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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Not a Dead Pool

- Though there was no Million Dollar Baby, yesterday's OBS select 2 year old in training sale at Calder was declared a success, with a record median price of $120,000. Hip by hip results here via the OBS website.

The sale topper, Hip 195 (Acrobat Reader required), is by Dance Master, a son of Gone West who stands for only $3,500 in Florida. The sale price of $600,000 will do wonders for the average selling price of his 2 year-olds, which was already a healthy markup from his stud fee at $53,800. Though he had a minute first crop of only 17 foals, and just 5 winners from 9 starters in 2004, it was good enough for 20th on the first crop sire list thanks to his 2-time stakes winner Flamenco (Cowdin and Victoria Stakes). I imagine he'll be getting some more visitors in the near future.

The runner-up, Hip 171, is a son of Phone Trick; the popular New York stallion has accounted for 74 stakes winners. Both of the sales toppers were pinhooking homeruns, with the former having been purchased for $63,000 as a yearling, and the latter for $50,000; in fact 10 of the 11 sales toppers were successful pinhooks.

A couple of the first crop sires I mentioned the other day had nice sessions: Freud, the full brother to Giant's Causeway standing in NY for $5000, had two sales at 220K and 150K; and Exchange Rate (Danzig) had the third highest sale, Hip 193, for $425,000 (pinhooked for $65,000). Also, Albert the Great (Go for Gin) sold one for $170,000; Trippi (End Sweep) sold two at 135K and 100K.

More coverage here and here, and best of all, in the indispensable Thoroughbred Daily News (subscription only).

- BREEZES NOT THE FINAL WORD - It was interesting to look at the sales results as compared to the under-tack show times. While all of the sales toppers had fast breezes, a quick time did not guarantee success. For example, Hip 119, a Tiger Ridge (a Storm Cat half brother to AP Indy) colt breezed in a lightning 10.2, yet only brought $75,000 from former golfer Gary Player, who can use him as an equine golf cart if he doesn't work out on the track. (Please replace your divots and clean up the poop.) On the other hand, Hip 60, a Notebook (Well Decorated) colt who breezed in the relatively pedestrian times of 23.2 and 23.1, brought $210,000. Nor is pedigree a guarantee; hip 37, a full brother to G1 Hopeful winner Silver Wagon (Wagon Limit), who won at Gulfstream the other day, brought a relatively modest $95,000. I suppose confirmation is king, as well as a horse's way of going in the breezes rather than just the raw times.

- CONSISTENCY IN THRUST You may have noticed lately ads in the Daily Racing Form announcing the coming of Freshman Sire BreezeFigs™ to their online services. According to an explanation by the creators in TDN yesterday, these will attempt to shed light on first time starters by freshman sires by rating their performances in the pre-sale breezes, or under-tack shows. But not only their times: "We will use digital video to distill data about speed, stride, and thrust (the ability to sustain power over r acing distances)." Sounds like a very interesting, if subjective tool. For example, the foals of one sire were described as having "general consistency in thrust." Sounds a bit like PornFigs, to rate first year adult film studs.

But why stop there? Perhaps the Beyer folks can add digital video analysis to their figs, or the clockers to morning workouts. We always hear trainers touting the way their charges eat after races, so why not have FeedFigs, to analyze the thrust of the horses' snouts toward the food, along with an examination of the nutritional value of the feed. In fact, why stop even there? Next time someone from the Bush Administration tells you that Social Security will be "bankrupt" in 2045, we can use LiesFigs, to digitally breakdown the consistency of the untruths and the thrust of their facial tics and expressions.

- PAY THE LADY! (She can tell when she wins.) Railbird on tired stereotypes.