Leading owner Mike Gill, will boycott 2-year-old sales held at Calder.

Leading owner Mike Gill, will boycott 2-year-old sales held at Calder.

Skip Dickstein

Gill Doesn't Plan to Buy Any 2-Year-Olds at Calder

Mike Gill, the biggest spender at Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Calder auction in 2002 and 2003, doesn't plan to shop there for 2-year-olds this year. He also doesn't plan to buy any horses at Fasig-Tipton Florida's Calder auction, where he was the biggest spender in 2003 and the third-leading spender in 2002.

A dispute with racetrack management at Calder, not disenchantment with juvenile auctions, will keep Gill away.

"I love the 2-year-olds sales," said Gill, a 2003 Eclipse Award finalist as outstanding owner. "It's nothing against the consignors; I've met a lot of nice people, and they've called to congratulate me when my horses have won. But the people at Calder won't give me stalls, and they've made it tough for me to race at other tracks. I can't see helping them."

Gill is also concerned that he can't participate in races sponsored by the National Association of 2-Year-Old Consignors because "they're run at Delaware Park, and they (track officials) won't let me run horses there."

Even so, Gill is considering buying 2-year-olds at Barretts in California and at Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic May sale in Maryland. He also will be purchasing racing prospects privately.

"I feel bad for the consignors," Gill said. "But if they have horses at other sales (besides the ones at Calder), I'll look at them."

Highly successful, but also controversial, Gill ranked No. 1 among owners in North America last year in stable earnings ($9,236,530) and races won (425).

At last year's OBS Calder sale, Gill spent $2,904,000 for 32 juveniles, accounting for 22.8% of the sale's gross and purchasing 27.4% of the horse's sold. He paid $1,765,000 for eight horses at Fasig-Tipton Calder.

In 2002, Mike Gill spent $1,040,000 for four 2-year-olds at OBS Calder and $1,274,000 for six horses at Fasig-Tipton Calder.