At Bonne Chance, Luck, Patience And Experience Pay Off

November 30, 2019

Cambier Parc

Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

“Bonne Chance” is what Lucien Lauren said to Ron Turcotte after he legged him up on Secretariat. The phrase translates from French to “good luck.” When Brazilian billionaire Gilberto Sayao Da Silva purchased Nat Rea’s Regis Farm in Versailles, Ky., in 2015, his wife christened the 300-plus acre property Bonne Chance Farm. The name has been prophetic.

Though unknown in the United States, Bonne Chance was a new branch of a successful racing and breeding venture in Brazil and Argentina named Stud Rio Dois Irmaos (aka Stud RDI). Dois Irmaos is a breed to race operation in Brazil and Argentina, but in America and France, the idea is to move toward selling some and keeping some to race. Alberto Figueiredo had been the general manager for the operation since it started in 2009 and as it has expanded into France and now, America. The deal to buy Regis was a “win-win” at the time, because Bonne Chance was buying a fully-staffed, ready-made farm, something Figueiredo said was integral to their early development.

Bonne Chance’s first two purchases in 2015 were a Speightstown filly for $300,000 and a Medaglia d’Oro filly for a private sum at the 2015 Keeneland September sale. Those two fillies each made their career debut as 3-year-olds July 23, 2018 at Laurel Park. Goiaba, the Speightstown chestnut, was odds-on favorite and, overcoming a slow start, dominated a maiden group by 6 1/2 lengths. Greek Mythology scored going two turns over a boggy turf course five races later. Goiaba is still racing with a record of 14 Starts: 3 – 3 – 1 and earnings of $76,513. Greek Mythology was retired as a broodmare and sold at the Keeneland January 2019 sale in foal to Tapizar for $130,000.

Gilberto Sayao also bought Canadian champion mare Sealy Hill (Point Given) for $750,000 from the Regis dispersal in 2015. The Medaglia d’Oro filly she was carrying the first Bonne Chance-bred yearling sold at auction to Larry Best for $1.25 million at Keeneland September sale in 2016. That filly turned out to be Cambier Parc. Sealy Hill’s 2017 filly by Medaglia d’Oro, full sister to Cambier Parc, sold to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $425,000 at the Keeneland September 2018 sale. Larry Best purchased Sealy Hill’s colt by Into Mischief for $950,000 at the Keeneland September 2019 sale.

The first Bonne Chance Farm homebred to race wearing the yellow and blue silks designed by Gilberto Sayao’s wife was Iva, a Scat Daddy filly out of Sushi Empire by Empire Maker. Iva is a stakes winner who was second in the House Party S. at Gulfstream and has a record of 7 Starts: 3 – 1 – 0 with earnings of $80,530. Current runners under Bonne Chance silks include: 4-year-old filly Harmony Victory by More Than Ready out of Giant’s Causeway mare Bethan; 3-year-old filly Ilha Do Mel by Awesome Again out of Distorted Humor mare Sonhadora*;  4-year-old filly Heaven Escape by Stormy Atlantic out of Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) mare La Rienne Lionne*;  4-year-old gelding Holly Blame by Blame out of Forestry mare Carolyn’s Cat*

*Bonne Chance homebred

Bonne Chance bred Cambier Parc began 2019 by cruising home to win the 7th at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 2, breaking her maiden at second asking for trainer Chad Brown in impressive fashion under jockey Jose Ortiz. She would follow that up on March 2 with a win in the Herecomesthebride S. G3 at Gulfstream with an Equibase speed figure of 100. Next she was just edged out for the show to finish fourth in the Edgewood S. at Churchill Downs on May 3. At Belmont on June 7 Cambier Parc would win her second G3 in the Wonder Again S., again, with an E speed figure of 100. A month later in the Belmont Oaks Invitational G1 she would hit the wire in a photo finish and finish third behind the Aidan O’Brien trained Just Wonderful. August 17, Bonne Chance bred Cambier Parc won her first G1 in the Del Mar Oaks which she followed up on Oct. 12 at Keeneland with a win in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup G1.

A new runner, 2-year-old filly New York Groove is undefeated in four starts including the Presque Isle Debutante S. (Black Type) and the Glorious Song S. (Listed) at Woodbine. The Bonne Chance homebred by Verrazano out of Pulpit mare Back Up Preacher is trained by Michael Trombetta.

The Richard Mandella-trained Baruta (Brz) (Crimson Tide {Ire}) was Stud Rio Dois Irmaos’s first homebred graded stakes winner in the US when she won the Senator Ken Maddy S. G3 at Santa Anita in 2015. She’s now at Bonne Chance, and her first foal, a colt by Speightstown, was sold for $175,000 at Keeneland September 2018. She has a Ghostzapper yearling colt that sold at Keeneland September 2019 for $180,000 and Quality Road weanling.

The Bonne Chance breeding operation knows how to select breeding stock, raise a good horse, and is lucky. They know the potential in each foal and to maximize the sales potential. As was the case with 2-year-old filly by Exhi (Maria’s Mon) who sold at the OBS Spring sale in April 2018 for $195,000. Half-sister to G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Wavell Avenue (Harlington), the filly had worked well but her sire is not well known. Bonne Chance knew well enough to maximize her sales potential as a 2-year-old in training instead of as a yearling.

Noted Sales Activity

At the Keeneland September sale in 2017, Bonne Chance sold two Uncle Mos for $625,000 and $410,000, a Medaglia d’Oro sister to Cambier Parc ($1.25 million KEESEP16) for $425,000, a Giant’s Causeway for $450,000, a Street Sense for $225,000 and a Speightstown for $175,000. Bonne Chance also sold a Stormy Atlantic (an aged stallion who stood for an advertised price of $25,000 in 2016) for $190,000. At the Keeneland September sale in 2018, the farm also sold two weanlings, a Quality Road for $180,000 and a Frosted for $170,000. It was a strikingly strong sale for a nursery that had produced only seven foals in 2016, twelve in 2017, and fifteen in 2018. At the Keeneland September Yearling 2019 Bonne Chance sold an Arrogate for $425,000, a Qualify Road – Exuberante, $275,000, a Street Sense for $300,000, a Street Sense for $125,000 and a More Than Ready for $75,000. They purchased two broodmares, Black Canary (War Front), in foal to Quality Road, for $625,000 and Uzziel (Harlington), in foal to Candy Ride (ARG), for $280,000, at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock 2019 sale.

“Every mare has a sire [that suits her best],” Figueiredo told TDN. “We look at each mare individually and choose the best stallion for her on pedigree and physical match. Yes, we are looking at the commercial side, but we are also looking to breed stakes winners and we are looking for horses for the stable, too. We have foals this year by horses like Macho Uno and Mizzen Mast, for example. Perhaps a horse like Mizzen Mast doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he has shown he can get a very good horse.”

Contributing Authors

MB Kalinich

Maribeth Kalinich is a racing enthusiast and historian who writes about current racing events, Thoroughbred history and preservation of historic racing sites. Growing up in...

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