- I’m always interested to read about horse owners who are making out well while spending frugally and wisely. I’m having a lot of fun participating in a small way with Highland Cat and Christening with Castle Village (and a new one – a City Zip two-year old NY-bred; more on him later), but I do aspire to get involved in a bigger way. And since I don’t anticipate having the means to compete at the sales with Godolphin or Bob and Beverly Lewis anytime in the near future, I pay particular attention when I read about owners and partnerships such as the group that owns Itsallboutthechase about which I recently posted.
So it was with great interest that I read this article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette about trainer Larry Jones, who trains for clients who prefer for him to purchase fillies at the yearling sales he attends, rather than colts.
In fact, other than Poverty Slew, who once ran second to eventual sprint champion Cherokee Run in 1993, fans might be hard pressed to name any other semiprominent male Jones has trained in his 24-year career.That makes tons of sense to me. It’s mind boggling how much money people will spend in order to basically try and win one specific race, and just one bad step and you have yourself a million dollar pet. At least with a well-bred filly, even if she never makes it to the starting gate, you can still breed her and have a little fun (and spend a little more money.)
“I don’t think there’s any question I have a better chance of winning the Kentucky Oaks than the Kentucky Derby,” said Jones, whose wife Cindy is his assistant. “When we’re sent to the sales, that’s not what I’ve been sent to try and find, a Derby horse.”
Jones said the few colts he trains are usually for a breeder. But the majority of his clients prefer fillies because, even if they bomb on the track, there can be value as a broodmare prospect.
Jones has also spent his clients’ money shrewdly. Among the diamonds in the rough Jones unearthed there are Ruby’s Reception ($12,000), Josh’s Madelyn ($10,000) and Don’t Countess Out ($16,000). You don’t have to spend megabucks for a good horse; or even for a champion, as Jeff Scott pointed out in the Saratogian earlier this week.
Of the 100 flat-racing awards handed out over the past 10 years, -- approximately half of which have gone to commercially bred horses -- only six went to runners costing more than $250,000.- One of Larry Jones’ fillies at Oaklawn is the three-year old Hoochie Glide, and though she ran 6th in the Silverbulletday stakes at the Fair Grounds meet this past weekend, her pedigree is so unusual that she bears mentioning. She’s by High Yield, out of the mare Abrade, who, being by Mr. Prospector out of File, is a full-sister to Forty Niner. That stallion is the broodmare sire of High Yield, so you have here the rather incestuous inbreeding of 3x1 to a full brother-sister combo. Just thought I’d point that out to anyone who gets as turned on about that kind of stuff as I do. (Perhaps I need a vacation.)
Far more awards over the past decade have gone to horses at the other end of the scale. In fact, nearly a quarter (24 of 100) of these recent championships were won by horses costing less than $50,000. Among the better-known were Skip Away ($30,000), Silver Charm ($16,500), Thunder Gulch ($40,000), Serena's Song ($42,000) and Kona Gold ($35,000). Xtra Heat went for the lowest price of all. The 2001 champion 3-year-old filly sold for $4,700 as a yearling. ($35,000). Xtra Heat went for the lowest price of all. The 2001 champion 3-year-old filly sold for $4,700 as a yearling.
- Tim Ritchey sends out his three-year old prospect Menacing (Lemon Drop Kid) in a one mile allowance at Oaklawn on Saturday. He won his debut at the distance at Delaware in September before finishing 4th in his last race, the sloppy track, one-turn mile Champagne.
- Bourbonette (Honour and Glory), who broke her maiden at Turfway on Wednesday night, is a full sister to graded stakes winning sprinter Battle Won.
- And speaking of potential million dollar pets, Bedford Falls (Forestry), a $1.1 million yearling purchase for Darley, will make his debut in a six furlong maiden special at Gulfstream on Saturday. He’s a three-quarter brother to Florida Derby, Blue Grass, and Donn winner Harlan's Holiday. I guess I should probably better mention that he won the Pennsylvania Derby too. He ran 7th as the 6-1 favorite in the 2002 Kentucky Derby. He stands at Airdrie for $17,500, and his first crop are yearlings this year; his weanlings averaged $91,947 at sale in 2005.