The first under tack show for Keeneland's select sale of 2-year-olds in training provided more excitement than South Carolina pinhooker Kip Elser wanted on Monday. But everything turned out for the best.
A Five Star Day
colt from the Elser's Kirkwood Stables consignment lost the right side iron from his saddle, leaving his rider, Dale Lynch, balancing precariously. But the gray or roan juvenile still managed to turn in the day's fastest work at a quarter mile, covering the distance in :20 3/5 on Keeneland's main track.
"I knew this colt was fast, but it scared the hell out of me," Elser said. "Dale did an unbelievable job."
The colt is out of the 16-year-old stakes-winning Relaunch mare Authorized Staff. She is a full sister to stakes-placed Bill Back, who is the dam of grade I winner House Party (by French Deputy). Authorized Staff's other offspring include the winner Dayton's Bluff (by Lord At War).
M.S.T.S. Stable purchased the fast-working colt as a yearling for $55,000 at the 2005 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. winter mixed auction. He was a $140,000 buy-back at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale.
Six horses were the fastest over Keeneland's main track at an eighth of a mile, each stopping the clock in :10 1/5. They were a Johannesburg
-- River Melody colt and a Forest Camp
-- Mirror Me filly, both consigned by Scanlon Training Center, agent; a Tale of the Cat
-- Mrs. Filio colt, consigned by Maurice W. Miller III, agent; a Mr. Greeley -- Friendly Dame colt, consigned by H.T. Stables, agent for Cam Allard; a Not For Love
-- Petrouchka filly, consigned by Randy Miles, agent for Eldon Farm Equine; and a Point Given
-- Golden Thatch filly, consigned by Miles as agent.
Keeneland had near perfect weather for the under tack show, avoiding the thunderstorms and cold weather that can plague Central Kentucky in the spring. The skies were sunny, and the cool morning temperatures warmed up in the afternoon. Irish agent Demi O'Byrne, trainers John Ward and Patrick Biancome, New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz Chace, and California-based owner B. Wayne Hughes were among the spectators.
"It went very well," said Keeneland's director of sales Geoffrey Russell. "The track played very fair, and there was good weather. It's very important to have the first under tack show under good weather because its tape is the one we send to most people around the world. The catalogue is important, but it's a performance sale, so if the horses have the optimum weather and conditions to perform, that's what we're able to promote."
Added Elser: "You're always at the mercy of the weather, no matter where you are, and it's a relief not to have the weather be a factor. This is wonderful."
The fastest quarter-mile worker on grass was a Royal Academy
-- Sea Puffin colt that was timed in :21 1/5. He is consigned by Gabriel Dixon, agent. Three juveniles shared the honor for the fastest eighth on grass with their identical clockings of :10 1/5. They were a Mizzen Mast
-- Lahaina Lass filly, consigned by E.J. Sipus Jr., agent; an Orientate
-- Ms. Strike Zone filly, consigned by Leprechaun Racing, agent; and a Royal Academy -- Natalie Natalie filly named Royal Natalie, consigned by Bloodstock Management.
The second and final under tack show for the Keeneland juvenile auction will be on April 17, beginning at 10:30 a.m. (EDT). The sale is scheduled for April 18, starting at 1:30 p.m.