Representatives of the China Horse Club thought Yellow Agate looked like a potential stakes horse when she strutted onto the auction block at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale so they made the final successful bid of $210,000. A year later, bettors did not see what they saw and let her go off at 32-1 in her career debut at Belmont Park.
Bumped from both sides at the start, Yellow Agate trailed the leaders early before maneuvering towards the front and collaring the leader in the final strides to win. Promoted immediately to the top tier, Yellow Agate fulfilled her promise with similar moves to win the Frizette Stakes (G1) by a narrow margin after making a late rally on Oct. 8.
Trainer Christophe Clement credited part of the Frizette victory to jockey Manny Franco’s skillful ride.
"(That) was a major jump going from a maiden win to a Grade 1 win," Clement said. "It was a great ride by Manny. He never panicked and came from off the pace. The filly was comfortable; he waited and took her wide giving her a chance. She then went to take on that horse on the lead. It was a very mature ride from Manny."
Yellow Agate is the first Breeders’ Cup starter for China Horse Club, which was established to be Asia’s premiere lifestyle, business and Thoroughbred racing club. The entity has won prestigious races throughout the world and is a steady buyer at North American Thoroughbred sales.