Friday, August 6, 2010

Once again in SoCal, Gibson delivers off bench

On Oct. 15, 1988, a hobbled Kirk Gibson limped to home plate in Dodger Stadium and hit one of the most historic long balls in Major League history, driving a 3-2 pitch from Oakland Athletics closer and future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley into the stands in right to win Game 1 of the World Series, 5-4.

Gibson, who spent most of the game out of uniform receiving treatment on a pulled left hamstring and bruised right knee, limped his way around the basepaths, pumping his fist. It would be his only at-bat of the series, which the Dodgers took four games to one over the no doubt dispirited A's.

Thursday at Del Mar wasn't nearly as memorable a moment in Southern California sports history. But a 2-year-old colt whose name almost has to be a nod to that classic, highlight-reel moment, made good in his first at-bat.

Gibson Home Run wired a field of $32K-$28K maiden-claimers at Del Mar, covering five and a half furlongs on the synthetic main track in 1:04.71, and becoming the 10th of my 187 sales picks from this year's juvenile auctions to break his maiden.

The bay colt by Gibson County-Tanja, by Allen's Prospect, was bred by McKathan Bros. and foaled in Florida. He sold for $30,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training, and runs under the joint ownership of Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum and Kevin Tsujihara. Working briskly up to the race and being sent off as the second-favorite at odds of slightly less than 3/1, Gibson Home Run was ridden by Patrick Valenzuela for conditioner Peter Miller.

In tipping the colt, I noted that his multiple stakes-winning dam "is yet to reproduce herself, but does have six winners out of eight prior foals of racing age." While none of them were stakes-placed and only three earned more than $50,000, and despite Gibson County's status as a less-heralded sire, I liked the colt's speedy 9 4/5 drill for an eighth, "during which he really looked the part of a racehorse."

The second dam of Gibson Home Run is the Magesterial-sired stakes-winner Fleet Road, who produced five other stakes horses (three black-type winners) besides Tanjia: MIDWAY ROAD, TUZIA, SHANGHIED, Briarwood Circle and Cargi. This is also the close female family of multiple G2 winner BUDDY'S SAINT.

I postulated that the "fleet Florida-bred has a chance to outrun his eight older siblings' earnings marks without breaking the bank at time of purchase."

Bought for $30K and raced for a $32K tag, it would be hard to argue that Gibson Home Run has so far exceeded expectations. But he banked $13,200 from his debut-nod victory. And is it ever a bad thing to say your horse won a race at Del Mar?

To keep watch on all my 187 sales picks, and a few pans, scroll down to the list at the bottom of this former post.

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