Friday, April 30, 2010

Horse of the Year no longer 'unrivaled belle'

For those keeping score, the correct response in my recent poll should have been "someone else." Nobody had it.

When asked whether Rachel Alexandra would win the La Troienne S.-G2 at Churchill Downs today -- or would Zardana make the 2009 Horse of the Year start the season 0-for-2 by defeating her again as she did last out in New Orleans -- a whopping nine individuals cast their ballots. Five cast their aspersions on Rachel (in a manner of speaking) by choosing Zardana to win.

In a stirring stretch drive -- Rachel's third in as many races dating back to September's historic and grueling victory over older males in the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes -- a fellow 4-year-old filly, and a lightly raced one at that, showed that the champion does have her equals. Unrivaled Belle, making her eighth lifetime start and coming in off a Grade 3 win at Gulfstream, outfinished Rachel by a head at the wire.

Good for Rachel and her connections that she was only 90 percent. Next time she'll win.

Still, it has to be discouraging for owner Jess Jackson, trainer Steve Asmussen, jockey Calvin Borel, and all of Rachel's fans. She's come quite close to winning both of her starts after a lengthy layoff. She does seem to have shown guts down the stretch. But -- despite setting relatively easy fractions of :24.79 and :48.81, she didn't have enough in the tank to finish off the competition at only a mile and a sixteenth.

Remember, Rachel won the Preakness at 9 1/2 furlongs last year after setting fractions of 23-flat and 46 3/5. But on this day, she can't finish the job going a furlong shorter and on an easier pace.

If this is the case -- And who is to say at this point? -- Rachel wouldn't be the first horse to have been better at 3 than she'll ever be again.

And it's worth noting that after such a layoff -- about six months between her last race of '09 and first of '10 -- Rachel still might not be at her 4-year-old best. That "90 percent" line isn't necessarily an untruth told by Jackson; just something you don't really say on the eve of a race because it sounds like you're either sandbagging or getting your alibis in line before they're even needed. So Rachel in her third start off the layoff, a common angle to play for handicappers, might be just enough better that she beats whomever tries her down the lane on that occasion.

Unless that "whomever" is Zenyatta. Because if the likes of Zardana and Unrivaled Belle can run down Rachel Alexandra during stretch drives in consecutive races, there'd likely be no holding off the closer of all closers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Excuse me, please, Mr. Jackson

What body part is it to which excuses are compared?

That thought crossed my mind as The Blood-Horse reports today -- on the eve of the La Troienne S.-G2 at Churchill Downs -- that principal owner Jess Jackson has declared his filly, reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, "90 percent fit," declaring that she "should win."

Nothing like lowering expectations for a champion.

Jackson's statement allows him to appear as though he has confidence in his filly. After all, he says that she "should win." If she does, all the better, because she did it without even being at her best; her owner said so before the race. But if she doesn't win, well, the connections already have the built-in excuse that she was only "90 percent fit."

I think it's a safe bet that the John Shirreffs barn's Zardana is 100 percent fit, or close as a horse gets (because Shirreffs and Co. just don't seem to run horses that aren't). And considering Zardana has beaten Rachel once this year already, 90 percent of whatever Rachel's packin' might still not be enough.

Jackson upped the rhetoric, and lowered the bar, by adding that should Rachel lose on Friday, it's no big deal. That's because Friday's race is just one more baby step toward "the ultimate goal," in Jackson's words -- the Breeders' Cup this fall at back at Churchill.

I hope Rachel makes it there and I hope she's even better than she was throughout 2009, her championship season.

But I'm not very confident in her chances in the La Troienne. Probably not even 90 percent.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Switch me? 'Lucky' on rail; 'sweet' horse draws 20

Each year, the Kentucky Derby draw sheds a little light on -- and throws a little wrench into -- the race strategy that will play out on the following Saturday.

I'm not sure when I've had as visceral an initial reaction to the draw as I have this morning. Defending juvenile champ (and morning-line 3/1 favorite) Lookin at Lucky and jockey Garrett Gomez, who would prefer to come up through the field with a later run, drew Post 1, open to the prospects of getting pinned-down and roughed-up on the rail. And the horse a lot of observers think will be the speed of the speed -- gate-to-wire Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney's Candy -- drew the far outside, Post 20.

Not that you can't win from either place.

Since 1900, a dozen horses have won from the rail -- equal to the highest winning post-position, tied with No. 5. Although the race hasn't been won from No. 1 in 23 years; Ferdinand last did it in 1986.

And Big Brown two years ago proved Post 20 wasn't hopeless even for a relative speed horse by becoming only the second Derby champion ever to win the race from that far outside. (Though posts 17 and 19 have never had a winner, and Post 18 only one -- Gato Del Sol, 1982.)

But you'd have to think the connections of Sidney's Candy, including young jock Joe Talamo, in his first Kentucky Derby, would rather have the 1-and-gun (at least over Post 20). Hog the rail all the way around and take the shortest route to the 10-furlong finish line. And No. 20 might not be quite the curse as the 23-year-rail-drought promises for Lucky, who has had nothing but trash trips since he can't remember when. Gomez could (if he would) cautiously pick his time and place to drift down toward the inside on the first run past the grandstand and just try not to get hung out too wide on the near turn. And, almost surely avoid being trapped inside like he and the horse were in Candy's SA Derby romp.

Alas, each horse and rider will just have to make the best they can from the luck of the draw.

Which always makes pre-Derby Wednesday so very interesting.

Day off? Maybe months off; Endorsement out of Derby with broken ankle

So maybe that text notice I ranted about on Sunday -- the one about Kentucky Derby-bound Endorsement getting a day off just to walk instead of gallop, something I considered not necessarily the news -- might have been onto something.

This morning Thoroughbred Times reports that the Distorted Humor colt, winner of the newly G3 Sunland Derby, is out of the Kentucky Derby with a broken ankle.

Claire Novak had noted on her Facebook page that the colt was supposed to work this morning. Instead, Novak reports today, he is "out ... with a non-displaced lateral (condylar) fracture to the right front."

Maybe there were signs of trouble on Sunday, and that's why trainer Shannon Ritter, "likes to give (a horse) a day off once in awhile."

Once in awhile when he's hurting?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rachel going 0-for-2 in 2010?

With the draw of the $400,000 La Troienne S.-G2 on Friday's Kentucky Oaks undercard, and word that defending Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra will face just five foes, it's time for a poll, which I haven't undertaken in a good while.

Among the quintent to line up against Rachel Friday will be Zardana, the 6-year-old who handed a loss to 2009's most fabulous filly in her 2010 debut, the New Orleans Ladies Stakes. Zardana is trained by John Shirreffs, who also conditions "that other Z-girl," twice-champion older mare (and still undefeated) Zenyatta.

Can Zardana (or someone else) get one over on Rachel again, leaving her 0-for-2 in 2010? ... That's the poll.

Thinking deeper, if the Shirreffs barn can bit ... err, mare-slap ... Rachel twice in as many tries with their undoubtedly lesser runner, will Jess Jackson and company ever let their girl meet the other player in 2009's horse of the year debate?

Looks like a Devil of a Derby

Thoroughbred Times' text-messaging service a few minutes ago informed me that the Kentucky Oaks indeed has drawn up without top filly Devil May Care, suggesting that trainer Todd Pletcher -- who has lost likely favorite Eskendereya and in-the-field Rule in less than a week -- is absolute in his decision to run his Grade 1-winning girl against the boys on Saturday in the Kentucky Derby.

Eskendereya was declared out on Sunday due to a slight filling in his left fore. Rule was dismissed from Derby entry by his connections because the Roman Ruler colt just wasn't where they wanted him to be in his training leading up to the run for the roses.

Devil May Care is reportedly tearing up the Churchill track in training. And Pletcher -- who in 2007 won the Belmont Stakes with a filly in Rags to Riches -- has said the decision to run her in the Derby became more clear with Eskendereya's defection. Not only was the race-favorite on the sidelines, but so was his jockey, John Velazquez, who is among Pletcher's preferred riders.

Plus, the filly will benefit from a five-pound break in the weights; no small advantage at a mile and a quarter.

Pletcher also expects to start Louisiana Derby-G2 winner Mission Impazible (fifth in graded earnings), G2-winning 2-year-old Super Saver (12th) and Risen Star S.-G3 winner Discreetly Mine (14th). A fifth Pletcher horse, Interactif, a dual G3-winner at 2, is 16th in graded earnings and could be in the race, but his entry is still uncertain.

P.S. Let the Eight Belles references commence, hopefully with some measure of restraint and a nod to the fillies who've worn the roses (Winning Colors, Genuine Risk and, way back in 1915, Regret), or the umpteen to have run and not won nor broken down, most recently Excellent Meeting (the betting favorite who finished fifth) and Three Ring, who both were entered in '99.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tough loss in Texas: Worldly Manner dead at 14

I'll take a minute this evening to offer my sincere condolences to an avid race fan, breeder and owner from one of my two Kansas "hometowns," Coffeyville.

Jim Percival, whose White Cat Farm partnered in standing Worldly Manner at David Bailey's Two B Rockin Ranch, near Bridgeport, Texas, lost that stallion today from an apparent heart attack while covering a mare. The good fella was just 14 years old.

I recall a couple of years ago when Jim lost his last stallion, Timetobewild, in the same fashion. That stakes-winning son of Flamingo Stakes-G1 winning Time for a Change was just 13 when he succumbed after covering a mare on Jim's own farm in Kansas. And Jim had not all that long before acquired Timetobewild to replace the late Arab Speaker, who had sired a stakes horse for Jim in Bonnie J before he passed along.

I scouted the field for stallion prospects -- on sales Web sites, in upcoming auctions and in claiming races, where so many pretty good (and intact) horses end up running out their long and successful careers when they aren't from powerhouse sirelines or the hottest-producing damlines. I made a few recommendations (including G2-placed Vinemeister, who could've been claimed on the cheap in the Mid-Atlantic at the time), but Jim opted to go into partnership on Worldly Manner.

I can't say that I blame him.

Worldly Manner was a heck of a 2-year-old. Under the guidance of Bob Baffert, he won the Del Mar Futurity-G2 and the Pest Pal S.-G3 during a stellar juvenile campaign.

Then he was bought by Godolphin and, honestly, wrecked, almost as surely as a drunk driver steering his Mustang into the ditch.

The Riverman colt (who I think might have been a better turf horse; his dam was a full sister to the dam of G1-winning grass horse River Flyer, also by Riverman) was the first of Sheikh Mohammed's big-dollar purchases (a reported $5 million) in an effort to win the Kentucky Derby after wintering in Dubai. Worldly Manner was shipped to the Middle East and inexplicably -- not to mention ill-advisedly, unwisely, insanely and just about every other negative term I can muster -- entered in the 1999 Kentucky Derby after exactly zero legit prep races at age 3. ... Nary a one. ... Other than a trial race in Dubai, Worldly Manner hadn't faced competition since winning the Del Mar Futurity in Southern California on Sept. 9 the year prior.

