Hoby and Layna Kight do one thing and one thing only: They buy yearlings to be re-sold as 2-year-olds in training for themselves and clients.
That's it. Unlike some horsemen and horsewomen who pinhook yearlings as 2-year-olds, but also train and prepare horses for others at sales or for the racetrack, the Florida-based couple keep it limited, and the results show that it's a winning formula.
According to BloodHorse MarketWatch data, among consignors with 10 or more sold between 2013-17, Hoby and Layna Kight sold 17 of their 22 pinhook horses offered for sale as 2-year-olds. From an average purchase price of $127,647, the average re-sale price was $300,412. After factoring in sale commission and other costs, their return on investment was an impressive 92%.
Not only do the Kight juveniles shine in the sales ring, they also end up in the winner's circle at major races.
Among their major successes have been grade/group 1 winners Forest Danger (a $900,000 sale), Diplomat Lady (sold for $400,000), and A Shin Forward (sold for $290,000).
"I just go to buy a nice horse, take good care of them, prepare it for its job, and just sell them," said Kight, who buys nearly all of his horses early in the Keeneland September yearling sale. "I try to buy a horse with pedigree, and almost all my buying is during Books 1 and 2 at Keeneland. I don't have anybody to short-list for me. I look at every horse in Book 1 and Book 2 myself. I make a short list, and then Layna will go with me to look at those on the short list."
In addition to keeping their numbers low—they have 14 that will be entered in juvenile sales this year—the Kights are unorthodox in that they make liberal use of veterinary exams.
"I vet 30 to 35 horses a day," Kight explained of his sale purchasing strategy. "There are some I know I shouldn't be able to buy, but I vet them because that is the type of horse I want. The ones that fall in my price range, I already know about the vetting and I buy them. I know the horses I want are the best horses there, and I buy two or three a day."
Kight, who has been pinhooking Thoroughbreds for some 20 years, honed his horsemanship skills while training Quarter Horses.
"When you race Quarter Horses, there is no room for mistakes," he explained. "You try to cover every base. I still love Quarter Horses, but I am a straight Thoroughbred guy."
With Layna Kight doing the riding of the couple's 2-year-olds leading up to sales, the young horses are not asked for much until they show up at the pre-sale under tack shows.
"My wife rides them for me, and we try to prepare them all pretty much the same, to have them ready to perform on that day," said Kight. "So we try not to let them go fast until the breeze show day."
One of the colts offered by the Kights at the March 13-14 Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-year-olds in training sale turned heads when he breezed a quarter-mile in :20 1/5, fastest of any horse leading up to the sale. The colt, a son of Goldencents out of Royale Paradise consigned as Hip 567, was bred in Kentucky by Pollock Farms and was purchased from Taylor Made Sales Agency by Beryl Stokes Jr. for $115,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.