When Andrij Brygidyr was the winning bidder on Hip 113 at the CTHS Ontario Winter Mixed Sale in 2009, daughter Andrea admits that they had no idea what they were doing.
Entrepreneur Andrij had an interest in horse racing and had previously attended a new owner seminar at Woodbine. He and his family were already involved with horses, playing polo and riding hunters at their farm in Belwood, Ontario. They had made the decision to get into thoroughbred racing and though that they would check out that year’s Winter Mixed Sale thoroughbred auction.
“We went there to check it out and looked at a lot of horses.” Andrea recalls, “We hadn’t talked about buying anything but then my father put his hand up to bid on a colt. And then we had a colt!”
The colt they bought for $10,000 was by the stallion Peaks and Valleys out of the mare Most Precarious and thus began the family’s venture into racing and breeding thoroughbreds.
They named him A.A. Grenade and he made his first start under their A.& A. Farms in late 2012 at age 3 with the guidance of trainer Deborah England at Woodbine. The following year he made 9 starts and eventually won his first race in December that year at the end of the Woodbine meet. Along with one second and three third place finishes A.A. Grenade earned $61,290 for the owners in 2013.
A.A. Grenade went to the barn of Kevin Attard in 2016 and made three more starts until retiring mid July with a total of 3 wins, one second and four thirds in 27 starts and career earnings of $120,923.
Since then A. & A. Farms has spent many hours researching and deciding on the direction the farm was to take in going forward. They decided on breeding thoroughbreds to sell and today the operation has expanded to 12 thoroughbred horses consisting of 4 breeding mares, 3 foals and one existing racehorse, A.A. Azula’s Arch, a recent winner of the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine.
Last year Andrij and Andrea went looking for a racing prospect at the June 2017 Ocala Breeders Sales Company – Two-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale. Wanting an eventual broodmare prospect, they were looking for a filly to race by a top-rated broodmare stallion and had decided on a two-year-old filly by the stallion Arch out of the mare Song of Solomon. All set to bid, they were surprised when the filly was withdrawn from the sale. Determined to acquire the filly, they contacted the consignor and purchased her privately and named her A.A. Azula’s Arch.
A.A. Azula’s Arch made her first start later that autumn finishing fourth before winning her second start in late November. She returned to the track in 2018 winning an allowance optional claiming race in June followed by a game second in the G3 Ontario Colleen Stakes.
Going into the G3 Maple Leaf Stakes, A.A. Azula’s Arch was in against some tough older competition which was the reason the win was a surprise to the owners who admitted to be awestruck at winning their first Stakes race.
“We went in to the race hoping for good things but didn’t expect her to win,” said Andrea. “She went beyond our expectations.”
It is still to be determined when their talented filly will run next but for now they will ride the wave of excitement from their first stakes win!