01/23/2014 10:38AM

Bob Marks: Interesting buys at the Meadowlands Mixed Sale

Michael Lisa
Appomattox sold for an impressive $240,000 at the sale on Monday.

As horse sales go, the Tattersalls Winter Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands was a good one. It was well attended and predictably, the ones expected to sell well did precisely that. Whether they were worth those lofty sums or not remains to be seen.

Generally speaking, a horse sale can be somewhat like the pro football draft, as the jury is usually out for at least a couple of years until those can’t miss collegians show what they can do at the top level.

Predictably, the top selling pacers were newly turned 4-year-olds Emeritus Maximus ($248,000) and Wake Up Peter ($210,000), a pair of Rocknroll Hanover colts who were reasonably successful last year. Neither one would be called a “grade one” winner (if harness had such a thing), but both were often right there against the divisional elites.

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While the $248,000 for Emeritus Maximus might seem incrementally odd considering the opening bid was $200,000, the final hammer price was a result of the under bidder requesting $1,000 increments past $245,000.

The prices were probably enhanced by the fact that two of the top 4-year-old free-for-allers from the 2013 season-- Pet Rock and A Rocknroll Dance-- were also sons of Rocknroll Hanover and both are now in stud.

Of course, last year’s top 3-year-olds-- Captaintreacherous, Vegas Vacation,  Sunshine Beach and Lucan Hanover-- are all expected back this year, which could relegate ‘Maximus’ and ‘Peter’ to the Open/Preferred classes at the east coast raceways. But given the enhanced purses available at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Mohegan Sun at Pocono, Yonkers, the Big M, etc., both should come reasonably close to winning themselves out.

The most expensive trotter was Appomattox at $240,000, which at first glance would seem a reach considering he earned less than $100,000 last year as a 4-year old. But he is by Yankee Glide from Courtney Hall, she from the great Canne Angus and a sister to Cantab Hall’s dam Canland Hall. Appomattox is ultimately destined for Finland as a stallion, thus that number seems quite appropriate. There’s just a smattering of that family in Europe and Appomattox will be well supported over there when through racing.

The best of the magnificent mares available, Big McDeal brought $125,000 though her future is in the breeding shed as opposed to the racetrack. Originally a $70,000 yearling by McArdle and a winner of $800,000 plus, Big McDeal epitomizes what could be called a filly family in that she’s a sister to four other successful fillies including the $485,000 plus winning Galimony. By McArdle from the Western Ideal mare Ideal Gal, a daughter of the well-remembered Before Sunrise, Big McDeal is slated to be bred to Somebeachsomewhere.  In that she herself was a $70,000 yearling (which means she looked the part), one can expect her Somebeachsomewhere foal to be of Lexington Select Sale opening night caliber.  I suspect my good friend Steve Jones of Cameo Hills farm made a good buy here.

A trotting colt to keep an eye on could be Toss Cartwright (Muscles Yankee-Toss Up), who brought an even $100,000 after some spirited bidding. That colt represented the final standardbred owned by the Perretti family.  Although the ticket was signed by the non-existent Mario Folli, obviously a nom de plume, the colt is reportedly destined for Chuck Sylvester, his trainer as a 2-year-old. It will be interesting to see how the ownership is eventually divvyed up.

One of the great bargain purchases from last year’s Tattersalls winter sale was the broodmare Baberhood and her in utero American Ideal colt that was purchased for $6,300. Unbeknownst at the time was that Baberhood’s first foal-- world champion He’s Watching-- would become such a stellar 2-year-old performer, resulting in Baberhood’s resale at Harrisburg for $130,000. But sometimes sixth-round draft choices become Tom Brady.

Genetically a potential Baberhood could be Hip # 69 Mako Wish, a 3-year-old Cam’s Card Shark filly purchased by Winbak Farms for $15,000. Mako Wish is thus a full sister to one of the all time great Cam’s Card Shark’s in Shark Gesture and it will be interesting to see who Winbak winds up breeding her to!

Basically the Winter Sale turns out to be more of a racehorse market than a breeder’s market, although there were some decent newly turned yearlings eligible for potential pin hooking later on. One, an unnamed Western Ideal colt from Artomatic, was purchased by the Cancelliere brothers for $14,500. The colt is a three-quarter brother to the $1.2 million-winning Western Shore, also owned by John Cancelliere and significantly is from the first Pennsylvania-eligible crop by that great sire.

Given that the rule of thumb for weanling or newly turned yearling purchases calls for allocating about one-third of what you project the yearling price might be come fall, this colt falls into the parameters of well bought.

An interesting filly might turn out to be Hip # 311, Rocks R Us, a Rocknroll Hanover filly from the Cams Card Shark mare Sharks R Us. The first dam didn’t do much, and for that matter neither has this newly turned 3-year-old, but the second dam, Don’t Toy With Me, from the famed Toy Poodle, has been a remarkable producer accounting for two sub 1:50 performers amongst her 11 primarily Michigan-bred fast class winners.

Rocks R Us was sold to settle a partnership dispute and was undoubtedly purchased by one of the partners for $8,500. Given the production from that second dam, she could prove to be quite a bargain even if she’s not an overwhelmingly successful race filly. She’s one we’ll be watching.

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