The "blowback" moment came during Books One and Two of Keeneland's September yearling sale. Friday, Sept. 18, offered a bit of a respite, but consignors were busy sizing up the market and showing yearlings from Saturday and Sunday's Book Three.
Consignors at the Keeneland September yearling sale were bracing themselves for one of the most daunting auction challenges of 2009: Finding new homes for thousands of young horses at a time when the weak economy is causing buyer demand for Thoroughbreds to shrink. Buyers, meanwhile, were excited about the prospect of bargains.
George Strawbridge Jr.'s Augustin Stable and Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms were the big winners at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association National Awards Dinner Sept. 11, taking home the National Owner of the Year and National Breeder of the Year awards, respectively, at B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm near Lexington.
Well Armed, winner of the Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (UAE-I) earlier this year, is recuperating following surgery at co-owner and co-breeder Bill Casner's farm in Flower Mound, Texas. A bone chip was removed from the 6-year-old Tiznow gelding's ankle during the procedure, Casner told Del Mar's publicity department.
Well Armed is set to make his first start since his record-setting win in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March when he runs in the $250,000 San Diego Handicap (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 2.
Wildcat Heir, who was fast enough to win the six-furlong Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (gr. I) in 2004, is getting off to a fast start as a stallion in 2009. As of July 17, there were already 11 winners in the first crop sired by the 9-year-old Forest Wildcat horse, which stands at Brent and Crystal Fernung's Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla.
Two grade I-winning mares who were members of broodmare bands at WinStar and Claiborne Farms in Kentucky died this summer.
In the aftermath of the failed passage of the legislation that would have allowed video lottery terminals at Kentucky racetracks, several Thoroughbred industry members voiced their opinions on how they will survive without the extra boost to the state's purse structure and breeders' incentive programs.
Undefeated Witty, a half-sister to Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Well Armed, scored her third lifetime win when she ran down favored Carlsbad in the $100,000 Railbird Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park May 10.
A top Thoroughbred owner said NetJets' sponsorship of jockeys in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is something that can be built upon, and that owners will work with jockeys on future endeavors.
Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Edward Evans' Spring Hill Farm. Jockey John Velazquez will now ride Mr. Hot Stuff.
As the sun rose over Churchill Downs April 26, WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back posted a solid workout as he continues to prepare for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
WinStar Farm's Hold Me Back, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and second in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I), is scheduled to leave Keeneland on April 24 for Churchill Downs in preparation for his next start in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
This final Derby Trail column before departing for Louisville is more of a potpourri of thoughts, scenarios, angles, trivia, and a touch of nonsense.
The connections of favored Hold Me Back were gracious in defeat following the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 11 and looking forward to running their colt next in the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) in three weeks. The 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winning longshot, General Quarters, while carrying the colors of Bill Casner's and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm, which bred the colt in partnership with Haras Santa Maria de Araras.
A day after his smashing victory March 28, record-breaking Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Well Armed was in "fantastic" condition, according to his assistant trainer.
Front-running Well Armed, under a snug hold by jockey Aaron Gryder, cut loose at the head of the straight and romped to a record 14-length victory in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 28, the final race to be run at Nad al Sheba.
WinStar Farm's homebred Hold Me Back overcame a poor break to win the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park in his first start of 2009 for trainer Bill Mott March 21.
WinStar Farm's 3-year-old Al Khali rallied through the stretch for a three-quarter length victory under John Velazquez in a 1 1/8 mile allowance test March 6 at Gulfstream Park, moving him up in trainer Todd Pletcher's arsenal of Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidates.
Storm Cat has been a titan among North America's commercial sires, and he added to his considerable reputation in 2008, leading all stallions based on the average price of their yearlings sold at public auction for the sixth time in his breeding career. He returned to the top following a two-year break during which he fell to second behind Danzig in 2006 and ranked third behind A.P. Indy and Kingmambo in 2007.
Court Vision surged from last in the stretch to win the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), giving jockey Ramon Dominguez a sweep of both grade I stakes on the Hollywood Park turf course Nov. 30.
Distorted Humor, who currently ranks No. 2 by North American progeny earnings, will stand for an adjusted fee of $150,000 live foal in 2009, WinStar Farm announced Nov. 25. Previously, it had been announced that Distorted Humor would stand for a fee of $225,000.
A soggy, grey Veteran's Day greeted buyers and sellers at Keeneland Tuesday, and the day's business at the breeding stock sale, while down, was actually a tad brighter than most during the 15-day auction.
