Previous to the start of this year’s yearling auction season, there was speculation that pinhookers – purchasers of yearlings resale at 2-year-old auctions next year – would not be as active in the past.
Based on Monday’s results from the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale, the pinhooking profession is alive and well, with two relative newcomers to the resale game among the most active buyers.
Buzz Chace, representing the newly formed L and F Stable. Land F, was the session’s leading buyer with eight horses bought for $1,201,000.
L and F consists of veteran horse owner/breeders Lewis Lakin and Terry Finley, president of West Point Thoroughbreds. West Point, which races a successful stable for partnerships, is enjoying one of its best years ever.
Finley said there are about six other partners involved in L and F and that the pinhookers will be active at the Fasig-Tipon Saratoga yearling sale and the Keeneland September yearling sale.
“It’s a group of industry professionals, a good number of them not involved with us (West Point),” Finley explained. “It’s just another way to diversify their equine investment portfolios.”
Finley said he and Lakin believed it was an opportune time to make the plunge into the pinhooking game.
“We hope it is (a good time to enter pinhooking), but you never know. Only time will tell,” Finley said.
Finley said that based upon the criteria being used by the partnership, the horses they are buying could become welcome additions to either partners’ stable.
“When you are buying good, quality horses you can never go wrong,” he said.
The other new pinhooking venture making noise Monday was the Rayzin the Bar Stable of New Yorker Drew Rayman. Rayman, who bought a Candy Ride filly for $230,000 and a Smarty Jones filly for $150,000, with trainer John Kimmel signing the tickets.
Rayman, who has been involved in successful pinhooking ventures with Hoby Kight, will pinhook under the name Zephyr Stable.
Rayman hopes to revolutionize the pinhooking game by taking a unique approach to how the Zephyr horses will be prepped and showcased for the 2008 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old sale at Calder Racecourse. Rather than emphasizing the horses’ speed during the pre-sale workouts, as is the norm, Rayman plans to request that FT allow the horses to breeze in company, with little or no regard for their workout times.
“We plan to get away from the emphasis on speed at the 2-year-old sales,” Rayman said, noting that many times the horses with the best workout times bring the top prices and then do not race for four or five months. “Our intention is to buy well-pedigreed horses and bring them to the sale and breeze them in company – slowly. Get them ready so that whoever purchases them can go on training them rather than having that four-month back off.”
The owner acknowledges that his unorthodox plan needs support from the sales company and buyers to work.
“It’s the grand experiment. We are going to be penalized (by the final prices based on the workout times), but we are going to have horses go out there and breeze (an eighth of a mile) in 13 or 14 seconds. People are going to say, ‘I don’t get it.’ But I promise you, when the day is done they are going to have a sound horse. Hopefully, that will translate to stakes wins.
“I think eventually they are going say we want sounder horses, and we will be ready to give it to them. We have to get permission from Fasig-Tipton to breeze them in company. I don’t care whether they time them or not. We want to do it our way.”
Rayman said he will continue to be involved with the more traditional pinhooking activities of Kight. “I am going to do a regular pinhooking thing, but I am going to try this new pinhooking thing.”
The owner, who is COO of i33, an Internet marketing firm based in New York, said he chose the Zephyr stable name because the word zephyr means a “mild, easy breeze. That’s going to be our guiding thing. No whip, in an easy breeze.”
Not unlike Lakin and Finley, Rayman is buying horses that he would not mind racing himself should his bold experiment not work out.