Sep 13, 2008


There are few reliable shortcuts when it comes to buying yearlings. It is usually slogging through the trenches that gets the job done. But I did get lucky one day at a Florida sale by paying attention to my competition.

I had a bead on a big, strapping colt at OBS by Diablo and was confident I could get him for a client at a right price as the sire was not of fashion. It was my intention to pay about $30,000, perhaps a little more.

Well past $30,000 I noticed that bids were coming from Clyde Rice who was sitting a few rows ahead of me. To my mind Clyde was the foremost judge of a yearling anywhere. But I also knew that he did not have a habit of paying much for his stock.

That fact kept running through my mind as the bidding duel came down to just us two. When the bidding passed $40,000 I figured I had him but he proceeded to bid on. “Clyde must really like this horse,” I said to myself. “Better keep going”.

At $50,000 I was well past the price I was authorized to pay. But I bid again, as did Clyde at $55,000. With a feeble nod I was in at $57,000 and, lo and behold, Clyde threw in the towel.

Copying Clyde’s homework paid off as the colt went off to California and won some $400,000 for Canadian Peter Redekop. Along the way he ran six furlongs in 1.07.4 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Incidentally, we have purchased at least three others who could shade 1.08 in good company. Sunny Blossom still holds the standard of 1.07.1 at Santa Anita while Tricky Trevor and Van Patten were other stout sprinters.

Speed is not always obvious in a young prospect. We once bought a Cozzene filly at a 2-year-old sale that won first out at 3 ½ furlongs and later won stakes at Del Mar beyond a mile. We found a Sultry Song who won first out at five furlongs in :57.2 and later won stakes going long.

It takes more than a big butt and looking for straight knees to uncover these pearls at modest prices. What’s my secret? That’s for me to know and for you to find out. Sign me up and I’ll go find you one.