As a racehorse, Rhumb Line was useful. A chestnut filly by Mr. Greeley, Rhumb Line didn’t start as a juvenile. She won her first time out as a sophomore and followed that score with two allowance wins at Belmont later that spring. After a three-for-three opening parlay, Rhumb Line was sent to the post in the Mother Goose S. (G1), where she suffered her first defeat to eventual multiple Grade 1 winner Spoken Fur. Rhumb Line retired in January 2004 with three wins in nine starts and career earnings just shy of $100,000.
Rhumb Line was consigned to the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale by Mill Ridge Sales as agent. On Valentine’s Day, she entertained possible buyers from Barn 1 at Fasig-Tipton’s Lexington headquarters. She had a decent pedigree, with a scattering of black type throughout, but none under her first dam, Rose Rhapsody. In fact, Rhumb Line was that mare’s best runner. Not bred in 2004, Rhumb Line would be offered as hip 470, a broodmare prospect.
Despite a first dam devoid of black type, Michael Hernon saw something he liked in the five-year-old Mr. Greeley mare. “Upon initial inspection, I immediately liked Rhumb Line,” said Hernon. “She struck me as an impressive broodmare prospect.” He went to $20,000 to secure Rhumb Line for his broodmare band. Hernon’s investment paid off by fall of the following year, when he sold Rhumb Line’s first foal. Hernon would eventually sell the mare, but not before he successfully sold her first five foals.
Hernon chose a series of talented young sires for his new broodmare, with Rhumb Line producing foals from the early crops of Grade 1 winners Officer (third crop), Tapit (second, third, and fifth crops), and Corinthian (first crop). The last foal bred by Hernon was by Birdstone, whose three-year-olds of 2010 included Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mine That Bird.
Rhumb Line produced two graded stakes winners under Hernon’s care. The first was her 2008 filly by Tapit. Hernon sold that filly as a weanling. She was purchased again the following year as yearling by Jerry and Ann Moss, of Zenyatta fame, and named Zazu.
Zazu was a multiple Grade 1 winning sophomore who earned $691,985 from four wins in 12 starts, including the 2011 Las Virgenes S. (G1), Lady’s Secret S. (G1), and Hollywood Oaks (G2). Zazu’s sophomore success put Rhumb Line on the map – and on buyers’ minds – but the success of her 2008 filly wouldn’t become a factor until 2011.
The second of Rhumb Line’s graded stakes winners was a full brother to Zazu born in 2010, a yearling purchased by Ben Glass, agent for Gary and Mary West. The colt, later named Flashback, would win the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) and place in two Grade 1 events as a three-year-old.
In the fall of Zazu’s spectacular sophomore season, Hernon considered the success of his February Sale bargain purchase and decided to offer her at public auction, in foal to Tapit. That November, he let her go for a considerable profit to a group that included Australian agent Neil Bowden.
Hernon’s luck didn’t end with his efforts. As S.F. Bloodstock, Bowden and his partners sold Rhumb Line’s 2012 Tapit colt for seven figures before selling the mare (again in foal to Tapit) to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.
To date, Rhumb Line has produced five winners from six starters, including two graded black-type winners, one black-type winner, and one graded black-type placed winner. Her offspring have earned $1,253,479 running in the United States, Canada, and England.
The 2016 Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale will be held February 8-9, with sessions beginning daily at 11 am. The full catalogue, including supplemental entries and past performances, is available online now at www.fasigtipton.com.
Find your own success story at:
The Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale
February 8-9, 2016