No one can fault Pennsylvania horseman Clovis Crane if he gets a bit emotional while sending 14 supplemented horses of racing age through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale. The Dec. 5 auction in Timonium, Md., begins at 11 a.m. ET.
The horses were all owned by Dr. Harry Weisleder, a horseman who was a friend and partner with Crane in the horse business for nearly a dozen years before passing away suddenly of a heart attack the morning of Nov. 6. Weisleder, 72, a dentist in Harrisburg, Pa., is survived by his wife, Cammy, and four children.
Weisleder made his first foray into horse ownership via the claiming ranks, but over a period of 11 years built up a successful pinhooking partnership with Crane that hit its stride in recent years. After Weisleder acquired the horses in his name, mostly yearlings bought to be resold as 2-year-olds in training, they were prepped and sold by Crane.
This year Crane Thoroughbreds has sold 28 of 34 juveniles offered for $1,056,000 and in 2016 had 28 2-year-olds gross $1,186,500.
"His goals were to be a horseman and to be making money in the horse business, and I think he accomplished his goals," Crane said. "We did business over the course of 11 years but only in the last six or seven years we did a lot of business and subsequently I learned so much from him.
"Our business model was to buy these horses, develop them, and sell them. Our business was always liquidated at the sales. His horses were 80% of my pinhook business. He would front the money and buy the horses under his name and then I would work it off."
Crane and Weisleder watched the Breeders' Cup World Championships and had dinner each night Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3-4. Cammy Weisleder, a nurse, called Crane at about 2 a.m. the morning of Nov. 6 and said his friend had suffered a heart attack and they were en route to the hospital. He died not long after.
The Weisleder/DASL Stable horses on offer at Midlantic include M C Squared, a half brother to grade 2 victor Finley'sluckycharm, who has six wins and eight placings to his credit while earning nearly $180,000; Colonel Sharp, third-place finisher in the Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) whose second dam is $2 million earner and seven-time grade 1 winner Sharp Cat; multiple stakes-placed New York-bred Carradine; and Welly, 2-year-old Street Sense filly whose female family includes multiple Canadian champion Are You Kidding Me.
Crane said Cammy Weisleder, who had not been actively involved in her husbnad's horse business, left it up to Crane on how to liquidate the portfolio. Crane said there had been several offers to purchase the horses privately but he chose the auction route as the most transparent and fair method of selling the stock.
"She told me to do whatever was right," Crane said. "In a dispersal situation the buyers have confidence because these are all horses Harry didn't want to sell but he enjoyed and was having a lot of fun with them. Buyers can have complete confidence these horses have value. They are horses he bought for himself or kept to race for himself. I hope someone else can get the enjoyment out of them that he was. They are going to be offered without reserve."
Although Crane is upset over his friend's death, the professional side of the horseman compels him to do his best to present the horses for sale in a manner in which best they can command the highest price possible.
"Harry was my friend and he did a lot for my family and I am going to do everything I can for his," Crane said, his voice tailing off with emotion during a telephone conversation. "The main thing is we were friends, and we were making money and having fun. We were lucky."