Yet he had talent, and guts, and as the field turned for home, Worldly Manner, ridden by Jerry Bailey, was on the lead at the top of the stretch at Churchill Downs, in America's biggest race.

Quite to be expected, he came up short, finishing seventh behind Charismatic. But he was only beaten a handful of lengths when it was said and done. Given a reasonable prep schedule coming up to the Derby, Worldly Manner might well have been a fit enough horse to finish the job.

Compounding the error, Godolphin entered him in the Preakness, and watched him finish 12th.

Sent back overseas, the horse failed to win again, making starts in Dubai and in England. His career ended with those three 2-year-old victories from 12 starts and earnings a little over a quarter-million.

After his racing career, Worldly Manner stood in Florida, California and Oklahoma prior to his acquisition by the partners who owned him at his time of death. He's sired a couple of nice horses, too, including $336K-earner Spot the Diplomat and stakes-winning hurdler Kilbride Rd.

And now Worldly Manner is gone before Jim and his partners can fully exploit his services to breed a few of their own (and for clients) to do battle among Texas-breds.

RIP, Worldly Manner. I have a hunch you were a much better horse than some of the handling you got along the way, and the reputation you were left with.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

T-Times on a tear with texts today

I signed up recently for the racing-news text-notification offered by Thoroughbred Times.

It seems like a pretty good service. I learned Saturday that Hurricane Ike upset the field in the Derby Trial soon after the race, even though I was unable to be anywhere that I could watch it. And this morning, the service woke me up with news that Eskendereya would be out of the Kentucky Derby. Even as "just" a fan, that second brief, in particular, is something I want to know right away; not later in the day.

Then, at 1:32 p.m., comes this message.

"TTimes Alert: Sunland Derby winner Endorsement gets day off."

Let's see:

1. Sublime Wood Memorial winner off the Derby trail six days out from the race due to injury.

2. Endorsement -- who despite winning the G3 Sunland Derby has only made four starts in his life, winning two (though he's "in" for the Derby at 10th in graded earnings) -- walks the shedrow instead of galloping this morning because, well, his trainer, Shannon Ritter, "likes to give (a horse) a day off every once in awhile."

When it comes to buzzing my phone with text notices about horse racing news, I have a little ditty to share with Thoroughbred Times.

I trust it will be received in good humor.

At least the breaking news about Endorsement's casual Sunday isn't the bulletin that woke me.

Eskendereya declared out of Derby

I thought this might be the year for the Storm Cat line to finally get its first son to wear the garland of roses on the first Saturday of May. But a text alert to my phone from Thoroughbred Times buzzed me awake at 9:34 Sunday morning with the news that the horse almost certain to be the morning-line and post-time favorite, Eskendereya, was declared out of the Kentucky Derby.

The Giant's Causeway colt was arguably the best chance Todd Pletcher has ever had to get his first Derby winner as trainer, as well.

Details will follow soon as the working race-media can provide them. At present, the latest on still suggests that the horse's trainer was trying to decide this morning on whether to send out Eskendereya and Derby-possible Interactif for Sabbath-day works over a track affected by heavy rains the day prior.

(Update: The Blood-Horse reports at 10 a.m. that Pletcher says the horse is experiencing a "slight filling" in his left front leg. Tests will determine the nature and severity. Pletcher said the horse is not lame.)

The declaration marks the second year in a row that a scintillating Wood Memorial winner can't make the gate at Churchill for health reasons. I Want Revenge was scratched on Derby morn after his connections and veterinarians determined he wasn't fit to race. His unsoundness prompted a lawsuit between members of the ownership group and a New York Times story trying to make I Want Revenge the poster horse for how legal pharmaceuticals affect racing. The Stephen Got Even colt has never raced again.

Let's hope this isn't the last we've seen of Eskendereya.

Friday, April 23, 2010

OBS ends with upward trends; I tip (obvious) topper

With a huge price for a filly from an operation exiting the business -- and a flurry of activity late in the sale that remains unexplained -- the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. ended its four-day April auction of 2-year-olds in training on Thursday with positive trends in gross, average and median prices.

Hip 949, a chestnut filly already named Delightful Mary, consigned as part of the dispersal of Florida breeding and racing icon Hobeau Farm, brought by far the sale's highest price at $500,000. The filly -- who is by Limehouse and out of the French Deputy mare Deputy's Delight -- stopped the clock at 20 2/5 seconds for the co-fastest quarter-mile workout of the under-tack session and is a half-sister to millionaire Ohio Derby-G2 winner DELIGHTFUL KISS. Speed runs in the family, and Delightful Kiss carried that speed to a mile and an eighth in winning the Grade 3 All-American Stakes at Golden Gate fields in a record time of 1:49 2/5.

Trainer Mark Casse as agent signed the ticket on the half-million-dollar Hobeau belle. He told Thoroughbred Times that the filly gave the impression that the brilliant breeze was a matter of routine.

"I watched (the breeze show) from over on the backside and I was there when she pulled up," Casse said. "As she was walking back, I walked beside her and she didn't take a deep breath. She was just remarkable how at ease she was with everything. That impressed me a lot.

Enough that the price paid for her was nearly double that for a Pleasantly Perfect colt from Day 1 that had led the sale for three days at a tag of $260,000.

The sale-starter on Thursday, a Kentucky-bred Strong Contender colt already named Record Price, wasn't, bringing just $3,000; Raul Colon signed the ticket. But the 10.3-breezer consigned by Sequel Bloodstock (Becky Thomas), agent, has a chance to be a racehorse. His dam, Crystal Sweet (Holy Bull) was a minor stakes-placer overseas with a pair of wins at 2 for $56,398, and has produced one winner from three older foals, a Yankee Victor filly who has broken her maiden in the Dominican Republic. Second dam Memorable Mitch (Mehmet) was a stakes winner of $167,336 and the blacktype under third dam My Guest (Mister Gus), a half-sister to G1 winner CORRAGIOSO and Arlington-Washington Futurity winner T. V. COMMERCIAL, is considerable.

The four-day sale saw 739 juveniles change hands for $20,754,400, up 4.4 percent in gross revenues vs. 2009, when actually more horses were sold -- 799 head, for $19,879,800. The average price rose 12.9 percent, to $28,084 vs. $24,881. And the median price spiked by a stunning 33.3 percent, from $15,000 in 2009 to $20,000 in 2010.

I tipped 106 horses as my favored offerings (based on pedigree, catalog page and under-tack times and video) from the original catalog of 1,221, minus those that were withdrawn prior to the sale. (I mentioned a 107th, the fastest-worker of the sale, a filly by High Fly, and why I would take a pass.) Read the complete, running version of the tips here: Day 1 (18 horses); Day 2 (22); Day 3 (34); and Day 4 (33).

I followed up by reporting the sales results for those animals. This is our chance to wrap up Thursday's session. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday wraps are of course also still available.

Here's how Thursday's final 32 (plus 1) fared:

Hip 921: Bay colt by Wildcat Heir-Cup of Cheers, by Raise a Cup. I haven't counted, but certainly I tipped more Wildcat Heir foals than any other sire from this sale. This one had a "slow" breeze of 10.4 for an eighth, which led me to hope he would be inexpensive by Wildcat Heir's suddenly pricey standards -- his 2-year-olds this year have sold for an average or $72,895 -- even though the dam here was a nine-win stakes-placer who has produced a stakes winner from five winners out of nine older foals. I was right; this NY-bred only brought a top bid of $11,000. And it wasn't enough. ... $11,000 Not Sold.

Hip 925: Bay colt by War Front-Dance Club, by Montbrook. KY-bred first foal from a winning mare who was half to three stakes horses. Breezed 10.1 and looked the part. Morning-after reflection suggests perhaps we should have made both freshman sire and first-time mom prove themselves, but I liked that dirt-running War Front was by a sire who could get turf horses (Danzig) out of a mare from the Lord at War-line which is perhaps better-known as a grass sireline, and while Montbrook isn't the turfiest of lines, all three of this dam's stakes siblings earned some or all of that blacktype on the lawn. So the colt should have options; dirt, turf or even synthetic. Hopefully he likes at least one of them. ... $30,000 to Galloping Acres Farm.

Hip 934: Heir to Dare, bay filly by Wildcat Heir-Daringly, by Tactical Advantage.Thought she made 33-flat for 3f look easy (co-fastest of the day) and unraced dam has two winners from as many foals, including one who has earned $129K already. Reportedly has a "small opacity" in her eye that does not affect her vision. Sellers Blue River Bloodstock, agent, couldn't see parting with her. ... $62,000 Not Sold.

Hip 936: Bay colt by Gibson County-Darn That Girl, by Darn That Alarm. Hoped to abscond with this blazing-fast FL-bred (9 4/5 eighth) whose dam won at 2 and 3 for nearly $100K. No such luck; sellers McKathan Bros., agent, too sly for that. Could be worth at least this, even with a bone fragment report from the vet. ... $17,000 Not Sold.

Hip 940: Hard Rock Candy, chestnut filly by Wildcat Heir-D. D. Rocks, by Tactical Advantage. A Florida-bred fast-breezer (21.2) whose winning dam has one older foal that hasn't raced. Dam half to two stakes winners. Journeyman Stud (Brent & Crystal Fernung), agent, expected more, and I think should have gotten it. ... $32,000 Not Sold.

Hip 949: Delightful Mary, chestnut filly by Limehouse-Deputy's Delight, by French Deputy. Tale of the tape already told on this one. I'm not trying to pick sales-toppers, just racehorses. This Florida-bred sure seems to fit the bill. ... $500,000 to Mark Casse, agent.

Hip 957: Chestnut colt by Officer-Dial a Trick, by Phone Trick. Six-for-eight producing dam with three stakes horses -- EYE OF THE TIGER (G2), WILDWOOD FLOWER (G2-placed), and Expanse (stakes-producer) -- a big selling point. But this KY-bred made his own emphatic case with a 9.4 drill. Often tough to say about a horse who brought more than double the sale average price, but this dollar-figure might prove a bargain. ... $70,000 to Patrice Miller, EQB Inc., agent.

Hip 968: Dark bay or brown filly by Pleasantly Perfect-Dixie Talent by Dixie Union. Unraced dam with an unraced first foal (ouch) but KY-bred filly breezed 10-flat and also-unraced second dam produced four stakes horses including Longacres Mile-G3 hero NO GIVEAWAY. Looked the part, but at this price, she'd better. ... $40,000 to EQB for the Richter Family Trust.

Hip 970: Chestnut filly by Pure Prize-Doll Baby, by Citidancer. First foal out of stakes-placed dam was half to three stakes winners, including Black-Eyed Susan-G2 champion SWEET VENDETTA (Stephen Got Even). NY-bred filly breezed 10.2. Something on the X-rays or scopes? Crooked? Clinically insane? ... $17,000 Not Sold.

Hip 983: Wilddreamscometrue, chestnut filly by Wildcat Heir-Dream With Angels, by Saint Ballado. A 21.2 work by this Florida-bred is only half of her appeal. Full sister RICHIEGIRLGONEWILD recently became a G3 winner. ... $115,000 to Larry Rivelli, agent for Richard Ravin.

