There are syndicate members who, despite the Travers, aren't averse to the way the roll came up. The private breeders, who bought their shares to breed and raise their own horses for racing, have felt the blow of the Travers less than the commercial breeders, who will be marketing Cielo's yearlings. "I'm happy to be in the syndicate," Firestone says. "Cielo was a very good racehorse—lots of class and a very good-looking horse."
"I don't think the Travers was significant," says Dr. Weber. "We didn't buy him as a racehorse. We bought him as a stallion. The Travers isn't going to change the coding on his chromosomes. Sure, the Travers was disappointing. But you don't stay in this business if you wear short pants. It's been a good business for us. We'll work out on the average."
After the Travers, Hancock felt angry and bitter toward de Kwiatkowski. "The deal forced Seth to ask too much of his friends," says Farish. But de Kwiatkowski has since spent more than $6 million for five broodmares, including a world-record $3.8 million for Royal Honoree, in foal to Northern Dancer. He has installed them at Claiborne and plans to send them to Cielo—"I wouldn't spend millions of dollars for mares if I didn't have faith in the horse," he says—and he did take back the two shares that Hancock could not sell at Saratoga. "It's all forgotten," Hancock says. "He gets a lot of credit for buying those mares and taking back the two shares. He didn't have to do that."
Syndicate members will undoubtedly be sending top mares to Cielo this spring, protecting their investment by giving him the best chance to make it as a stallion. No horse rose more quickly, or more dramatically, than Conquistador Cielo did in those five days that embraced the Met and Belmont Stakes. On the basis of those two races, he remains a tepid choice to become Horse of the Year. And if he's a modern St. Simon, he'll have every chance to show it at stud.
"He's going to have a great book of mares," Hancock says. "The true test is going to be five years from now when we can see if he's making it as a sire. The mares he's bred to aren't going to know he got beat in the Travers."