Because of two trips to Louisville, Ky., Susan Chu has a horse in the Breeders’ Cup. She and her family fell in love with the sport after watching Super Saver and I'll Have Another win the 2010 and 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). That led to the purchase of Super Ninety Nine, second choice on the morning line for the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
The Chus—Susan, husband Charles, and their children, 21-year-old Vicky, 19-year-old Leo, and 9-year-old Jerry—already loved horses. They own show jumpers, and Susan, Vicky, and Jerry ride.
“I started out in dressage,” said Susan, “but I moved to hunter-jumpers to be able to ride with my kids. I love horses so much. Our horses are just like our family.”
Charles and Susan are originally from Taiwan, but the family lives in Massachusetts. Charles’ business in North Andover deals with GPS navigation systems and security devices. Vicky took an internship in Louisville this year, and she suggested the family attend the Derby again.
“When we saw I’ll Have Another go to the lead almost in the last minute, it was so exciting to see,” said Susan. “I just couldn’t believe that a horse could be so powerful. My husband talked to me and said we should get involved with this business.”
Susan began meticulous research. She interviewed several trainers extensively, traveling to meet with them, and she decided upon Bob Baffert.
“I was so lucky to be able to set up a meeting with Bob,” she said.
By this time, the 2-year-old sale season was winding down. The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. still had its June juvenile auction on tap. Susan was in Taiwan when Baffert called her.
“Susan, you only have the choice of two horses,” Susan recalled Baffert telling her.
“Can’t I have a few more options?” she asked.
“No, there are only two,” Baffert replied.
Baffert, of course, has an excellent track record in selecting good prospects, and Susan decided to buy just one. He was a son of Pulpit —Exogenetic, by Unbridled's Song , from the consignment of Becky Thomas’ Sequel Bloodstock, and he was cataloged as Hip #599. Baffert got the colt for $260,000, the third-highest price of the sale. Because of his hip number, Susan named him Super Ninety Nine.
Susan traveled to California a couple of times to see her new racehorse.
“She rides jumpers,” said Baffert, “and she wanted to know if she could ride him. I told her, ‘No, you cannot ride your racehorse.’ ”
Susan did manage to hot-walk Super Ninety Nine once.
“Bob laughed at me and said I was the only person who tried to take care of the horse myself,” she said.
Baffert unveiled Super Ninety Nine in a seven-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita Oct. 7. With Martin Garcia aboard, the colt won by 1 1/4 lengths. When the fillies Beholder and Kauai Katie went into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) instead of the Juvenile Sprint and Super Ninety Nine worked five furlongs Oct. 27 in :59 3/5, he became one of the horses to watch for the race.
Susan, Charles, and Vicky are coming to California to watch Super Ninety Nine compete in the Juvenile Sprint. Fortunately, Hurricane Sandy didn’t hit Massachusetts as hard as it did New Jersey and New York, so Susan doesn’t anticipate too many travel problems.
“This will be my first time at the Breeders’ Cup,” said Susan. “My husband is very busy with his business, but I told him, ‘You have to come. This is a special event.’ ”