By: Dave Briggs

The late Bob Anderson’s favourite horse, Rare Opportunity, was named the Outstanding Broodmare for 2015 at the 41st annual Sovereign Awards.

Thumbnail for Champion Broodmare: Rare Opportunity

Michael Burns Photography

David Anderson calls it serendipitous and somewhat eerie. The same year his father, Bob Anderson of St. Thomas, ON, was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as a builder, Bob’s favourite horse, Rare Opportunity, was named the Outstanding Broodmare for 2015 at the 41st annual Sovereign Awards.

“Without a doubt, she was his favourite horse on the farm,” David said referring to the 24-year-old daughter of Danzig Connection—Andora by Conquistador Cielo that Bob first spotted in a field at Calumet Farms in 1993.

“He went on a reconnaissance mission out to Calumet Farms looking for some well-bred fillies,” David said. “Tony Cissell, who is the farm manager out there, took him out to a field of fillies that they decided not to sell as yearlings for whatever reasons. Rare Opportunity was in that field. He spotted her running across the field. (Calumet) decided to put all those yearlings in the January Keeneland Sale and sell them as two-year-olds either as a racing or a breeding prospect. That’s where he bought her for $5,400. He brought in his buddy Rod Ferguson and gave the mare to Roger Attfield and she was only beaten once and that was by the great Serena’s Song in the Black-Eyed Susan (in 1995).”

Rare Opportunity only raced three times, but she did earn $55,010 doing it. Where she truly excelled was in the breeding shed.

Rare Opportunity’s foals have sold at auction for more than $1.3 million and they have earned over $1.5 million. Not bad for an initial investment of $5,400.

Her 2015 star is Tower of Texas, who was a finalist for Champion Male Sprinter. The son of Street Sense is the 11th foal of his dam and he won the King Edward Stakes (Grade 2) at Woodbine in 2015.

“Tower of Texas was actually the very last mating that my dad did before he passed away. It’s serendipity. It’s eerie,” David said.

Rare Opportunity’s other stakes winning foals were Street Sounds (by Street Cry (Ire)), winner of the Beaumont Stakes (Grade 2) at Keeneland and earner of over $505,000 and Wonder Where Stakes winner Silver Highlight (by Silver Charm).

Today, Rare Opportunity is living out her days at Anderson Farms in St. Thomas.

“She had some complications with her last foal. So, we decided just to pension her. She’s out in the geriatric ward, I call it, at the farm with a couple other pensioners living out her final days in southern Ontario,” David said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think she’s long for this world.”

Meanwhile, Anderson Farms has undergone renovations in the last few years since David took over for his father.

“We’re breeding 26 mares this year,” David said. “I think we’ve got 21 foals — we’re not quite done, yet — but we’ve got 21 coming this year and 17 yearlings to sell this year. We’ve been growing steadily. I’m not sure how much more we’re going to grow, but we’re a pretty nice number now.”