Bloodlines Presented By Diamond B Farm's Rowayton: The Long, Strange Journey Of Bodexpress - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Bloodlines Presented By Diamond B Farm’s Rowayton: The Long, Strange Journey Of Bodexpress

Bodexpress (right) holds off Code of Honor and Owendale to win the Clark

The wayward colt who was once known as “America's favorite maiden” is now a Grade 1 winner after his victory in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27.

Bodexpress (by Bodemeister) had taken his first experience in a Grade 1, last year in the Florida Derby, so well that he finished second in the race behind eventual division leader Maximum Security, and great things were expected of the handsome bay who had leapt so quickly to national prominence. Breeders, fans, and the colt's connections shared that optimism.

As a result, Bodexpress trained up to the classics without a start and was still a maiden when he went to the Kentucky Derby. There, he was racing prominently about a quarter-mile from home when taken up sharply as part of the chain reaction from the Maximum Security incident, then was placed 13th in the initial 2019 classic. That placement in an exceptionally rough race did not deter the colt's connections from trying the Preakness, and Bodexpress heightened the drama by dropping his jock, John Velazquez, at the start, then racing prominently through the rest of the 9 1/2-furlong race.

Riderless but not reckless, Bodexpress did not cause any trouble in the Preakness, just disappointment among his supporters.

The magnificent maiden went to a maiden special for his return in October 2019 and won his first race, then returned to win an allowance and was third in the G3 Harlan's Holiday in December. Unplaced in the G1 Pegasus World Cup and the G2 Gulfstream Park Mile, Bodexpress then finished third in the G3 Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream, the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga, and he was second in an allowance at Churchill before killing a field by 11 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park West prior to the Clark.

Bred in Kentucky by Martha Jane Mulholland, Bodexpress was sold at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. Although the good-looking colt went through the ring and was bought back for $45,000, he sold privately shortly thereafter.

John Mulholland recalled that “Bode was a little small, and we had to do a stifle surgery four or five weeks before the September sale. It was bad timing but also drew a knock from vets; so we sold him privately for about the hammer price.”

The buyer was Global Thoroughbreds through J.R. Boyd of Brick City Thoroughbreds, “which took him to Florida for breaking and early training,” Mulholland recalled.

J.R. Boyd said, “I'd liked this colt when I'd seen him at the farm before, and we were a little hesitant to buy a Bodemeister, but we love to shop with the Mulhollands because Martha Jane and John Henry are always up front and candid about their horses, and they raise a really good horse.

“The first reason I wanted to see this colt was that we'd trained his half-brother by Stormy Atlantic,” Boyd said, “and he was a really nice horse. Then, Bodexpress was such a pretty individual who looked like he could become a really good athlete. When I showed Bodexpress to our client at the sale, the owner of Global made the decision to buy the colt. He was that nice.”

Once Boyd and his wife Katie put Bodexpress into training, the colt “was a phenomenal mover, just a really nice colt.” But once again, ill luck showed up.

Boyd said, “We wanted to showcase him, put him in the Fasig sale in Miami or OBS March, but he banged his knee, and when I called Global, they said to be patient, give Bodexpress all the time that the colt needed, and so, Maryland was the spot for him.

“Our clients at Global Thoroughbreds are very game; if there's a hiccup along the way, they don't mind racing one, but they do like to offer everything for sale. At the Timonium sale in Maryland, I tried to tell everyone at the sales how good this colt was, but it was almost like Bodemeister had a disease. Nobody wanted one. I told the gentlemen behind the colt that we weren't likely to get what the colt was worth.

“Their answer to me was: 'Put a $37,000 reserve, and if someone wants to take him at $40,000, he sells. We want people to know that Global Thoroughbreds is willing to put reasonable reserves and sell their horses.”

The bright bay didn't sell, shipped home, was given a month to relax from the sale, then shipped to trainer Gustavo Delgado, who's had the horse ever since.

The good-looking colt never seemed to take things the easy way. He initially missed winning a maiden, although his fourth outing in that condition brought a narrow loss to Shancelot (Shanghai Bobby), who is a Grade 2 winner and finished second in the G1 Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Bodexpress's fifth start was the G1 Florida Derby, which appeared to be a giant step up, and there, the luckless colt ran into the buzz saw named Maximum Security.

Mulholland Springs has not participated in the luck of Bodexpress, either. The farm had worked with a pair of yearlings from the mare that “I had liked but not loved,” Mulholland noted, and then the mare had gone barren in 2016 after foaling Bodexpress. So, at the Keeneland November sale of 2017, the farm sold the colt's dam, the City Zip mare Pied a Terre, for $17,000.

Mulholland said, “She was a nice-looking mare, or I wouldn't have bought her,” but the commercial market wasn't very responsive to her foals. So, in foal to the Tiznow stallion Gemologist, Mulholland Springs sold the mare, and the purchaser was the KOID, which exported her to Korea.

On March 28, 2018, Pied a Terre foaled a filly by Gemologist who's since been named Gangseo Princess, and in 2019, the mare foaled a colt by the Tapit stallion Concord Point and was barren for 2020 on a cover to Take Charge Indy.

Bodexpress is the second Grade 1 winner for his sire, Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister (Empire Maker), after Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming, who stood his first season at stud in Kentucky at WinStar Farm in 2019.

In the fall of 2019, WinStar announced the sale of Bodemeister to the Jockey Club of Turkey, and the horse stands at their stud farm outside Istanbul for a fee of 12,500 euros, approximately $15,000.

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