Jan 28, 2009


The 2-year-olds in training step onto the stage amidst the fear and trembling of all markets globally. We are not immune in the Thoroughbred world like we were in recent memory. When you read reports in the business press that Dubai is under stress then you know it’s a whole new ballgame.

Through thick-and-thin, Dan Kenny Bloodstock has compiled an enviable record of finding value for money. Our outfit rarely bought more than a handful of juveniles per year but do they ever perform!

Just to give you an idea here is a partial list of horses who either won or placed in stakes or exceeded their purchase price or earned more than $l00,000 plus.

Tricky Trevor, Above The Table, Sam Lord’s Castle, Blacksage Alley, Kirtons, It Is, Lost At Sea, Viansa Ossidiana, Broadway Hennessy, Christmas Wish, Ask For Speed, Act Smart, Shezashiningstar, Alpine Queen, Mapp Hill, As The Bell Tolls, Riverbank Kid, Lady’s Excuse, Porey Spring, Donnybrook Pride,Arizona Storm, Miss Bank Robin,Sweet Ilima, Kendall Point, Lively Talk, All The Roses, Ali’s Dancer. That's one sound, hard-hitting bunch of horses who earned over $3 million after purchase prices cumulative at some $900,000. Throw in the residual value of the stakes fillies and you'd register a pretty profit indeed.

I will be in attendance at all three Florida select sales and will be pleased to discuss representation for you. My background as a clocker for many years has contributed to the high percentage strike rate of my purchases. Separating the wheat from the 2-year-old chaff is both a science and an art. We’ve honed our skills over three decades at the juvenile sales. It is the best place to find a horse that has shown you some hole cards to draw to. but you still have to know when to draw.

Jan 27, 2009


Vestrey Lady topped the Tuesday session at Keeneland's January Sale with a $300,000 price tag in foal to Broken Vow. She rose from humble beginnings to win some $490,000.

Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye bought her as a yearling for a mere $6,000 on behalf of voluble Canadian horseman Dick Bonnycastle. Dick made his fortune publishing romance novels. Vestrey Lady starred in a real-life tale that only seemed like fiction.

You see, Dick decided to listen to his Alberta ranch manager who advised him to break and train a dozen yearlings tethered to the back of a pick-up truck. His English-bred advisor Tony Goswell went into conniptions when he saw the goings on. Anyhow, Dick planned to sell this crop as two-year-olds at an inpromptu auction and barbecue at his ranch near Calgary. I was conscripted to serve as auctioneer after the youngsters had breezed a furlong or so for the crowd.

Vestrey Lady was the only one with a reserve price. It would take $25,000 to buy the daughter of Vicar from the immediate family of Street Sense, Mr. Greeley and others. There were no takers among the mainly moochers and sightseers that made up the audience Dick took the filly to join his Toronto string of runners and the rest is history.

Nobody would part with 25 grand when E. P. Taylor was trying to sell Northern Dancer four decades ago. Canadians have a reputation for thrift. A British Columbia horseman once overheard someone say at Keeneland that Canucks were a little tight with a buck and took great umbrage
at the thought. Later that day he sprung for lunch, perhaps to demonstrate his lack of frugality.
Our waiter returned with change from a $20 bill, some 18 cents as I recall, and told the waiter he could keep the change.

"All of it, sir?," deadpanned the waiter while the rest of us howled with laughter.

Retired jockey Chris Loseth need not worry about how much to tip these days. The Canada Hall of Fame rider bought a winning lottery ticket last November that paid a seven figure sum.
Chris and I were talking last summer about his thirty plus years in the saddle and I was sure surprised when he told me that he had never broken a bone while riding at the races or in morning work. He won 19 stakes with a mare named Delta Colleen that I bought at a dispersal in Vancouver for $6,000. She was the filly version of Silky Sullivan, routinely circling the field from last at Hastings Park's bullring. and getting up in time whether the distance was six furlongs or a mile and an eighth

While fortune smiled on Loseth it was unkind to another former riding star up north. Herbie Ollive died of a sudden heart attack in December. He came out of Alberta, in the mould of John Longden, Don McBeth, Don Seymour, Jim McAleney and the ill-fated Ron Hansen. Herbie won lots of races and he broke lots of bones. Injury and weight forced him out of the saddle and he worked as Loseth's agent with much success.

Herbie was a modest and gentlemanly who once rode a horse who broke his maiden three times.
His name was Pole Position and he was disqualfied twice before behaving well enough to please the stewards. Another rider rode him the first time but begged off a return bout with the high-strung California-bred. Herbie signed on and he and Pole Position roamed far and wide, winning numerous US stakes for trainer Goody Goodwin. Herbie always sent a Christmas card to the rider who rejected the mount on Pole Position.