Hip 998: Bay filly by More Than Ready-Empty Portrait, by Coronado's Quest. Dam not much of a runner nor much of a producer yet. But she's out of G3 winner of 10 races Ileria (Stop the Music) who produced seven stakes horses by Broad Brush (6) and his son Concern (1). That group includes G1-winner and sire INCLUDE and G3-winner MAGIC BROAD. Not so much dying to own this 10.2-Kentucky-bred-breezer as I am lobbying to get her dam sent to Oklahoma where Concern now stands. But she sold nicely. ... $30,000 to Mike Pender.

Hip 1003: Bay filly by Concerto-Epistolary, by Deputy Minister. Breeze of 22.2 wasn't very gusty, dam has produced nine winners from 13 older foals, four of them stakes horses including G3-placed TEXTURIZER. I think this Florida-bred will take time to develop and will want a route of ground. Love this price, but wonder where she'll end up and how she'll be handled, a concern of mine with many of the bargain-bin horses. ... $5,000 to Angel Ubarri.

Hip 1015: Bay filly by Grand Slam-Explosive Scarlet, by Explodent. New York-bred status adds to the appeal of a filly by a top Kentucky sire who posted a 21.1. Dam a minor stakes winner of $117K and has produced 100 percent winners from six prior foals, including SWEET BABY JAMES (11 wins, $363K), R. Little Redhead (19 wins from ages 3 to 10, $392K) and Hollywood Park track record-equalling Tough Game (10 wins, $300K, 6f in 1:07 2/5). ... $30,000 to Funky Munky Stable LLC.

Hip 1035: Banshee Indian, bay filly by Indian Ocean-Feature Film, by Forest Wildcat. Filly from a sire of only five starts and an unraced dam ran as green as any horse in the breeze show -- and still clocked a rapid 21.1. Imagine if ran in a straight line? Gotta try to keep this Florida-bred who is inbred 3x3 to Storm Cat and 5x4 to Mr. Prospector sound (important with all horses, of course, but especially with signs of fragile lineage), but her second dam won 12 of 26 including a Grade 3 race, so this family isn't particularly made of porcelain. ... Interesting note to pedigree enthusiasts; sire's third dam, Oceana, was a full sister to Storm Bird, paternal great-grandsire of both parents. ... $37,000 to Ricky Griffith, agent.

Hip 1046: Bay filly by E Dubai-Fine Day, by Fantastic Light. Dirt-sprinting sire can get a turf horse, and I think this fleet-footed (9.4) KY-bred filly might be one of those. Imagine if she were even better on the lawn? Second dam a French-raced G3-placer who was a half-sister to MARQUETRY (G1 on dirt and turf), SPAIN LANE (Group 2 and 3 winner in France) and to the dam of FIVE STAR DAY (three graded wins). Not that much production or performance lately, but gosh, she looks like the exception. And this price is phenomenal. ...$20,000 to Neal Maharaj.

Hip 1048: Bay colt by Rahy-First Quarter, by Sky Classic. Almost passed on this KY-bred who breezed "only" 10.3 because of immediate family's hit-and-miss production record. But the hits are home runs, including his G3-placed dam. Second dam First Class Gal (Geiger Counter) was 2002 Canadian broodmare of the year and her half-sister earned the same status in 2005. And with his pensioning announced, we're running out of chances to buy a young Rahy. ...$25,000 to Jessica Campitelli.

Hip 1061: Sensationalmystery, bay filly by Macho Uno-Forest Mystery, by Running Stag. Macho Uno has been getting some very nice racehorses, and I haven't looked at all their catalog pages, but if they were as uninspiring as his progeny in this sale, then he's even better than I thought; and I rate him highly, as do his stats of a 1.92 AEI vs. 1.59 CI. He simply upgrades his mares. He'll get many more winners out of this sale than the one I tried to tip, which ended up being an out. ... Withdrawn.

Hip 1079: Dark bay or brown filly by Wildcat Heir-Gemley, by Big Stanley. Florida-bred another of her sire's fast-breezers (20.4) and comes from a racehorse family, if non-blacktype. ... $45,000 to Sarah McCord, agent.

Hip 1080: Bay colt by First Samurai-Gem Treck, by Java Gold. Dam has seven winners from nine older foals and from varying sirelines; four of those are blacktype-horses including BUDDY GOT EVEN ($145K). Second dam Tallahto (Nantallah) was thrice a G1 winner who produced G1 winner PRINCE TRUE, HIDDEN LIGHT (dam of ARTIE SCHILLER) and G2-placed Le Duc de Bar. KY-bred breezed 10.1, to boot. How, how, how did this colt go for less than the sale's median? ... $18,000 to KRA (KOID).

Hip 1082: Lime Rock Revenge, bay gelding by Limehouse-Genie's Flight, by Silver Hawk. Did this one attract less attention because he's already gelded, which means no stallion prospects, ever? Florida-bred by sire who produced $500K sales-topper and another $200K foal and out of a dam with 11 winners from 13 older foals, including $150K stakes winner SILVER ON SILVER; old-line second dam G3-placed half-sister to five-times Horse of the Year KELSO. Breezed a decent 10.2. No doubt Peggy S. Dellheim, agent, expected more. ...$16,000 Not Sold.

Hip 1093: Atlantic Goddess, bay filly by Stormy Atlantic-Godmother, by Show'em Slew. Another FL-bred with a 10.1 breeze is out of a G3-winning dam who earned $373K and was half to two more stakes winners. Sales filly a half-sister to G3-placer and from the close female family of listed winner STORMY BALLAD by this same sire. Good blacktype family. ...$35,000 to Brian Cleary, agent.

Hip 1109: Dark bay or brown filly by Royal Academy-Good Intentions, by Anet. Sired by a Breeders' Cup Mile-G1 winner who gets racehorses, especially on turf, and the first foal out of a juvenile turf stakes-winning mare. Second dam a full sister to $254K turf-sprinter RUNAWAY CHOICE; half-sister GUESS a sprint-stakes winner on dirt. Third dam a stakes winner and half to multiple-G1 millionaire WEKIVA SPRINGS. Florida-bred breezed 10.2 and should go better over grass. Buyer a former leading owner at Gulfstream, Woodbine and Fort Erie must know his horses. Does nobody else? Could prove to be the value of the sale. ... $5,000 to Bruno Schickedanz.

Hip 1114: Hot an Cool, dark bay or brown filly by Awesome Again-Gourmet Girl, by Cee's Tizzy. Daughter of multiple-G1 champion mare who hasn't remotely reproduced herself was consigned by agent Niall Brennan Stables, galloped instead of breezed, and then went home. ... Withdrawn.

Hip 1123: Gray or roan colt by Mizzen Mast-Gypsy, by Marfa. Stakes-placed dam threw five winners from six prior foals including G3-placer GAL ON THE GO (dam of dual-G3-winning SOCIAL QUEEN). Female family of a favorite of mine, PERFECT DRIFT. Not surprised the money wasn't enough to sway consigning agent Shadybrook Farm (Michael Yates). ... $32,000 Not Sold.

Hip 1145: Bay filly by Candy Ride-Hortense, by Hussonet. Southern-hemisphere pedigree on display, with Argentine sire over Chilean-bred, U.S. turf stakes-placed dam. Mama is full to Chilean G2-winner CONSERVATORIO. Slow 10.4 breeze by a former $5,000 yearling RNA, but Candy is proving pretty sweet in the breeding shed with G1 winners like Misremembered, Kentucky Derby hopeful Sidney's Candy, Capt. Candyman Can and Evita Argentina. This one headed south, too; South Korea. ... $19,000 to KRA (KOID).

Hip 1182: Soldier's Tune, gray or roan gelding by Concorde's Tune-Jessica Bush, by Lost Soldier. Already gelded for maximum-racehorse-focus. Unheralded sire gets some very good Florida-breds. This one cruised 47-flat for four furlongs, one of very few to show himself at that distance. Only older sib a winner at 2 and now 3. Darned close to a turnkey racehorse, while some of these still need lots of work and time. ... $28,000 to Joe Arboritanza, agent for Joe Raffa.

Hip 1184: Bay filly by Forest Camp-Jezebella, by Wild Again. Dam as modest as winners get, but has thrown a stakes horse of $237K in BALIAN and a second cheap winner by Johannesburg. Kentucky-bred produced probably the only sub-22 quarter I watched (21.4) in which the horse never felt the whip; hand-ride all the way. Maybe Palmarejo Thoroughbreds decided she was too good to sell. ... Withdrawn.

Hip 1187: Code Dancer, bay gelding by Omega Code-Jocey's Dance, by Seattle Dancer. Speedy 21.1 Florida-bred comes pre-gelded to save you the trouble. Most of his six winning older siblings did so in modest company, but ran on for awhile, showing durability the breed could use today. Second dam produced millionaire 21-race winner GRECIAN FLIGHT(Acorn S.-G1), 16-race winner GRECIAN COMEDY (granddam of BULLSBAY-G1), 16-time winner EVZONE, and unraced bangled, dam of Florida Oaks-G3 winner, Ashland S.-G1-placed ANKLET. Businesslike racetrack family. Darned right Indian Prairie Ranch should have been offered more. ... $13,000 Not Sold.

Hip 1194: Dark bay or brown filly by High Fly-Jovetta, by Elusive Quality. I de-tipped this one, declining to let her freakish 9 3/5 eighth persuade me to tout a filly by a young sire who has done very little out of a mare who made just one start and is from a family that generally wins but often not in high company and several haven't stuck around the track for long. I wish her luck, truly. She's forever handicapped with high expectations and the weight of that purchase price in two overstuffed saddlebags. ... $175,000 to Buzz Chace, agent.

Hip 1200: Bay colt by Desert Warrior-Karakorum Kiss, by Lord Carson. Colt's 10.1 breeze was the chilliest of hand-rides and he already has two winning siblings, one stakes-placed. Credentials sparse under the second dam, but the third dam was a 15-time winner with blacktype in Louisiana and dam of 14-time winner WESTERN TRADER. Our boy benefits from NY-bred status. ... $25,000 to Mighty White Stallion LLC.

Hip 1205: Dark bay or brown filly by Ghostzapper-Katy Kat, by Forest Wildcat. G3-placed, stakes-winning dam of $210K, has produced three moderate winners, and is a full sister to 2-year-old stakes winner YADDO CAT. Second dam stakes-placed and produced another G3-placer. Third dam half to Breeders' Cup Classic hero WILD AGAIN and produced all over everywhere, including Ak-Sar-Ben dual G3-winner LANCE ($284K), Borderland Derby winnerMR. DECATUR ($175K) and four-stakes Canadian winner BUILDING CODE ($132K), plus Australian stakes-placed Oakmont. Filly worked a fluid 10.3 without encouragement. ...$12,000 to George Santis & Nickajack/Rey De Oros.

