Emilie Fojan says working around horses enables one to identify the ones that have a special quality and early on, she told Dullahan’s breeder, Phil Needham, that his colt had that kind of presence about him.
“I have really fond memories of him,” Fojan added. “I always told Phil that he was a special horse and I said ‘if this horse doesn’t win the Derby, I’ll eat my foot’. He had an extremely good mind, very professional. He was just the coolest horse.”
Fojan’s instincts have been proven accurate as the horse that Needham and his wife, Judy, bred and then sold for $250,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling sale is headed to Churchill Downs as one of the leading contenders for Kentucky Derby 138.
The Needhams board Dullahan’s mother, Mining My Own, and other mares at Fojan’s Bona Terra Farm in Scott County. They bought Mining My Own out of a sale at Keeneland in which some horses from a partnership the Needhams were involved in were being dispersed. Eventhough Mining My Own had never made it to the races, Needham liked her broodmare potential enough to take the risk when he thought the bids were too low for Mining My Own. “Fortune favors the bold,” as the saying goes.
“Because I foaled (her mother), I had always liked her. And I loved the sire, Smart Strike,” Needham said. “We just work hard and try to identify horses that we like.”
Mining My Own produced 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine The Bird and she has a son of Giant’s Causeway now at her side. He was born the day before Dullahan won the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes. The mating with Dullahan’s sire, Even The Score, came before that Derby winner was dropped so Needham says there were just looking for the best match for the money. And for an Even The Score offspring to fetch a $250,000 bid was considerably above average.
“He was always an exceptional colt, from the day he was born. He stood up in 15 minutes (after being foaled). He was what Judy always called ‘a laided-back colt’,” Needham recalled.
Needham says they liked the colt so much that they set the reserve price at $249,000 on Dullahan, so that indicates how promising a prospect this colt was.
To see the full interviews with Phil Needham and Emilie Fojan, check out the Keeneland Connections video at keeneland.com or on Keeneland’s You Tube channel.
Video: Dullahan selling in September 2010 Sale
Video: Interview with Phil Needham
Video: Interview with Emilie Fojan