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Mike Recio © LM photo

WITH FAMILIAR FACES, SOUTH POINT NEW NAME AT KEEJAN

By Lucas Marquardt – Published Jan. 11, 2015 for the Thoroughbred Daily News:

Mike Recio and Arika Everatt-Meeuse began doing business together over a decade ago, when Mike was working for Taylor Made Sales and Arika was helping run her family’s commercial breeding operation, Shannondoe Farm. Now, the two have joined forces and launched a new sales consignment, South Point Sales Agency, which sends out its first major draft this week at Keeneland January. The four-day sale begins tomorrow in Lexington at 10:00 a.m.

South Point had a soft launch at Fasig-Tipton November, where it sold a handful of weanlings, including a $140,000 Giant’s Causeway–Key is to Win filly. But Keeneland January will be something else entirely for South Point, which even with 10 outs boasts a full 35-horse consignment. There are 11 short yearlings, 23 broodmares and a single racing or broodmare prospect.

“I really didn’t want to come over with eight or 10 horses,” explained Recio. “Not knocking the sales company or anything, but to get a good barn, to attract the very best staff, you need the numbers.”

If Recio wanted numbers, he got them yesterday at Keeneland. The South Point consignment was packed just before the noon hour on a cloudless but bitterly cold Lexington day.

“We were very strong today,” Everatt-Meeuse confirmed. “Hopefully, it continues on through the sale.”

While South Point is new, Recio has been a familiar face on the sales scene for a long time. That he ended up working with horses in the first place is a surprise to no one who knew him growing up in Ocala. Recio was raised around horses. His father Bill Recio was a trainer who split his time between South Florida in the winter and Arlington or Monmouth in the summer. That’s a challenging life with children, and the Recios decided to settle in Ocala, where Bill jumped into the 2-year-old sales. Eventually, his focus shifted a bit.

“He found his niche breaking babies for racing people,” Recio explained. “He breaks for Lane’s End, the Amermans [John and Jerry], Rick Porter–he breaks for some really big people, and so he doesn’t do the sales anymore.”
Recio knew he wanted to be involved with racing, as well, but hadn’t quite found his own niche. “In college I was a professional student for a while, Van Wilder style,” he laughed. “Then through some family friends, I found out about the University of Louisville’s [Equine] program. I got in and moved up one weekend without ever touring the campus.”

After getting his degree in 2002, Recio landed a position at Taylor Made. He was one of the Taylor brothers’ first account managers, and says the experience was akin to graduate school. “They gave us a list of clients, some they did business with, some they didn’t, and some they wanted to,” explained Recio. “I really cut my teeth there–I learned how to be in a consignment, how to recruit mares, how to make cold calls, about breeding and conformation from a sales mentality and not from a racetrack mentality. I got real lucky right off the bat. WinStar was one of the clients I was given. Gulf Coast was another one, and they were a really successful commercial breeder at the time. And I got Diamond A [Farm].”

Another of his clients was the Ontario-based Shannondoe Farm, owned by James and Janeane Everatt. The Everatts’ daughter, Arika Everatt-Meeuse, helped manage the farm, as well as Shannondoe’s sister farm in Kentucky, Colton Springs. Everatt-Meeuse and Recio enjoyed working with each other, and when Recio eventually joined Hidden Brook Farm–following stints at Adena Springs and Mill Ridge–Everatt-Meeuse split her farm’s consignment between Taylor Made and Hidden Brook.

After four years with Hidden Brook, Recio thought it was time to strike out on his own, launching South Point last fall. “It was an amicable split,” said Recio. “They’re great guys over there–Dan Hall, Jack Brothers, Sergio de Sousa, Mark Roberts, Kevin Latta–and I owe them a lot.”

Everatt-Meeuse was on board, and the two started South Point as a 50/50 venture. “We’d talked about doing this for years, and so last year we decided to pull the trigger,” she said, adding that their significant others deserve a lot of credit for South Point’s launch. “Mike’s wife Nancy has helped a great deal; she’s back in the trenches doing bookkeeping and running here and there. And my husband Tim does the same thing.”

Recio said South Point will primarily focus on Kentucky sales. “We will do Saratoga, as well, if we have the horses, but won’t do Florida or Maryland for the time being,” he said.

South Point doesn’t have a farm, and Recio said he doesn’t plan on buying one anytime soon. “I board with a lot of great people–Ashview, Threave Main–and they can prep a horse as well as anyone,” he said. “And Arika does a great job at her farm in Paris, and is looking to add boarders there.”

Recio will continue to operate his own bloodstock business, Rockbridge Bloodstock, where he does sale advising, plans matings, and offers a number of other services. Everatt-Meeuse will continue her role at Colton and Shannondoe, which her parents began in the early 1970s.

“I really love to raise and prep sales babies, and being around the horses,” said Everatt-Meeuse. “I’m very hands on and pony the yearlings myself.”

That South Point comes to January with a 35-strong draft is indicative of substantial client support, which Recio readily confirms. “I’m very blessed that most of my clients have supported me and stuck with me now matter where I’ve gone,” said Recio. “I’ve got clients at this sale that I’ve been with for 15 or 20 years.”

One of the highlights of South Point’s January consignment comes early tomorrow. Hip 14 is a Scat Daddy half-brother to SW Stage Player (Stage Colony) from the mare Ole’ Sis (Ole’). “He’s a nice horse, but he’s also got a lot of room for improvement, and I think he’ll be a nice pinhook candidate,” said Recio. “Obviously Scat Daddy’s rolling with El Kabeir and some other nice horses.”

Recio added his short yearlings include several strong New York-breds. “We have three or four really nice ones,” he said. “We have an Astrology filly, Hip 154, and an Archarcharch filly, Hip 235. They’re both really nice fillies and perfect for the New York Preferred Sale, if that’s what somebody wanted to do.”

South Point has mares selling in foal to both Super Saver and Bodemeister, including Hip 24, the 7-year-old stakes winner Paloma Mesa (Sky Mesa) who sells in foal to the latter stallion; and Hip 36, a half-sister to GSW Commander (Broken Vow) named Poutycat (Bluegrass Cat) who is in foal to the former.

“Both stallions are booked full, and this gives you an opportunity to get to those horses through some pretty nice mares,” said Recio.

Another standout is Hip 216, the stakes-winning 5-year-old Butterfly Soul (Henny Hughes). “She’s an open-company stakes winner who’s been based in California her whole career,” said Recio. She’s a New York-bred filly, however, so if you had someone who wanted a nice racing prospect, and/or a nice broodmare, she’d be a great one to take a chance on. And I have a really nice Silent Name (Jpn) open-company stakes winner named Silent Serenity. She sells as a broodmare prospect as Hip 99. She’s a nice physical who’s out of a Capote mare who set a track record at Churchill Downs.”

Closing out South Point’s Day 1 horses is the unraced 5-year-old Hey Wheresmydinner (War Pass), who goes in foal to the hot young sire Tapizar as Hip 311. “She’s a beautifully bred mare in foal to Tapizar, and she’s been really busy,” said Everatt-Meeuse, noting the filly is a half to the good sophomore stakes winner of last year Conquest Top Gun (Pioneerof the Nile).

South Point will have roughly 20 horses at next month’s Fasig-Tipton February Sale.