Unostrike – Credit: Susan Foreman

When Rich Strike completed his comeback victory in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, it was the win of a lifetime for all the connections of the claiming horse, turned 80-1 Derby winner.

For Ontario breeder Susan Foreman, who purchased a half-sister to Rich Strike at the 2022 Keeneland January Sale through the Mare Purchase Program, a component of Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Improvement Program, the result was beyond her wildest dreams.

“I didn’t even know Rich Strike was entered into the Derby until Saturday,” said Foreman. “I was watching on the farm, because I was foal watching with a friend, and I turned to her and said, I have the half-sister to the Kentucky Derby winner.”

Foreman was at the Keeneland January Sale, trying to purchase for a client, but was out-bid due to a hot market. She went back to her hotel on Monday evening of the sale, and was looking through the supplement book when she saw Ontario Bred Unostrike (Macho Uno – Gold Strike, By Smart Strike) was an RNA at $22,000.

“What immediately caught my attention was she was in-foal to Caravaggio, a gorgeous son of Scat Daddy,” said Foreman. “She’s out of a Canadian Champion Mare, (Gold Strike), a Smart Strike mare. It was a just beautiful page for me to take home to Canada.”

Foreman thinks Unostrike was overlooked due to a combination of a low reserve price, not yet producing a black type winner, and several horses selling for high prices which diverted a attention at the sale.

The Tottenham, Ontario based breeder called the consignor, St George Sales, and arranged to meet at 8:00 a.m. to look at the chestnut mare.

“When I got there, it took me two seconds to say I’m not leaving without this mare,” said Foreman. “She’s beautiful. She’s 16.1. She’s correct and very good looking and had an early cover date to Caravaggio.”

Forman purchased Unostrike in-foal to Caravaggio for $25,000, half of which was covered by the Mare Purchase Program. She foaled a filly on February 17.

“She is a lovely mare to be around, a good mom, and it’s a beautiful foal,” said Forman. “Her nickname’s Fancy. She’s the niece of the Derby winner out of a hot stallion. I couldn’t be happier.”

Unostrike has also two fillies, Aurum (Munnings), and Virtually (Speightster) who have worked well this spring prior to making their 2022 debuts.

Aurum, a four-year-old, broke her maiden in 2021, and worked five furlongs in 1:01:20 on two occasions. Virtually was unraced at two and worked four furlongs at Keeneland in 46:80 on April 24.

Foreman plans to sell the Caravaggio filly as a yearling, so she will be watching Rich Strike closely in the Belmont and her other runners this summer and next.

With Unostrike back in foal to Maximum Security, a four-time Gr. 1 winner, and first across the line in the 2019 Kentucky Derby before being disqualified, American Classic pedigree is everywhere on Foreman’s farm these days.

Click here for details on the $5.89 million available to breeders through Ontario Racing’s Thoroughbred Improvement Program.