Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another daily double, sales-tip style

Two more members of this blog's juvenile sales-tip class of 2010 broke maiden on Thursday, both by open lengths, one of them in "dominating" fashion, winning at Hoosier Park "by a pole."

Soldier's Tune, a maiden-claiming winner at Calder Thursday afternoon, and Category Killer, victor the same evening in Indiana by a murderous margin, become the 31st and 32nd to break maiden among my 187 selections from several of this spring's juvenile sales.

Both horses had been near-winners at their same levels and tracks in prior starts.

Soldier's Tune debuted July 1 at the maiden-claiming $32,000 level at Calder and was only beaten a head. Stepped up to MCL $40K, he finished fourth, then back at $32,000 on Sept. 4, he finished second behind a fellow Class of 2010 selection, Just Chillin Boss.

On Thursday, ridden by Juan Leyva, Soldier's Tune was sent away as the roughly 5/2 favorite off a 6/1 morning line. A debuting, 39/1 long-shot, Chagu Mio, broke first (and would eventually finish second), but Soldier's Tune was a head in front within the first three-sixteenths and at the half, and progressively drew off. Chagu Mio clung to the place, four lengths behind the winner and just a head and a nose in front of Kitten's Caregiver (3.8/1) and 47/1 first-timer Jim's Decision.

Soldier's Tune set fractions of 22.66 and 47.15 on his way to covering five furlongs over fast dirt in 1:00.36. He was conditioned for the win by Richard Root for owner Joseph W. Raffa.

He was bred in Florida by Louie Rogers and David McKathan.

I recommended the gray or roan son of Concorde's Tune-Jessica Bush, by Lost Soldier as Hip 1182 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training. (Curiously, he was catalogued as a gelding and the Equibase chart for his victory labels him a colt; that's an equipment change not usually as readily reversed as "blinkers off.")

Joe Arboritanza, as agent for Mr. Raffa, purchased the horse for $28,000 at OBSAPR. Soldier's Tune now has a win and two seconds from four starts for $19,578.

Arboritanza and Raffa no doubt didn't read this blog, but if they had, it turns out they'd have bought almost exactly what I led them to expect.

"Want a racehorse ... right away? And probably cheap?" I wrote at the time. "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."

The horse, I noted, "breezed a credible 47-flat for four furlongs, one of very few to work that distance, and did it well within himself." The sire, I note, "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."

The dam won at 2, her first foal broke maiden at 2 and has won again at 3, and second dam Oh My Jessica Pie won 10 of 17 at ages 2 and 3, was a stakes winner both years (G3 as a sophomore) and earned $403K. She produced a stakes winner in OH MY BUTTERFLY and an 11-race winner of $161K from 56 starts in Darn That Buck.

"Buy and perhaps go racing ... now," I predicted.

Soldier's Tune was in the starting gate by July 1, and a winner before September's end.

(As an addendum, I'd like to see Soldier's Tune try sprinting on grass. His sire is a grandson of Super Concorde, champion 2-year-old in France. His dam is by the recently deceased Lost Soldier, a Danzig son and a crossover performer with a Grade 3 win on turf, who not only sired champion dirt sprinter Lost in the Fog, but also millionaire turf horse Soldier's Dancer.)

While his classmate took four starts to break maiden, Category Killer required only two. But, like Soldier's Tune, he also was denied a win along the way by another sales pick of mine when Pulgarcito won their mutual debut at Hoosier by more than three lengths on Aug. 18. Category Killer was a clear second that night.

On Thursday, there was no fellow sales-tip to deny him, and no denying that Category Killer was much the best in the race. The winner dueled long-shot leader Biscotto for the opening half-mile, was five lengths ahead of the field at the top of the stretch, and just kept widening.

The son of Officer (a sire just banished this week to Korea) out of the Phone Trick mare, Dial a Trick, was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms LLC. He was trained by Tom Amoss for Klaravich Stables Inc. and W.H. Lawrence, and ridden to victory by Leandro Goncalves. Final time for six furlongs over the fast dirt strip was 1:11.2. (View the video here courtesy of

I recommended Category Killer from that same Ocala April sale, where he was sold for $70,000 as Hip 957. At the time, he seemed to me one of the surer bets on the sales-tip list.

