Champion and five-time Grade 1 winner Lady Eli, the horse that leading trainer Chad Brown described as “the best turf horse I’ve ever trained,” will highlight Hill ’n’ Dale Sales Agency’s consignment to the 2018 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, where she will sell in foal to top sire War Front.
“She is the best turf horse I have ever trained. She has the heart of a champion. She is equine perfection. She is the personification of world-class talent, courage, precocity, soundness and, above all, the will to win.” – trainer Chad Brown
Trained by Chad Brown, Lady Eli distinguished herself as one of the all-time leading turf distaffers in North America, having compiled a record of 10 wins and three seconds from 14 starts with career earnings of $2,959,800.
Undefeated at 2, Lady Eli culminated her multiple graded stakes-winning juvenile campaign with a win in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), where she defeated Grade 1 winner Sunset Glow. In the Juvenile Fillies Turf, she stopped the clock for the mile in a scintillating 1:33.41, the fastest time ever for the race and a full second faster than the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner on the same day. She was named an Eclipse Award finalist based on her perfect record.
Lady Eli compiled a perfect record once again in her 3-year-old campaign, capturing the $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1) contested at the American classic distance of a mile and a quarter.
Returning to the barn after the race, Lady Eli stepped on a nail, which sidelined her for more than 13 months. Her recovery was nothing short of miraculous and a true testament to the courage and tenacity she has displayed throughout her entire life.
Her 4-year-old season saw another Grade 1 victory added to her incredible resume with an impressive performance in the Flower Bowl (G1). Traveling like the winner throughout, she unleashed a devastating move turning for home, readily quickened clear and ran on strongly with a dazzling final furlong in :22 and change, and a final time for the mile and a quarter in 1:59.85.
Lady Eli’s final race of the season came in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), where she was nosed out at the wire in the final jump. The time of 1:57.75 is the fastest mile-and-a- quarter time for the race. Her stellar campaign earned her a second Eclipse Award finalist title.
Lady Eli confirmed her singular talent, soundness and durability in her 5-year-old campaign, where her courage was once again on display in capturing two more Grade 1 events. Shipping west for the first time, she put in a determined effort to win the Gamely (G1) at Santa Anita, followed by a win in the historic Diana (G1) at Saratoga. She notched a second win of the season at Saratoga in the Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa (G2) with an eye-popping final sixteenth in :05.75.
In the final race of her career, the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1), she was banged around, lost a shoe and sustained lacerations to her hind legs that eliminated any chance of showcasing her signature talent.
“I can’t say enough about this horse,” Chad Brown said. “She is the best turf horse I have ever trained. She has the heart of a champion. She is equine perfection. She is the personification of world-class talent, courage, precocity, soundness and, above all, the will to win. Lady Eli always brought her best game. She didn’t need a race track, a condition, a position in the race or a distance, and she certainly never needed an excuse,” Brown continued. “It’s unlikely I will ever have another one like her.”
Partner Sol Kumin of Sheep Pond Partners said, “She is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime animal. She gave me, my family, my partners and, just as importantly, racing fans around the world the most memorable performances, which will live within me forever.”
“Lady Eli was the ultimate champion,” said John Sikura, President of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms. “She was an elite performer every year and won Grade 1 races on both coasts, including the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Ultra-consistent in delivering elite performances, she is the rarest of champions with a will to win and tenacity to match her matchless talent.”
“Lady Eli was an extraordinary race mare who will be a highly sought-after jewel for breeders, especially offered in foal to leading sire War Front,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Keeneland is honored to have the opportunity to offer such a brilliant champion who will undoubtedly attract interest from buyers around the world.”