Long On Value Becomes First Millionaire Horse From Augusta County

The following piece was written by Nick Hahn and appeared in The News Leader. 

Robert Powell has bred Augusta County’s newest millionaire, a seven-year old thoroughbred horse that has traveled the long way from Churchville to Churchill Downs.

After coming out last out of the gate in a field of six, Long On Value, ridden by jockey Florent Geroux, won the $70,000 Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs June 2.

By adding a little over $40,000 to his earnings sheet, Long On Value is believed to now be the first millionaire thoroughbred to be bred in Augusta County.

The accomplishment is remarkable in a county that hasn’t seen a significant thoroughbred interest in over a generation and where hoof heritage lies with cattle that outnumber horses 10 to one.

The Virginia breeder had just recently moved his Snow Lantern farm from Charlottesville to western Augusta County when Long On Value was foaled in March 2011. The brown horse is sired by Value Plus out of the Orientate-sired mare Long Message.

Powell didn’t have to go far to see his new weanling as the foaling shed is located just across the reflecting pond that lies off of his front step.

“I’m very excited that he’s finally reached the million-dollar mark because he’s been in the high nine-hundred thousands for some time and he’s been laid off for eight months,” said Powell about the horse he sold as a yearling.

Long On Value broke poorly from the starting gate, coming out last before circling the field on the outside to win a five-furlong turf sprint by length and three-quarters in 57.31 seconds.

The Mighty Beau was his first start in 2018 for Long On Value who has now summed $1,022,073 in earnings.

“He broke a little slow but once he got settled, he got into a great rhythm. He closed really fast,” Geroux explained postrace.  “I think this horse could have a really solid campaign the rest of the year.”

It’s not a bad start for a horse that appeared to be headed for retirement.  Last year, trainer Brad Cox purchased Long On Value for $100,000 out of Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale for new owners Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing and Steve Laymen.

“This horse was doing really good coming into the race. He showed today he’s a legitimate graded stakes-type horse,” praised Cox.  “Florent had a perfect trip and he closed really strong down the lane. We’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint as the ultimate goal for him in the fall.”

For once in his career, Long On Value, should he make that race, may not be looking at a long commute. This year’s Breeders Cup is held in November at Churchill Downs where he is now regularly stabled.

With his racing history, Long on Value could easily be described as journeyman. After a win in his maiden start at Delaware Park, Long on Value won the 2013 edition of the $60,000 Jamestown Stakes for two-year olds at Colonial Downs in his native Virginia.  In his career, he has gathered eight wins in 31 starts to include stakes wins at Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Racetrack, Canterbury Downs, Gulfstream Park and now Churchill Downs.

In 2017, Long On Value went global racing in Dubai, England and Canada, competitive at racing’s highest levels while still cashing the accumulating checks. In Dubai he finished second in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint that is part of the Dubai World Cup card.

It’s conceivable that Long of Value could return to race at Colonial Downs should the track reopen in 2019.

The new owner of Colonial Downs, Larry Lukas of the newly formed Colonial Downs Group, has indicated that racing could occur as early as 2019.

Colonial Downs last held thoroughbred racing in 2013 prior to the surrender of the racing license of then owner, Jeffrey Jacobs, after a dispute with Virginia horsemen.

Powell currently owns only one horse, a three-quarter sister to Long on Value from the same mare named Keepupthemessage.

The three-year-old filly trained by Mary Eppler runs in the opener at Laurel Park on Friday afternoon in a $25,000 maiden claimer.  However, through the recently created incentive program named the Virginia Certified Residency Program, Powell is getting interest from New York and Maryland to board thoroughbreds on his farm that overlooks the central Shenandoah Valley.

Though he no longer breeds horses, he maintains interest in the game.