09/30/2013 11:09AM

Lexington Yearling Sale: Breeder Sleeper Picks


While the highest priced yearlings may sell on day one in Lexington, there are plenty of potential big-money earners up for grabs on the final four days. Often enough breeders hold a few good ones over to day two just to avoid getting lost in the shuffle. Then there are those yearlings which mature in the weeks after they are programmed for sale. Their HIPs may be high but that doesn't mean their talent is low.

"Normally I’m not crazy about selling on opening night unless I have something special," said Steve Jones of Cameo Hills Farm, who will offer five that night and 22 total in the sale. "Some people don’t go on opening night because they are intimidated and think they can’t afford the horses."

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“We only sell on the first two days of the sale and like to get out of the blocks quickly," said Mike Kimelman of Blue Chip Farms. "If we have something that won’t sell in the first two days at Lexington, we can always sell them on day three or four at Harrisburg (Nov. 4 in Pennsylvania).

Every breeder I spoke with had high expectations for the October 1 to 5 sale at the Fagsig-Tipton Sales Pavilion.

"I think it will be solid," said Murray Brown of Hanover Shoe Farms on the sale. "Based on the Canadian sale which had no reason to be up. And based on both Saratoga and Keeneland, which were up appreciably. I think people still love to own horses. The economy is reasonably good and generally speaking people who are interested in horses will buy yearlings."

"If the sale stays even, we’ll be okay," said Art Zubrod from Brittany Farms. "I’d like to see a 5 percent bump up, but I don’t think we will see the 17 percent increase they saw at Keeneland.”

There is no sure fire way to pick out the next star. As Myron Bell once told me, "it is all in the eye of the beholder." Some study pedigree, others watch videos or only trust what they see with their own two eyes.

Personally the entire yearling video thing baffles me a bit. I watched a few of our future standouts and possible duds on the web and they mostly look the same to me. Was I missing something?

"You can see that a horse is relatively sound out in the field, but I don’t put much stock in them," said Jones on yearling videos, making me feel better about my observations. "They can’t help you measure a horse’s heart. I bought a filly once for $16k and people were all talking about how bad her video looked and she turned out pretty good."

Whatever your method is for selecting the next Captaintreacherous, there is a reasonable chance of picking up a gifted youngster at Lexington and the breeders I contacted were kind enough to share their "sleeper" picks or diamonds in the rough if you will. I take no blame if these horses don't win the Hambletonian or even a non-winners-of-1 race. Buyer beware!

While the horses listed below could be great buys, Zubrod was quick to point out that it is hard to get anything past buyers nowadays. “I think we have a smart group of buyers and they usually find the good ones no matter where they are in the sale.”

Without further adieu, here are the ones to watch from days two through five. Horses are listed by breeder, followed by sale number, horse name, sire/dam and commentary from breeder.

Steve Jones – Cameo Hills Farm

HIP 192 – Give Me The Credit (Credit Winner-Vivica Hanover) – “Her pedigree is okay and she is terrific looking.”

HIP 580 – She’s Ready To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover-She’s My Belle) – “She is a Jersey-bred and some aren’t excited about that because of the state of the Sire Stakes program. She is kind of a sharp-looking filly that should be reasonable to buy.”

Mike Kimelman – Blue Chip Farms

HIP 116 – Monopoly Blue Chip (Donato Hanover-Winning Jonlin) - "He can trot 100 miles an hour and is the fanciest thing we have in the field.”

HIP 178 – Jake Blue Chip (Art Major-Sprig Hanover) - “He is stunning. To look at him, he is absolutely gorgeous.”

Steve Stewart – Hunterton Farms

HIP 406 – Fine China (Dragon Again-Western Wisdom) - "She is a sister to Nikki Beach and just a gorgeous filly.”

HIP 502 – Daut Full (Art Major-Thereal Ideal) - "Looks like a beautiful filly by Art Major.”

HIP 516 – Finish Line (Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher) - “This is a really nice colt. He’s not big; a typical well-balanced son of Yankee Glide.”

Art Zubrod – Brittany Farms

HIP 450 – Rock Center (Bettor’s Delight-Good News Lady) - “Six weeks ago he wasn’t a horse I could recommend to anybody. Now he could be a second-day horse selling on day four.”

HIP 583 – Luck Follows Me (Lucky Chucky-Musical Mystery) - “She has really shaped herself up over the last six weeks. Early on, she didn’t have the muscle over her rear end that I like and was on the potbelly side, but now she is full of herself and looks great.”

DRF Harness will have continuing coverage of the sale in Lexington when it commences at 7 pm on October 1. You can also watch all of the Grand Circuit racing from The Red Mile from Thursday to Sunday via this link.

Finally, as Breeders Crown approaches, you will be able to view all of the action from Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs on both elimination nights (10/11 & 10/12) and championship night (10/19) on DRF.com.