Saturday, April 30, 2011

Prize Doll takes Tampa turf trial among maidens

Stakes horses proving just a bit too tough, Prize Doll found fellow non-winners a bit more to her liking. She came away with her first lifetime victory on Saturday, winning by two lengths over 70/1 long-shot Marciane in a turf maiden $40K event going a flat mile at Tampa Bay Downs.

I recommended the chestnut filly by Pure Prize-Doll Baby, by Citidancer, as Hip 970 at last year's OBS April sale, where she failed to sell for a top bid of only $17,000. She debuted at age 3 in stakes company, finishing last of six, but within hailing distance of the others, in the OBS Sprint S. (filly division) at Ocala Training Center, a race in which fellow sales-tip Take Me To Zuber ($28,000 OBSAPR Hip 629) was second.

Ridden by Daniel Coa on Saturday at Tampa, Prize Doll got a shot at nine of her fellow maidens and made good on it, running down the potential shocker Marciane in the stretch to win by a widening two lengths in 1:38.93.

Prize Doll was bred in New York by Edward Seltzer and David Cassidy. She is trained by Curtis Garrison for Seltzer, who campaigns her solo. The win earned Prize Doll $8,700.

She becomes the 76th of my 187 juvenile sales selections of 2010 to break maiden; that's 40.6 percent.

In other Saturday sales-tip results, Wrapped in Gold (Touch Gold-Miss Ginalie, by Skip Away, $10,000 OBSAPR Hip 139) won a claimer going a mile and a sixteenth on dirt at Hawthorne. She has two wins from nine starts for $15,716. Silver Jo (Silver Train-Bolsa, by Mr. Prospector, $12,000 OBSAPR Hip 814) was second among NW2L claimers at Delaware Park, and Vital Victory (Bwana Charlie-Victory Chime, by Polish Numbers, $20,000 OBSAPR Hip 634) was a distant second among maiden-claimers at Calder.

Meanwhile, on Friday in Korea, Kidari Joe (Tiznow-Trickle of Gold, by Formal Gold, $20,000 OBSAPR Hip 545) won his third race in six starts at Busan; he's earned about $84,140 in U.S. equivalent. In that same "Foreign Class 3" race, Fleeting Joy (Kitten's Joy-Speedy Sunrise, by Cherokee Run, $7,500 OBSAPR Hip 476) finished third. Fleeting Joy has earned about $48,909 with one win and four other placings from nine starts.

Follow all 187 sales picks, and nine that I panned, at the bottom of this prior post.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bessie M wins N1x by daylight

Bessie M, a filly I recommended to a client at least year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds, picked up her second lifetime victory in eight starts Friday at Calder, sitting off the pace and pouncing in the stretch to win by a widening six lengths over 3/5 favorite Wild Bout Tiffany.

Sent off as the second choice, but at nearly 5/1, Bessie M paid $11.40 to win, though only $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. She was expertly ridden by Jose Alvarez, who relaxed the filly behind early fractions of 22.47 and 46.90 and sat seventh of eight at the half as the favorite was hounded by Truly Classy, Miss Maggie Girl and My Mama Gator, who finished 3-4-5 behind the exacta. While Wild Bout Tiffany put away all her early challengers by 2 1/2 lengths or more, she was spent in the stretch, where Bessie M did her running. Final time for six furlongs in N1x company was 1:13.2.

Bessie M earned $15,000 for the victory, bumping her lifetime earnings to $47,024.

She was bred in Maryland by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes, and was purchased for $35,000 by William H. Harris at last year's EASMAY sale. She broke maiden in a dead-heat with Feelin Abit Frisky for a $40K tag at Monmouth on Aug. 20 last year, in her second start for Harris' barn. Harris lost her in a $25,000 claim to Platinum Equestrian Corporation in January at Gulfstream, and those connections were the winning owners today, with Antonio Sano the trainer of record.

I tipped the filly by Medallist-Catalita, by Mountain Cat, after a 22 2/5 quarter-mile breeze over a slow surface at EASMAY. I generally liked the way she was put together and the time certainly was eye-catching, though on the whole I gave her only Priority 2 status (on a scale of 1-4), mostly due to her young sire's slow start.

In other sales-pick (and pan) news, Akkadian, a Tiznow colt whose $270,000 purchase price I criticized following the April 2010 Keeneland juvenile sale, collected his second lifetime win on Thursday afternoon at Hollywood Park. After stalking the pace, he got up to win by a neck in a one-mile turf allowance, beating Brazilian-bred Great Warrior.

I thought $270,000 was too much for a horse who admittedly (after seeing him lately) looks phenomenal, but whose female family's history was spotty. One had to reach back to the fourth generation on his catalog page to find a graded winner. However, with two wins in four starts and $77,760 banked, the horse is on his way to panning out for owner Gary Broad, who has campaigned his share of good horses.

Only $200,000 more to go to pay back that purchase price.

The link needs some updating, but you can follow all the picks and pans here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's the rush? ... Sales selection What's the Rumpus breaks maiden in his 13th career start

When I selected 187 juveniles from several of last year's 2-year-old sales, I thought the gray or roan colt by Mizzen Mast-Gypsy, by Marfa -- who was a $32,000 RNA at last April's Ocala sale -- would be among the first to break his maiden.

The horse who would be named What's the Rumpus actually became maiden-breaker No. 75 today, in his 13th lifetime start.

