PHBA - Mick Ruis and his secret stallions
By Emily Shields
Long-time horseman Mick Ruis was not only born and raised in California, but he also has homes there. He originally planned on having his broodmares and stallions there, too, but the lure of the Pennsylvania breeding program was too strong.
“When I found out about the program, it was a no brainer,” Ruis said. “I had to make a decision, and the decision was that I wanted to be a Pennsylvania breeder.”
What makes the program so appealing?
“The incentives they give make it a clear choice, business-wise,” Ruis explained. “And there are three tracks in the state and another seven or eight nearby you can run at. It made sense to spend more time on the East Coast.”
One of Ruis’ first Pennsylvania experiences came with The Critical Way, a PA-bred by Tizway bred by Blackstone Farm. In 2017, The Critical Way won the $100,000 Danzig Stakes in just his second start, shipping in from Santa Anita to score. “That’s what started me on it,” Ruis said. “There’s a lot of good races where you can make good money for a Pennsylvania-bred. I’m excited about that.”
Blackstone Farm, an operation shared by partners Christian Black, Mark Weissman, and Douglas Black, recently had a banner runner with Pennsylvania-bred Tom’s Ready, a millionaire who retired after the 2017 season. Blackstone sold him for $145,000 as a yearling. The farm is going to be an important part of Ruis’ expansion into the Keystone State. Ruis shipped 18 mares into the Pine Grove outfit, as well as two young stallions. Eleven of the mares were bred in California and will foal in Pennsylvania this spring.
And with the two stallions, War Envoy and Saburo, Ruis has much to anticipate.
War Envoy, by War Front – La Conseillante, by Elusive Quality, is royally bred. His dam was a stakes winner in France; she went on to produce a $750,000 yearling in Falaise—now an unraced sophomore—a $300,000 broodmare in Beychevelle, and a $150,000 juvenile in Kate’s Winnie. War Envoy himself won twice in 26 starts but earned $494,781 racing against some of the best of his generation. He started his career in England and Ireland, placing in multiple graded stakes, then came to America for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Gr1) at Santa Anita. War Envoy actually went favored that day, but finished well back.
After returning to Europe, War Envoy won a handicap at Ascot before moving to the United States permanently in 2015. He contested the Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup (Gr1) in Barbados and finished third, then later was one of the runners in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational (Gr1). War Envoy was retired in 2017 with 10 top three finishes to his name.
Saburo, a $600,000 juvenile, is by Medaglia d’Oro and out of the stakes placed Lemon Drop Kid mare Kid Majic. She produced 2015 Sovereign Award Champion Older Mare and Champion Female Sprinter Miss Mischief, a graded stakes winner of over half a million dollars. Second dam Call Her Magic, by Caller I.D., won eight of 14 starts, including two stakes races. She is also the dam of J P’s Gusto, a lightning-fast juvenile who won the Del Mar Futurity (Gr1) and $811,760. He ultimately sired Puerto Rican Gr1 winner Remember Willy and dual stakes placed Epic Journey.
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