Mar 25, 2010


Juvenile sales are in full stride at this writing. Your correspondent is shipping out with the morning tide (actually in an airplane) to do battle with the Somali pirates (pinhookers) who patrol the Florida shores in search of booty. Me, I’ll settle for a decent horse or two that’s worth the money.

The combat is not quite that bad but a whiff of piracy will always pervade the 2-year-old markets. It’s a mug’s game when seven figure prices can be extracted from gullible owners who think the difference of a fifth of a second can separate the men from the boys. The Green Monkey will not be forgotten for a long, long time and he was purchased by one of the smartest teams in the business.

There always seems to be a new angle at such sales. In their formative days juvenile sales served as liquidity for leftover stock that could not cut it in a yearling vendue.
A fast work was necessary to show a profit.

Sellers were fond of adding as much equipment to the horse as there was room for.
Shadow rolls were on almost every steed. Flesh colored blinkers were applied universally in hopes that the audience mighty not notice. Whips, sometimes even spurs were used to coerce one more tick of the clock.

The advent of high definition video means that attentive buyers would have ample opportunity to see the horses in a more natural state.

In vogue the past decade is the spread of “galloping out”. Most of this is a bogus attempt to sound like you have more horse than you do. Riders are now evidently ordered to stay down and milk another furlong out of their mounts.

As you might imagine, there are widely varied unofficial times reported . Some enterprising observers have taken to selling the product of their “gallop outs”.

Some of these guys couldn’t time a 3-minute egg yet they find believers ready to part with cash in hopes of having an edge.

I must confess that I would never be brave enough to see one of my horses exposed to injury by an unfamiliar furlong on the clubhouse turn.

A proper gallop out is highly desirable-I call it “natural gas”-when a horse is reaching out with no encouragement from the pilot. Those are the rare ones you want to pay attention to.

I’ve been doing this for decades and I developed some formulas that have produced some 40 stakes winners headed by Grade I winners Harmony Lodge, Bishop Court Hill and major winner Tricky Trevor.

It helps to be able to handicap the sellers. Make it a habit to deal with men and women who have proven they can turn out a sound horse.

You might want to have me on your side when it comes to buying an auction 2-year-old.