I was high on this horse's chances because of his underrated sire, Mizzen Mast, and the fact that his stakes-placed dam was already the producer of five winners from six foals, including G3-placed GAL ON THE GO (Irgun), who in turn produced dual G3 winner SOCIAL QUEEN (Dynaformer). This horse's first three dams all earned their own black type, and his dam, Gypsy, is a half-sister to G1-winning, $4.7 million-earning PERFECT DRIFT, one of my all-time favorites. The sales colt, now gelded, breezed a credible 22-flat for a quarter at OBSAPR, and his work tab after being shipped to the California barn of Doug O'Neill was initially pretty good.

Despite flashes of ability, What's the Rumpus only managed to place twice and show twice from 12 prior starts. Though placed in California, he was shuffled off to Turf Paradise, then Sunland Park, and finally Sunray Park in Farmington, N.M., where he won today for a $6,250 claiming tag.

At least he won for fun.

What's the Rumpus, sent off as the 3/1 third choice in a field of eight, pressured early leader Sexy N Wild, then pounced at the top of the stretch, drawing off to win under jockey Kelsi Purcell by seven lengths over 9/5 favorite First Date. Final time for seven furlongs over a muddy-sealed track was 1:26.95.

What's the Rumpus was bred in Kentucky by Darrell Brown and James E. English. He is now owned by his trainer, Kenneth K. Chadborn Jr., in partnership with Cody Kelley. The gelding has earned $16,600 from his 13 lifetime starts.

As noted, with the win What's the Rumpus becomes the 75th of my 187 juvenile sales-tips to clear his maiden hurdle; that's 40.1 percent.

The link needs some updating, but you can follow all 187 of those picks -- and a few pans -- at the bottom of this prior post.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Decennial wins in start numero dos

Decennial is a winner, and it certainly didn't take her 10 years. Nor even 10 starts.

The chestnut filly by Trippi-Romantic Dinner, by Who's For Dinner rated patiently in fourth place for jockey Channing Hill Friday in a maiden-claiming field going a mile on turf at Aqueduct. When the group straightened out for home and easy early leader Galaxy Jet ran out of gas, Decennial easily powered away from fellow stalkers One Spring Storm and Mean Reversion to win by a widening four lengths over Point Gammon.

Decennial clears her maiden hurdle in her second lifetime start, having missed the board in her one prior effort. She earned $12,000 for the MCL $16K win at a mile on turf for trainer Linda Rice and owner Blue Devil Racing Stable, running her lifetime bankroll to $12,400. The filly was foaled in Florida and bred by Ocala Stud.

I recommended Decennial prior to her purchase by Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds for $26,000 as Hip 349 at last year's OBS April sale of 2-year-olds in training. She hails from a female family that I turned to three times during my analysis of that sale -- and all three are now winners, two of them of graded stakes.

Decennial is very closely related to G3 winner GOURMET DINNER, who is also sired by Trippi and out of Decennial's half-sister, Potluck Dinner (Pentelicus). I recommended Gourmet Dinner from that same OBSAPR sale and he won four of eight for over $989,000 before falling off the Kentucky Derby trail with, initially, scarcely a trace. Now the connections say he has a sore shin. ... Gourmet Dinner sold for just $40,000 to co-breeder William J. Terrill when he and Ocala Stud cashed-out their partnership last April by running him through the sale.

Another of Decennial's half-sisters, Almost Aprom Queen (Montbrook), produced a G1-winning 2-year-old of last year RIGOLETTA (Concerto), who earned $184,070 before being retired at 3 with what in some places has been described as a tendon injury. I recommended her as Hip 726 at OBSAPR, where she sold for just $35,000 to Erik and Pavla Nygaard's Thor-Bred Stable, and clearly now is worth more as a broodmare prospect than it's worth to rehab her and keep racing her, perhaps at less than her best.

Beyond all the recent stakes performers, Decennial already was a half-sister to G3-placed SEA OF GREEN ($651K earned) and LADY GIN ($227K). With all that black type on the page, it's a little surprising she could be entered for $16,000 in only her second start and make it through the race unclaimed. She won like she was worth at least a few pennies more than that.

I suppose my primary concern now would be soundness, as both Gourmet Dinner and Rigoletta (who admittedly was pigeon-toed) have apparently experienced issues.

Note that I took a pass at OBSAPR on Hip 841 from this family, a gelding by Concerto (as was Rigoletta) out of Decennial's half-sister Candlelightdinner, by Slew Gin Fizz. Now named VUELVE RUBEN M, he won four times in seven starts in Puerto Rico at age 2, including at least two stakes races, for $102,660.

Four foals from the immediate female family in the same sale, four winners, three stakes winners, two graded in the U.S. ... Despite the physical woes experienced by two of the foals (and I sure hope Gourmet Dinner bounces back), that's pretty serious production.

Friday's racing almost produced another maiden winner from my Sales-Tip Class of 2010. Herecomeseveryman was sent off as the favorite but beaten by a head in a turf-claimer at Gulfstream Park. Francisco's Boy, another member of the class, missed the break and finished sixth beaten 5 1/4 in the same race.

