Blue Chip Thoroughbreds, a new thoroughbred farm operation based in Southern California, is poised to make a big splash in the coming months. While questions swirl around Southern California racing and the issues at Santa Anita Park, Blue Chip is taking a positive approach as they develop a brand that they believe “has a chance to be the best in California.”
It all started with a phone call.
Tom Mansor, the beloved owner of Cabo Tom Racing who was recovering from heart surgery, called his good friend, Steve McPherson, to ask him to go look at some horses. Mansor had heard about a thoroughbred operation that was going out of business, essentially selling all of their Cal-bred race horses as part of a “fire sale”. The farm was being leased by Frank Stronach and his son Andy in partnership with EF1 Farms, but the partnership was falling apart.
“We had no idea what we were walking into,” jokes Mansor.
So, in October, McPherson made the trek to Hemet to see what was going on with the farm.
“What I found was a run down operation with a gold mine of horses,” says McPherson.
The rest is history.
Over a period of three months, Mansor and his new partner purchased several yearlings, two year olds, and broodmares. Eventually, they struck a deal to take over the farm.
“It all happened so fast,” laughs McPherson. “One minute we were negotiating to buy 8 horses, the next minute we own 70 horses and an 88 acre thoroughbred farm.”
After the dust settled, McPherson got down to work. He started remodeling the farm while scouring the country to find 2 year olds in training that might be for sale. He followed up his private sales with some top purchases at Fasig Tipton and OBS. When the dust settled, Blue Chip Thoroughbreds went from a vision to a major player in three months.
“I doubt very seriously if anyone has a finer group of two year olds in California,” said Mansor. “Steve has an unbelievable eye for a top athlete and through his hard work we found some good ones.”
Blue Chip Thoroughbreds has 11 horses targeted for the Fasig Tipton 2 year old sale at Santa Anita June 5th. Sire power is the name of the game for their consignment with horses by Animal Kingdom, American Pharoah, Creative Cause, Elusive Quality, English Channel, Fed Biz, Flatter, Hard Spun, Liam’s Map and Malibu Moon.
“The American Pharoah, Flatter, and Liam’s Map are going to bring a boat load of money,” said McPherson. “They have the juice both physically and pedigree wise to be special if they keep developing. The Flatter is extraordinary, the American Pharoah is ultra fast, and the Liam’s Map is a half to Morning Line, with his pedigree screaming sire all day long. I absolutely would not be surprised if any one of them ended up being the sale topper at that sale.”
The farm and the projected future success are very close to McPherson’s heart. Last year, when the Paddock Sale at Del Mar got unexpectedly cancelled by Barretts, his operation, Southern Cal Thoroughbreds, took a bath. He was stuck holding the bag for 22 horses he had agreed to manage for a friend whose wife was very ill.
“I would be lying if I didn’t tell you it was a really tough 14 months,” he said. “I thought we could make a profit with the horses but, instead, I got stuck taking them all back and starting from scratch.”
But, fate intervened and McPherson’s fortunes turned around in a hurry.
“I count my blessings,” he added. “This farm, our operation, is just amazing in so many ways. We are going to make this place a special, special training center for people in Southern California.”
Bloodstock people are amazed at how much Blue Chip has accomplished in such a short period of time. While they made a deal for several yearlings in December when they were still weanlings, they didn’t buy their first 2 year old until January 15th.
“Steve has a unique skill set,” says Traci Lyn, one of the farm’s managers. “He sees things in babies that others can’t see. The quality of the horses he has bought in the last month is top of the line so that should reflect in the sale results in June. Either way, with 11 two year olds, 14 three year olds, 10 broodmares with babies, and 40 yearlings, we are poised to have one heck of a first year.”
Blue Chip Thoroughbreds will operate as the farm and sales operation, while Mansor will manage the racing and partnership program of the farm. Mansor races under Cabo Tom Racing.
“We have a very nice mix in terms of how we are doing things,” said Mansor. “Steve handles the farm, the horses, and the pinhooking, while I handle racing and our partnership program. Everyone gets along beautifully.”
Blue Chip will soon begin taking layups, while this Fall they will break and train yearlings starting in September. A couple of trainers have already sent them horses to lay up for six weeks.
“I think our location is going to be very attractive to trainers in Southern California,” said Mansor. “We have two training tracks, plenty of stall and paddock space, and some great fields too. It just has a chance to be the best we have in the region.”
For more information, you can reach the farm at email@example.com