David Shimmon, the California entrepreneur who has been one of the Thoroughbred industry's leading yearling buyers since emerging at the Keeneland July sale in 1999, has elected to have D. Wayne Lukas train four of his purchases from last year, including a $4.2 million Seattle Slew colt who topped Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling sale.
Shimmon's other purchases are being trained by Bob Hess Jr., who along with his father, Bob Hess Sr., have advised Shimmon at public auctions.
In addition to the Seattle Slew colt, named Distinction, Lukas will train a Pulpit -- Set to Fly colt bought for $700,000 at Saratoga; a Siphon -- Private Dish filly bought for $520,000 at Keeneland September; and a Wild Again -- Spotty Light Rain colt bought at Saratoga for $185,000. Shimmon was a partner with Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables in the purchase of a $3.2 million A.P. Indy -- Clear Mandate colt selected by Lukas at Keeneland in September.
Shimmon said the change to Lukas "was pretty much expected" from the beginning. "When Bob and I set this up," Shimmon said, "I told him he would be extremely important and be treated as a principle when it came to our particular business, but the likelihood is he wouldn't have a pure exclusivity on all the training."
Shimmon said some of his horses may fit in racing circuits outside of Southern California, where Hess is based, and that Lukas' operation has the "infrastructure" to race at different tracks.
Lukas said he and Shimmon struck up a friendship at the Keeneland September sale and that Shimmon approached him in early January about training some of his horses. "We talked strategy, and Bob Hess was in on the conversation, since he is training some of David's other horses," Lukas said. "Bob agreed that we brought some things to the table that went beyond his operation. It was a very smooth transition."
Lukas said Shimmon has not asked if he would represent him at yearling or 2-year-old sales this year. "It goes without saying that whatever expertise we can bring to the table is at his disposal. But we haven't had any discussions. If I can help him, fine. If he would like me to be involved, I will. We've struck up a friendship and I enjoy him very much. He's going to be a very vital part of the future as far as racing goes."
Shimmon said Lukas isn't the only one willing to help him buy a horse. "I would imagine, based on my history, that anyone who has anything to do with this industry is at sales looking to buy for me," he said. "I would never want to make the comment that Wayne or others are not looking out to buy me great horses at all the sales. I should send you a stack of the faxes that come through."
Shimmon, 42, made his fortune at Kinetics Group, a semiconductor business located in Santa Clara in Northern California's Silicon Valley.