RSS Feed for this Blog

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Tactical Ups and Downs

- The next big 2 year old sale after Calder is the OBS Ocala Select Sale on March 22, and 630 horses are cataloged, marking a 30.2% increase from the 484 juveniles cataloged for the 2004 sale. [Thoroughbred Times] One horse that is not in the catalog, however, is a gray or roan colt by Tactical Cat, out of Highland Tide, by Highland Blade (Damascus). He is one of the four yearlings that I purchased a small (as in, small) percentage of in a pinhooking partnership through Castle Village Farm (CVF). This outfit has done a pretty remarkable job on the NYRA circuit with New York breds and others purchased for not a lot of money (and even their own homebred) largely through the efforts of the sharp managing partner Steve Zorn. It’s a nice group with a lively discussion board and their racing partnerships have really done well of late, check out their website for details.

Each of their partnerships is named after a Derby winner, and my pinhooking partnership is called Leonatus, who won the Derby in 1883, before even Jack Whitaker’s time, and took 10 of 11 starts for a total of $21,000. This particular venture is a joint one with another outfit called EQB, Inc, a consulting outfit that utilizes high-tech methods of analyzing gait and conformation and their own proprietary cardio-scan to determine heart size, which seems to be the bottom line in their purchasing decisions. Interesting stuff, and they have an impressive record of identifying future stakes winners, check out their website. We paid $185,000 for the four yearlings at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, and one of them, a Deputy Minister colt we got for $55,000, has already been sold privately for $165,000. It was originally hoped that we’d sell him for the big bucks at this Calder sale today, but he developed a throat infection and fell behind in his training. Not bad, though we at CVF have a smaller stake in this one than the 50/50 split with EQB on the other three; it's a nice ROI any way you cut it.

As far as the Tactical Cat colt is, here’s his catalog page (pdf file) from the Keeneland sale. His dam was graded stakes placed, earned $190,000, and has produced a couple of winners; and the second dam takes up the rest of the page with black type aplenty. The biggest earner on the page is Super May at $826,500; beyond the page, this is also the family of Slewpy and millionaire Top Corsage. Sometimes I can keep drilling down on mares in certain families generation after generation on Pedigree Query, and see that they all just produced and produced and I can really get a sense of the potency of the genes being passed down on and on, and this is one of those.

However, this colt has had more ups and downs than Ahmad Chalabi. He didn’t meet his reserve at Keeneland and was feeling a bit neglected and down. But through the efforts of Steve and EQB, who tirelessly vetted hundreds of candidates, he was purchased privately for $40,000 and shipped with his new friends, fillies by Vicar and Real Quiet in addition to the Deputy Minister, to Pennsylvania with EQB. Shortly thereafter, word came that the colt was doing very well, and that there was a chance he’d be sold privately for $100,000. These were heady times, because at the time we also thought we were getting $200K for the Deputy Minister; easy game. Unfortunately, the sale did not transpire, and he went with the two fillies to consignor Niall Brennan in Florida. Not long thereafter came word that all three were doing fine and of the Tactical Cat colt, being pointed for the Ocala select sale,“He's doing well and has the size and ability to be a standout there.”

But he didn’t make the final cut for the sale. So now he’s gone from standout to left out, and no one seems to know exactly why; in fact they seem downright mystified. Steve is supposed to be finding out more from the consignor. The colt is now being targeted for the Ocala April sale starting April 25, where they’ll be a lot less money than at the select sale and more pressure for a lightning breeze.

- Feel free to email comments, questions.