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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Checkbook Horsemen Strike Again

- One of the points that Beyer made in his checkbook horsemanship column (which, to the Form's credit, is still posted on their website) was that real sportsman, however wealthy, breed their own or buy young horses at sales, and then seek to affirm their judgment by testing those horses against other people's best. The Maktoums, in addition to their own stock, go out and make hard-to-resist offers for other owners' horses that have made an impression on the track.

Now comes word that the buyer of Zada Belle, a two-year filly who made a dazzling winning debut on October 13 at Santa Anita for trainer Adam Kitchington, earning a Beyer of 98, is none other than Darley. They may think that the man practices trash journalism, but they're happy to use his speed figures.

Kitchington was understandably excited after Zada Belle won by 9 in 1:03.04 for 5 1/2 furlongs. As she came past the eighth pole, Trevor Denman noted that "she has not taken a deep breath yet...Zada Belle looks like she could go around again; she's absolutely cantering!" Kitchington jokingly remarked, “That’s what happens when you run a 3-year-old against 2-year-olds.” [Daily Racing Form] He named the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet as the filly's goal. You can watch the race at Cal Racing.

But less than a week later, Kitchington was confirming the horse's sale. On Wednesday, the Form confirmed that the buyer was Darley.

William Peeples had purchased the Zada (Zay-da, according to Denman) Belle for $95,000, so you gotta figure he did pretty well on the sale. Kitchington said "we have mixed feelings," so perhaps the owner cut him in for a slice, otherwise I don't really know what the good part would be.

"I've only got 15 in my barn. She could be any kind of filly. Who knows what kind of publicity I could have gotten and how my barn could have grown." [DRF]
You gotta feel bad for the guy. It's getting to the point where a trainer like Kitchington won't even want to run a horse he/she thinks is special.

Zada Belle is by Indian Charlie out of a mare by Carson City. Not much to see on the catalog page until you get to her 4th dam, So Proudly. There you see that this is the distaff family of Optimistic Gal, the great Bertram Firestone filly who won 13 of 21 for trainer Leroy Jolley, winning six Grade 1's including the Alabama and the Kentucky Oaks. (That's right; the Alabama goes first!) But all in all, she's pretty modestly bred, and Indian Charlie isn't from the most fashionable sire line. I can't imagine she'll be worth too much as a broodmare unless she's a monster on the track.


Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Indian Charlie's breeding, but i do know he was one helluva good racehorse. He debuted on the day as Souvenir Copy, and outran that one by a full second. He was always superior to that one, and i my opinion was superior to Real Quiet as well, who ended up beating him in the Kentucky Derby. I believe Indian Charlie injured himself duringn that Derby however, and i don't believe he ever ran again. Just going by memory here. In any case, he was certainly one of the most talented 3yo's to come out of California over the last 10 years or so. I believe he won the Santa Anita Derby in only his 4th career start? Pretty sure that would make him 3-for-5 lifetime, as i seem to remember him getting beaten by either Real Quiet or Artax in his pre-SA Derby run.

Anonymous said...

Just looked it up, and i was pretty close. He retired 4-for-5 lifetime after his injury-induced 3rd place effort in the Derby. Not sure why i thought he lost a prep race.