Decennial becomes the 74th winner from my 187-horse list of juvenile recommendations from last year's sales; that's 39.6 percent. Though the statistics need a little updating, you can follow the class in the list at the bottom of this former post.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Say 'Hi' to winner No. 73

Sand Hi outran his odds of nearly 14/1 Friday at Busan in Korea Friday to nab a half-length victory over second-favored Book Seven (13/2), in the process becoming the 73rd horse to break maiden worldwide from my Sales Tip Class of 2010.

I shortlisted the gelding by Stormy Atlantic-Hay Lauren, by Hay Halo, for a client at last May's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training at Timonium, Md., where I considered him a "Priority 3" priority on my 48-horse list. The Murray Smith consignee sold for $20,000 at EASMAY, and was shipped to Korea, as were a number of my selected bargain hopefuls from several of last year's sales.

His first win came in his sixth start, with two prior third-place efforts to his credit. He has now earned $27,265. Sand Hi becomes the fifth of 12 sales selections sent to Korea to break maiden there, in a jurisdiction where 2-year-olds routinely race against older horses and maidens sometimes run against winners until those winners have banked enough bucks to move up out of "Class 4."

Sand Hi's win could have been just the first of many over the weekend for my sales-tip class, but fate wasn't on their side in races all over the United States and Canada. The class had seconditis this Saturday and Sunday, with five maidens finishing second in their respective races over the two dates: Abrianna by a length and a half among special weights at Keeneland; Vital Victory by a half-length for a tag at Gulfstream; Admitit by a length for a $50K tag at Woodbine, her fifth "place" to go with three "shows" from eight lifetime starts; Mugsy Dehere losing by two lengths among special weights at Charles Town (his sixth time in eight starts); and Uncle Carm being beaten a neck among special weights at Keeneland on Sunday.

Admitit, a $20,000 OBSAPR purchase, has earned $51,460 and Mugsy Dehere, who went for $40K at EASMAY, has banked $30,680, each without winning a race.

The seconditis this weekend extended to races among winners, as well, with Black Tulip being beaten a half-length among $50K claimers on turf Sunday at Keeneland.

Meanwhile, at Oaklawn Park Saturday, a late-running Alstom had his momentum stemmed coming off the turn for home, and by the time he angled out to find running room, he ran out of ground before grabbing a piece of the pie in the $100,000 Northern Spur Stakes. The $7,000 EASMAY purchase broke maiden at first asking earlier in the Oaklawn meeting among special weights, collected a fast-closing third beaten less than a length for first in allowance company next-out, and finished just a nose and a neck out of third in a stakes field in his third-ever start. I'm none-too-secretly hoping his owners, TBS Farms LLC, will send the son of Silver Train to Belmont and Saratoga for the rest of spring, summer and fall, so he can compete among his NY-bred brethren, as he's done well already in open company and there should be money to be banked in his home state.

With its 73rd winner, the Class of 2010 now boasts 39 percent winners from all 187 selections.

While the link does need some updating, you can follow the Class of 2010 here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Revenge is sweet; takes short field at long price

Lime Rock Revenge, off from the races since being scratched from a start at Del Mar in late July last year, on Friday afternoon at Santa Anita looked like a horse who hadn't missed a beat.

And he wasn't going to be beaten.

The 3-year-old gelding broke maiden in his second start for trainer Doug O'Neill last year, then was scrubbed from a starter allowance at Del Mar and clearly needed some time off to overcome an injury or ailment. He went back into training late in December and has ramped up the work schedule since, with recent drills of a minute flat, 47-flat and 1:12.20 for five, four and six furlongs since moving from the synthetic at Hollywood Park onto the dirt at Santa Anita leading up to this start.

Still, he was sent off at nearly 8/1 odds this afternoon (equal to the morning line) in what was to be a five-horse field of $50,000 claimers that was scratched down to four. And Lime Rock Revenge promptly won like he should have been the favorite.

Kerwin John hustled Lime Rock Revenge from the gate to engage 6/5 favorite (and three-time winner) Montellano every step of the way. John's comeback gelding was on the lead at each call through blistering fractions of 21.24 and 43.70, which probably raised the confidence of Martin Pedroza aboard Chinese Praise and Rafael Bejarano aboard First Strike as they trailed the leaders through a seemingly suicidal pace.

Montellano folded. Lime Rock Revenge most certainly did not.

With Chinese Praise hitting his best best stride late -- and having covered the first six furlongs in a withering 1:08.98 -- Lime Rock Revenge dug deep enough to stay in front by a half-length at the wire over the closer. First Strike was five lengths beaten in third, while Montellano came home 18 1/2 lengths in arrears of the long-shot who ran him off his feet. Final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was a solid 1:15.86.

He paid $17.20 to win in a four-horse race.

The son of Limehouse-Genie's Flight, by Silver Hawk, was bred in Florida by A. Claire Silva and now has earned $39,400 from two wins in three California starts, with victories over synthetic and conventional dirt.

I recommended Lime Rock Revenge out of last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. April auction of 2-year-olds in training, where he was a $16,000 RNA when run through the ring as Hip 1082. He was already gelded, perhaps decreasing interest in him as he'd never be a stallion prospect. But I liked that while his 15-race-maiden dam was never a winner, she'd already produced 11 winners from 13 prior foals (including stakes winner SILVER ON SILVER) and Lime Rock Revenge's second dam, T. V. Genie, was a G3-placed half-sister to five-times Horse of the Year KELSO.

If they can keep him sound, he just might be serious business.

Follow the sales-tip class at this link.

