Spendthrift Farm paid $3.1 million for the Grade 1-winning Curlin filly Paris Lights to lead Wednesday’s Book 1 opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Paris Lights, who was supplemented to Book 1, was the third-to-last horse to appear in the ring during the session, which featured seven horses who sold for more than $1 million each and the highest price paid for a weanling at public auction in North America this year.
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Paris Lights raced for the WinStar Stablemates Racing partnership.
“For her to be our first Grade 1-winning filly in such a short time period is very special in and of itself,” WinStar Stablemates Director Mary Cage said. “And for her to then be able to come to Keeneland November and sell for such a high price tag really speaks to the quality of fillies and mares that we’re able to offer to these people to be part of the ownership experience.
“Partnerships and syndicates are so important to getting people into the sport for a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the risk,” Cage added. “And to be able to do it at this level, I think is a second-to-none sort of experience that they’re gonna remember forever.”
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Raised within walking distance of Aqueduct Racetrack, Louis Mazzarelli gained a passion for horse racing from an early age. His grandparents would take him to the races—or the local off-track betting parlor—on weekends “with a budget of $9 and a dream to make a million” from as early as age 7. During the summers, he and his family would travel upstate to Saratoga Race Course when his grandfather worked for the track, and during Lou’s time at the historic racetrack, he witnessed history and was introduced to legends.
“Other kids wanted to go to Disney—I wanted to go to the Spa!” Lou recalled.
Lou went on to attend medical school and now specializes in diagnostic radiology. But his self-described love affair with Saratoga rekindled his passion for racing after he completed his studies. While attending a Thoroughbred Owner Conference, he met Steve Byk, host of racing’s longest-running daily radio news magazine, At the Races. When Steve’s horse of his partnership Dee Tee Stables, My Pal of Pals, won a race at the Spa, Lou was part of the group invited to the winner’s circle.
“The desire to be an owner was ignited,” Lou said. “When I first saw the offer to be a syndicate member at the price point for the depth and diversity of horses, I was hooked.”
A member of the original WinStar Stablemates fan experience, Lou was eager to take the jump into ownership when Stablemates made the transition into a racing partnership. Since then, he has enjoyed the ride—especially the one on which Paris Lights has taken Stablemates. While her win in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) is a standout memory for Lou, he will never forget the day he and his father attended Aqueduct when Paris Lights won her four-year-old debut in the Distaff Handicap (G3).
“The winner’s circle at the Big A with Paris was my homecoming,” Lou said. “Incredibly special to have my dad at my side with our grade one filly. Being trapped in the Big A men’s room only added to the fun. Love reliving the coverage on NYRA Live!”
Lou’s passion for racing is infectious, and he believes introducing others to some of the biggest joys in the game can spark their intrigue—if his passion doesn’t wear off on them first.
“[I’d] spend a day together visiting the fillies on the backstretch with a friend in racing followed by a day at the races and a night at 15 Church,” Lou said. “If this doesn’t convince you this is God’s greatest game, you’ll need a pulse check and I am an MD!”
Foaled at WinStar Farm on January 22, 2017, Paris Lights was the first foal out of the Bernardini mare Paris Bikini, who hailed from the rich female family of the outstanding Kentucky Oaks-winning mare Blush with Pride. Though a bit on the small side as a foal, the bay filly was described as a strong, well-balanced foal by WinStar’s President & CEO, Elliott Walden, and the farm’s General Manager, David Hanley.
As is the case with most of the farm’s offspring, she was sent to auction as a yearling. Accepted into Book 1 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the daughter of Curlin received a final bid of $200,000, but this price did not reach her reserve. So, she returned to WinStar, where she joined the WinStar Stablemates roster once she was of racing age.
Soundness issues—primarily a condylar fracture requiring surgery—kept Paris Lights from racing as a 2-year-old, but trainer Bill Mott had her geared up and ready to debut by spring of her 3-year-old year.
Kicking off her career in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream Park, Paris Lights encountered a very sloppy track, managing a third in her first start. Certainly a valuable learning experience, Paris Lights then shipped to Kentucky to make her second start at Churchill Downs.
Sent off as the favorite in a field of nine, Paris Lights pressed the pace throughout before drawing off to win by an easy 6 ¾ lengths. Geared down in the final stages by jockey Tyler Gaffalione, the display of talent by Paris Lights sparked excitement among Stablemates members and the WinStar team.
This excitement only continued when Paris Lights took on allowance company next out, soundly defeating her competition once again. With a leap of faith, Paris Lights was then sent to Saratoga to compete in one of the most prestigious races for 3-year-old fillies, the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).
Facing fellow Stablemates filly Crystal Ball, Paris Lights stalked the pace of our partnership’s other filly. Around the far turn, the two fillies drew even with one another, setting up a stretch duel that is forever etched in the memories of Stablemates Racing partners. Drawing away from their foes, the fillies in black battled down the historic lane of Saratoga, neck and neck until the wire, where Paris Lights got her head in front.
With this triumph, Paris Lights gave Stablemates Racing its first grade one victory in only its third year as a partnership. Though the name of the partnership itself was enough to grab attention, she put Stablemates on the map as a top syndicate to join.
An injury kept Paris Lights from racing again in 2020, but when she returned to the races as a 4-year-old in 2021, she emphatically added to her resume with a game win in the Distaff Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Although fate would have that day as her last trip to the winner’s circle, Paris Lights continued to take Stablemates partners on an unforgettable journey. She raced beneath the twin spires on Kentucky Oaks Day with a start in the La Troienne Stakes (G1), allowing a large group of members to enjoy the atmosphere of one of racing’s biggest weekends. She delighted partners with her kind personality with visits on the backstretch. While she never quite regained her 3-year-old form, she maintained her special place in the hearts of Stablemates.
Ultimately, the difficult decision was made to enter her in the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Added as a Book 1 supplement, Paris Lights will be part of the Elite Sales consignment, selling near the very end of the day on November 10 as Hip #224D.
We wish Paris Lights all the best on her new journey, and thank her for the unforgettable journey on which we’ve all been fortunate to enjoy. Merci beaucoup, Paris Lights!