Multiple Track-Record Setter Highly Motivated to Airdrie

Airdrie Stud has announced that Klaravich Stables’ multiple track-record setter Highly Motivated will join the farm’s stallion roster for the upcoming 2023 breeding season.  A son of perennial leading sire Into Mischief, Highly Motivated was purchased by Mike Ryan as a weanling on behalf of his owner for $240,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November Sale.  Entrusted to the 4-time Eclipse Award winning Chad Brown, Highly Motivated broke his maiden as the 3-5 favorite in September of his two-year-old year, impressively taking a 6 1/2F Belmont sprint by 1 ¾ over future Grade 1 winner Known Agenda. Lining up next in the Nyquist Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland, Highly Motivated once again justified his favoritism by drawing off to an effortless 4 1/4L win.  His time of 1:14 4 for the 6 ½ furlongs set the Keeneland track record, and his 96 Beyer Speed Figure represented the highest number of any two-year-old that competed on the Breeders’ Cup Championship weekend- a lineup that included multiple Eclipse Champion Essential Quality and the multiple Breeders’ Cup Champion Golden Pal. By year’s end, only the brilliant Jackie’s Warrior would could boast of a higher juvenile figure.

Returning to Keeneland in the Spring of his three-year-old year, Highly Motivated hooked the aforementioned Essential Quality in a memorable edition of the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes.  Racing as a pair throughout the race, the two were seemingly inseparable throughout the entirety of the Keeneland stretch, with the champion earning a hard-fought victory at the end of the mile and an eighth fixture by a short neck.  It was a further 5 ½ lengths back to 3rd place finisher Rombauer, who would return to take the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes in his next start.  Sent off as one of the leading contenders for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby in his next start, Highly Motivated’s disappointing 10th-place finish would prove to be the final start of his sophomore season. 

Following a nearly year-long layoff, Highly Motivated was brought back to win a mile feature at Belmont Park before making his next start in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup Stakes.  Crossing the wire an easy winner, his time of 1:46.53 for the 9 furlongs broke the track record set 37 years prior by Kentucky Derby winner and Horse-of-the-Year Spend a Buck.  Subsequently injured while training toward the Grade 1 Cigar Mile, Highly Motivated retires with a record of 10-4-3-1 and earnings of more than $667,000.

“Highly Motivated was the best colt in our barn at 2 and 3 and ran Grade 1-winning numbers at both ages,” said trainer Chad Brown.  “He’s a two-time track record setter by one of the best stallions in the world.  In my opinion, there’s not a ceiling on his potential at stud.”

“He’s an undeniable talent by a brilliant sire,” added Airdrie’s Bret Jones.  “He’s an absolutely gorgeous Mike Ryan purchase that we believe will be on anyone’s short list of the best-looking horses retired this year.  Highly Motivated fits the description of so many important sires: a horse with Grade 1 speed that goes to stud without the benefit of a Grade 1 on his resume.  He deserves the opportunity and we will see that he gets it.  Having given us the chance two years ago to stand Complexity, we are again grateful to Seth Klarmin for entrusting our Airdrie team with the future of his talented horse.”

Highly Motivated will stand for a fee of $7,500 LFSN.