Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend ends with pair of wins; earnings top $1M

Maybe I've been spoiled by a measure of success.

I griped in this space on Saturday evening about a tough couple of racing days in which my 2010 juvenile sales tips fell short of my (and occasionally bettors') expectations. But after a pair of wins from three starts on Sunday, I realize now that I was grousing in the middle of a race-week in which the tips scored victories at 23.5 percent rate (4-for-17), added three maiden-breakers to the roster (including one Sunday, the 27th of 187 sale-selections), and put another graded stakes-placer on the board in Arlington-Washington Futurity-G3 runner-up Rough Sailing.

Perhaps most noteworthy, the group crested $1 million in earnings.

Sunday's action for the Class of 2010 began at Woodbine, where by far the most expensive horse among my sales tips won her second lifetime race in as many starts, even more easily than she won her first.

Delightful Mary (Limehouse-Deputy's Delight, by French Deputy) was the $500,000 sales-topper at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training. She broke maiden at Canada's premier racetrack on Aug. 8, covering six furlongs in 1:09 and change, winning by three and a half lengths without a whole lot being asked.

On Sunday, two scratches left her but three foes to face in a mile-seventy allowance on the synthetic main track at Woodbine. And Delightful Mary dispatched them easily, grabbing the lead right out the gate for jockey Corey Fraser and widening throughout while well in hand to score by eight lengths in 1:43.84.

Delightful Mary was bred in Florida by late, legendary Hobeau Farm, and is owned by John C. Oxley. Her trainer is Mark Casse. She banked $34,599 U.S. for the victory, running her career total from two starts to $67,876.

While I spent much of my time this spring -- both unpaid and paid, as a bloodstock advisor at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic in May -- searching for more bargain-priced runners, I simply couldn't ignore the prospects of Hip 949 at OBS April. She practically set fire to the track with a 20 2/5 quarter in the breeze show, is a half-sister to millionaire Ohio Derby-G2 winner DELIGHTFUL KISS, and her second dam, Hobeau-homebred BISHOP'S DELIGHT (Sawbones-Med Coed, by Dr. Fager) was both G1-placed and also the granddam of G2 winner SHADOW CASTER.

As part of the Hobeau Farm dispersal, the filly was selling without reserve. "(But) you'll still have to break your piggy bank. And your spouse's. And your neighbor's."

I thought she would head straight to stakes company after her razor-sharp debut. Almost certainly the hunt for catalog blacktype to enhance this investment will begin in her next start.

Later in the afternoon, far down the Eastern Seaboard at Calder Race Course in Florida, a struggling sales-tip broke his maiden when dropped steeply for a tag.

On Appeal (Closing Argument-Oh Nyet, by Time for a Change) was last seen in a stakes race, while still a maiden. Finishing last there -- and despite having hit the board twice at higher levels for his connections, breeder/owner Janet Erwin and Trainer Terry Oliver -- he was dropped for a $12,500 tag on Sunday, and won for fun at even money.

Over a sloppy strip, the colt sloshed to the lead under Daniel Coa, led all seven foes by 10 lengths at the top of the stretch, and skipped home an easy winner by five and a half. He covered seven furlongs in 1:29.29 without being asked in a final furlong jogged in 14.90.

The victory gives On Appeal a win, a second and a third from six starts at age 2, with $13,464 in earnings.

"I'm trying not to let this colt's breathtaking breeze of 20.4 for a quarter overwhelm me," I wrote in recommending the colt when he sold for $25,000 as Hip 218 at OBSAPR. In part that was because his sire -- though a courageous second to Giacomo in the Kentucky Derby -- is an unproven sophomore. But the dam here has produced 7-for-7 winners, including multiple Calder stakes-placed filly Prohibido Olividar, 11-race winner Dinner Withawinner, and other foals who have won, seven and six times.

"So the odds are, this colt will run and win," I concluded. "That's reinforced by a second dam, TITLE VICTORY (Title Game) who won 17 times, including the Ballerina H., Vanity H., and the British Columbia Oaks."

