The following appeared in bloodhorse.com March 7 and was written by Eric Mitchell.
Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, a biotech researcher, entrepreneur, and investor has acquired Argentine group 1 winner Snapy Halo to be the first stallion for his new Thoroughbred breeding and racing operation in western Virginia named Colivar Farm.
Colivar Farm is a 120-acre estate near the Blue Ridge Parkway, southwest of Roanoke, that was the former home of Owl Hollow Farm near Floyd, Va.
“I am pleased to announce that Covilar initiated operations in the second half of 2021, and we are proud to build on the legacy of success of the Owl Hollow Farm,” said Bassaganya-Riera. “The farm is currently being renovated to become a premier breeding and racing Thoroughbred facility. The breeding barns are fully functional and ready to accommodate any number of mares immediately.”
Bassaganya-Riera is a professor at the Biocomplexity Institute and directs the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory both at Virginia Tech. He is involved in using mathematical models of the gut immune system to develop new therapeutics for gastrointestinal diseases.
Colivar Farm recently acquired Snapy Halo from William Nicks, who bought the former Calumet Farm stallion at this year’s Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, according to Craig Whitlow, the stallion manager for the farm.
Snapy Halo, an 18-year-old son of Southern Halo, won the Estrellas Mile (G1) at San Isidro in Argentina. The stallion is out of the group 1-placed, group 3 winner Esnaola and a full brother to group 1 winners Sebi Halo and Halo Ola. Snapy Halo entered stud in Australia and then was relocated to Calumet Farm in 2014.
“Though he’s an older stallion, we felt he was a good match with the mares already on the farm,” said Whitlow. “We will be adding more stallions in the future and see a lot of opportunity ahead with Churchill Downs having purchased Colonial Downs.”
With limited opportunity, Snapy Halo has sired 26 winners from 45 starters. His top performers include Iowa Breeders’ Oaks winner Snapy Gal , who earned $272,435 racing from 2-5; multiple Panamanian stakes winner Konkeror K.; and, 10-time winner Wilmas Irish Rover, who set three tracks records in New Mexico—at a mile and 70 yards at Zia Park (1:40.16) in 2018 and then broke this record in 2020 (1:38.73) and at 1 1/2 miles at Ruidoso Downs (2:34.87).
Whitlow said the stallion has settled in well at the farm is already covering mares. His book includes the winning Maria’s Mon daughter Classy Touch, who Nicks bought at the 2020 Keeneland January sale. The mare is out of 2001 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Flute.
“We will be purchasing more mares to support him this year. We’re looking at bringing in about 20-25 mares,” Whitlow said.
Snapy Halo is standing for $2,000 with a live foal stands and nurses guarantee. Special consideration on the fee will be given to approved mares, according to Whitlow.
Bassaganya-Riera also has been buying horses to race that most recently included a 3-year-old filly named All In Jest who he bought for $10,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale out of St George Sales’ consignment. The filly, by Mastery , was bred and initially raced by Stuart Janney III. She is out of the stakes-placed winner All in Fun . Whitlow said the filly is stabled at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.