Client Success: Hard Spun Colt Draws Clear in Flashy Oaklawn Maiden

Hard Spun

Hard Spun

Kupuna (c, 3, Hard Spun–Hanalei Hailey, by Malibu Moon)

Kupuna (c, 3, Hard Spun—Hanalei Hailey, by Malibu Moon) began his career at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 with blinkers on and finished third after a poor start to his 6 1/2-furlong trip. The Hard Spun colt was once again confronted with closing from the back of the field following another uncomfortable break at the gate on Nov. 28 beneath the Twin Spires, this time claiming second place by a neck. After a strange dash from the rail to the center of the track heading into the first turn, the even-money favorite found himself mid-pack and four wide in his first start as a 3YO going a mile and adding Lasix for the first time. Kupuna drew closer to the front group as he exited the first turn, and midway into the last turn, he uncorked the start of his rally while remaining four wide. He took control when Ricardo Santana, Jr. urged him to straighten for home and drew well clear, breaking his maiden by a spectacular five lengths.

Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-1, $86,400

O – Larry Hirsch & Wayne Sanders; B – Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings & Greg Biagi (KY); T – Bret Calhoun.

Sales history: $140,000 Ylg ’20 KEESEP.

Hanalei Hailey, Kupuna’s dam, was bought at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in 2021 and has since been transported to Saudi Arabia. This year, the mare is due to have a foal by Maclean’s Music.

Clark Shepherd (Shepherd Equine Advisers), bloodstock agent for Larry Hirsch & Wayne Sanders, purchased Kupuna at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale from the consignment of Elm Tree Farm.

Watch race replay below:

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OPTIMAL Mating Analysis

Horses bred on OPTIMAL Matings have proven to possess more potential to become superior racehorses. In fact, most will break their maiden in the first two starts. Combined with a good physical, good vetting and a price that falls within a budget, OPTIMAL Matings help to focus on buying or breeding better racehorses.

thoroughbred bloodstock agent ky

2 Sire Families (3L, 14C) & 5 Racing Families (2D, 1S, 3L, 2S, 2C)

Good Combination of Female Families

Good Outcross Percentage

Good Linebreeding Balance

Good Grandsire / Granddam Linebreeding Percentages

Good Gender Linebreeding Balance.

Key Linebreedings

  • 5,6×6 Native Dancer – gender-balanced through daughter Natalma & son Raise A Native
    • Exact position as:
      • 10 Grade 1 Stakes Winners
      • 17 Grade 2 Stakes Winners
      • 32 Grade 3 Stakes Winners
      • 54 Listed Stakes Winners
  • 5×5 Raise A Native – through sons Alydar & Mr. Prospector
    • Exact position as:
      • Grade 2 Stakes Winner
        • Call Me George (Point Given o/o Chimes Band mare)
      • Grade 3 Stakes Winners
        • Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John o/o Malibu Moon mare)
        • Dalmore (Colonel John 0/0 Silver Deputy mare)
      • Listed Stakes Winners
        • She’s So Special (Hard Spun o/o Pulpit mare)
        • Caddo River (Hard Spun o/o Congrats mare)
        • Hunt Crossing (Corinthian o/o Silver Deputy mare)
  • 6×6 Nashua – through two daughters Bramalea & Gold Digger
    • Exact position as:
      • Grade 1 Stakes Winners
        • Summer Love (Freud o/o Pulpit mare)
        • Giant Ryan (Freud o/o Dayjur mare)
        • Kalypso (Brody’s Cause o/o Malibu Moon mare)
      • Grade 2 Stakes Winners
        • Coal Front (Stay Thirsty o/o Mineshaft mare)
        • Doswell (Giant’s Causeway o/o Minardi mare)
      • Grade 3 Stakes Winners
        • Comedero (Posse o/o Sir Richard Lewis mare)
        • Awesome Planet (Giant’s Causeway o/o Faliyev mare)
        • Northern Causeway (Giant’s Causeway o/o Silver Deputy mare)
      • 6 Listed Stakes Winners

Similar Breedings

  • Hard Spun over A.P. Indy
    • Grade 1 Stakes Winner
      • Aloha West (Hard Spun o/o Speightstown mare)
    • Grade 2 Stakes Winner
      • Moviesta (Hard Spun o/o A.P. Indy mare)
    • Listed Stakes Winners
      • Black Ops (Hard Spun o/o A.P. Indy mare)
      • Caddo River (Hard Spun o/o Congrats mare)
      • Mohs (Hard Spun o/o A.P. Indy mare)
      • She’s So Special (Hard Spun o/o Pulpit mare)
  • Turkoman over Valid Appeal
    • Grade 3 Stakes Winner
      • Turk Appeal (Turkoman o/o Valid Appeal mare)
    • Listed Stakes Winners
      • Take Down (Point Given o/o Valid Appeal mare)
      • Stratagem (Air Commander o/o Valid Expectations mare)
      • Karula (Colonel John o/o Woodman mare)
      • She’s So Special (Hard Spun o/o Pulpit mare)

Whether you are new to the game, experiencing more losses than wins or just looking for a new approach, I am confident that I can help you breed or buy a better racehorse. To find out more about OPTIMAL Matings and how they can help your program, please subscribe to my Blog/News page HERE to receive future information on complimentary mating recommendations, sales short lists, stakes winner pedigree analysis, news on personal client success and any other random thoughts or ideas that I may have. Also, receive a complimentary copy of my report “Blind Luck or Designed Luck? – How A Kentucky Derby Winner Was Bred” sent directly to your inbox.

For inquiries or more information about Shepherd Equine Advisers, please contact Clark Shepherd at 859-321-6618, or by email at

I would love to hear any comments or questions that you may have. Please submit them below. Maybe we can address them in a future post!

I offer my expertise as a bloodstock agent, sales consultant, and pedigree analyst to assist in breeding or purchasing superior thoroughbred racehorses through sound pedigree principles, horsemanship, and consistent implementation of well-designed plans. To find out more about how my services can help your program, please contact me at 859-321-6618, or by email at

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