Hip 1208: Rain Dance, dark bay or brown colt by Survivalist-Keetoowah, by Cherokee Run. Dam won three times for $48K and has no blacktype siblings, but 10.3 breeze was fluid if not fleet. Second dam by Apalachee won seven of 10 lifetime including several graded stakes, and while she produced no blacktype, she did throw seven of nine winners. Female family of TIME LIMIT, VICTORIANNA and WANNA RUNNER. Ontario-bred gets synthetic main track, and Victorianna set a record on Arlington's plastic. ... $27,000 to Bear Stables.

Hip 1220: Menil, bay filly by Johannesburg-Kreisleriana, by Seeking the Gold. Next-to-last in the catalog; sold after the still-not-detailed "incident" that delayed the sale for about 30 minutes and moved it out back to the walking ring. Breeze wasn't an outright dawdle (10.4) and I wouldn't care if it was. Dam didn't run for much and hasn't produced despite two shots with Giant's Causeway, though her second son only just started at 3. Second dam five times a champion in Ireland, Germany and across Europe and sired by a horse in Persian Bold whose get want a mile and a quarter or more. Back to Ireland with this line? ... $15,000 to Ricky Griffith, agent.

So of my 32 selections on the final day of the sale, 22 went on to sell for a total of $1.131 million, by far the most I "spent" over the four days of the sale. That's an average of $51,409. It isn't that I didn't tip any cheaper horses; just that some of the ones I liked at the lower end of the spectrum, the consigners liked even more and balked at the low bids offered. That and of course I tipped the sales-topper, who frankly brought much more even than I had expected.

For the sale, of the 106 horses I recommended, 75 actually changed hands, for a grand total of $3,286,900. That adds up to an average of $43,825, although minus the sales-topper the average would have been $37,770. I remain most confident, however, in a few of the real steals, particularly Bruno Schickedanz's Royal Academy filly, who thankfully, despite her price, I believe has fallen into good hands.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

'Incident' at OBS April sale?

(Updated 6:15 p.m.)

While the live feed of this auction was running in the background on my browser, very near the end of the sale at about 5:39 p.m., the auctioneer has mentioned "an incident" at the sales facility, the horse in the ring (Hip 1219 of 1,221) was escorted out, and the question was asked, "do you want us to evacuate?"

Signal has gone dark and the last words heard were, "please stand by ... just a moment."

I'll keep watching and update ASAP.

Update, 5:55 p.m.: Video signal returned a couple of minutes ago, but the sales ring appears devoid of people.

Update, 6 p.m.: Auction staff moving in and out of the ring; no announcements yet made. Nobody seems in all that much of a hurry, nor flustered. ... Now an announcement at 6:02 that the sale will resume in five minutes, but in the holding area, not the ring.

Update 6:06 p.m.: Announcement again that the sale will resume, "business as usual" in the back holding area in about five minutes. Wisecracked an announcer, "We have a number of firefighters here, they are eligible to bid ..."

Update 6:09 p.m.: Sale resuming with Hip 1219, horses in the back walking ring. Starting over on this Sarava filly, on whom the bidding was at $3,000 when the "incident" occurred. ... Wonder if anyone (Blood-Horse, I'm lookin' at you) will ever report what caused the stir?

Update 6:15 p.m.: Last Hip sells at "an eventful" final session of OBS April, according to the ring announcer. "But," he said, "everyone is safe and sound." ... Still wondering exactly what happened. ... Now through the OBS video feed I'm getting talk-news sound without picture; Jack Cafferty of CNN.

OBS Day 4: Sale's last day will begin with Record Price

Thursday's final session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April sale of 2-year-olds in training opens today with a colt bearing a hopeful name for his sellers: Record Price.

The dark bay or brown son of Strong Contender out of a stakes-placed Holy Bull mare named Crystal Sweet isn't likely to live up to that name when the sale begins at 10:30 a.m. His 10.3 breeze for an eighth-mile is pretty average and his dam's only foal to win from three of racing age, did so in the Dominican Republic. Not that he can't make a racehorse for somebody.

I would have been able to amuse myself greatly by writing that, "the sale's closing statement begins with Omega," but an Omega Code colt already named Zip Code P V R, who was to be the first horse through the ring today, has been withdrawn from the sale, as has Hip 918, a Lido Palace colt.

The sale can be viewed in its entirety, live and online, and begins at 10:30 a.m.

As I have all week, I'll be making my recommendations from Day 4 of the catalog, Hips 917 through 1,221.

OBSAPR, Day 4, Hips 917-1221

Hip 921: Bay colt by Wildcat Heir-Cup of Cheers, by Raise a Cup. When Wildcat Heir first went to stud, in 2006, I would not have anticipating so many of his get from the biggest sale of his sophomore year. But in a racing game that is consistently shortening its sights, the De Francis Memorial Dash-G1 winner is putting speed and remarkable precocity into his foals, already getting more than 40 winners from his first crop, and his initial 2-year-old to start from 102 juveniles this year was a winner, as well. This one didn't work as fast as most of them have -- only 10.4 through an eighth. But he didn't look too bad, comes from reasonably good female family, and I like his New York-bred status for lifetime earnings potential in restricted company. Can we finally get a Wildcat Heir on the relative cheap? ... The dam here is nine-win, stakes-placed Cup of Cheers, who has only been a little bit better than a 50-percent producer. From nine foals of racing age, seven have run and five have won. But one of those, RICH CELEBRATION (g. by Rizzi), won 13 times from ages 2 to 8, including a listed Calder stakes race, for $297,045. Second dam Child of Fate (Promised Land) was a modest winner from a somewhat-noteworthy mid-20th century West Coast female family; a full sister to Stars and Stripes H. winner FULL OF PROMISE and California fair-circuit stakes winner STELLAKO. She produced seven winners from 11 foals, including Lone Star Futurity winner TICKLED FANCY (f. by Admiral's Blade). Third dam Baby Alice (Revoked) won the Hollywood Oaks, then beat up the boys to win the Longacres Derby in a course-record time of 1:48 4/5 for nine furlongs.

(Updated 10:13 a.m.)

Hip 925: Bay colt by War Front-Dance Club, by Montbrook. I haven't often been suggesting 2-year-olds by freshman sires. This is the first of the War Front bunch. But he breezed 10.1, looked pretty sharp doing so, and is the first foal from a winning Montbrook mare -- and Montbrook in a pedigree helps add up to precocity. Second dam Legwork (Alleged) bore four winners from only five foals, including EMERALD EARRINGS (f. by Helmsman), who won 10 times, including five stakes races up the East Coast from Florida to Woodbine, for $494,116. Two others were nice, stakes-placed winners: Open Minded (f. by Wharf), four wins from 2 to 4 and G3-placed for $149,855, and gelding Publisher's Phil (Top Account), a seven-race winner of $118,877 and stakes-placed at Meadowlands. Third dam O'Dalita (His Majesty) was a 2-year-old winner and bore eight winners; third dam the splendid Candalita (Olympia), who won the Matron, Spinaway and Adirondack stakes and was a half-sister to HAIL THE PIRATES. ... There's turf in this family -- Emerald Earrings won the Ontario Colleen H. in addition to dirt races, and both Open Minded and Publisher's Phil were stakes-placed on grass -- and while War Front was a dirt runner, his daddy Danzig has plenty who have performed on the lawn.

Hip 934: Heir to Dare, bay filly by Wildcat Heir-Daringly, by Tactical Advantage. Wildcat Heir, Wildcat Heir, Wildcat Heir. Geez. But this FL-bred breezed 33-flat for three furlongs, co-fastest of the day, and really just looked like she was loping. Dam was unraced, but has produced winners from both prior foals including a Delaware Township gelding, I'll Blow Ur Mind, who won six times at 3 and 4 for $129,246, and filly Penny Sense (Exchange Rate) who broke her maiden last year at 3. Second dam Wedding Jitters (Runaway Groom) won at 2, 3 and 4, was stakes-placed at Calder, and produced five winners including G2-placed Saint Bernadette (Saint Ballado). Third dam Classy Tricks (Hold Your Tricks) won eight times from 2 to 4, including four Calder stakes, for $175,972, and produced an additional stakes-placer in Mystical Tricks ($154K) from eight winners.

(Updated 10:39 a.m.)

Hip 936: Bay colt by Gibson County-Darn That Girl, by Darn That Alarm. How cheap might we get this one, in spite of his 9.4-blazer for an eighth that was amazingly not the fastest time of the final under-tack session? First three dams utterly devoid of blacktype, but this is the first foal from his dam and she won at 2 and 3 for $96,508. Second dam, Diplomatic Girl (Gallapiat) won five times from 3 to 5, covering 45 starts, and bore four other winners from five additional foals, including Sneaky Girl (Snuck In) who collected the sixth win of her 45-race career recently and has earned $279K. Not a brilliant family, but a professional Florida family. This colt might be early enough to do some good work at 2 and 3, yet -- if we're lucky -- sound enough to run on as his second dam and some others have done. Let's hope the breeze doesn't make him too expensive, because if he brings more than the sales average (or even median) we're out.

Hip 940: Hard Rock Candy, chestnut filly by Wildcat Heir-D. D. Rocks, by Tactical Advantage. Where does it end with the Wildcat Heirs? This filly breezed a pretty fair 21.2 and is out of a dam who won three times, but whose first foal hasn't started yet. Second dam Lady Argo (Gold Meridian) won five times in modest races, but was a full sister to Martha Washington S.-G3 winner TEE KAY, and has herself produced two stakes winners in ARGOS APPEAL (World Appeal) -- who has produced four stakes horses of her own -- and SPLENDID SOUND (Trippi) who recently won the OBS Championship S.-R.

(Updated 10:58 a.m.)

Hip 949: Delightful Mary, chestnut filly by Limehouse-Deputy's Delight, by French Deputy. A FL-bred who worked a stellar, session-fastest 20.2 for a quarter and is half-sister to millionaire Ohio Derby-G2 winning DELIGHTFUL KISS (Kissin Kris) who set a track record of 1:49 2/5 for a mile and an eighth in winning the G3 All-American Stakes at Golden Gate Fields, as well. Dam didn't win until she was 4, but has produced four winners from five of racing age and was out of the stakes-winning Sawbones mare Bishop's Delight, who was G1-placed in the Shuvee Handicap and is granddam of G2 winner SHADOW CASTER. Part of the Florida-icon Hobeau Farm's dispersal and selling without reserve, but you'll still have to break your piggy bank. And your spouse's. And your neighbor's.

(Updated 11:09 a.m.)

Hip 957: Chestnut colt by Officer-Dial a Trick, by Phone Trick. Dam didn't race, but has six winners from eight of racing age, and some pretty good ones: EYE OF THE TIGER (c. by American Chance), Washington Park H.-G2, etc., $535,679; WILDWOOD FLOWER (f. by Langfuhr), Piedmont S. at 2, 3rd Beaumont S.-G2, etc., $109,916; and Expanse (f. by Distant View), 3rd Ellis Park Debutante S., dam of REPORTING FOR DUTY (Deputy Commander), Zia Park Derby, MAXXAM Gold Cup H., 2nd Illinois Derby-G2, etc., $466,846. Officer can get winners -- roughly two-thirds of all his starters -- and this mare produces. Second dam, the juvenile stakes-winning It's Freezing mare Ice Fantasy, did, too, including dual-G3 winning track record-setter FIGHTING FANTASY and G3-placed Snow Forest, dam of G1 winner SNOW RIDGE and listed winner PAVAROTTI. Ice Fantasy is the granddam of G2 winner SWEETNORTHERNSAINT, as well. Colt sealed the deal with a blistering 9.4.

