by Adam Hamilton
Ladies In Red’s greatness is no fluke.
The champion filly’s Australian dominance is the result of some great vision, a huge investment of time and money and a real attention to detail from prominent Australian owner/breeders Bill and Anne Anderson through their Lauriston Bloodstock.
It all started in “about 2004” when the Andersons wanted to get more serious about breeding and realised buying some of the best domestic Aussie or even New Zealand stock wasn’t going to be enough.
So, the Andersons turned their sights to North America and through a relationship with Aussie horseman Peter Walsh, who was then training in New Jersey, they bought their first mare from the U.S. in Makin Faces, a daughter of Jate Lobell.
“She started it all. Then came Lindsey Leigh, who’s first foal was Maffioso (by Presidential Ball). He won us over $A600,000 and a Chariots Of Fire,” Bill Anderson said.
But it was another daughter of Artsplace in Aston Villa, who really launched what is today’s juggernaut for the Andersons.
“She was the one who took it to another level,” Anne said. “We really wanted another Artsplace mare so we went to Lexington and must have pulled-out 40 Artsplace fillies to look at. We were a bit blown away by the prices being paid and it’s even more when you’re paying with Australian dollars.
“Then, on the fourth day, Aston Villa (out of Storm Damage mare Villa Storm) came into the ring. She’s one I really liked and we bought her.”
Aston Villa raced just nine times for four wins, but has proven a revelation in the breeding barn. All six foals to race have won, including the first of them Yankee Rockstar (by Rocknroll Hanover), who won 22 of his 35 starts and $A329,048.
Then came Poster Boy (by Somebeachsomewhere), her fourth foal, who won 22 of his 30 starts (with another seven placings). He won the Chariots Of Fire, NSW Derby and ran third in a Miracle Mile before injury curtailed his career. Both he and Yankee Rockstar have now just started stud duties.
“A couple of years after we bought Aston Villa, I really wanted a Western Terror mare as well,” Anne said. “This big, forced sale came up when a major owner had to sell his stock. Lots were for sale online, but I like to see them in the flesh.”
Bill recalled the 37 hours of travel from Australia to the Harrisburg Sales – “including a 20-seater flight from Chicago to Harrisburg which wasn’t really my go” – before they saw and then snared Kabbalah Karen B.
“We had a budget, but when the bidding reached it, I gave Bill a nudge and said, ‘Keep going, we didn’t come all this way for nothing,’” Anne said.
Kabbalah Karen B raced with some success for Walsh in the US and then in Australia. She retired with nine wins, 18 placings and just shy of $A300,000 in earnings.
Her first foal to race was the pint-sized Our Little General, who won a Victoria Derby and two Breeders Crown finals before continuing his career in the US.
“Ladies In Red is her fourth foal. I think she’s our best horse, yet. Not just on what she’s done, but how she’s done it,” Anne said.
Ladies In Red’s name comes from the red string bracelet worn by those associated with Kabbalah religious beliefs.
The daughter of Mach Three made it 13 wins (and a second) from just 14 starts when she thrashed her rivals in the Group 1 Victoria Oaks at Bendigo on Oct. 9.
The win earned her comparisons with the greatest fillies Australia has seen and she’s still got major races like the Breeders Crown and Vicbred finals to come this season.
“I think she’s the best juvenile we’ve trained and she’s still on the way up,” co-trainer Clayton Tonkin said.
“The credit goes to Bill and Anne, who really insisted she have a long spell after she was beaten for the first time in the Vicbred (2YO) final last New Year’s Eve. They were happy to sacrifice races such as the NSW Oaks and Australian Gold with a longer-term view and they’ve been rewarded because she’s gone to another level.”
It’s now gone the full circle for the Andersons with Kabbalah Karen B in foal to their own Poster Boy.
“Ladies In Red is something else, but so too is Kabbalah Karen B. I don’t think there’s been another broodmare Down Under produce a Derby winner and Oaks winner and between them, Ladies In Red and Our Little General have already won three Breeders Crown finals, too,” Bill said.
Ladies In Red’s next big target is the Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies series in Victoria next month.