"Dam didn't race, but has six winners from eight of racing age, and some pretty good ones," I wrote.

I took note that Category Killer is half-brother to EYE OF THE TIGER (Washington Park H.-G2, etc., $535,679), WILDWOOD FLOWER (G2-placed), and juvenile stakes-placer Expanse, who since became the dam of Travers S.-G1 winner AFLEET EXPRESS and was already credited with foaling MAXXAM Gold Cup winner and Illinois Derby-G2-placed REPORTING FOR DUTY. This is the near-female-family of several other stakes winners, including Illinois Derby-winner and Preakness-placed SWEETNORTHERNSAINT.

Category Killer helped make his own case with a gusty 9 4/5 breeze, then continued to work sharply for months leading up to his debut. I was shocked when Pulgarcito took him gate-to-wire in their first-outs, but by the top of the stretch this time, it was a one-horse race.

When he sold for $70,000, I noted it was "often tough to say about a horse who brought more than double the sale average price, but this dollar-figure might prove a bargain."

It hasn't yet, with a win and a place for $28,000. But Category Killer looks like a horse who could move forward from here into some headier company.

As noted above, Thursdays wins bring the sales-tip class to 32 maiden-breakers from 187 recommended horses, or 17.1 percent of the class. With 89 of the class having made at least one start, the dual victors mean that 36 percent of all sales-tip runners are now winners.

The class as a whole has won 40 of 222 starts (18 percent), placed another 41 times (36.5 percent in the exacta) and added 21 third-place finishes (an in-the-money rate of 46 percent). They have earned a combined $1,296,375, for $5,839.52 per start.

The group includes eight stakes horses, five of them graded-placed.

Track the unfolding careers of my sales picks, and a few pans, at the bottom of this former post.


  1. Interesting pedigree for Soldier's Tune; Hail to Reason, In Reality, Turn To. Did that play a role in your recommendation Glenn?

  2. Pedigree always plays a factor in my recommendations. Some consider "pedigree" to be lots of recognizable names and (of course) great horses; others want to see repeats of those names (inbreeding or deeper linebreeding). Recency and affinities between families also are important to me.

    The only five-generation repeat here (across top and bottom of the pedigree, that is, not including the two strains of Bold Ruler solely on the dam's side) is Iron Ruler. That's important mostly because, as a son of Never Bend, he was both exceptionally well-bred (himself inbred to the talented and influential mare Mumtaz Mahal and carrying three strains of Blandford), and he ought to serve as a bit of a source of soundness.

    This is a deeper linebreeding to Bold Ruler, as Concorde's Tune is a distant tail-male ancestor of his. The dam carries two strains of Bold Ruler in her four-generation pedigree, through Secretariat and Bold Lad. And I like inbreeding to Bold Ruler. So the linebreeding is 6Sx5Dx5D to Bold Ruler. Which I like, but is not the strongest consideration. (And there certainly are ancestors repeated far more often, and thus potentially more influential, in a seven- or nine-generation pedigree of this horse.)

    Mostly, I consider Concorde's Tune an underrated stallion who just tends to get useful racehorses, and this female line has produced a few, including 10-for-17 second dam Oh My Jessica Pie. His apparent talent in the breeze suggested he was on the "good" side of the family, not the "not so good." The dam had already produced a multiple winner from a lesser sire (Don Six). And this one looked like a useful 2-year-old (there are sources of precocity in the pedigree, some of which you mention) who could go on with his career (in number of starts, not necessarily distance) at 3 and beyond because his sire ran 28 times and his dam-sire (Lost Soldier) 45, etc.

    I also considered the possibility that he might be a crossover performer, dirt/turf (or synth if need be), because his sire is a grandson of Super Concorde, French champion (i.e., turf) at 2 and his dam being by Lost Soldier introduces Danzig, which (including through Lost Soldier, for example, his millionaire son Soldier's Dancer) can sometimes equate to turf.

    I would dearly love to see the connections turn Soldier's Tune out in a 5f or 6f grass race. Sooner rather than later.


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