(Updated 11:22 a.m.)

Hip 968: Dark bay or brown filly by Pleasantly Perfect-Dixie Talent, by Dixie Union. Dam was unraced and her first of racing age hasn't started, either. But we're going to give this filly a chance not just because she breezed 10-flat (and looked good doing it), but because her second dam, the unraced Fly So Free mare Takeaway, managed to produce anyway: NO GIVEAWAY (g. by He's Tops), Longacres Mile H.-G3, etc., $218,450; YOUCAN'TTAKEME (f. by He's Tops), seven wins, four stakes, $199,975, stakes-producer; Melissa Jo (f. by Fusaichi Pegasus), 2nd Old Hat S.-G3, 3rd Demoiselle S.-G2 and Forward Gal S.-G2, $101,110; and Miss Ballard (f. by Bertrando), 2nd Kent H. Third dam Table Frolic (Never Tabled) was the last in this direct female line to race, and did it well, with six wins, three stakes-placings and $201K earned. She also produced 10-win G2 victor SUPERLICIOUS.

(Updated 11:33 a.m.)

Hip 970: Chestnut filly by Pure Prize-Doll Baby, by Citidancer. Despite G1 winner Pure Clan, Pure Prize has done a purely average job thus far, with only about 68 percent starters and roughly 50 percent winners from his foals aged 3 and up. Yet he has a ridiculous 192 juveniles on the ground this year (the subject for a different blog post), 16 of whom have already started, with five 2010 juvenile winners. Gonna get at least a few good ones with so many opportunities. Thankfully, this filly could be one of those good ones. She breezed a decent 10.2 and her female family breeds racehorses. She's the first foal out of a dam who was a juvenile winner, and a restricted stakes winner among NY-breds for $151K. Out of the Desert Wine mare Sand Pirate, she's half-sister to three other -- and better -- stakes winners, all girls: SWEET VENDETTA (Stephen Got Even), Black-Eyed Susan S.-G2, etc., $224,596; HALF HEAVEN (by Regal Classic), eight wins from 2 to 5, four Turfway Park stakes victories, $381,904; and LOVE COVE (by Not For Love), six wins at 3 and 4, restricted stakes wins at Belmont and Aqueduct, $396,739. Third dam Wayward Pirate (Pirate's Bounty) was another G3 winner and G1-placed from this girl-power family. NY-bred status lets this one try to win in territory familiar to her family.

Hip 983: Wilddreamscometrue, chestnut filly by Wildcat Heir-Dream With Angels, by Saint Ballado. Yes, another, and this Florida-bred makes about as good a case for herself as any. The speedy 21 2/5 breeze is just the beginning. Another big selling point is her recent Grade 3-winning full sister, RICHIEGIRLGONEWILD, who has won three times from her first four starts for $96,300. Dam didn't race and has only three winners from five prior foals, but her dam got six winners from nine foals including minor stakes-placer Maid for Speed (Phone Trick.) Third dam won the G2 Black Helen H. and G3 Columbiana H. and was twice G1-placed on her way to $414,551.

(Updated 11:57 a.m.)

Hip 998: Bay filly by More Than Ready-Empty Portrait, by Coronado's Quest. I'm tipping this one mostly to suggest that her dam be sent from Kentucky to Oklahoma. Dam wasn't much of a runner and has produced only two minor winners from three to race. This filly breezed 10.2 and looked pretty fair doing it. But the mare is out of the 10-win G3-titleist Illeria (Stop the Music) who produced no fewer than seven stakes horses from Broad Brush (six) and his son Concern (one), who has been banished to the aforementioned Sooner state: INCLUDE (10 wins, Pimlico Special-G1, etc., $1.659 million); MAGIC BROAD (Selima S.-G3, etc., $212,120); ENCAUSTIC (seven wins, Mountaineer Mile H., etc., $478,035); MAGICAL BROAD (Squan Song S., etc., $155,470); Implicit (10 wins, $260,636); Loaded Brush (six wins, $212,390); and, by Concern, Invent (four wins, 2nd Maryland Juvenile Championship S., etc., $149,080). ... Don't know what she'll sell for, but if she runs out for anything at all, I'd be sending her to Concern, too, if he's still around when she's done running.

Hip 1003: Bay filly by Concerto-Epistolary, by Deputy Minister. I like her despite the 22.2 breeze, which is a shade on the slower side. Dam was only placed at 3, but comes from superior broodmare-sire stock in Deputy Minister and has proved it with nine winners from 13 foals of racing age, four of them stakes horses: TEXTURIZER (c. by On to Glory), 2nd Polynesian S.-G3, $77,300; Deputy Lad (g. by Mecke), 11 wins, 3rd Pan American H.-G2, $278,367; Valid Chance (g. by Valid Appeal), eight wins and third in a Laurel stakes Stateside, six more wins at 6 and 8 in the Dominican, $168,707; and Epistola (f. by Buckaroo), four wins, second and third in Colonial Downs stakes races, $80,228. Thre other foals have earned $90K to $109K and unraced Unique Charm (Pentelicus) is a minor stakes-producer of Sweet Yullanna (f. by Sweetsouthernsaint). Second dam, the Royal Saxon mare Saxon's Secret, was stakes-placed, full to a pair of stakes horses and half to two more, and dam of 10 winners, three blackype-placed. ... FL-bred filly is probably a two-turn horse who might take some time, but I think she'll win and in the future might very well produce.

(Updated 12:28 p.m.)

Hip 1015: Bay filly by Grand Slam-Explosive Scarlet, by Explodent. Golly, what a genius I am, tipping a 21.2-breezing Grand Slam filly from a blacktype family. But she's impossible not to mention, because NY-bred status could really make her an earning machine. Dam won four times including a minor stakes race for $117K, but more important has hit winners from all six prior foals and some of them race on and on, including: SWEET BABY JAMES (c. by Housebuster), 11 wins from 2 to 6, two Hawthorne stakes, $363,860; R. Little Redhead (g. by Prized), 19 wins from 3 to 10, $392,606; and Tough Game (c. by Mr. Greeley), 10 wins from 3 to 8, ETR Hollywood Park, 6f in 1:07 2/5. Second dam Scarlet Darling (Crimson Satan) bore nine winners and was half to G2 winner EXPLOSIVE DARLING and G3 winner IMPROVE IT. Certainly shouldn't come cheap.

(Updated 12:40 p.m.)

Hip 1035: Banshee Indian, bay filly by Indian Ocean-Feature Film, by Forest Wildcat. Not thrilled with myself for this one on soundness alone. Sire only raced five times, though he was a G3 winner. Dam was unraced. But there are two things here that I like. First, the breeze, in which she reminded me of a line from the movie "Seabiscuit" -- she looked "fast, in every direction," going a bit wide on the turn and veering briefly toward the rail deep in the stretch, and still posted a scurrying 21.1. If you can get her under wraps, she has a lot of room to move forward. Second, her granddam Cinemine (by Mining) was reasonably sound (12 wins in 26 starts) and undeniably fast, G3 winner of $506K and two track records at Lone Star; 5.5f in 1:02 4/5 and 6f in 1:08 2/5. She has produced the 30-race, stakes-placed Tiznow colt Outrageous Limit, but Feature Film was unraced and colts by Vindication and Mineshaft both raced poorly and briefly. ... Handsome sophomore Indian Ocean's first crop has resulted in about 50 percent starters and 18 percent winners from all foals (one turf stakes winner at Colonial); not terribly bad, though they'd better start doing something quick. Indian Ocean didn't race until he was 3, though. ... I think this Florida-bred girl might be cheap despite her speedy breeze and we're gonna try and get her to run in a straight line (except on the turns) and take good care of her legs. Maybe the grass?

(Updated 1:07 p.m.)

Hip 1046: Bay filly by E Dubai-Fine Day, by Fantastic Light. Suburban H.-G2 winner was out of a Lord at War mare and can get a turf horse; witness Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint-winner and millionaire Desert Code. Let's hope this KY-bred girl with a rapid 9.4 breeze, from a tremendous female family tree seemingly in decline on this branch, is one of those. Her dam was unplaced in one English start; this is her first foal. Second dam was the French G3-placed Forty Niner mare Queen's Gallery who did produce five winners, but the most notable only won the equivalent of $25K in England and Ireland. But the second dam was half to MARQUETRY (G1 winner on dirt and turf, sire), SPAIN LANE (G2 and G3 winner in France) and Reggie V., the dam of FIVE STAR DAY (G2 and twice a G3 winner). All three of those big horses were by different representatives of the Mr. Prospector sireline, as is E Dubai. Though there's precious little blacktype under the first two dams, the speed will make her expensive.

Hip 1048: Bay colt by Rahy-First Quarter, by Sky Classic. Son of the high-quality pensioned sire only breezed a fair 10.3, his one older sibling hasn't raced, and his second dam produced just four winners from seven foals, which not a high percentage. But the good ones are very good ones, including this KY-bred's dam, a G3-placed stakes winner in Canada of $387K. The second dam, First Class Gal (Geiger Counter) won five times herself for $125 non-blacktype, and from just those four winners earned 2002 Canadian broodmare of the year status due to: ONE WAY LOVE (c. by Regal Classic), 15 wins, two G3 wins, $962K, champion sprinter and older horse in Canada; RUNAWAY LOVE (c. by Regal Classic), eight wins, $530K; and His Smoothness (g. by Sky Classic), winner at 2, $298K. And the second dam's half-sister Native Rights (Our Native) was Canada's champion broodmare for 2005 with CLASSIC STAMP (G2, $933K), PRIZED STAMP (G2, $438K) and NATIVE LEGEND ($145K) to her credit. Rahy has long been a favorite of mine, and while this girl wasn't outright fleet, she was pretty in her way of going, wasn't whipped to go any faster, and posted a decent time completely "within herself."

(Updated 1:36 p.m.)

Hip 1061: Sensationalmystery, bay filly by Macho Uno-Forest Mystery, by Running Stag. I've been waiting all sale to like one of the Macho Unos, because he's done so well already at stud. Dam was unraced and has produced a cheap winner from her first foal, but she was by Indy King, not nearly the sire that is Macho Uno. Second dam Gray Touch (Entropy) was stakes-placed and produced nine winners, including YOGI'S POLAR BEAR (Lucky Lionel), G2-placed Touch the Wire (g. by Birdonthewire), who earned $247K, Bullet Train (g. by Bold Ruckus), 10-race winner of $199K Artillery Exchange (Lite the Fuse), $101K-earner Blacktie Preferred (Black Tie Affair) and six-race winner of $96K Rubiano's Touch (Rubiano). Third dam Wava's Girl (Grey Judgement) was a stakes winner and stakes-producer of 10 wins including WAVEBAND (13 wins). A good 10.1 breeze helps.

