Jul 31, 2009


Generally speaking it not a good idea to go back and buy a  sibling to a good horse you have had in your stable.  Remember that Mrs. Sullivan had 12 sons but only one John L.

But sometimes you just have to be right for the wrong season, in the words of Edward G. Robinson to Steve McQueen’s Cincinnati Kid in the great poker movie of the same name.

I struck paydirt when I spent $52,000 of Jerry Hollendorfer’s money to purchase Trickey Trevor who went on to win more than $700,000 as a Grade 2 performer.

A few years later his half-sister appeared in the March Sale at OBS (Ocala).  She turned in a sparkling work, was by the very good stallion Montbrook and bred by a trustworthy outfit in Mike Farrell’s Ocala Stud.

The price seemed right at $95,000 and we bought her.  Not long ago she won the Alameda Handicap at Pleasant and boosted her earnings past $180,000 and perhaps that sum again in breeding value.

On another occasion our flexible approach paid off handsomely.  Graeme Hall cost $200,000 at Keeneland September and proved himself by winning the Arkansas Derby and Jim Dandy at three.  The son of Dehere made seven figures at the races with Todd Pletcher and is standing with some success in Florida.

Graeme Hall was followed by a robust chestnut filly who was offered for sale at the Calder 2-year-old sale.  The filly was a daughter of Hennessy and her breezes at Calder made us determined to buy her.

We weren’t the only ones watching, of course, and went to $l,650,000 to secure the eventual Grade 1 winner  her for the Melnyk Stable who raced Graeme Hall, fighting off an equally determined Demi O’Byrne.

Demi accosted Pletcher and I after that bidding duel and said, only half kidding, that “you’ll not outbid me again”.  He was right but not without a heroic effort on our part.

We locked horns later that day over who would own Yonaguska.  Once again price reached the stratosphere whenever a combination of looks, speed and pedigree showed up in the sales ring.  We made a $1,950,000 bid on Yonaguska only to be topped by a $25,000 bid.