11/20/2016 10:17AM

Agent Ron Fleischman, at 76, has two-worlds experience


A consignor absent from his shedrow the day before his horse goes through the auction ring is unusual, but Ron Fleischman had a solid excuse.

While broodmare prospect Big Bo’s Mo was being shown on the Keeneland sale grounds during the November breeding stock sale, Fleischman was about 220 miles north in Delaware, Ohio, with a 13-horse consignment of Standardbreds at the Blooded Horse Sales Company fall speed sale. He drove down to Lexington, Ky., the morning Big Bo’s Mo went through the ring, and was back in Ohio to sell the rest of his harness stock by the end of the day.

Even in semi-retirement, the 76-year-old Fleischman maintains a diverse bunch of activities.

The Lexington resident has been active with Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds for nearly six decades, breeding, training, buying, and selling horses, working for auction companies, and punching tickets during the live meets at Keeneland.

Fleischman has scaled back operations at his Bold Bidder Farm in recent years, but he still buys horses for clients, and runs and sells a handful under his own name.

“In the mid-80s, I had 15 head of Thoroughbreds at the [Thoroughbred] Training Center, and I had 15 head of Standardbreds at The Red Mile,” he said. “I got done in the morning with the Thoroughbreds because they work earlier, and then shoot to The Red Mile to get them done. I maintained that for a while. When winter training shut down at The Red Mile, I either had to leave town or stay with the Thoroughbreds, and I like Lexington.”

Interplay between Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds is rare. The highest-profile example in recent memory is the trade of stallion seasons between Taylor Made Stallions’ champion California Chrome and Deo Volente Farms’ Trixton in October.

Fleischman said a difference in husbandry philosophies has created a divide between the horsemen of the two breeds; he has experience in both.

“I would be around the Thoroughbreds, and someone would call me a ‘Standardbred guy,’ and they thought so little of Standardbred people,” he said. “But you go around the Standardbred guys and they have the same feeling – ‘Those guys don’t know what to do with a horse. They don’t do this, they don’t do that.’ They’re all horses, and they all have needs. They need to be fit, sound. It’s the same process.

“With the Thoroughbreds, you have to deal a lot more with their mental frame. The Standardbreds, it’s just a different set of problems,” he continued. “They get back-end problems; Thoroughbreds get more front-end problems. It’s just a function of their gaits.”

Fleischman, who watches each auction market, said the Standardbred side is the more stable of the two.

“The language is different,” he said. “The Thoroughbred people are more interested in how many dollars they make, and Standardbred people are more interested in how fast they went, although that’s evolving; they’re getting more interested in money. Still, the time standard is what started the breed, and they’re still very keen on how fast the horse can go.”

In his semi-retirement, Fleischman has revived his interest in claiming fillies with attractive pedigrees to race and groom into broodmare prospects. He picked up three with plans to sell them at the Keeneland November sale, but two were claimed off him before they could be entered.

His lone entry in the Keeneland sale was Big Bo’s Mo, a 3-year-old Uncle Mo filly whose dam was a sibling to three other black type earners. She was placed twice in eight prior starts when she was entered in a Turfway Park maiden claimer on March 25.

Fleischman dropped the $5,000 claim, and waited to take her back to the barn. Instead, she left the track in the equine ambulance with a fractured sesamoid in what would be her final career start.

“I claimed her on pedigree,” Fleischman said. “I was hoping she could run, but she broke down the night we took her. Then the next problem became, ‘Well, we’d better save her life,’ which we did. It wasn’t that bad, but it was alarming.”

Big Bo’s Mo sold to bloodstock agent Richard Rosenberg for $5,000 at the Keeneland November sale. It wasn’t a profitable transaction for Fleischman, but he had little time to reflect on it, with 10 more Standardbreds still to sell back in Ohio. In total, his draft of 13 Standardbreds grossed $47,500.

Three days remained in the Keeneland sale after the last session in Ohio, and Fleischman said he planned to be back looking at horses until the closing session.

“It is [busy], and then all of a sudden there’s nothing,” he said about his November schedule. “I thought I was in my waning years, but I’m getting pretty active as an agent now.”