Tom Simon’s Vinery operation will make its debut as a consignor of 2-year-olds in training at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale and also plans to offer horses at other juvenile auctions this year.
The first group scheduled to go through the sale ring March 2 at Calder Race Course is 13 horses strong and includes a Speightstown half-sister to 2009 Spinaway (gr. I) and Schuylerville (gr. I) Stakes winner Hot Dixie Chick; a Badge of Silver half-brother to 2005 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) winner Sweet Talker; and a Giant's Causeway half-sister to 2006 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. I) winner Henny Hughes.
“None of the horses in the 2-year-old sales will be Vinery-owned; they all will be owned by our clients,” said Vinery president Tom Ludt, who is based at the operation's Kentucky farm. “This is an avenue to give the Vinery name a little more exposure, to obviously generate some revenue, and to hopefully do a great job for our clients.”
Vinery’s Florida division has a training center with 100 stalls, a seven-furlong dirt training track, a six-furlong turf course that is located inside the dirt track, and an “aquaciser” (a water-based horse exercise system). Ian Brennan, who for many years worked for his brother, Florida pinhooker Niall Brennan, oversees the training facility, which prepares horses for racing and offers rehabilitation services for injured runners.
“We’ve had phenomenal results off our Florida training center in the short time that we’ve had it, four years, and the 100 stalls are usually filled with 30 of our horses and 70 owned by clients,” Ludt said. “Every year, we’ve probably prepped roughly 20 to 30 horses for clients that go to the 2-year-old sales, and for the most part, those horses went to the sales shipped directly from our facility to the sales. In this competitive marketplace, and because of the fact that we don’t have a massive volume of broodmares, I just approached him (Simons) with the idea of why don’t we sell these clients’ horses for the clients?”
Vinery will offer approximately 20 horses, in all, to juvenile auctions this year. In addition to Fasig-Tipton Florida sale, the operation’s main targets are the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March select and Keeneland April auctions.
“Some of our clients felt more comfortable staying with the (juvenile) consignors that they had been going to,” Ludt said, “but I still think we have a great group of horses. I was down in Florida recently watching them train, and I’m very excited. We don’t train them (the sale horses) a whole lot different than we train our other horses. I would argue that we’re somewhat conservative. We’re putting a huge foundation under them on what we think is a really good track.”
With its own horses, Vinery will continue to follow a business plan that has been established for years.
“We breed some of our mares to some of our sires to race, but for the most part, our mares are bred commercially and we sell (the offspring) as yearlings,” Ludt said. “We also buy yearlings by our sires to race, but we don’t flip (pinhook) them. There’s nothing wrong with that (pinhooking); it’s just not in our business plan.”