There Goes Molly ... to the winner's circle

There Goes Molly -- who was a $6,000 RNA when I recommended her in a search for bargain horses at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale -- on Friday afternoon staged a long drive to win for the first time, in her 11th career start.

The 3-year-old filly by Chief Seattle-Hey Darla, by Evansville Slew, was bred by Pegasus Farms, and is now owned by trainer Randi Persaud, who has conditioned her for the last two starts after picking her up from the barn of Leo O'Brien. She has been second for MCL $10,000 and now first at MCL $16,000 for Persaud, today piloted by Abel Lezcano.

Lezacano put the whip to Molly leaving the gate this afternoon, but soon let her settle into a stalking position, in fifth place and about two lengths back of the leaders of the eight-horse race. Molly swung wide entering the stretch, left favored Tillie's Girl and Cornelio Velasquez who had been stalking the leaders with her, then rolled right on by Unbridled Toga and Eddie Castro, who had set pressured fractions of 22.93 and 46.78.

There Goes Molly covered the six furlongs in 1:12.23 and won by a widening 2 1/4 lengths.

The filly does have a closing style and I thought she might need more ground to eventually break through, but today was her day.

Though at the time I was a bit uncertain of selecting a horse inbred 2x4 (to Seattle Slew in this case), I shortlisted this filly for a client at EASMAY because she was fairly clean and straight upon inspection, breezed 11.0 for an eighth at a sale where that was average, and I thought she'd stay fairly inexpensive even though she is a half-sister to (now) nearly $430,000-earner R BETTY GRAYBULL (Holy Bull). In fact, she was a "Priority 1" selection on that list of 48 prospects, among the 17 I rated most highly. We were in the market for one horse and had already bought by the time this filly went through the ring at Hip 176. Despite tabbing her as a potential bargain, I was surprised that she only brought a top bid of $6,000, and I had it on the consigner's authority afterward that it wouldn't have taken much more to meet the reserve.

There Goes Molly, a May 2 foal, now has a win and three other placings from 11 starts -- many of them in decent company at Saratoga and Belmont last summer and fall -- for $31,236.

She becomes the 72nd winner from my 187-member Sales Tip Class of 2010; that's 38.5 percent.

Though the link needs some updating, you can follow along with the class, and a handful of horses I took a stand against, at this link.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Captain promoted in first skirmish

It was far from a fearful trip at Keeneland Wednesday when Captain My Captain led every step of the race and won by a length to break maiden in his career debut.

I selected the gelding from last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February auction of select 2-year-olds in training. He sold there for $85,000 as Hip 7 to the noted Dogwood Stable, who have taken their time with the horse. But he was clearly ready to fire for trainer George Weaver and red-hot jockey Javier Castellano. Captain My Captain's last drill prior to Wednesday's start was clocked in 46-flat, from the gate, not just the fastest time of 86 horses to work four furlongs on that date at Keeneland, but fastest by a second and two-fifths.

The son of Officer-Purer Than Pure, by Turkoman, on Wednesday set fractions of 22.19, 45.87 and 1:10.99 over the Keeneland Polytrack, and stopped the clock at the wire of the 6.5-furlong test in 1:17.58. He was sent off at a shade over 6/1 and paid $14.20 to win.

Captain My Captain -- who was a $95,000 weanling but a $55,000 RNA as a yearling -- was bred in Kentucky by White Fox Farm, Louis Brooks Ranch, and Serengeti Stable LC, et. al. I liked him on pedigree even before he breezed a sharp 10.1 at OBSFEB -- more than a month prior to his actual second birthday, as an April 6 foal. While his dam's production has dwindled of late, her prior foals include seven winners from 10 foals (all to race), and three of those winners have earned black type, including G3 victor PURELY COZZENE, stakes winner and G1-placed ERICA'S SMILE, and stakes-placed Forestry Prince.

He becomes the 71st winner from my 187-member sales-tip Class of 2010; that rounds up to 38 percent of all selections.

Though the link needs a little updating, you can follow the class here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Fed 'eases' his way into graded-placed ranks

My sales-tip Class of 2010 acquired its 17th stakes horse Saturday when The Fed Eased came home third in the Illinois Derby-G3 at Hawthorne Race Course.

The Florida-bred colt was running in second behind eventual winner Joe Vann until deep stretch, but flattened out and was caught a few yards short of the wire by a maiden, Zoebear, who has now managed to finish second four times in six starts without winning. Final time for the 9 furlongs was 1:51.91.

I recommended the son of Montbrook-Valid Invitation, by Take Me Out as Hip 7 in last year's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. February auction of 2-year-olds in training, where he went unsold when the high bid of $65,000 wasn't enough to meet reserve. After running second in his debut then breaking maiden convincingly on Jan. 29 at Aqueduct, he was tossed into Grade 3 company in the Gotham Stakes, which he led until fading to fifth in the mile-and-a-sixteenth test behind eventual victor Stay Thirsty and others.

Saturday's Illinois Derby was thus just the colt's fourth lifetime start. I honestly expected him to fold in the stretch of the mile-and-an-eighth distance Saturday, but he got by on enough talent and guts to hold off all the closers but one. Still, I think The Fed Eased as a son of an accomplished sprinter (and sire almost exclusively of sprinters and milers) with a dam-side that is most recently composed of 6f-9f horses, that the colt will be at his best at a mile or perhaps shorter.