(Updated 1:52 p.m.)

Hip 1079: Dark bay or brown filly by Wildcat Heir-Gemley, by Big Stanley. People are gonna start thinking I'm on the payroll at Journeyman Stud, where Wildcat Heir stands, but I'm not. They just know what they're doing. This filly breezed a crisp 20.4 for the quarter, but that speed is tempered by soundness from her dam, who won 15 times from 71 races and was once stakes-placed at Tampa for $309,677. Her first foal, Believe Me Homey (g. by Trippi), won twice at 3 last year for $23,770, but hasn't hit the board otherwise in eight lifetime starts. Second dam Tangem (Tanthem) won twice and bore five winners from six foals. Third dam was Blue Mountain Futurity-winning Drop a Gem (Rock Talk), who was half-sister to Monmouth Oaks-G1 winner GOLDEN HORDE, and who also bore five winners, including Ei's Hawkie (Fight Over) who won 18 times and finished second 16 more from 77 starts. Not much recent blacktype, just racehorses, and Wildcat Heir is getting those, too.

(Updated 2:15 p.m.)

Hip 1080: Bay colt by First Samurai-Gem Treck, by Java Gold. First crop for G1-winning juvenile First Samurai, but he's helped considerably here by the catalog page. Dam was unraced, but has worked with several sirelines and has seven winners from nine older foals, four of them blacktype horses: BUDDY GOT EVEN (c. by Stephen Got Even), five wins at 4 and 5, Forego S., Timeless Native S., $145,198; Glittergem (g. by Glitterman), six wins from 2 to 6, 2nd Arlington-Washington Futurity-G3, $146,353; Gem Sleuth (f. by Officer), three wins at 3 and 4, 3rd Bennington S.-R at Saratoga, $138,117; and Deepwater Bay (g. by Chester House), winner in England and stakes-placed there and in Hong Kong. Second dam was three-times G1-winning Tallahto (Nantallah) who produced G1 winner PRINCE TRUE and HIDDEN LIGHT (dam of ARTIE SCHILLER) and G2-placed Le Duc de Bar. Colt breezed 10.1, too.

(Updated at 2:21 p.m. as he's at $12K in the bidding)

Hip 1082: Lime Rock Revenge, bay gelding by Limehouse-Genie's Flight, by Silver Hawk. Gelding means he's in for racing only, with no stud hopes. That's cool. Dam was only placed, but has thrown 11 winners from 13 older foals, all to race. One of them is a Silver Deputy stakes winner of $150K, SILVER ON SILVER. Second dam, T.V. Genie (T. V. Commercial) was G3-placed and a half-sister to five-times Horse of the Year KELSO. She produced seven winners including BUSTED STITCHES. Racehorse family, good breeze of 10.2, and being gelded already means he can focus on being a racehorse, which he will be.

(Updated 2:26 p.m. with bidding at $16K)

Hip 1093: Atlantic Goddess, bay filly by Stormy Atlantic-Godmother, by Show'em Slew. A 10.1-breezing FL-bred whose dam was a G3-winner of nine races for $373K. She has produced four winners from six of racing age, including G3-placed Cinderella's Wish (Speightstown). Second dam Gallant Libby (Gallant Knave) won seven times for $148K including three stakes races. She also produced: WINTER MELODY (f. by Frosty the Snowman), a 15-race winner and G3-annexer for $614K, dam of a listed winner by this filly's sire in STORMY BALLAD ($101K); GALLANT GARRICK (c. by Skip Trial), eight wins, Owners' Day H. at Delaware Park, $228K; GALLANT SNOWMAN (g. by Frosty the Snowman), Draft Card S. at Delaware Park, $172K; and unraced War Goddess, dam of LIBBY'S HALO ($96K) and Mister Alimony ($167K).

(Updated 2:34 p.m.)

Hip 1109: Dark bay or brown filly by Royal Academy-Good Intentions, by Anet. Breeders' Cup Mile-G1 winner gets his share of racehorses, especially overseas and on grass. Mare was a turf stakes winner among 2-year-olds at Calder and earned $110K; this is her first foal of racing age. Her dam, Orena (Runaway Groom), was unplaced in one start, but a full sister to RUNAWAY CHOICE, a turf sprinter who won six times from 2 to 6, for $254,950. Their half-sister GUESS (Twining) was a Suffolk dirt-stakes winner of $130K. Third dam Diamond Sunjet (Sunny Clime) won 11 times for $132K, including the Minaret Stakes at Tampa, and was a half-sister to millionaire WEKIVA SPRINGS (10 wins, Gulfstream Park H.-G1, Suburban H.-G1, etc.) This Florida-bred breezed a capable 10.2 and should improve on grass.

(Updated 2:51 p.m.)

Hip 1114: Hot an Cool, dark bay or brown filly by Awesome Again-Gourmet Girl, by Cee's Tizzy. Can we get an Awesome Again (current fee $50K) out of a $1.255 million-earning champion with three G1 wins for under $10,000? Under $5,000? Maybe. Depends how hot buyers are for a KY-bred girl who only galloped out of a mare for whom a production record of "cool" would be a warming trend. Gourmet Girl has come nowhere near reproducing herself in the foaling stall, with five of racing age and only one even to race. At least that one was stakes-placed, Luxury Class (f. by Gone West), who won thrice at 2 and 3 for $68,588. Second dam is the Euro G3-placed Welsh Pageant mare Rhondaling, who also produced G1-placed Northern Mischief (Yankee Victor) and G3-placed 2009 juvenile Marfach (Leroidesanimaux). ... Getting a stakes foal from Gourmet Girl could be like playing Russian roulette; there might be only one bullet in the gun. But at least her gallop was pretty.

(Updated 3:02 p.m.)

Hip 1123: Gray or roan colt by Mizzen Mast-Gypsy, by Marfa. Dam a stakes-placer who produces; five winners from six of racing age (all ran), including G3-placed GAL ON THE GO (Irgun), who is a stakes-producer herself of dual-G3 heroine SOCIAL QUEEN (Dynaformer, $344K). Other winners are more modest, but winning begets winning. Witness second dam Nice Gal (Naskra), who won a dozen times and produced seven winners, including the outstanding PERFECT DRIFT (Dynaformer), who won 11 times from 2 to 6 for $4.7 million, including the Stephen Foster H.-G1 and six other graded stakes races. So this colt just worked a very-average 22-flat? He moved well doing it and the time just helps keep the price down. Mizzen Mast has 79 percent runners and nearly 54 percent winners from his first four crops and there's good reason to believe this is another racehorse for him.

(Updated 3:15 p.m.)

Hip 1145: Bay filly by Candy Ride(ARG)-Hortense(CHI), by Hussonet. This little girl went unsold for $5,000 as a yearling and only breezed 10.4 at this sale. But her Chilean-bred dam was turf-sprint stakes-placed at Sam Houston after coming to the States and is a full sister to Chilean G2-winner CONSERVATORIO. Their dam was a full sister to WEEPING (11 wins and a G3 in Chile) and Waco (six wins there), and half to HUSSERL (nine wins from 17 starts in Chile). Candy Ride is getting racehorses, but can so much Southern Hemisphere breeding succeed in the States? (Actually, yes, but I don't know that this one will get much chance). Worsrt-case, buy her cheap and send her back to South America, probably win a bit with her, and have a broodmare who would cross very well with the stock that's already down there.

(Updated 3:54 p.m. as she enters the ring)

Hip 1182: Soldier's Tune, gray or roan gelding by Concorde's Tune-Jessica Bush, by Lost Soldier. Want a racehorse ... right away? And probably cheap? This FL-bred should be close to the track and they did you a favor by gelding him already so you don't have to bear that cost (and wait), and he can focus on his job from the get-go. ... Breezed a credible 47-flat for four furlongs, one of very few to work that distance, and did it well within himself, whipped twice at the top of the stretch and only shown the stick one more time on the way home. Sire is unheralded, but gets 81 percent starters and 64 percent winners from all foals. He even gets 5 percent stakes winners, which is fair by today's standards. This mare was a modest winner at 2 and her first foal, Don Seis (by Don Six ... get it?), broke his maiden at 2 and has won again at 3 from six total starts for $39K. Second dam Oh My Jessica Pie (On to Glory) won 10 times from 17 starts at 2 and 3 for $403,707, including the G3 Churchill Downs Budweiser Breeders' Cup H. and five Calder stakes (including the Calder Budweiser Breeders Cup H.; she's apparently a suds-lover). She produced the Major Moran filly OH MY BUTTERFLY ($151K), 11-race winner Darn That Buck ($161K) and six total winners. Might be one of the handful who get announced upon entering the ring as already having his gate card; many of the 4f-workers do. Buy and perhaps go racing ... now.

(Updated 4:08 p.m.)

Hip 1184: Bay filly by Forest Camp-Jezebella, by Wild Again. Dam a cheap winner at 4, but has two winners from three of racing age including a stakes-winner in BALIAN (g. by Hennessy), who has earned $237K, and a cheap winner by Johannesburg. This filly didn't just work a pretty good 21.4, she did it in a handride, never feeling the stick. Second dam is the Crafty Prospector racemare For All Seasons, who won stakes races at Belmont (listed) and Gulfstream (restricted), was G1-placed in the Shuvee among her five graded-stakes performances. She only had two registered foals; the other was a modest winner in the U.K. and U.S. for $21K total. Third dam was the Irish Tower-sired G3 winner Religiosity, dam of 10 winners from 13 foals, including the Storm Cat line-sired Canadian champion KNIGHTS TEMPLAR (Exploit), Canadian stakes-winner DIAL A SONG (Mining) and Carson City daughter Kit's Girl, dam of G2 sprinter from this sireline, EATON'S GIFT (Johannesburg). Love how this KY-bred broke 22 seconds without being aggressively asked.

Hip 1187: Code Dancer, bay gelding by Omega Code-Jocey's Dance, by Seattle Dancer. For someone who isn't a fan of Elusive Quality, finding him overpriced for the results (oh, yeah, some G1 horses, and lots that do nothing), I sure find myself recommending a lot of the sons and daughters by his son, Omega Code. This one breezed a fleet 21.1 and, like the tipped-horse two prior, the sellers have done you the favor of gelding him already, so you're buying a racehorse who won't be distracted by the fillies on the back side. His dam was unraced, but has thrown six winners from nine foals, eight to race. Most were modest winners, but horses who made 20 to 50 starts, including the Is It True gelding All True, who won nine times from 2 to 8 and was stakes-placed among the FL-sired restricted for $99K. There's actually nice blacktype under the second dam, Green Greek (Green Ticket), who produced millionaire GRECIAN FLIGHT (f. by Cormorant, 21 wins, Acorn S.-G1, ETR monmouth, etc., stakes-producer), GRECIAN COMEDY (16 wins, $384K, granddam of BULLSBAY-G1), and EVZONE (16 wins, $328K), and unraced Bangled (dam of Florida Oaks-G3 winner ANKLET, $486K). ... Modest performance of late, but this family means business at the racetrack and this one looks like he could eclipse his siblings.

