I’ve tweeted this story-in-the-making as it’s developed throughout the season, but perhaps it’s time for a longer format, because, frankly, it’s dumbfounding in this age of commercial breeding. Imagine this: a little-known stallion who didn’t make his racetrack debut until age 5 — and, for the record, he’s by an unraced stallion — goes to stud in Canada, quite unheralded, but is now the leading first-crop stallion in his home country with only 19 2-year-olds representing him, three of them stakes winners!
His name is Society’s Chairman. He’s a son of the unraced Sadler’s Wells stallion Not Impossible, the full brother to G1 winner and champion Perfect Soul. Both brothers were bred in Ireland by Charles Fipke, a homebreeder with a taste for distance pedigrees and a throwback penchant for supporting his own stallions.
Fipke, a Canadian from British Columbia who made his money in the mining business and is a geologist by profession, kept the unraced Not Impossible as a stallion because of his pedigree and looks. “I know E.P. Taylor kept the very good-looking Vice Regent as a stallion, eh, even though he didn’t have the race record, and Not Impossible [now deceased] was a beautiful horse, even better physically than Perfect Soul, a champion,” Fipke once told me. In this regard, Vice Regent was similar to his champion full brother Viceregal, who turned out to be the inferior sire of the two.
As an unraced horse, Not Impossible got most of his support from Fipke, who was rewarded as a breeder by quite a few stakes winners by his non-commercial stallion, notably the Queen’s Plate winner Not Bourbon and Canadian champion Impossible Time.
Fipke retained Not Bourbon as a stallion, and last year the horse was the leading first-crop stallion in Canada, and he’s the leading second-crop horse in 2015. He stands for Can$5,000 at Colebrook Farm and is excellent value.
Fipke didn’t breed Society’s Chairman — one of the few good horses by the sire he didn’t — but he raced him in partnership with George Waud. Fipke doesn’t like to geld his horses — frequently, to the chagrin of his trainers — and so it was that the entire Society’s Chairman debuted at age 5 in 2008 in a $75,000 claiming race on turf for Roger Attfield, Fipke’s Canadian trainer. The horse would go on to a fruitful career as a turf miler, racing until age 8. He won the G3 Appleton and was placed several times in G1 mile events at Keeneland. All told, he won seven races and placed 14 times from 30 starts, earning $772,775.
By this time, Fipke had a number of stallions to support, including Perfect Soul, Tale of Ekati, and Jersey Town, in addition to Not Bourbon, so he sold the horse for stud duty for a dollar but kept 10 lifetime breeding rights in him, because, well, you never know.
Now, against the odds, Society’s Chairman has become the second consecutive son of Not Impossible to lead Canada’s freshmen sires. He’ll stand for Can$5,000 in 2016 at Shannondoe Farm.
Quite the story, eh?
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