With the placing, The Fed Eased now has a 1-1-1 record from four starts, and $71,790 banked. He becomes the second blacktype-placd foal for his dam, who also produced juvenile stakes-placed Sweet Enticement (Drewman). Of note, The Fed Eased is from the same female family as another of my sales selections, OBS Sprint S. (filly division)-placed Take Me To Zuber, who is a half-sister to this colt's dam.

Follow the sales class at this link.

Evangelical wins sophomore debut, earns converts

Evangelical, a filly I identified as a top prospect from last year's Keeneland April sale, collected her second win from four starts and her first of 2011 on Saturday in a claiming race at Gulfstream Park.

The daughter of Speightstown-Evangelizer, by Saint Ballado had been scratched from a Florida-bred allowance race on April 2 before returning on Saturday and being sent off as the roughly 8/5 second-favorite in a $35,000 claimer. She and Elvis Trujillo made short work of the group, including 6/5 favorite Surmount, taking the lead from the gate and setting fractions of 22.85 and 45.98 on her way to winning by four and a half lengths in a clocking of 1:09.92 for six furlongs. The Equibase chart says Evangelical "drew away while in hand."

Surmount came home second, and both fillies were claimed; Evangelical from North Shore Racing by trainer Joseph C. Catanese III for JMJ Racing Stables LLC, and Surmount from Wildcat Thoroughbred LLC by new trainer and owner Paul Kopaj. I didn't think Evangelical had a prayer of making it through the race unclaimed, so I can only presume that North Shore Racing and trainer Barclay Tagg decided they were ready to part with the filly, who had been a $100,000 RNA at KEEAPR 2010.

OBS April sales-tip Take Me To Zuber, who recently placed second in the OBS Sprint S., fillies division, was fifth in the same race.

If Evangelical isn't nursing an injury, she could be quite an aquisition for JMJ Racing Stables. In four starts, she has two wins and two seconds, completing the exacta twice in maiden special company last year before breaking through with her first win in similar company at Belmont's fall meeting. She has earned $76,830 from four starts, and 1:09.92 "in hand" is a promising return to the track for a filly that, honestly, I had expected to eventually be among the stakes horses from my Sales Tip Class of 2010.

I do have durability concerns for Evangelical, whose winning dam raced just three times, and whose G3-winning second dam made but 10 starts. But I liked her compact, muscular build, and the 10.1 breeze was fast, though perhaps not effortlessly so.

I wrote at the time: "You want to see a horse who is running fast when he looks like he isn't, and from the video, this filly doesn't exactly fit that bill. From the instant I saw the clip, I thought, 'Wow, it looks like she's running fast.' Thankfully, the time agreed that she was."

So did the stopwatch on Saturday. And, if JMJ Racing Stables can keep Evangelical on the straight-and-narrow, future race-day clockings will probably reconfirm the observation.

Follow Evangelical's career, and the other 186 sales-tips of mine, at this link.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Unstoppable Mick splashes to sales tips' 100th win

A 3-year-old gelding that I tabbed as a "steal" of last year's Keeneland April sale, where he was bought for $10,000, sloshed his way to a second career victory Friday night in allowance company at Mountaineer Park.

In the process, Unstoppable Mick scored the 100th victory by my 187-member sales-tip Class of 2010.

Unstoppable Mick broke his maiden for KEEAPR buyer Connie Apostelos by a wide margin of 10 1/4 lengths at Turfway Park on March 18, for a $15,000 tag. The gelding had hit the board in four of five starts to that point, but earned only $9,429 in the process due to Turfway's second-rate purse structure.

He was claimed from that easy, all-weather-track win by trainer Rodney C. Faulkner for new owner Frank Irvin, who wheeled him back 20 days later in allowance company at the West Virginia track not too far away, and for a bigger total purse of $20,200. Twelve days short of his actual third birthday (he was foaled April 20 in Kentucky) and in a nine-horse field that included seven 4-year-olds, Unstoppable Mick was sent off as the roughly 3/2 favorite at Mountaineer Friday. He proved worthy of the bettors' confidence, circling the field five-wide on the turn and slogging home 7 1/2 lengths the best under urging by Ernesto Oro. The win was worth $11,918, bumping Unstoppable Mick's career earnings to $21,347.

The gelding covered six furlongs over a sloppy, sealed track in 1:12.21.

I considered the son of Silver Deputy-Flower Canyon, by Gulch the first of 11 "steals" of Keeneland's April sale a year ago when he sold for $10,000 as Hip 17 on the day. I liked that while the then-colt's page wasn't blotted with black type, his dam was a winner at 2 who had borne five winners from seven prior foals, three of them full siblings to this one who had already won 10 times between them.

Unstoppable Mick nearly lost out on the honors of posting the sales class' 100th win. A couple of hours earlier at Penn National, Bibblesman, who broke his maiden on March 16 at Penn two days before Unstoppable Mick's maiden win, was the beaten favorite at 6/5 odds in an allowance race. Bibblesman was caught at the wire by 4-year-old second-favorite Rascal Flatter, and lost by a neck. I selected the colt by Sharp Humor-Sparkling Forest, by Forest Wildcat as a potential bargain for a client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale in May. He sold for $22,000 at Timonium, and now has a win and two seconds from four starts, for $46,660.