(Updated 4:31 p.m.)

Hip 1194: Dark bay or brown filly by High Fly-Jovetta, by Elusive Quality. Only mentioning her -- the 9 3/5, ridiculously fast workout-topper -- because she's going to sell for too much. Dam was unplaced from one start and her first foal by millionaire Express Tour (who hasn't sired much) is yet to start. Second dam won 17 times and was stakes-placed, and produced G3-winner HAWKS LANDING (Air Forbes Won), with six total winners from nine foals, but most didn't last nearly as long on the track as she. Third dam Lori's Way (Assagai) produced a dozen winners, only two of more than $70K earnings. This filly actually looked pretty good in getting 9.3. (How could you not, I guess?) But I have a hard time tipping a filly who I think will bring a lot of money on speed alone, when there's so little black type on the page and she's by a sophomore sire who has only three winners from a very small group of foals thus far. ... Good luck to her. Maybe she's a champion in waiting.

(Updated 4:51 p.m.)

Hip 1200: Bay colt by Desert Warrior-Karakorum Kiss, by Lord Carson. Colt breezed a nice 10.1 completely in-hand and already has two winning full-siblings (once stakes-placed) in Kiss and Fly, who won at 2 and four times from 19 starts at 3 for $127K, and Baci a Tutti, a winner at 3 and 4 for $51K. This is the third foal of racing age from the dam, who obviously has hit twice with this sire already. Second dam did little at the track and had only one other foal to race, but third dam Distant Doll (Distant Land) won 15 times, including a Louisiana Downs stakes race, for $196K, and produced 14-win stakes victor WESTERN TRADER (Herat), who earned $720K and won on both turf and dirt. New York-bred should hold his own when sent back Northeast.

(Updated 5:01 p.m.)

Hip 1205: Dark bay or brown filly by Ghostzapper-Katy Kat, by Forest Wildcat. Stakes-winning dam of $210K is also G3-placed and full sister to juvenile stakes-winner YADDO CAT (Permian Basin S. at Zia and Princess H. at Sunland, $112K). Dam has produced three winners from her prior registered foals, albeit only for $55K-$71K. Second dam, stakes-placed Fit to Fight mare Kombat Kate, produced four other winners from seven other foals, including G3-placed Kombat Kat ($234K) from this sireline via Future Storm. Third dam Caitland (Key to the Kingdom) was only placed, but a half-sister to G1 multi-millionaire and sire WILD AGAIN, and she produced LANCE (10 wins, Omaha Gold Cup-G3, Board of Governors' H.-G3, $284K), MR. DECATUR (Borderland Derby-L, $175K) and BUILDING CODE (nine wins, four stakes in Canada, $132K), plus Aussie-stakes-paced Oakmont. Filly only breezed 10.3, but was never whipped nor really asked for more.

Hip 1208: Rain Dance, dark bay or brown colt by Survivalist-Keetoowah, by Cherokee Run. Dam won three times for $48K and has no blacktype siblings, but I have a good feeling about this 10.3-breezer; I liked the way he went even though the time wasn't awe-inspiring. Second dam Miss Indy Anna (Apalachee) won seven of 10 lifetime starts including the Churchill Downs Budweiser Breeders' Cup H.-G2 and Columbia S.-G3, and was G1-paced in the Test Stakes for $349,500, but just never reproduced herself, though she did throw seven winners from nine foals. Third dam Savanna Anna (Vice Regent) was half to blacktype and did give us stakes horses in TIME LIMIT (Gilded Time), Hutcheson S.-G2, Spectacular Bid S.-G3, etc., $379K and VICTORIANNA (Tale of the Cat), NTR in the Fit for a Queen S. at Arlington, 6.5f in 1:14 2/5, $137K, and winning daughter Shebandowana (Mt. Magazine) bore WANNA RUNNER (El Corredor), winner of the Lone Star Derby-G3, etc., for $656K. Ontario-bred will get synthetic at Woodbine and I think he'll like it (Victorianna did). Grass might work, too.

(Updated 5:21 p.m.)

Hip 1220: Menil, bay filly by Johannesburg-Kreisleriana, by Seeking the Gold. Ignore the 10.4 breeze for an eighth; she's going to be at her best running about ten-eighths (or more). Dam was a 2-year-old winner for $166K in Japan, but her two older foals, both colts by Giant's Causeway, were a two-and-done (Titanic Blow, which that probably was to the connections) and Photo Shoot, who is only just getting started, unplaced in his first try this year. Second dam Kooyonga was Irish-bred and by Persian Bold, whose get, the Racing Post reports, won at an average of 10.5 furlongs. Kooyonga was the champion 3-year-old filly in both Ireland and all of Europe, champion mare, champion miler in Ireland, and highweight filly at 3 and 4 on the Irish handicaps, from 9.5 to 10.5f at 3 and from 9.5 to 11f at 4. She won the Irish One Thousand Guineas-G1 and the Coronation S.-G1, among her graded victories, and her 11-furlong score in the Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen-G1 made her highweight in Germany, as well. Kooyonga was half to HATTON GARDENS, dam of South African champ 3-year-old KUNDALINI and others. The family runs all day and I like that, even if nobody else does. ... OK, that can mean it could be tough to find her races. Maybe she needs to go overseas. But she looked like a smooth-mover who could go all day.

And with that -- and with the sale about to resume in the back holding area of the OBS facility after a 30-minute break for some sort of "incident" at the site -- I'm out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

OBS April Day 3 wrap: Average and median fall between Days 1 and 2; my tastes get more expensive

A Whywhywhy filly bred in Illinois brought the top price of the day Wednesday at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

The $150,000 juvenile was one of my selections (I obviously was not alone) after she blistered the Ocala Training Center track with a 32 4/5 work for three furlongs, fastest of the session. Tommy and Bonnie Hamilton of Kentucky's Silverton Hill operation purchased the chestnut filly from Shadybrook Farm, agent.

She was bred in Illinois by T/C stable is out of a Canadian stakes-placed Boundary mare, Vermilion Sea, and has a half-sibling who is thrice stakes-placed in Big Lou (Malibu Moon). Michael Yates of Shadybrook had bought her for just $37,000 in September at the Keeneland yearling sale.

The session showed upticks vs. Day 3 of 2009, with the number of horses sold (174) declining 7.9 percent, but the gross revenues increasing by the tiniest of margins -- $6,500 over last year, to $4.751 million. The average horse to sell Wednesday brought $27,305 and the median was $18,500. The average and median price both were up 8.8 percent vs. Day 3 in 2009, while the buy-back rate of horses that did not bring their reserve price increased slightly, to 28.4 percent from 27 percent last year.

The average horse to sell during Monday's first session of the sale brought just $23,363 and the median $18,000, lowest of the three days thus far despite the current sales-topper, a $260,000 Pleasantly Perfect colt. Tuesday's prices were highest thus far, with the average horse bringing $30,818 and the median sale price hitting $20,000.

Thursday's final session of the sale kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and can be viewed online.

I selected 18 horses from Monday's session and 22 from Tuesday's, with 16 actually selling each day. I was apparently more fond of Wednesday's offerings as a whole, tipping a whopping 34 as good bets for buyers.

Here's how they fared:

Hip 620: Bay filly by Concorde's Tune-Uppa Hughie, by Secret Prince. Dam has two stakes winners from five older foals, one of them by this sire. The other was a three-times champion after finding his friends in the Dominican Republic. Florida-bred filly breezed a decent 21.4. ... $37,000 to Bruce Brown, agent.

Hip 629: Bay filly by Toccet-Valid Silk, by Valid Appeal. This girl worked a brisk 21.2 and is half to stakes winner ROCKY RIVER (Concorde's Tune), and half to a stakes-producer. Thought this FL-bred could bring more. ... $28,000 to Harry Benson.

Hip 630: Vanity Light, bay filly by Congrats-Vanline, by Pass the Line. Dam won nine times and has two MI-bred stakes winners. This FL-bred worked 10.4, which isn't awful, but won't get a chance in the States; at least not right away. She's headed to Puerto Rico. ... $6,000 to Camarero Race Track.

Hip 632: Chestnut filly by Whywhywhy-Vermilion Sea, by Boundary. Her credentials have been detailed above. I'm not usually into trying to find the stratospheric-sellers, but it isn't like she was from a top Kentucky farm; she's an IL-bred, yet she was hard not to tip. ...$150,000 to Silverton Hill LLC.

Hip 634: Vital Victory, chestnut filly by Bwana Charlie-Victory Chime, by Polish Numbers. Filly by a sophomore sire on whom the jury is still quite out nevertheless managed a 10.2 breeze and is out of a G3-winning and G2-placed dam who has thrown a stakes winner in GLORIFICATION (Buddah) from five winners out of six older foals. I wrote that I hoped this FL-bred would come cheap and I honestly think she has. ... $20,000 to Jim Steil.

Hip 643: Chestnut filly by Songandaprayer-Wage a Penny, by Valid Wager. Dam was a juvenile stakes winner who has produced a stakes winner, VOW TO WAGER (Broken Vow), who recently took the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway. Kentucky-bred breezed 10.1. ...$45,000 to Ronald Nicholson.

Hip 671: Bay colt by Speightstown-Willie's Luv, by Williamstown. I wonder how this FL-bred vetted or how crooked he might look, because he worked 10.2 for an eighth, his dam won the Pennsylvania Oaks and he has a half-sister by Street Cry, FREEDOM STAR, who recently won the Azeri Breeders' Cup S.-G3 at Oaklawn for her second added-money win. ...$12,000 Not Sold.

Hip 673: Bay filly by Omega Code-Windjammin Lady by Helmsman. Withdrawn.

Hip 696: Hold Still, bay filly by Include-Zitlaly, by Emancipator. As noted prior, 10.3 breeze is only fair, but the female family wins. Dam was stakes-placed among IL-breds for $212K; this is her first foal. Second dam produced only three foals, but all were winners including $199K stakes winner LA JOYERIA (Dove Hunt). Third dam Rapid Raja (Darby Creek Road) a minor stakes winner and half to G2 winner NATIVE RAJA and 24-race winner Naroctive. Have to think this is a good price on the KY-bred. ... $18,000 to Guillermo Berrios.

Hip 702: Gray or roan colt by Hook and Ladder-Absolutely Lovely, by Silver Ghost.Pretty good 21.3 breeze for this NY-bred, plus he's full to a pair of winners including LOOKIN AT HER ($160K). I commented negatively on his action from the under-tack video, but he should at least knock a few heads at Finger Lakes if he can't compete at New York's "big three." ... $22,000 to Edwin Mundo Rios.

Hip 707: Chestnut filly by Best of the Bests-Adinaha, by With Approval. Withdrawn.

