Friday, August 8, 2008

Pinhooker's Guide to OBS Fall, part two

Last time, we offered our take on hip numbers in the upcoming OBS Yearling Selected Sale, with an eye toward which ones might show promise of a good return for the pinhooker.

Stallions whose progeny we chose to include were City Zip, Exchange Rate, Graeme Hall, Hennesey, Lion Heart, and Macho Uno . All except Graeme Hall and Macho were in the top five Juvenile Sires list as reported by BRISNET.

Since then, Graeme Hall has upheld my opinion of him when his son Fellow Crasher won the Tyro at Monmouth. Macho Uno has proven his ability to sire precocious winners. Last year his 2yo colt Wicked Style won the Lane’s End Breeders’ Cup Futurity (gr. I) and the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Futurity

Now let's look at offerings in the Open section of the sale. We examined youngsters by the six stallions listed above, and included a few more. New to the list are Congaree, Stormy Atlantic, Songandaprayer and Freud.

Hip #      Sire                    Best feature (in pedigree)

257     Macho Uno
1st foal of dam, 2nd dam G2 placed SW has six BT winners under her.

279     Congaree
SP dam has four winners including two 2yo winners.

393     Graeme Hall
SW 2nd dam has seven black type winners under her.

394     Congaree
Family of ANSWER LIVELY, champion 2yo colt, G1 BC Juvenile.

405     Hennessy
1st foal of dam who is half to G1SW, millionaire LION TAMER.

453     Macho Uno
1st dam has 2yo winner in one start, 2008, $21.000.

468     Graeme Hall
Dam is full to Brooklyn Nick, 2 wins at 2, $109,409.

736     Graeme Hall
Full sister to SW BOVELL ROAD Colleen S. (MTH, $36,000).

862     Stormy Atlantic
Dam full to BIG JEWEL,MISS GIBSON COUNTY etc., has a 2yo winner.

874     City Zip
Dam half to SW CATAHOULA PARISH, has a 2yo winner.

1024    Graeme Hall
1st foal of SP dam, family of GSW INCINERATE, IN THE GOLD, etc.

1039    Graeme Hall
1st foal of dam who is half to DICE DANCER, Withers S. [G2]

1047    Songandaprayer
Full to Go Time, Winner in 1 start at 2, 2008, NTR at Monmouth Park.

1062    Lion Heart
2nd foal of dam who is half to G3SW GATORS N BEARS, $804,393

1108    Exchange Rate
1st foal of dam who is half to champion ONE FOR ROSE.

1270    Freud
Half to Little Money Down, 2nd Stonerside Forward Gal S. [G2]

Click on the hip number to view catalog page (in PDF format).

Remember, these recommendations are based on pedigree alone, and take no account of conformation, soundness, medical history, or other factors which could bear upon racing ability. We urge you to examine them fully before bidding.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pinhooker's Guide to OBS Fall Yearlings

The OBS Fall Yearling sale is the venue chosen by many pinhookers seeking prospects which they hope to prepare for sale in the following year's 2-Year-Old In Training sales. They naturally give much of their attention to the get of stallions who have demonstrated the ability to get precocious runners, those which can win early, or at least, those which can turn in a fast work at the under tack shows.

With this in mind, let's have a look at some offerings from the Selected section of the upcoming sale. We will restrict our choices to yearlings by sires who appear at the top of the Juvenile Sire statistics lists. For this purpose, I selected the following stallions from BRISNET's Juvenile Sires lists, both the list by SPI (Sire Production Index) and the list by Earnings.

City Zip - 2nd by SPI, 6th by Earnings
Exchange Rate - 3rd, 2nd
Graeme Hall - 20th, 13th
Hennessy - 4th, 26th
Lion Heart - 5th, 1st
Macho Uno - 18th, 14th (Leading Juvenile Sires of FL Breds by Earnings)

Dixie Union, who is among the leading Juvenile sires, is not represented in the sale, nor is another from the Earnings list - Swiss Yodeler. Freud, another Juvy leader, has only one in the general section.

Recent sales performance by these stallions give an indication of why I chose them.

A colt by Macho Uno brought a winning bid of $250,000, to top the opening session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The youngster worked one furlong in :10 1/5 at the under tack show. He was purchased for $19,000 as a yearling at the 2007 Keeneland September sale. That represents an ROI of over 1300% for consigner Woodside Ranch, agent.

The February OBS Selected sale saw Pride, a filly by Lion Heart, knock down for $475,000 to Demi O'Byrne. She later won in her first start, at Keeneland on April 25th.

A top seller in the OBS June sale was a gray Exchange Rate filly, out of Infinity, which sold for $170,000 to Ramsey Farm in Kentucky.

Honey Graeme, a filly by Graeme Hall out of Dance Delight by Colonial Affair, was purchased for $260,000 by Ike & Dawn Thrash during day 2 of the OBS March Sale. The filly is a half-sister to multiple stakes placed winner Malandrina by Honor Glide. Honey Graeme was consigned by Southern Cypress Stable. She was bred by Helen Marie Napolitano.

