August Member of the Month
This year, Patricia Pavlish has been on “fire”—literally. Pavlish bred Fire with Fire, who has been a dominant presence on the turf. For owner David Heerensperger and trainer Neil Drysdale, the gelded son of Distorted Humor has posted two major wins at Santa Anita—a hard-fought triumph in the San Luis Rey Stakes (gr. IIT) on March 22, and a neck victory in the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IIT) on May 24.
Pavlish first entered the Thoroughbred business with her husband, Ed. Although she has been a lifelong equine enthusiast, Ed, a lifelong handicapper, was the one who brought her into racing. Breeding, and owning a few select horses, has brought the two great pleasure. Pavlish enthused, “We have a lot of fun together.” Though she and Ed reside primarily in Florida, they also summer in Ohio, where they own Beau Ravine Farm.
In particular, Fire with Fire has been a source of much excitement. At age six, the horse has finally blossomed on the track; Pavlish observed that “it’s been a little late, but it’s vindication, validation.” Such successes, Pavlish reminisced, are “…the ultimate. We’re in this game, obviously, for the long haul. I tell everybody, if you run a two-year-old, a breeder has three years invested in that individual, and a lot of heartache.” Success by horses she bred is especially sweet. “When they get to a race at two or three, I mean, if they win anything, it’s just so exciting, because not a lot of horses do that.” If that horse goes on to win a graded stakes, “it’s the payoff for all of your years of worrying.”
Fire with Fire was a “tough little horse” from the beginning. As a yearling, he first sold for $290,000 to Maverick Racing at the 2009 Keeneland September Sales, consigned by Indian Creek, agent. Two years later, he went under the hammer for $140,000 at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale to Wakelin Bloodstock, agent. The gelding is out of Pavlish’s stellar producer Cosmic Fire (by Capote). Cosmic Fire “had a blacktype early on at two years old and that showed that she would do something early.” Pavlish also had a fondness for her pedigree, adding, “We liked the breeding, the Capote. We always loved [Capote’s sire] Seattle Slew, so that made sense.”
Cosmic Fire has earned her spurs in the breeding shed. She has typically produced runners by hardy stallions like Distorted Humor; Pavlish commented, “Well, we’ve loved Distorted Humor. We had a share of him.” Cosmic Fire also foaled multiple graded stakes winner and millionaire Cosmonaut to the cover of champion and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Lemon Drop Kid. Pavlish liked these two stallions’ longevity, saying, “It was their durability. We like things that stick around.” Though Cosmic Fire is now pensioned, her legacy lives on with her two-year-old Giant’s Causeway filly, who is now in training.
Although Fire with Fire’s successes have been thrilling, they are not the only national triumphs Pavlish has experienced as an owner and breeder. Homebred Sky Glow (by Grand Slam out of Cosmic Fire) earned more than $140,000, while graded stakes-placed Cloudy Vow (by Broken Vow out of Cosmic Fire’s daughter Kickin’ the Clouds) garnered $126,928 in earnings. Pavlish also owned and bred multiple graded stakes-placed Aeneas (also by Capote), a mainstay in the handicap division in the early 2000s. Of Aeneas, who earned over $400,000, Pavlish noted, “We had a lot of fun with him, a lot of fun. He was a nice, honest horse.”
Like Cosmic Fire, Aeneas’ dam, Gone to Venus, had sparkling credentials. Pavlish recalled, “[Trainer] John Ward called her class personified, and she sure was.” Gone to Venus came from a line of stellar mares bred by Paul Mellon and, in her own right, produced multiple graded stakes winner Saudi Poetry (by Storm Cat). Pavlish noted, “Everything she threw had her presence,” though her colts were often tough to handle. Two full brothers to Saudi Poetry set the sales ring aflame: Habayeb sold for $3.3 million, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, to John Ferguson Bloodstock at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, while McKenzie Pass went under the hammer for $1 million, consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, agent, to Robert and Beverly Lewis at the 2004 edition of that sale.
When horses she’s bred hit the big time, Pavlish couldn’t be more pleased, though she values all her animals. She boards equal numbers of mares, which she breeds to Kentucky stallions, at Mike Evans’ Sheltowee Farm and Shack Parrish’s Indian Creek Farms, both also in the Bluegrass State.
Regardless of her horses’ pedigrees, the cost to feed and keep them healthy is the sam.e Pavlish noted. If she’s going to make a large investment in an individual, she muses, she might as well give herself the best shot at breeding a good runner. Her breeding motto? A classic, just like her horses—“breed the best to the best and hope for the best.”
Congratulations to Patricia, TOBA's August member of the month!