Friday, July 8, 2011

This time he's right: I'm First collects maiden win, then Choego Chansa becomes winner No. 90

For the first five starts of his young career, the gelding I'm First, simply wasn't.

He did hit the board in two out of five tries as a 2-year-old; third-place finishes at Charles Town and Laurel Park. But his name was finally fitting on Thursday night at Colonial Downs, the bay gelding's first try on turf. I'm First and jockey Sheldon Russell overcame a bumping incident at the start and being hung five-wide on the turn to clear a field of $5,000 maiden-claimers going a mile on the grass. He won by four lengths in a final time of 1:40.27 and paid $15.60 to win.

The son of Soto-Ladies First, by El Raggaas, was bred in Kentucky by Highclere. He is owned by B and B Racing Stable LLC and trained by Susan Cooney.

I shortlisted I'm First as a "Priority 2" animal on a 48-horse short-list of prospects for a bargain-seeking client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in Training at Timonium, Md. He sold there for just $11,000 as Hip 212. With this modest win and two prior placings, he's now earned $7,668 -- but just getting your picture taken once isn't a bad return on an $11,000 auction buy.

With the victory, I'm First became winner No. 89 for my 187-horse Sales Tip Class of 2010. And before Thursday night was over in the United States, he was joined by Friday's first sales-tip winner worldwide and the 90th maiden-breaker overall when Choego Chansa bested a foreign-bred Class IV field in Far East Friday action at Busan in Korea.

The dark bay filly by Kafwain-Lil's Gate, by Gate Dancer, was among my recommendations from the 2010 Ocala April sale. She went for $37,000 as Hip 52, purchased by the Korean Racing Authority and resold after export. Choego Chansa broke through to the winner's circle in her 10th start and has now earned $49,996, converted from South Korean Won to U.S. dollars.

Finishing fourth in that same Busan race was another OBSAPR sales-tip of mine, Myeongpumtansang (whose name is spelled as two words in the U.S. and one overseas). Sold to Korea for $19,000 as Hip 1145, the daughter of Candy Ride has now earned $9,674 from 10 starts.

With 90 winners now on the books, that's 48.1 percent from all selections I made from various 2-year-old sales of 2010.

The wins by I'm First and Choego Chansa followed-up a maiden-breaking score earlier Thursday by Shackleton Hill at Woodbine, making for a currently active three-race win streak by my sales tips. That string of success was close to being a bit longer, as the two races prior by the class this week were second-place maiden-race finishes by Elusive Land at Woodbine on Wednesday and Conway Hillbilly (by only three-quarters of a length) at Belmont earlier Thursday.

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