Follow all 187 sales picks, and a handful of pans, throughout their careers, at this link.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A pricey bunch of 'average' horses

While selecting 187 juvenile racing prospects from a few of last year's thoroughbred auctions, I also took time to critique the purchase -- or purchase-prices, anyway -- of a handful of horses from two of those sales.

Eight horses made my "surreal" list from Keeneland's April sale, an auction in which I labeled certain other purchases the "steals" of the sale, and recommended a third list of prospects that went unsold as animals which might be purchased privately, or could turn up in a future sale and should be considered at that time. The ninth horse I panned was the lone "de-tip" I made from Ocala's huge April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

So far, my doubts have proved fairly well-placed.

On the whole, the nine horses have as of this date made 21 lifetime starts. And five are already winners, of a combined six races. But class considered, that's almost where the good news ends.

First, let's give credit where it's due to the more promising horses of this group.

Malicia, a chestnut filly by Tapit-Malia, by Regal Classic, was the cheapest of the 10 horses whose purchase prices I criticized, selling for $110,000. And my criticism of buyer Prime Equestrian in this case (but not in other cases, as you'll see) was appropriately muted. I noted that she sold for much less than the average price of a Tapit filly at that point last year ($239,375), which was a good thing, but that her female family's racetrack history was pretty hit-and-miss, and I simply would have balked at paying $110K for her. ... She promptly was sent to France and won twice in as many starts at age 2, earning $35,954. She is yet to race at 3.

And, Akkadian, a strapping dark bay colt by Tiznow who sold as Hip 86 at KEEAPR to Gary S. Broad, has worked like a champ and collected a win and a place from three starts, for $46,560. He looks like he could be a very promising racehorse, though the $270,000 purchase price at the sale could still be a little difficult to earn back. It seemed too much at the time (and perhaps still does) for a colt whose nearest graded stakes-winner on the catalog page was under his fourth dam.

It just gets ugly from there.

The group does boast three more winners, but all could be considered disappointments by their connections. Harsher critics would call them busts.

Hip 120 at KEEAPR was a horse from the "surreal" list that actually didn't sell. I was surprised that $340,000 was offered for a colt -- later named Isaac Newton -- whose equal I thought could be purchased for a small fraction of the price. But I was simply aghast that the seller, McKathan Bros., agent, didn't take it. ... On March 2 this year, in his second career start, the Bernstein colt broke maiden by a half-length at Gulfstream. For a $35,000 tag. And went unclaimed. He has earned $11,572.

Three lots later, at Hip 123, Padua Stables signed the $350,000 ticket for a colt later named Jaeger, sired by Indian Charlie and out of the Valid Wager mare, The Church Lady. He was fleet, with a 10-flat eighth. And his page had plenty of winners. But those winners and most stakes performers were largely at second-tier Canadian tracks like Northlands Park and Hastings Park (i.e., not top-notch Woodbine). The price seemed far too high for a horse . And, it has proven to be so. On March 5 at Laurel Park, Jaeger broke maiden among special weights in his fourth lifetime start. Exactly three weeks later, he was sixth beaten 11 3/4 in a $40K optional-claimer in which he wasn't risked for the tag. Jaeger has earned-back $28,420 of that $350,000 ticket. And that can't be what Padua Stables had hoped.

And, the fifth winner is Malibu Star, who has earned six figures already while racing in Japan. How can that be disappointing? ... Well, because buyer Katsumi Yoshida paid the second-highest price of the Keeneland April sale for this Malibu Moon colt, a cool $575,000. So a win and two unplaced efforts from three starts, earning $100,170 in the Land of the Rising Purse (where third-rate horses can be six-digit earners), has to be less than Mr. Yoshida had expected.

While it's true that plenty of time remains for any of those horses to elevate their stock dramatically -- it's just early April of their 3-year-old seasons -- the remaining four have to look like even worse investments.

Prime Equestrian dropped $310,000 apiece at KEEAPR for a Birdstone colt later named Prime Opportunist and a Rockport Harbor colt who became known as Billy Smart. That $620,000 investment and training bills since have resulted in four starts and $940 banked between the two, although I suspect both will eventually win. At some level.

"Mr. & Mrs. Moss & Diamond Pride" plunked down $200,000 for a Bernstein filly who breezed well at KEEAPR and who has a little bit of family. But I was skeptical of her chances in part because I think her sire is somewhat overrated. The filly now named J T Safe at Home has yet to make a start.

And in my lone Ocala April "pan," a High Fly filly later named Frothy Market set the under-tack show ablaze with a 9 3/5 clocking for an eighth-mile. I knew that would grossly inflate her value, far above and beyond the worth of a filly who is by a sire that so far has done virtually nothing, and out of a dam who had only raced once. She ran a fairly dull race on dirt for Klaravich Stables and W.H. Lawrence, and while she perked up a bit when given a turf try recently, Frothy Market is unplaced from two starts for $1,996.

So, about a year into their collective careers, my nine criticized juveniles of 2010 managed to cost (or RNA for) a combined $2.64 million, and have earned back $225,612, most of that by three horses.

And while I might yet be proven wrong by a horse or two, on the whole, it appears this group is just as average as I thought they'd be, despite high prices that are anything but.

Follow these nine -- and the 187 horses I did like, who were almost universally cheaper and as a group are doing undeniably better -- at this link.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Catching up: 22 new maiden-breakers so far in '11

My transition from North Carolina to life in Oklahoma in the beginning months of 2011 has interrupted this blog's progress more than I ever intended, but it's high time to start catching up.