I think the horse is better than a $12,500 claimer, and apparently so does somebody else. He was claimed from Erwin and Oliver by new owner Wayne A. Dacosta and trainer Jason Dacosta.

Also at Calder Sunday, Z Breeze, a sales-tip debuter who I considered to be a live horse at 6/1 on the morning line, was sent off at nearly 12/1 in an open maiden special weight. He and Manoel Cruz made the lead and held it until the stretch, but eventually were passed by not one, but five horses, finishing sixth, yet beaten only a length and a quarter total in a cavalry-charge finish.

Like 20/1 sales-tip Surprise Strike, second beaten only a length Friday at Presque Isle Downs, I doubt Z Breeze can be had at 12/1 next time, despite a finish of "6" for his debut.

With the pair of successes, the Class of 2010 now has 33 wins from 182 starts worldwide, for a strike rate of 18.1 percent. They've finished second 31 times and third on 17 occasions for an in-the-money percentage of 44.5 percent.

Sunday's action swelled the sales-tips' collective bankroll to $1,039,272, or $5,710 per start.

That sum, I believe, is a significant figure. In her book "The Home Run Horse," author Glenye Cain notes that a past Thoroughbred Times analysis of the most active 25 bloodstock agents at thoroughbred yearling sales found that only six of them had a positive return-on-investment at the racetrack from their purchases. (Though many manage to break even or profit through residual value of the horse at the end of its career, particularly in stallion syndication, with the whoppers covering for the losses by losers.)

The horses I recommended from this spring's sales -- while not yearlings, and obviously much more finished products -- have already earned back roughly one-sixth of their combined purchase and RNA prices. I find that encouraging, considering it isn't even Sept. 15 of their juvenile season, and fewer than half of the 187 selections have even made their first start.

And, though they aren't yearlings, I have friends in the business who would rather take their chances on the unbroken youngsters than roll the dice with 2-year-olds. With yearlings, a buyer can select on pedigree and conformation, then finish the horse their own way. In buying juveniles, a buyer has to hope that the consignor hasn't pushed the horse to the point of breaking just to get him to the breeze show.

At any rate, the group is off to a pretty fair start, and I hope that their winning, getting stakes horses (two winners and four graded-placers) and earning their keep, doesn't stop.


  1. Well done Glenn!

    How are you doing the bookkeeping on this project?

  2. Thanks, Nicholas, and the answer is "pretty manually."

    I use's free auction results search once a week (horse by horse) to see if previously unnamed horses have been named. Then I add those names and a few notes (pedigree, sale, Hip No., price) to my Virtual Stable at Equibase, so that I get notifications of workouts, entries and results.

    I have an Excel spreadsheet with all the horses in it, named or unnamed (by pedigree). That way, the grand total of starts, W-P-S and earnings are calculated on behalf of my addled mind. I do the earnings/start and other percentages by hand -- or calculator on my Mac, that is -- because that's within the range of my feeble math skills.

    About a dozen of the sales tips were sent to Korea. I realize now I still haven't finished a blog post about that. None are winners over there, but several have placed second or third.

    Interesting that in Korea, 2-year-olds race against older. They compete in "Class 4" races that are "weight for age," so in theory (though not always in practice) they carry less weight than their elders.

    Recently one of my tips, a Forest Camp filly named our camp, closed hard to finish second beaten a half-length in a Korean race, losing to a 4-year-old. That older horse was 0-for-19 prior, but still, I think it's a tall order for juveniles to win under those conditions, although I've already seen a couple who have.

  3. Oh, I forgot to finish my thought about Korea.

    The Korean Stud Book (I'll link it in that post) maintains a really useful horse page on EVERY HORSE in the country. (Or so it seems.) This includes race record, with considerable information, almost sorta PP-like rather than just a tabulated record of starts, W-P-S and earnings. It shows track, how many ran, position of finish for this horse, etc.

    It only takes the Korean Stud Book about 24 to maybe 48 hours to update a horse's online race record after he makes a start. So I check that site once a week to see if any of my tips that were sent to Korea have made a start in the past seven days.


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