Sale Purchase Like a Bull Takes Long Way Home

Edited Thistledown release

James Day knows a good racehorse when he breeds and sells one. He also knows a claiming-box bargain when he sees it—especially one as unexpected as the 5-year-old gelding that presented itself at Thistledown Aug. 7.

In one of Thoroughbred racing’s longest turnarounds, Day, who owns Daybreak Stables, drove a van six hours from his Millwood, Va., farm to buy back Like a Bull, who he bred in 2004 and sold two years later at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic auction held at Timonium in Maryland. Day received $410,000 for the colt by Holy Bull out of the Devil’s Bag mare Dancing Ballado.

Day got about $100,000 more than he had expected.

Like a Bull didn’t race at 2, 3, or 4. He finally showed up in the entries at Thistledown—in a maiden dash for $4,000 claimers.

“I’ve kept an eye out for him ever since we sold him,” Day said “When I saw him entered at Thistledown, I decided to claim him and bring him home and retire him.”

Day had never been to Thistledown until Aug. 7. He is very glad he made the trip. Not only did Like a Bull, racing for owner/trainer Gary King, come within a neck of overcoming a slow start (he finished second as the 8-5 betting favorite), he came back safe and sound.

“He looked good to me,” Day said. “It’s a really a bizarre story. He had speed and a ton of talent. I’m guessing he suffered some sort of injury, but I really don’t know for sure. I do know that he’s pretty sound.”

King, who said he purchased Like a Bull, said: “I bought him, I ran him, and I lost him. And, I made a little bit of money on the deal.”

Day isn’t sure what he’s going to do with Like a Bull.

“I wasn’t planning on racing him, but now I’m playing with the idea,” he said. “He looks that good to me.”

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