First on the agenda: An update on 22 new winners thus far in 2011 from my juvenile sales tips of 2010, each briefly mentioned here in chronological order:

-- Reward The Lady (f. by Grand Reward-You're A Lady, by Youmadeyourpoint), Jan. 8, Parx Racing, MCL $12,500 by a half-length. I had this one as placed twice at age 2, and still have the e-mail notifications from Equibase to support that, but a Brisnet search now says she was placed just once, so she must have been disqualified from one of those runner-up efforts after the fact. Either way, she broke maiden and has earned $24,920 off a $6,000 purchase price at EASMAY, where I considered her a Priority 4 and we let her pass as Hip 1 in the entire sale.

-- Diannedoesthebooks (g. by Desert Warrior-Karakorum Kiss, by Lord Carson), Jan. 9, Aqueduct, MCL $50,000 by a length and a half. A first-out winner who was a $25,000 purchase as Hip 1200 at OBS April. A bit disconcerting that he hasn't raced since, though he has worked seven times, most recently April 3 at Belmont. Hopefully connections are just waiting for some juicy NY-bred conditions at the upcoming Belmont meet.

-- Take Me To Zuber (f. by Toccet-Valid Silk, by Valid Appeal), Jan. 20, Gulfstream Park, MCL $25,000 by 4 1/2 lengths. I pegged her at OBS April, where she sold for $28,000 as Hip 629. On March 14, she placed second in the OBS Sprint Stakes at Ocala Training Center, a restricted race open to 3-year-olds that at some point in their young lives have passed through a sales ring at Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.

-- Oh So Glittery (f. by Cetewayo-Western Glitter, by Glitterman), Jan. 25, Parx Racing, MCL $25,000 by a head. I liked this tall filly and tabbed her a Priority 2 horse at EASMAY last year, where I worked as a hired bloodstock agent for the first time. She was an RNA at $15,000, but now has earned $23,490 from five starts, including paychecks for three straight fourth-place finishes in allowance company since her maiden-breaking win. Not bad for being raced short on dirt as the daughter of a distance-running turf horse in Cetewayo, who had at least five graded wins on grass at 11f and beyond. I'd like to see her get some chances on the all-weather surface this season among PA-breds at Presque.

-- The Fed Eased (c. by Montbrook-Valid Invitation, by Take Me Out), Jan. 29, Aqueduct, MSW by 7 1/4 lengths. I recommended this colt prior to his passing through the ring at OBSFEB, where he was a $65,000 RNA. He won in his second start, then made his third Grade 3 Gotham S., in which he finished fifth, beaten 5 1/2, by Stay Thirsty. From three starts, he has a win and a place for $41,000.

-- Sniper King (c. by First Samurai-Gem Treck, by Java Gold), Jan. 30, Busan in South Korea, by 6 lengths. Colt who was an $18,000 purchase as Hip 1080 at OBSAPR has earned $35,203 from six starts in Korea, where a number of my bargain-hunting sales tips have performed quite well.

-- Wild Alley Cat (c. by Flower Alley-Winner's Ticket, by Jolie's Halo), Jan. 30, Turf Paradise, MCL $18K-$25K, by 7 lengths. Won easily at first asking when entered for $20,000 in a field of maiden-claimers. Since has been fifth and sixth in allowance company at Delta Downs after being sent to Louisiana. I labeled him a Priority 2 horse at EASMAY, where he sold for just $6,000. His win didn't earn much at Turf Paradise, where the purses aren't that generous, and he has banked just $5,670, but perhaps when dropped back in among friends he'll collect another win or two.

-- Black Tulip (f. by Rock Hard Ten-Fascinating Gal, by Theatrical), Feb. 2, Tampa Bay Downs, turf MCL $32,000 by 2 lengths. I considered her a possible second-chance deal (a horse you might see at auction later) after she failed to sell at a $50,000 bid at Keeneland April. She has a win and two other on-the-board finishes from seven starts, for $13,232, but I think has and will find a home on grass.

-- Kuhlu (f. by Ghostzapper-Golden Antigua, by Hansel), Feb. 6, Turfway Park, all-weather MCL $30,000 by 3 lengths. I considered her a possible second-chance deal from 2010 Keeneland April when she failed for sell at a bid of $22,000. She was sixth of seven in an optional claimer today at Hawthorne. Kuhlu has earned $7,330 from four starts.

-- Wrapped In Gold (f. by Touch Gold-Miss Ginalie, by Skip Away), Feb. 12, Hawthorne, MCL $7,500 by a length. I tabbed her at OBS April, where she sold for just $10,000. She has made seven starts with another third-place finish among them for $7,836.

-- Willie's Way (g. by Speightstown-Willie's Luv, by Williamstown), Feb. 16, Tampa Bay Downs, MCL $8,000, by 2 1/2 lengths. I've privately questioned the handling of this fellow, by a champion dirt sprinter and raced a number of times in his 13 lifetime starts around two turns and on turf. His dam did handle both a mile and grass, so I suppose the connections (and he's been through more than one barn) were hopeful. But short and on the dirt is where he belongs. I recommended him at OBS April, where he was an RNA for $12,000. He's now collected a win, three places and two show finishes for $15,551.

