Mill Ridge & Nicoma News

A nice article about Lynn Schiff.

November 20, 2013

Ria Antonia Breeder On the Rise...

Of all the ways a person can get into Thoroughbred business, Lynn Schiff's might be the most unique: breeding by way of grand larceny. It all began one Easter night about 15 years ago, when the vast majority of the cattle she owned and raised got "rustled," she explains. "They were at a farm being conditioned, and on Easter night, some people rolled in and stole four truckloads of them--baby cows!" said Schiff. She's able to relate the story with a big smile these days, but at the time, Schiff was crestfallen. Her Lebanon, Ohio-based Clover Hill Farm grew corn, wheat and soybeans, but, before the theft, was primarily a cattle operation. Schiff decided to change things up. The man who managed Clover Hill, Patrick Craddock had experience with Thoroughbreds, and agreed to help her build a small, but select, broodmare band. "We just decided to give racehorses a shot," said Schiff, who although she'd been around and ridden horses all her life, had never before bred or raced Thoroughbreds. Clover Hill started by copying Allen Paulson's Brookside Farm...literally.  "They were dispersing at the time, and we were down in Lexington looking at barns," said Schiff.  "They were so sweet. They said, 'Just look at our barn and copy it.' I said that it was going to be in a field in Ohio, and it probably wouldn't be as nice, but I think it turned out pretty nice. And that's how we got started. Up until 11 days ago, Schiff and her team, which also includes Clover Hill's co-farm manager Vicky Anderson, enjoyed success on a smaller scale. There were a few a few smart runners, including stakes winner Cohiba Miss (Cat Thief) and the graded-stakes horse Hasslefree (Forestry), as well as Holy Lute (Midnight Lute), who won the El Cajon S. at Del Mar in August and ran third in the GII Indiana Derby in October. But then everything changed on Breeders' Cup Saturday. In the span of 17 minutes on Nov. 2, the Schiff-bred Ria Antonia (Rockport Harbor) was put up in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and a horse she cobred by Darley, the up-and-coming 3-year-old Romansh (Bernardini), romped by 9 1/4 lengths in the GIII Discovery H. at Aqueduct.  "I was on the floor," said Schiff, who admitted she was so excited about Ria Antonia's victory that she didn't get the TV switched over in time to see Romansh in the Discovery. The mares that gave Schiff that graded exacta are still part of Clover Hill's broodmare band. Ria Antonia's dam is the 10-year-old Beer Baroness (Mr. Greeley), a daughter of a stakes-winning half to GISW Behaving Badly (Pioneering) who was purchased for $180,000 at the 2008 Keeneland January Sale. Schiff sold Ria Antonia--the mare's fourth foal--for just $9,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale, but Patrick Craddock said the price didn't reflect the filly's quality.  "It disappointed us that she only brought $9,000," he said.  "We thought she was a special horse. She had a great mind and was a very correct horse with a fluid stride. There just wasn't much happening on the page at that point."  Romansh, on the other hand, was on the other end of the sales spectrum, selling for $750,000 to John Ferguson at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale. "He was good looking and really stood out," said Craddock. Romansh is a son of MSW & MGSP Cologny (Go For Gin), whom Schiff purchased, in foal to A.P. Indy, for $800,000 back at the 2005 Keeneland November Sale. Schiff retained the resulting foal, A. P. Cindy, as a broodmare, and that one's first foal, the 2-year-old Lady of the Nile (Pioneerof the Nile), rallied from last to break her maiden at Betfair Hollywood Park for the Bob Baffert barn this past Sunday. In addition to Romansh, Cologny has produced the six-time winner Terminus (Pulpit), a $310,000 FTSAUG yearling in 2010. Cologny did not produce foals in 2011 or 2012, and had a filly by Giant's Causeway this spring. She is now in foal to Hat Trick (Jpn). Beer Baroness had a Line of David yearling colt who made $55,000 at the most recent edition of Fasig-Tipton July, and has an Indygo Shiner weanling colt  "who's just gorgeous," said Craddock. She's back in foal to Trappe Shot. Schiff boards her mares at Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington during the breeding season, and is advised by Mill Ridge's Headley Bell, who sold Ria Antonia last year. The affable Schiff has been married for over 43 years to Jack Schiff, chairman of the Cincinnati Financial Corporation, and has three children, sons John and Charlie and daughter Maggie Gieseke. She has 10 grandchildren.