LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 7, 2013) – As the leading buyer through the first two sessions of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Don Alberto Corp. of Chile continues its expansion into the Central Kentucky Thoroughbred industry. Don Alberto Corp. represents the family who owns Chile’s prominent Haras Don Alberto and recently purchased Vinery near Lexington. Vinery will be renamed Don Alberto Farm.
Carlos Heller of Haras Don Alberto has been at Keeneland, where on Tuesday and Wednesday Don Alberto Corp. purchased 16 horses for $7,125,000. At $850,000, its highest-priced acquisition was Reach The Stars (IRE), a daughter of Galileo (IRE) who is a half-sister to champion Escena and is in foal to Tapit.
Other purchases were stakes winner Snow Fall, a daughter of War Front who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Upperline and is in foal to Smart Strike, for $735,000 and Grade 3 winner Sacristy, a daughter of Pulpit in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, for $700,000. Other mares Don Alberto Corp. purchased are in foal to Arch, Congrats, Distorted Humor, Ghostzapper, Kitten’s Joy, Malibu Moon and Scat Daddy.
Heller’s family has business interests in the airline, retail, health, banking and television industries, and he is president of Club Hipico de Santiago, the historic Thoroughbred racetrack in Chile. His late grandfather, Alberto Solari, began breeding Thoroughbreds some 30 years ago, and his mother, Liliani Solari, is the principal owner of Haras Don Alberto.
Haras Don Alberto is home to some 300 mares, Heller said, and over the years has welcomed such Northern Hemisphere-based shuttle stallions as Stormin Fever, Proud Citizen, Fusaichi Pegasus, Rock of Gibralter (IRE) and Bluegrass Cat. The farm is currently standing several shuttle stallions, including Dylan Thomas (IRE), Henrythenavigator and Steviewonderboy.
On Thursday, Heller answered several questions about Don Alberto Corp.’s foray into the North American market. He was accompanied by veterinarian Roberto Navarrete and agent Fernando Diaz-Valdes. The latter translated for Heller, explaining the family’s goal with its purchases at the November Sale.
“When (Heller) was here in September, he was just stopping by to look at some farms,” Diaz said. “He was impressed with Vinery, and fortunately it was for sale. So they decided to buy it, but it was an empty place. There was no stallion. There was no broodmare. The next step was logic: Come here to the November sales and buy some broodmares. Of course, the purpose of the family is to have a place to live here, come more often. Everybody wants to be in Kentucky. Such a wonderful place, no?”
Diaz said Heller’s aim at Keeneland has been to buy well-bred mares in foal to successful stallions with the goal to develop a racing operation to compete in the biggest events in North America. No translator was needed for Heller’s ultimate target.
“My dream is (the) Kentucky Derby,” he said.
(Caption for attached photo --Representing Don Alberto Corp. at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale from left are: Carlos Heller, Roberto Navarrete and Fernando Diaz-Valdes. Please credit as Keeneland photo.)