At the Fasig-Tipton Calder selected 2-year-olds in training sale on February 26., a Lion Heart colt out of the Deputy Minister mare V V S Flawless, sold for $750,000, the seventh-highest price among colts at the sale.

Here's a list of the hip numbers of yearlings which I think offer an above average opportunity for profit.
Click on the hip# to view their catalog page (in PDF format).

56 Exchange Rate colt
109 Graeme Hall colt
167 Exchange Rate colt
174 Macho Uno colt
179 filly by Lion Heart
193 Hennessy colt
206 filly by City Zip
221 Graeme Hall colt
226 Exchange Rate colt


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pilgrimage With the Past

The central Florida day dawned clear, bright and slightly windy, with low humidity. It was the perfect day to take a ninety-minute drive from my home on Florida's east coast to Ocala, located nearly halfway across the state.

After reading Steve Haskin's book about Dr. Fager, I sensed a special connection with him, an unnamed bond that I had not felt when I read about Man O' War or Secretariat. A kind, loving temperament in an animal is important to me, and the description of Dr. Fager's personality was of a sensitive, caring equine. He was smart, responded quickly to training, and was well-liked at Tartan, where he was born. During his breeding years, there was a cat that had a litter of kittens in the Doc's stall. He kept watch over those kittens, nuzzling them before heading off for his morning oats. It was said that when Mama Cat removed her children, the Doc was very upset.

After substantial Internet research, I discovered that Dr. Fager was buried on Tartan Farms' property. I learned that the current Winding Oaks had previously been Mockingbird Farm and, beginning in the 1960s through the 1980s, Tartan Farms. William McKnight, founder of the "Scotch Tape" giant 3-M Corporation, had purchased hundreds of acres west of Ocala and started his Thoroughbred dream. Thanks to the mating of Tartan Farms' foundation broodmare, Aspidistra, to the stallion Rough 'N Tumble, a bay colt was foaled on April 6, 1964, and given the name Dr. Fager. "The Doc" had started in twenty-two races, posting eighteen wins, two seconds and one third. Unlike many horses today, The Doc started eight times as a four-year-old.

After checking in with Mary at the Winding Oaks' front office, she offered to escort me up the rolling hills on Graeme Hill Road to the patch of land used to inter a number of well-known champions. As she pointed me towards the graves, I thanked her for her kindness and courtesy. I was alone.

All the graves were marked by gray medium-sized tombstones. Despite some of those stones being erected over thirty-five years ago, they were clean and legible. The graves were laid in a semi-circle around a freshly painted gazebo. A jade-green and well-kept hedge covered all the graves.

Feeling an urgency to locate Dr. Fager's resting place, I found him nearly in the middle of the fourteen-horse plot. I turned to gaze out across the nearly-too-green, rolling hills. The seemingly unlimited view from the hilltop was fantastic, an endless view a horse would relish in life. I could almost see the Doc at the crest of this hill, wind blowing his mane, tail whipping and flowing behind him. Surveying the valley below, his mind's eye would calculate how fast could he fly without wings through the lowlands, his equine instincts reverting to their untamed, glorious past, when his ancestors roamed free.

I read the plaque on his grave: "Racing's Grand Slam: 1968 - Horse of the Year, Handicap Champion, Sprint Champion, Grass Champion. World record of one mile, 1:32 1/5 in 1968." Many consider his earning those four major championships the greatest single season in racing history. The plaque doesn't say that his world record of 1:32 1/5 still holds today, and he carried weight of 134 pounds.

Gifted with lightning speed and indomitable spirit, Dr. Fager was weighted with 139 pounds, nearly unheard of today, for the seven furlong Vosburgh Handicap. His final time of 1:20 1/5 broke the previous track record by a full second, and was only one fifth off the world record, a feat still unequaled. Retiring with over one million dollars in earnings, he is still the only horse to ever win all four of these honors in one year. In 1999, Blood Horse Magazine racing experts selected the top one hundred thoroughbreds of the twentieth century; Dr. Fager was ranked number six. Tragically, he died at the age of twelve from what has variously been called a "colon obstruction", "ruptured stomach" or "torsion to the large colon."

Breathing deeply, I felt a lump in my throat as I paused at each horse's grave; Dr. Patches, 1978 Champion co-sprinter, Ta Wee, the 1969-70 sprint champion, and the 1980 Preakness winner, Codex. Let's not forget these great and not-so-great horses-it is through our memories that they live on in our hearts and souls. As the tears burned my eyes, I hoped they were at least loved by someone. Their grace, athleticism and beauty deserve to be cherished and respected. Their individual struggles and victories form a tiny part of thoroughbred history. Through love and remembrance, these heroes of yesterday can thus be honored.