With an Orb filly working the fastest quarter-mile in :21 and 11 horses sharing the eighth-mile fastest workout time of :10, the under tack show workouts for the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream selected 2-year-olds in training sale went smoothly.
As Gulfstream Park personnel went about the task of preparing the facility for this weekend's Xpressbet.com Florida Derby (G1) with a steady hum of saws, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, and other machinery in the background, the horses and their exercise riders took care of their business on a typical South Florida day with abundant sunshine and a steady breeze but with little humidity.
A standard part of the 2-year-olds in training sales protocol, the workout show provided buyers at the March 28 auction with a look at how the future racing prospects could get over the fast main dirt track at Gulfstream.
With the exception of a flight of horses consigned by Kip Elser's Kirkwood Stables that galloped rather than breezed and two individuals that worked on turf, the Monday workers breezed an eighth-mile or quarter-mile.
Consigned as Hip 54 by Tom McCrocklin, agent, the Orb filly is out of the winning Forestry, Taboo, who has produced stakes-placed Smartly Agree. The filly's second dam is grade 1 winner and $1.9 million earner Dream of Summer, the dam of grade 1 winner and sire Creative Cause and of grade 2 winner Destin. The filly cost $130,000 when she was purchased from Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.
With the large number of workers even at the eighth-mile distance and little separation between the best and worst times, there was a general consensus that the track was in good condition and fair.
"You just want to provide a fair and consistent racetrack—and I think it was today—and for the horses to come out of the breeze in pretty good condition," said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr.
Browning said the workout times were consistently good and that even some horses that did not have the fastest breezes stood out.
"There were horses that worked in :10 3/5 that looked beautiful doing it and looked like they could be viable horses on the racetrack," he said.
Buyer Pete Bradley agreed that the track seemed consistent throughout the day and that, like most buyers, he incorporates other factors into his assessment of the workouts.
"Everybody has a different way of picking out horses based on what I call style points, such as how a horse uses itself going down the lane (stretch)," Bradley said.
Bradley said he has been impressed by what he has seen entered in the Gulfstream Sale, leading him to conclude that there is less chance of market polarization as has been seen in many sales in recent years.
"There are a lot of nice horses here to sell," he said.
The two grass workers were Hip 29, a Dansili filly whose dam is a half sister to multiple grade 1 winner Flute, and Hip 95, a Medaglia d'Oro colt produced from the multiple grade 3-winning Smart Strike mare Communique. Consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds, the Dansili filly was timed in :10 2/5 for the eighth-mile. The Medaglia d'Oro colt, in Ciaran Dunne's Wavertree Stables consignment, got the same distance in :10 4/5.
While pre-sale works are but one component of the sale selection process, in recent years they seem to have taken on greater significance, with buyers gravitating to those that breeze in the fastest times.
"It is all-important," consignor Kevin McKathan of McKathan Bros. said. "This is the first hoop they have to jump through. There are plenty more. The horse has to go out there and go fast and move smoothly. I would love people to be comfortable buying horses that go :10 3/5 and :10 4/5. They want to see them rip. Even though a lot of them say they don't want to see them go fast, they buy the fast ones."
With a few exceptions, Dunne said his horses worked as expected.
"For the most part, they showed up the way we thought they would," the consignor said, adding that if barn activity is any indication, it should be a good sale. "The traffic has been good. There are a lot of overseas buyers and that will help the market. It's just a question of whether you have what they\want. There are a lot of nice horses here and hopefully they will be perceived that way."