SUMMIT POINT – Five-time graded stakes winner Brother Derek has arrived at Naylee Farm and will take up residence this year standing at stud in West Virginia.
The 100-acre thoroughbred breeding and foaling operation in Jefferson County owned by Rene Moore has leased Brother Derek for one year from Airdrie Stud in Kentucky to compliment its 2014 stallion roster.
A precocious 2-year-old and later winner of the 2006 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and morning line favorite for the Kentucky Derby will stand at Naylee Farm for $3,500 for a live foal.
Brother Derek, a California-bred son of the Alydar stallion Benchmark who rallied for a gallant, dead-heat fourth behind Barbaro after a troubled trip in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, entered stud in 2009 at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Kentucky after winning more than $1.6 million in purses.
The 11-year-old bay stands 16.1 hands and is the leading third-crop stallion in both West Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region with more than $1.5 million in progeny earnings. Brother Derek has sired stakes winners Miss Derek and Zee Bros, the latter winning the 2013 Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard.
“It’s huge for our state and the region in general,” said Mary Moore, farm manager at Naylee Farm. “You don’t get a chance to see too many millionaires. He’s just a fantastic horse and he has such a great disposition.”
Moore said Naylee Farm had been negotiating in recent weeks with Airdrie to bring another one of its horses – graded stakes winning sprinter Forest Grove, who has been standing at stud at Canmor Farm in Canada – to West Virginia for the upcoming season.
She said Airdrie’s ownership, led by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones – who spent his childhood in West Virginia – was looking to get Brother Derek more exposure this year, as he would likely be overshadowed by fellow Airdrie stallions Creative Cause, Proud Citizen, Include and Haynesfield.
Airdrie leased Brother Derek to Naylee Farm with the entities splitting the proceeds from his 2014 breeding sessions, she said. The likelihood of Brother Derek remaining in West Virginia for the long term depends upon his reception by local breeders, Moore added.
“They wanted to see him have a chance to get a larger volume of mares,” Moore said. “I was thinking Forest Grove was going to come in and have a fantastic year and he’s getting a little overshadowed with this horse coming in to say the least. Obviously (Brother Derek) will probably book the strongest. This is upgrading quite a bit. He’s a huge addition.”
Opened in 1988, Naylee Farm is a complete thoroughbred operation, offering breeding, boarding, foaling, breaking, training and layups. There are roughly 90 horses located on the property, which straddles the West Virginia-Virginia border, including the nine resident stallions.
Newcomers Brother Derek and Forest Grove have joined 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile participant and graded stakes winner Bittel Road, as well as stakes winners Garnered, Country Only and Vinemeister on the outfit’s stallion roster. Civilisation, Thirsty Giant and Global Force also stand at Naylee Farm.
Moore said the harsh winter has pushed back much of the season’s early breeding schedule, meaning Brother Derek’s arrival this past week should not significantly affect his potential bookings. She said Naylee Farm is hoping to book him to between 50 and 60 mares this year.
“Anytime you’re dealing with a horse of his caliber people automatically have an interest,” Moore said. “Once it’s out there a little more, we’re definitely looking for a good bit of interest.”
In 2005, a 2-year-old Brother Derek captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity to commence a four-race winning streak. He led throughout in the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes, gaining revenge on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hero and divisional champion Stevie Wonderboy, and went on to dominate Santa Anita’s road to the Kentucky Derby.
Brother Derek landed the Grade 2 Santa Catalina Stakes and wired the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby by 3 1/4 lengths. He finished fourth in the Preakness, second in the Grade 2 Goodwood and a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He raced only twice at 4, finishing third in both the Grade 2 San Fernando and Grade 2 Strub, and then once at 5, finishing second in an allowance.
Moore said stallions like Brother Derek, as well as fellow millionaire Limehouse and multiple graded stakes winner During – who both stand at O’Sullivan Farms outside Charles Town – elevate the standing of the West Virginia breeding program.
“We’ve come a long way,” she said. “Hopefully we can continue in that direction.”