Hip 716: Boy Toy Cowboy, bay colt by Pure Prize-Aisle Seeya, by Gulch. Kentucky-bred colt made 10-flat look as easy as any horse has all sale, and has a winning full sibling, plus a 100 percent-producing dam who is half to G2-placed C. C.'s RETURN. Second dam a four-times graded winner. Close female family of POSSIBLY PERFECT (champion grass mare, $1.377 million) and G1 millionaire EDDINGTON. Noted trainer liked him, too, and bought him for somebody, and for plenty. ... $75,000 to Linda Rice, agent.

Hip 718: Chestnut colt by Sweetsouthernsaint-Aleutian Gold, by Prospector's Gamble. Surprised that this one didn't bring a little more, being a 21.3-breezing Florida-bred out of a producer of 80 percent winners from 10 foals, and the colt's full brother Seniors Pride just hit the board in the G3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup S. Also half to New Jersey Futurity winner RIVER POWER. Dam half to 21-win stakes horse JELLIED MADRILENE. ...$30,000 to Nathaniel Green, Green Grass.

Hip 719: Dark bay or brown filly by Rock Hard Ten-Alienated, by Gone West. Thought this one could go kinda high. Kentucky bred who flew 21-flat through a quarter, out of a minor stakes winner who is half to four other stakes horses. Third dam a Canadian champion turf horse; female family of JUDGE ANGELUCCI (Californian S.-G1), WAR (Blue Grass S.-G1) and PEACE (John Henry H.-G1). If this filly earns any blacktype of her own, or if her very young dam produces like her female ancestors, this price looks very reasonable down the road. In fact, it already does. ... $60,000 to Navigator Stables.

Hip 726: Bay filly by Concerto-Almost Aprom Queen, by Montbrook. Dam half to a pair of nice stakes horses in SEA OF GREEN ($651K) and LADY GIN ($227K), and has already produced a stakes-placed full sibling to this filly in sophomore Evening Concerto (3rd OBS Sprint S.-R, now $40,390). Florida-bred blew through the quarter in 21-flat. Could have brought more. ... $35,000 to Dan Hendricks, agent for Eric & Paula Nygaard.

Hip 728: Dark bay or brown colt by West Acre-Always a Belle, by Always a Classic. I don't like unraced sires and dams, but this duo has already worked for two winners, including stakes-placed sophomore Forty Nine Acres (now $53K), and this FL-bred colt breezed a brisk 10-flat. Sire has scored time and again with this immediate female family, including G2 winner of $647K IVANAVINALOT from this mare's half-sister Beaty Sark, and $310K stakes winner WEST COAST FLYER from one of Beaty Sark's daughters. If this immediate female family were big enough to give West Acre a hundred mares a year, he'd look like another Storm Cat. ... $28,000 to Ruben Valdes.

Hip 740: Christmas Angel, bay filly by Cetewayo-Andy's Bonus, by Conquistador Cielo. I adore this filly's inbreeding 3x5 to legendary couple Ribot and Flower Bowl through their sons His Majesty and Graustark. Female family is thick with black type under the G3-winning second dam, including dual-surface G1 horse CHRISTMAS KID, G1 winner/sireGRAND SLAM, $322K stakes winner and sire LEESTOWN and several others. Dam of this one has seven winners from nine prior foals, including stakes-placed Easter Bonus. Yet I knew, because of run-all-day G1 turf horse Cetewayo who has done little so far as a sire, this leggy filly would bring little or nothing. I'd be proud to have her, and her sellers still do. ...$8,000 Not Sold.

Hip 743: Dark bay or brown colt by Montbrook-Another Treasure, by Tasso.Montbrook 2-year-olds frequently do well and this FL-bred looks like another, breezing an easy 21.3. Full sister earned $189K non-blacktype. Dam a hit-and-miss producer from female family of dual G1 winner RUHLMANN ($1.8 million) and CODY JONES (18 wins in Italy). ...$41,000 to Caroni Stable Inc.

Hip 766: Bernardus, dark bay or brown colt by Pleasantly Perfect-Aunt Dot, by Capote. Several Pleasantly Perfects only galloped in the under-tack show, and this was one of them. I liked his looks the most and he brought the least. In fact, I'm shocked Niall Brennan Stables as agent sold him for this price, so obviously something's amiss. ... $3,000 to Cronin Bloodstock.

Hip 770: Lucky's Revenge, bay colt by Smart Strike-Avenging Tomisue, by Belong to Me. Full brother to $195K Tampa stakes winner STRIKING TOMISUE entered the ring with announced notification of a vet report on an injured, but "healing," leg. Might have had something to do with him only breezing 10.4. Seemed to be confusion in selling him, too, as he was in the ring, out with what I thought was a sale at $20K, and then back for bid to bring the final price, which wasn't enough. .. $19,000 Not Sold.

Hip 779: Bay filly by Trippi-Backtothebooks, by Notebook. Another pretty nice Trippi from this sale, she breezed 21.1, is half to three winners from four of racing age, and her dam was half to multiple G3 winner SHARP APPEAL. Huge family under Schuylerville Stakes-winning fourth dam Bold Princess, including WHAT A PLEASURE, dual champion MISTY MORN, MISTY FLIGHT and others, though granted, that's a bit far back. ... $25,000 to Phyllis M. Susini LLC.

Hip 784: Bay filly by Quiet American-Bangled, by Alysheba. Slow-breezer (11.0) with an unraced dam who has produced only 50 percent winners from 10 foals. But the ones who run, really run, and produce, including half-sisters to this filly in ANKLET (Florida Oaks-G3, placed Ashland S.-G1, stakes-producer), SPANGLED (1st Criterium de Lyon) and Awe That(dam of G2-winner BEL AIR BEAUTY). Dam a half-sister to Acorn S.-G1 winner GRECIAN FLIGHT (21 wins), GRECIAN COMEDY (16 wins) and EVZONE (16 wins). I think this one will want two turns and potentially turf or synthetic, and I wondered whether buyers would pay for the blacktype or knock her for the breeze. They knocked her. ... $24,000 Not Sold.

Hip 788: Bay colt by Omega Code-Basque N the Storm, by Mystery Storm. FL-bred full brother to CODE RUNNER and half-brother to Wish Me Success breezed 10.1. That did the trick. ... $43,000 to Dan Hendricks, agent for Cecil Peacock.

Hip 801: Bay filly by Wildcat Heir-Betty's Courage, by Montbrook. In addition to the session-topper, I took a shining to this one, who almost beat her out. Unraced dam has one good, but non-blacktype, runner from two prior foals. This girl breezed a nice 10.0 eighth and has very good female family under stakes-placed second dam Grand Betty (Copelan). I thought she might bring a little less than the average Wildcat Heir, but she brought much more. ...$140,000 to Patrice Miller, EQB Inc., agent.

Hip 807: Gray or roan colt by Wildcat Heir-Blue Kat, by Blue Ensign. Darn that Wildcat Heir; he keeps catching my eye with fleet 2-year-olds. This one wasn't all that pretty on video, though, ran just a tick slower at 10.1, and came from a family with less blacktype than the one above. ... $33,000 to Kuehne Racing.

Hip 810: Bay filly by Albert the Great-Blushing Native, by Blushing John. Unraced dam full to G2-winner BLUSHING HEIRESS and second dam was a G2 inner herself who also produced G3-winner REALLY FANCY. Seemingly classy NY-bred breezed a capable 10.2. But not many Albert the Greats go through the auction ring, and maybe this is why. ... $10,000 to Data Track Int'l.

Hip 812: Gray or roan filly by Suave-Boggs Eyes, by Miesque's Son. New York-bred made 33 3/5 for three furlongs look easy, convincing me to ignore the freshman sire. Dam was a minor Arlington stakes winner and has produced Meadowlands stakes-placed Behavioral Finance (Touch Gold). Second dam won 10 times, four in stakes company, and produced G3 winner of 15 races TORCH (Risen Star) who cranked out 20-race winner MORINE'S VICTORY (Victory Gallop). A potentially exceptional NY-bred. ... $60,000 to Genmar LLC.

Hip 814: Silver Jo, dark bay or brown filly by Silver Train-Bolsa, by Mr. Prospector.Freshman sire has been mostly ignored by me, but this filly breezed a nice 21.4 and is out of a mare by a legendary sire who so far has produced only four modest winners from as many to race, but might have finally found her good one. Second dam a multiple stakes winner who was half to turf champion and top sire COZZENE and others. Went cheap. ... $12,000 to Midwest Thoroughbreds.

Hip 816: Doasisay Notasisay, chestnut colt by Delaware Township-Bonjove, by Caracolero. It would be hard for a stallion to look better than DT, and he gets a few good ones. His sire got a G2 winner in SCRATCH PAD out of this mare, a good sign, and the 21.2 breeze was nice. Everybody tried to steal him. ... $19,000 Not Sold.

Hip 839: Bay filly by Sweetsouthernsaint-Call Me Dancer, by Gate Dancer. Dam has produced Oaklawn stakes winner DANCE CALLER (Concorde's Tune) and foreign stakes-placer Gin's Dancer (Slew Gin Fizz). Filly breezed an average 22.1. Could be one of the sale's better deals. ... $15,000 to Tim Kegel, agent.

Hip 849: Pulgarcito, bay colt by Greatness-Cat Attack, by Storm Cat. Name is Spanish for "Tom Thumb" (seriously), but this fellow ran quick enough (10.0) to again get me to ignore the lightly raced sire. Of course, a G3-winning dam who has already produced stakes horses in PICK OF THE PACK ($107K) and Power Pack ($76K), both by Lil's Lad, doesn't hurt. Not surprised by the price offered; a little surprised that it wasn't enough. ... $37,000 Not Sold.

Hip 871: Dark bay or brown filly by Silver Deputy-Christmas Rose, by Private Terms. Speed to burn with a 9.4 eighth, filly also comes from some blacktype, including $116K stakes-winning half-sis CHRISTMAS LILY (Marquetry). Crossing my fingers that this KY-bred is among the winning 50 percent of her hit-and-miss female family. But she sure has others convinced. ... $110,000 to Arnold Zetcher.

Hip 876: Chestnut filly by Posse-Clarksburg Queen, by Sea of Secrets. What's the most money ever offered for a Wyoming-bred TB? This price would usually buy 10 of them. But not this quick-draw cowgirl who ran 21.1 and has a stakes-placed sophomore brother in Dahlgren Chapel (Chapel Royal, $173K earned). ... $49,000 Not Sold.

Hip 895: Gray or roan filly by Stormy Atlantic-Coquettish, by Not For Love. A good 10.1 breeze and a stakes-winning dam from a good Maryland family. This one is a KY-bred whose relatively young dam has already produced a juvenile stakes-placer in Taking a Chance (Stephen Got Even). Really like this price. ... $18,000 to Rayzin the Bar Stable.

So, seven of my 30 tips were RNAs today, and two were "outs," leaving 21 sold. Three of those went for six figures, contributing to a total price of $938,000 and an average of $44,667 which is much higher than both the sales average and the price of the average runner I've been recommending.