Trainer Bob Baffert said he felt like his son, Bode, in Toys “R” Us when client Kaleem Shah purchased a muscular Flatter colt for $925,000 early during the second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training in Central Florida. The dark bay or brown juvenile, who went through the auction ring March 16, is the highest-priced horse sold so far during the sale.
“I am so excited,” said Baffert, who is a member of racing's Hall of Fame. “He’s a really awesome horse.”
The colt worked a quarter mile in :20 3/5 prior to the auction, sharing the fastest time for the distance with a Dixie Union – Big City Dream filly. Produced from the unraced Quiet American mare Silence Please, he is a half brother to Sky Music (by Sky Mesa ), who captured the 2010 Restrainor Stakes at Aqueduct. Their dam is a half sister to Give Notice (by Known Fact), winner of the 1991 Lovely Claire Stakes at Aqueduct.
“He’s got the pedigree to go long, he’s fast, and he looks very, very sound,” Baffert said. “He’s also got a great mind. When you go to these sales and one of them jumps out like that at you, you need to buy that kind of horse. That’s the type of horse that will win you the big races. He looks like a big-time horse.
The price, Baffert added, would be "a lot of money for a horse that can't run, but he’s already shown he can really run; his work was just sensational. We tried to pick him apart, but we couldn’t. I’m very excited for Kaleem, who bought the Bob Baffert operation another bullet so we can carry on.”
“He’s a torpedo, not a bullet,” Shah interjected.
Responded Baffert: “He’s a cannon, that horse.”
Shah handled the bidding himself, sitting in the sale pavilion and fighting off stiff competition that included Kentucky bloodstock agent John Moynihan, who is a key advisor to Jess Jackson. Baffert watched the proceedings from the area where the walking rings are located.
“Bob liked him. He thought he was the best horse in the sale, so we went and bought him,” Shah said. “It’s a lot of money, but Bob wanted him a lot and egged me on.”
Dr. Barry Eisaman and his wife, Shari, of Eisaman Equine consigned the colt for the partnership of Gary and Betty Biszantz, trainer Stan Hough, and Donald Piser of New York. The Biszantzes, in the name of their Kentucky-based Cobra Farm, purchased the colt for $90,000 from Denali Stud, agent, at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.
“Bob got the best horse in the sale,” Shari Eisaman said. “He was the best because he had the best video (of a work), because of the way he moved over the track, because of the way he handled himself over the track, and because of the way he handles himself while showing. In the whole six months we had him, he handled himself like he was smart. He never got upset about anything, and he never bucked anybody off. He is just all class. It was like he thought he was here to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He’s a movie star, really.”
The colt is the highest-priced horse ever sold at public auction by the Eisamans. Shari Eisaman reported that the colt’s throat was examined endoscopically 12 times by veterinarians, indicating that there was a high level of interest among buyers.
“This is very exciting and fun for us,” said Gary Biszantz in a telephone interview soon after the colt brought nearly $1 million at OBS. “We were at the (Fasig-Tipton) Saratoga select yearling sale last year and had a couple horses in it, and we stayed for the New York-bred sale. We looked through all the horses, and my wife kind of picked this colt out, thinking he was very nice. I liked him a lot, too. We were only going to go to about $65,000 or $75,000 on him and at the last minute, I decided to bid $90,000. I said, ‘I just like this colt; we’re going to take a chance on him.’ We had been to Claiborne Farm to see Flatter and we liked him as a sire, but this horse was just a very, very good-looking yearling.”
Biszantz didn’t attend the OBS March auction. He was in Palm Springs, Calif., to play golf, so he logged on to a computer to watch the colt sell.
“We thought that $500,000 or $600,000 might be a very good price for him,” Biszantz said. “I would have been very thrilled with that. I was surprised he went for as high as it did. But Meg Levy (of Bluewater Sales), who sells horses for me, told me there was a lot of action on the horse. All the good buyers who were there had seen him and knew he was such an outstanding horse, and the way he traveled (over the track) was impressive.”
Biszantz and his wife owned 50% of the colt and Hough and Piser owned 25% apiece.