fourth in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets.

The second graduate in September 2020 at the Spa, Olympiad only resumed racing the following September where he finished second behind his stable mate Baby Yoda. He beat the winners for the first time in a following allowance from Keeneland over seven furlongs.

“He took a big step forward,” Clay said. “We were really excited about him when he was 2 years old. He won here and then he lost his year as a 3-year-old, so we lost time. We weren’t sure what we had until he came back and won at Keeneland, then went to the Cigar Mile, where he had an unfortunate trip. Since then, he has done everything he was asked to do. He seems to be improving with each race and it’s a real pleasure. Billy did a great job with him and he’s fun to watch.

Although disappointed that the Olympiad missed out on the Triple Crown trail, Clay remained confident in the seven-time winner’s future.

“When you get a good 2-year-old who you think could be on the Derby trail and you have a setback, you just have to have the attitude that he gets the time he needs,” said Clay. “We knew he had talent and we brought him back when he was ready. We went for the tier 1 win and it didn’t work out, but since then he’s done everything right. He loves the two turns and it seems like the further he goes the better. He kind of has it all, so now we run the gorilla around the room and find out how good he is. I think he’ll do a good race, he is training very well.

Clay said Olympiad’s two-round debut made it clear routing was what it was meant to be.

“He’s got a good pedigree and he’s bred to do that too,” Clay said. “Each race was a little harder, and a better feeling and he didn’t look back. He did what he had to do. He’s a horse that once you ask him to go come on, he’s going. You dream about it. We had a lot of fun with it.”

Olympiad earned a “Win ​​and You’re In” entry to the $6 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Keeneland by capturing Stephen Foster. With the Classic as a long-term goal, Clay said the Olympiad could once again race between the Whitney and the Breeders’ Cup with the Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 here and the Grade $1,500,000 Woodward on Oct. 1 at the Belmont at the Big A falls meet as potential targets.

“Distance is no limit for him. The options are obvious. The Jockey Club is four weeks away and the Woodward is five weeks away from the Breeders’ Cup, plus it’s a two-round race now,” Clay said “We’ll just take it one race at a time and see how he comes out of his races. He did everything we asked him to do.

Gilded Age, which Clay owns in partnership with Don Alberto Stable, finished second to Artorius in the Restricted Curlin on July 29. millions Runhappy Travers on August 27th.

“It’s a big mountain climb, but he seems to be getting better with every run and we think he’ll like the distance,” Clay said. “We’ll see. He just got back on track on Tuesday morning. We’ll name and take a look.