SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Arnmore Thoroughbreds, a syndicate that boasts an 8-for-9 on-the-board record this year, added to their stellar record with their first Saratoga Race Course stakes victory when their Kentucky homebred Poppy Flower stormed down the lane to post a one-length victory in Thursday’s Galway against eight rivals in the 5 1/2 furlong Mellon turf sprint for sophomore fillies. The victory garnered a career-best 93 Beyer Speed Figure.
“It was so exciting and even cooler to do it with a homebred,” said Megan Jones, managing partner of Arnmore Thoroughbreds. “We love racing foals out of mares that we’ve raced.”
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Poppy Flower scored the second stakes win of her career after taking the Stormy Blues earlier this year at Laurel Park. Out of the stakes-placed Excellent Art mare Nisharora, who Arnmore Thoroughbreds also campaigned, Poppy Flower is the product of a carefully selected mating to Claiborne Farm’s Lea that was determined by Jones.
“It helps when you’ve raced the mare because you know what qualities you’re looking for in a foal. Nisharora is a more European mare and was always very nice, but small and fine,” said Jones. “I wanted a stronger stallion, not to take the turf out of her, but I wanted a stronger turf type. Lea was effective on dirt, too, and with her, the physical is very important.”
That mating proved to be the perfect match as Poppy Flower has more than recouped the stallion’s 2018 fee of $7,500. Through 10 starts, Poppy Flower has amassed more than $340,000 in earnings with a record of 10-3-4-1.
“She’s very sound and hard knocking. Since the day she was born, she’s been happy and has never had a bad day,” said Jones. “She comes out of her races like that. She comes out good and seems to always tell you when she’s ready to go. We’ll keep her as a broodmare once she’s ready to come home.”
Jones, who spent eight years working with Team Valor International before going out on her own, said the 20 partners in Arnmore Thoroughbreds came together after previously campaigning graded-stakes-winning mare Tuttipaesi and becoming partners again on her first foal, Snow’s Island.
“Breeding horses takes patience. We have great camaraderie with everyone who has stayed with me this long,” said Jones. “It makes for an incredible partnership. I would love to just keep developing the homebreds and keep adding fillies from the sales to build the stable a little more.”
Snow’s Island was a maiden winner on Opening Day at the Spa for trainer Danny Gargan, who also trains Tuttipaesi’s second foal Riot House, a grey Violence colt who is undefeated in two starts this year and will be nominated to Saratoga’s $135,000 Better Talk Now on August 28.
As for Poppy Flower, Jones said she is happy to wait and see what is next for the talented chestnut.
“We’ll see how she comes out of the race and go from there,” said Jones.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Poppy Flower and connections after her Galway win (Susie Raisher)