01/02/2018 9:26AM

Bergman: Blindswitch Racing is reaching new heights for Litvinsky

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Mike Lizzi
Texas Terror N is one of many horses for sale on David Litvinsky's first-over.com.

Luck has a lot to do with the direction many take in the horse business. For David Litvinsky, it started with his very first purchase Raque Balboa.

“We claimed the horse with John Brennan. He won his very first start and got claimed the same night,” said Litvinsky.

That was in June of 2000 and Litvinsky, with partners and then more recently as the proprietor of Blindswitch Racing, has continued to grow and expand his racing interests. With a stable hovering at 30 head or better, Litvinsky has managed to move up the ladder and now could be on the verge of a breakout of sorts in 2018.

At one time in the music business but now as head of a tech company that handles security systems, Litvinsky has showcased a pair of imports over the last month at The Meadowlands that could be ready for primetime this spring when the Levy and Matchmaker series return to Yonkers Raceway.

“When Tullow N raced the first time at Yonkers, Greg Merton told me after the race that he was a Levy horse,” said Litvinsky. The rugged import has done little to dispel the suggestion, with a pair of wins in five starts while racing strictly from off of the pace.

As for the Matchmaker, it was hard to deny what we’ve seen from Sally Fletcher A thus far. The imported daughter of American Ideal went a wicked trip in her first Meadowlands appearance, a 1:51 4/5 victory on December 23 where she battled the high-class veteran Windsun Glory nose-to-nose on the final turn and finally left that one behind.

“Her race at Saratoga (December 8) was incredible. She just kept digging in after racing first over,” said Litvinsky.

The owner suggests that it is a group effort between trainer Al (Freddy) Annunziata, himself and some agents Down Under when it comes to locating and procuring new talent. But Litvinsky is more than just the money man.

“I watch a lot of races in Australia and New Zealand,” Litvinsky said. “It’s an entirely different kind of racing and I’m always looking for a horse that can go first over and keep fighting.”

Perhaps that’s why Litvinsky is a bit surprised with the performances of Sally Fletcher A, a winner four times in five tries since arriving here in October. “I watched her and they told me that she was a much better horse racing from off the pace,” said Litvinsky. “But the drivers have put her on the front end and she’s responded.”

The importing of horses would appear to be the second phase in the arc of success for Litvinsky’s Blindswitch Racing in the last five years. “Blindswitch was the name of my band,” said Litvinsky of his earlier musical efforts while well aware of its meaning of being trapped between horses on the inside and out within a harness race. Back in 2012 he along with trainer Jose Godinez were looking for quality horses through the claiming game.

“We were looking for 4-year-old $40,000-50,000 claimers. It was tough and at times you might have to pay more to get one, but the thought was to have a good horse over time,” Litvinsky said.

In Pan From Nantucket and Ru Ready To Rock, the return on investment was substantial. Pan From Nantucket, plucked for $62,500 in March of 2012 earned $300K for the stable between 2012-13. Ru Ready To Rock, another 4-year-old, was claimed for $50,000 and has since gone on to earn over $400K for the stable.

“I think the great part of those claims is how we’ve been able to race these horses for a number of years,” said Litvinsky. Rock To Glory and B Js Guy were added to the stable in 2013 and collectively they have made near $900,000 since for the stable.

Texas Terror N, purchased towards the tail end of 2015, managed to turn Litvinsky and his stable’s attention towards acquiring talent from the southern hemisphere.  The veteran has earned about $200,000 over the last two years.

“We were looking for specific horses down there,” said Litvinsky. “I liked the rugged type but we also wanted horses that were known bleeders and weren’t able to use Lasix.”

Litvinsky, like many that have imported horses over the last few years, has found that many Australian/New Zealand horses can be purchased for relatively modest sums and make instant impacts on these shores. “I’d say we’ve spent between $60,000 and $125,000 on these horses,” Litvinsky said. “It takes time to get them acclimated and not all of them work out. Iammrbrightside N hasn’t lived up to expectations.”

Litvinsky said that both Tullow N and Sally Fletcher A came in closer to the low end of the pricing scale. He suggested that he is currently in discussion to bring over another, perhaps more high-priced horse in the near future. A horse he says is on the same scale as Christen Me N.

While some owners would be looking forward to see their horses compete in rich events like the Levy and Matchmaker, Litvinsky suggests he’ll stay away. “I think I’m bad luck when I show up at the track,” Litvinsky said.

With a solid pipeline now developed for his importing business, Litvinsky is taking the next and perhaps necessary step. He’s debuting www.first-over.com, an auction site where many of his own horses will be listed. “I think it’s a great opportunity for others to be able to purchase horses that have already become acclimated and are racing,” said Litvinsky. “I would say in some ways it’s like flipping property.”

Sally Fletcher A and Tullow N are listed on the site and Litvinsky suggested that it will be open to others looking to sell horses auction-style. There will be reserves as well.

With quality racehorses always at a premium, the rules of finding a good investment are similar to the housing market. Location, location, location. In this case the best location may be a website.