By Ron Mitchell and Erin Shea
When Baccari Bloodstock was showing a Tapit colt to potential buyers before the Keeneland September yearling sale, representatives from two prominent farms inspected the horse but never returned for another look.
In the end, there were enough buyers for the colt that at least two bidders hooked up to push the yearling to top the Sept. 13 session at $1.2 million, pleasing consignor Chris Baccari and partner SF Bloodstock, which bred the colt.
The colt is out Hooh Why, who won the 2009 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and 2010 Seaway (Can-III) at Woodbine among seven stakes wins. The daughter of Cloud Hopping, was a $750,000 RNA at the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale while carrying the Tapit colt in utero.
"He just had a beautiful body. He had a big walk, and I fell in love with him," buyer J. J. Crupi said of the colt. "We weren't leaving here without him. It's going to the racetrack, it's not going to the sale, it's going to become a racehorse. He'll be broken at Crupi's New Castle Farm and then move on probably to Todd Pletcher."
Chris Baccari said the criteria some potential buyers use in their pre-sale inspections, especially the emphasis on the obligatory walk, is too discerning.
"That's disheartening," said Baccari, who had sold 10 yearlings for $3,550,000 through the Sept. 18 sale session. "They are on special-type horses and they make such a big deal about certain things, especially a walk or something like that. I try to tell them they don’t have races for walking. And dirt horses do not walk like grass horses."
Baccari said colleagues in the horse business assured him the colt in his consignment was the best of the Tapits being offered at Keeneland; the consignor did not have an opportunity to look at other yearlings by North America's leading sire because he was tied up with his own horses.
"They just felt that he had a little bit more natural longness to him, a little more bone, just a little more rugged look to him and his mother (Hooh Why) was a great racehorse," Baccari said.
The veteran horseman said Hooh Why was a hard-knocking mare with a race record he and other breeders find desirable in broodmares. In six seasons, Hooh Why raced 54 times, with 12 wins, 14 second-place finishes, and nine thirds while earning more than $1.2 million.
"She had a lot of soundness to her and I think that's appealing to anybody," he said of the mare. "Nobody likes to be able to run four times and be done."
Baccari honed his eye for a horse by buying yearlings to race and came to the equine sales market almost by accident.
"I used to only buy yearlings originally to race," he said. "I used to buy 12 yearlings a year, and one year I had 25, and I about flipped my canoe over. So I had to start selling some of them again. But my passion is really racing, this is my job, but if somebody bought me out tomorrow and said 'Go do racehorses again,' I would quit this and I would just race."