Trot Insider has learned that world champion trotting mare Mission Brief has been retired and sold.
A two-time O'Brien Award winner, Mission Brief (Muscle Hill - Southwind Serena) didn't race at four after suffering an injury while preparing for her 2016 campaign. Campaigned by trainer Ron Burke for Weaver Bruscemi, Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, Mission Brief retires with 19 wins and three seconds in 27 career starts with $1,599,587 in earnings.
At two, Mission Brief's nine victories included the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $500,000 Breeders Crown and a 1:50.3 world record at The Red Mile on her way to divisional honors in the U.S.
At three her 10 wins included the $307,040 Elegantimage, $185,000 Zweig Filly and $174,000 Moni Maker while repeating divisional accolades. She also raced against her male peers in the Hambletonian, capturing her elimination before finishing second in the $1 million final. She was named Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year in both Canada and the U.S. She took her mark of 1:50.2 in her penultimate start, winning the 2015 Matron at Dover Downs in world record time.
Mission Brief was purchased by a group fronted by Steve Stewart of Hunterton Farms -- one of the mare's breeders and the connections that consigned her to the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale where she sold for $150,000 as a yearling.
"It's funny how when you buy horses like her, which doesn't happen very often, how fast people know and how fast people will comment," Stewart told Trot Insider. "Obviously, all in the positive with her."
Stewart confirmed the price tag was $650,000 U.S., and the group of new owners also includes Quebec's George Lowenfeld -- known more commonly by his stable Andrea Lea Racing Stables, like Stewart one of Mission Brief's breeders -- and Indiana's John Schmucker.
"We were pretty much done, as you know we bought D One and then it was like 'oh my gosh' but when the opportunity presented itself -- and you say we were hoping that wasn't the case -- but when it did happen we got a call.
"I started making some phone calls and it's like, well, mares like that don't come along very often and we should probably do it, and we did."
While not perfect on the racetrack, Mission Brief always attracted a crowd and attention whenever she raced for that potential of a jaw-dropping performance. Stewart feels that shine won't come off the name Mission Brief any time soon.
"With Mission Brief we don't have any visions of getting all our money back on the first foal or anything like that but as one of my buddies from Europe said, she's one of the few horses from today that people will talk about 100 years from now.
"She's iconic, when you think she's only two-fifths of a second slower than any pacing filly...that's crazy. And [at two] only two-fifths of a second slower than her father, who's considered one of the greatest of all time."
The icing on the cake is the Hunterton homecoming Stewart and his team now have with one of their nursery's standouts.
"And the best part for us is that she comes home; this is where she grew up...that brings a lump to your throat."
In a few years time Stewart feels D One and Mission Brief have the ability to be his farm's broodmare "bookends" given their pedigree and on-track performance. Before that, he and his partners still have to determine the lucky stud for this generational distaffer in 2017 but has an inkling on a future fantasy pair.
"We haven't decided who we're going to breed her to; there's like two or three choices, there's not a lot of choices with Muscle Hill mares. Basically it's Father Patrick, it's Cantab Hall and it's Chapter Seven -- that's about the three we would pick from. We have Walner here as a turn out and I have every confidence that we'll be breeding her to Walner in 2018. He's a real special horse in my opinion."