-- Lion's Reign (c. by Lion Heart-Turtle Creek, by Sky Classic), Feb. 27, Turfway Park, all-weather MSW by 3 lengths. I tabbed this one among my "steals" of the Keeneland April sale after he sold for $17,000. With an unplaced finish over an off-track as the favorite in a Mountaineer allowance today, he has a win and a place from five starts for $17,387.

-- Doasisay Notasisay (c. Delaware Township-Bonjove, by Caracolero), March 2, Parx Racing, MCL $25,000 by 4 1/4 lengths. I liked this fella rather a lot out of the OBS April catalog, where he was an RNA at just $19,000. He was second twice from four starts at 2, and is yet to finish worse than second in four starts at 3, including a runner-up finish to a heavy favorite today in a Parx starter allowance where this fella was sent off at 20/1. He has now earned $52,770 from eight starts for breeder Norman E. Casse, who might actually be glad by now that the colt didn't sell at Ocala.

-- Alstom (c. by Silver Train-Miss Special Salsa, by Mr. Greeley), March 5, Oaklawn Park, MSW by a half-length. This bargain-basement, $7,000 purchase was a Priority 2 horse on my list for a client at EASMAY. He won at first asking at a nice meeting, then proved the effort was no fluke on March 31 when he missed the break but came on, well, like a train down the lane to finish third beaten only three-quarters of a length in a one-mile allowance at Oaklawn, in a race where half the field were 4-year-olds.

-- Secondtimelove (f. by Trippi-Backtothebooks, by Notebook), March 10, Charles Town, MSW by 2 lengths. This $25,000 filly made my list at OBS April, where she was Hip 779. She didn't start at 2, but has a win, place and show from five starts at 3, for $24,700.

-- Knows How To Rock (c. by Rockport Harbor-Unchained Princess, by Clever Trick), March 14, Mountaineer Park, MSW by a neck. A Keeneland April steal at $13,000, he was unplaced in three starts at 2, but is 3-for-6 on the board at age 3. He has earned $16,509.

-- Simple Truth (f. by Tale of the Cat-Summertown, by Diesis), March 14, Turf Paradise, MCL $18,000, by 4 lengths. This one sold for a bit more than I expected at OBS April, where she went for $45,000 at a sale where I was hoping to peg almost nothing but bargains. She has earned $6,560 and has a long way to go toward repaying that purchase price.

-- Bibblesman (c. by Sharp Humor-Sparkling Forest, by Forest Wildcat), March 16, Parx Racing, MCL $40,000 by 4 3/4 lengths. This colt was a $22,000 purchase as Hip 337 at EASMAY, where I liked several of the foals by this sire, and where he made my list of 48 likely bargains for my one client as a hired bloodstock agent as a Priority 1 horse. He was unplaced in one start at 2, but has hit the board in both of his efforts at 3, having earned $40,260. Very easily could win again (and again?) among his PA-bred brethren.

-- No Biggie (g. by Consolidator-Sixy Chic, by Saratoga Six), March 17, Laurel Park, MCL $25,000 by 4 lengths. I tabbed this one as a "Priority 1" when tasked by a client to seek out the least expensive horses that still had promise among the offerings at last May's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale at Timonium, Md. I liked him in most every way, and I believe his price was held down by his height. I later wrote, "had the horse been two or three inches higher at the withers and not a degree straighter nor tick faster, the money would have been two or three times greater, I'm sure." As it was, he sold for a paltry $8,000 and now has earned $21,060, including a third place at 14/1 on Tuesday in the same Parx starter allowance (won by a 3/5 shot) in which sales-tip Doasisay Notasisay was second at 20/1.

-- Unstoppable Mick (g. by Silver Deputy-Flower Canyon, by Gulch), March 18, Turfway Park, MCL $15K-$10K by 10 1/4 lengths. I called this one a "steal" when he sold for $10,000 at KEEAPR to Connie Apostelos. New trainer Rodney C. Faulkner "stole" him for new owner Frank D. Irvin for $15,000 when Unstoppable Mick aired in this Turfway maiden-claimer as the prohibitive, 1/5 favorite. He has hit the board in four of five starts for $9,429 running at low-purse Turfway.

-- Silver Jo (f. by Silver Train-Bolsa, by Mr. Prospector), April 1, Oaklawn Park, MCL $15,000 by 3 1/4 lengths. This filly won as the heavy favorite in her third lifetime start. I recommended her in my search for bargains at OBS April, where she was purchased for $12,000. She has earned $11,670 and certainly might move forward.

-- Triple Great (f. by Greatness-Triple Top, by Topsider), today, April 5, Penn National, MCL $5,000 by 8 lengths. I picked this one at OBS April, where she was an RNA for $18,000. After placing three times in six starts, I was surprised that she went unclaimed from owners Robert Falcone and John J. Lee. The filly has now earned $14,836.

Thus, through racing of April 5, 2011, it would appear that my 187-member sales-tip class of 2010 has 140 starters (74.9 percent) and 70 winners worldwide (37.4 percent). The group has seven stakes winners and 10 other stakes-placers (nine blacktype) for 3.7 percent stakes winners and about 9 percent total stakes horses.

The group has won 99 times from 684 starts (14.5 percent) with 119 second-place finishes and another 78 thirds (31.9 percent in the exacta, 43.3 percent in the money). Total earnings have reached $4,341,616 for an average of $31,012 per starter and $6,347 per start.

Follow them all at this link.