Illinois Derby (gr. II) and Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Cowtown Cat has been retired from racing and will stand at Brent Fernung's Journeyman Stud in Florida for a 2009 fee of $8,000.
Leah's Secret, up against an easier field than she faced in two starts this summer, drew clear in the stretch and held off the late charge of Unforgotten to win the $170,400 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) by a half-length at Churchill Downs Nov. 2.
The Keeneland November breeding stock sale traditionally has been a market primarily for broodmares and weanlings, but a growing segment of the auction in recent years has been horses in training.
Stablemates Colonel John and Well Armed, both pre-entered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), turned in final works at Santa Anita Oct. 20 for trainer Eoin Harty, who reported he was pleased with both efforts.
Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farms has hired Jeff Barkley as his private trainer, beginning a transition resulting from trainer Larry Jones' recent announcement that he will wind down his operation and retire.
With the prices for sale yearlings falling and world economic problems rising, many breeders are hoping to save money on stud fees in 2009. Stallion managers in Central Kentucky are expected to begin announcing the amounts they will charge soon, and several of them told The Blood-Horse they would be more likely to keep their fees the same than go down. They also plan to raise the fees for some stallions whose progeny have been performing well on the racetrack.
On Sept. 27, Honest Man will tell trainer Larry Jones if he is ready for prime time, as he makes what could be his final Breeders' Cup prep in the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. He will take on five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile test on Polytrack.
WinStar Farm's Colonel John, winner of the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) by a nose at Saratoga, worked four furlongs Sept. 14 on Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface in :48 4/5 for trainer Eoin Harty. The colt is headed for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25 at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meet.
After three days of the Keeneland September yearling sale, pensioned Overbrook Farm stallion Storm Cat was the leading sire of yearlings by average, among those with three or more sold.
In one of the most thrilling finishes in the race's 139-year history, WinStar Farm's Colonel John nosed out Mambo in Seattle to win the $1-million Travers Stakes Presented by Shadwell Farm (gr. I) Aug. 23 at Saratoga.
An honest pace helped the stalking Honest Man register victory over a heavily favored Grasshopper in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Beeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 16.
In an effort to raise money for The Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the Race Track Chaplaincy of New York has organized a basketball game between members of the Saratoga jockey colony and the Texas Titans, a 6th grade Texas-based AAU team.
Da' Tara, who shocked the nation when he wired the field at odds of 38-1 in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and denied Big Brown the Triple Crown, returns to the racetrack July 27 in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga.
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Colonel John worked four furlongs in :49 on Santa Anita's synthetic track June 1 for trainer Eoin Harty. It was the colt's first recorded workout since the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Courtlandt Farm's homebred filly Indescribable continued to exhibit her affinity for synthetic surfaces, this time doing it on the Arlington Park Polytrack, as she wore down Leah's Secret in mid-stretch to take the Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) by a half-length on Memorial Day.
Eight evenly-matched older fillies and mares seek their first graded stakes victory of the season, as they face off in the $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) on Memorial Day.
When Tony Lacy was signing sale tickets for yearlings last year, the Kentucky-based bloodstock agent and Four Star Sales consultant didn't know that two of the horses would distinguish themselves by having siblings running in this year's Kentucky Presented By Yum Brands (gr. I).
A Storm Cat colt sold for $400,000 Wednesday to top the third session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Connections of Spring At Last, a convincing winner of the Feb. 2 Donn Handicap (gr. I), have decided to bypass the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 and aim instead for the $300,000 Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct April 5.
Odds-on choice El Gato Malo fell from the ranks of the unbeaten when Colonel John held the closer off in the final furlong to win the $200,000 Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita March 1.
WinStar is trying to exercise restraint in the size of its stallions' books.
IEAH Stables has acquired an interest in multiple graded-stakes winner Court Vision, one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The first foal by Distorted Humor's grade II winner Sharp Humor is a colt born Jan. 21 at Woodford Thoroughbreds near Versailles, Ky.
Youthful runners and experienced contenders will go head-to-head at Sam Houston Race Park Jan. 26, when 7-year-old horses and 4-year-old colts mix it up in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup Handicap.
Palais Versailles' $625,000 price kicks off Keeneland January sale's second session.
Bill Mott figured that the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) would be a good test for his promising 2-year-old colt Court Vision, one that would give the trainer an idea of whether the son of Gulch was a legitimate, early Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) candidate.
The Keeneland November breeding stock sale's gross reached an all-time high Tuesday. The total soared to $321,774,400 Tuesday in Lexington during the ninth of the sale's 15 sessions, surpassing the former mark of $317,666,000 that had been set in 1999.
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