Not many Thoroughbred racehorse owners willingly part with a 3-year-old stakes winner this time of year, particularly with one who has already fared well against some of the best of the crop.
That is, unless you're a shrewd businessman who understands when to sell.
Wes Melcher made that decision recently when he entered the 3-year-old gelding Worldventurer in the April 3 Fasig-Tipton Texas 2-year-olds in training sale. The sale had expanded its scope this year and included at the end of the one-day sale a small lot of horses of racing age. Worldventurer, a son of Wimbledon—Better Than Most, by Elusive Quality, was the last horse through the ring and brought the highest price for the day. Canadian agent Bryan Anderson bought the stakes winner for $150,000 on behalf of Vancouver owner Peter Redekop.
"It was just a business decision," said Melcher, 35, the co-founder of a Dallas-based travel club company named WorldVentures. "I have been successful in other businesses, and I'm convinced you can make money in the Thoroughbred business. We have had a great time and lot of fun with Worldventurer but it was the right time to sell."
Twin Oaks Training Center sold the gelding for Melcher.
Worldventurer has already won four times out of 11 starts. His stakes victories include the TTA Sales Futurity at 2 and the Jim's Orbit Stakes and Groovy Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park earlier this year. The gelding finished third by 2 1/4 lengths behind Texas Bling and Will Take Charge in the Remington Springboard Mile Stakes and was third behind Departing in the Texas Heritage Stakes.
Anderson said Redekop will keep the gelding at Lone Star Park with trainer Bret Calhoun for the April 11 Texas Stallion Stakes, in which Worldventurer is expected to be favored.
"Originally we decided to go down to the sale and look at a half-dozen fillies that interested us," said Anderson, who had not attended the Texas 2-year-old sale before. "But we are always looking at 3-year-olds for the (British Columbia) Derby. We liked him on paper, and then when we saw him...well, he's a gorgeous horse."
Redekop is one of British Columbia's leading owners and has won the BC Derby (Can-II) twice. His most recent win was in 2012 with Second City. After the Texas Stallion Stakes, Anderson said Worldventurer is likely to be shipped to Hastings Racecourse.
Worldventurer was one of two six-figure horses sold at Texas sale, which sold nearly as many horses as in 2012 and saw its overall average of $23,564 climb 19.7% compared with 2012. The boost in business wasn't just due to the horses of racing age additions. The average price for 2-year-olds alone was up 12.1% to $22,087 from $19,689 a year ago.
"Our sale reflects the optimism people feel coming back into the industry," said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. "We continue to hold the sale at Lone Star Park, which is completely under the ownership of Global Gaming for the first time this year. This new ownership is one of the reasons for the optimism."
Global Gaming is one of 56 companies owned by the Chickasaw Nation, which took over operations at Remington Park in Oklahoma City in 2010 and invested millions of dollars in improvements.
The top-selling juvenile of the sale was a filly named Ring Bit, by Kitten's Joy out of Blush. The full sister to stakes winners Derby Kitten and William's Kitten worked in :10 1/5 during the sale's under tack show. She was sold by Mike Neatherlin, as agent for James Tolliver, for $130,000 to Sallusto and Albina, agents.
Twin Oaks Training Center was the sale's top consignor with $416,000 in gross sales on 14 horses that averaged $29,714. Anderson was the sale's leading buyer, having purchased two horses for $210,000. His other purchase was a Hard Spun filly named Amarillo Evening, which he bought for $60,000.