Bred and owned by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, Graceful Princess is now an incredibly valuable broodmare prospect, though the likelihood that she will see a sale ring any time soon is slim. More likely, she will follow in her dam's hoof prints as a broodmare for Pope, who purchased Havre de Grace for US$10 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale.
The price tag was exceptionally high, but there were reasons for it, beginning with Havre de Grace's race record. A Grade 2 winner at 3 and third in that year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (USA-G1), Havre de Grace won five of her seven starts at 4, including the 2011 Apple Blossom Handicap (USA-G1) and the Beldame Invitational Stakes (USA-G1) against her own division. She added to her reputation by defeating next-out Jockey Club Gold Cup (USA-G1) winner Flat Out and other males in the Woodward Stakes (USA-G1), and a bang-up second by a nose to her archrival Blind Luck (the American champion 3-year-old filly of 2010) in the Delaware Handicap (USA-G2) did nothing to diminish her luster. Her only other loss of the season was also a good effort; bypassing a likely win in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (USA-G1), owner Rick Porter and trainer Larry Jones sportingly put her in the Breeders' Cup Classic (USA-G1), in which she ran a good fourth behind upset winner Drosselmeyer. In a year lacking a standout runner in either the older male or 3-year-old male divisions, Havre de Grace's consistency plus her Grade 1 win against open company was enough to land her American Horse of the Year honors in addition to the Eclipse Award as champion older female. The victim of a suspensory injury at 5, Havre de Grace retired with a 9-4-2 record from 16 starts after winning her first outing at 3.
The other reasons behind Havre de Grace's price were her attractive conformation and her pedigree, which is equally attractive. A member of the sole crop of 2005 American Horse of the Year Saint Liam, she was produced from Easter Bunnette (by the good Mr. Prospector horse Carson City), whose Grade 3-placed half sister The Bink (by Seeking the Gold) is the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Riskaverse (by Dynaformer) and Grade 3 winner Cozzy Corner (by Cozzene). Havre de Grace's catalog page looked even better in 2014, when Tonalist (by Tapit out of her dam's Pleasant Colony half sister Settling Mist) won the Belmont Stakes (USA-G1) and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (USA-G1). Tonalist added two more Grade 1 wins at 4 and retired with over US$3.6 million in earnings.
Havre de Grace's second dam is Toll Fee (by Topsider), who is one of seven stakes winners (including American champion sprinter Plugged Nickle and Grade 1 winner Christiecat) produced from 1991 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Toll Booth. A daughter of 1966 American Horse of the Year and four-time American champion broodmare sire Buckpasser, Toll Booth, in turn, is out of another marvelous broodmare in Missy Baba (by Tulyar or My Babu), the dam of six stakes winners and the ancestress of champions A.P. Indy, Duke of Marmalade, Gay Mecene, Lemon Drop Kid, and Summer Squall via other branches of her family.
Havre de Grace's most recent named foal is the unraced 2-year-old Saint Tapit (a full brother to Graceful Princess), and after a barren year in 2020, the mare produced a colt by 2018 American Triple Crown winner Justify on March 17. That colt is one of the few horses in the record books who can boast of being by a Horse of the Year out of a Horse of the Year, and if he can live up to the expectations created by that heritage, US$10 million may seem cheap for a mare who last year looked like an expensive disappointment as a producer.