News and STORIES

Quarter Horse Mares Will Breed With Into Mischief, Mitole

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Friday November 22, 2019
Spendthrift Farm and Robicheaux have partnered up so that Quarter Horse mares are given the opportunity to breed with Into Mischief and Mitole. Into Mischief is a leading Thoroughbred stallion, and Mitole took the recent Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The news was announced on Nov. 20.

The breeding will take place via artificial insemination.

Spendthrift Farm owner B. Wayne Hughes was looking for creative ideas, while Ryan Robicheaux, manager of Robicheaux Ranch in Breaux Bridge, La., was looking for an outcross. This led to both parties becoming interested in the partnership. 

Mark Toothaker, Spendthrift’s stallion sales manager, said that Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt came to Spendthrift with the idea. They campaigned four-time grade 1 winner Mitole. 

"Mr. Hughes is always wanting us to think outside the box and come up with some different ideas and some things we can do. This thing just kind of came to a life of its own, really, from Bill Heiligbrodt and Corinne," Toothaker said. "They had approached us early on that they had some people in the Quarter Horse business — of course, they have a Quarter Horse background, and (Mitole's trainer) Steve Asmussen does as well. 

"They'd been approached by some folks wanting to know if we would make Mitole available to breed to some Quarter Horse mares, that they had some real high-end Quarter Horse mares that would be interested in breeding to him."

The initial discussions began around Mitole only, but Into Mischief became involved as the partnership continued to be planned. 

"He's been a breed-changing stallion in the Thoroughbred world," Toothaker said. "Why couldn't he have tremendous influence on the Quarter Horse world?"

Artificial Insemination 

Robicheaux Ranch will handle the collection for artificial insemination for Into Mischief and Mitole, as well as the contracts for the mares. The process will not change the full book of Thoroughbred mares scheduled for Mitole and Into Mischief in Lexington. 

Per the requirements of the Jockey Club, live cover for Thoroughbreds needs to be registered and does not allow artificial insemination. The American Quarter Horse Association does allow artificial insemination, and they register Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse crosses with its Appendix Registry. An appendix horse is a mix between a Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred.

Into Mischief is set to be offered at a $10,000 fee for Quarter Horse Mares, and Mitole will go for $4,000. Thoroughbred fees for 2020 are $175,000 and $25,000, respectively. Mitole will be standing stud for his first time. 

"This is something new. It's never been done before in this type of scale," Toothaker said. "Obviously, they bred Storm Cat to Quarter Horse mares. I know that Favorite Trick's had some success on a Quarter Horse deal, but I don't know that it's really been tried the way we're doing it with these two horses."

Robicheaux’s Other Plans

Storm Cat, the two-time leading sire, 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick, and the grade-1 winning son of Storm Cat, Hennessy, have all produced graded stakes-winning appendix horses out of Quarter Horse mares.

According to Robicheaux, Favorite Cartel is one of the leading sires in the Quarter Horse industry. He is the grade 1-winning appendix son of Favorite Trick. He is located at Burns Ranch in Menifee, Calif., and he will stand for $12,500 in 2020. 

"We're searching, and we're dying for that outcross right now to breed to our mares. Right now, you buy a mare in the Quarter Horse industry, you're limited who you can breed it to," Robicheaux said. "They've tried some Thoroughbreds, but we've never had the caliber that Mr. Hughes at Spendthrift is offering to us Quarter Horse people on the price they're offering it to us."

Robicheaux will also breed some of his own Spendthrift’s stallion. 

"I'm excited. It's got a big buzz around the horse industry — Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred — and I'm very fortunate," he said. "I couldn't be more humbled they chose me, and I just want to do a good job. Hopefully, this venture continues for years to come."