“You can’t breed for the exception.” Machmer Hall, luck, and yearlings

Lemon Drop Kid colt out of the Malibu Moon mare Alec’s Moon, hip #20 in Monday night's sale

Lemon Drop Kid colt out of the Malibu Moon mare Alec’s Moon, hip #20 in Monday night’s sale

“We’ve been very lucky,” reflected Sandy Fubini. Given Fubini’s successes, “lucky” might perhaps be a modest assessment of what she has accomplished. A veterinarian, a businesswoman, and the principal owner of Machmer Hall, the breeding operation based in Paris, Kentucky, Fubini could as easily attribute her achievements, and those of her partners in the farm, her daughter and son-in-law, Carrie and Craig Brogden, to things like hard work, shrewdness, a deep understanding of the business, and an eye for a good horse, to name just a few.

Still, there’s no denying that they’ve had a few pretty good breaks.


  • In the 1990s, Fubini owned a gift shop in the upscale Tyson’s Corner mall outside of Washington D.C. She hit big when the Beanie Babies craze hit in the second half of the decade.
  • In 2008, Machmer Hall bought a mare for $4,500 at the Keeneland November Sale of breeding stock. Almost immediately, they agreed to sell her for a modest profit, but the buyer never came up with the money. Two years later, the mare foaled Vyjack, a multiple graded stakes winner. A year after that, she had Tepin, voted last year’s champion turf female.
  • In 2010, that mare, Life Happened, was booked to Bernstein, which would have produced a full sister to Vyjack. But Bernstein didn’t have any openings on the day the mare needed to be bred, so she went to Into Mischief instead. Machmer Hall didn’t get the Vyjack full sibling. Instead, they got Tepin.

Continue reading at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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