09/21/2012 4:07PM

Emerald Downs: Munger cashes in with sale of Roveing Patrol to Reddam


AUBURN, Wash. – Don Munger didn’t expect he had a stakes winner on his hands when he put the 2-year-old filly Roveing Patrol into training this past winter, and he certainly never envisioned that J. Paul Reddam, owner of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, would pay him $100,000 for his filly after just two starts at Emerald Downs.

Yet, in a sport renowned for its remarkable twists and turns, that’s exactly what happened this week when Munger received a check and Roveing Patrol’s new owners made plans to ship her to Kentucky for a possible start in the Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

Munger said he got a call from a bloodstock agent the day after Roveing Patrol raced to an overpowering victory in the restricted Diane Kem Stakes on Sept. 9, and things moved quickly from there.

“The agent called me back and asked if I’d take a hundred thousand for her,” Munger said Friday. “So they made the arrangements. I just got the money today. He said Paul Reddam was the buyer, and they’re shipping her to Kentucky. He asked if I thought she could go a mile, and I told him my breeding would like 6 1/2 furlongs for sure, and she could possibly go a mile.”

A Munger homebred by Nacheezmo, Roveing Patrol won the Diane Kem by 8 1/2 lengths while running six furlongs in 1:09.57. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 67. In her racing debut, Roveing Patrol rallied strongly after a troubled start to win going away in a $12,500 maiden claimer.

“In her training, up to that first race, she was just another horse,” Munger said. “But we never did ask her to see how much potential she really had. After the first race, we realized she was something special. But then we had to wait two months for a race, there was no place to run her. She came into that stakes race great, and everyone was asking about her. I’ve never had a horse like that, who got that much attention.”

Munger, 88, and his wife, Wanda, have been breeding and racing horses for decades. Munger said the decision to part with Roveing Patrol wasn’t particularly difficult.

“Like someone told me the other day, it’s better to be sorry you sold a horse than to be sorry that you didn’t,” he said. “That sums it up for me. I had one once who I got offered a lot of money for and didn’t take it, and two months later I had to put him down. You don’t know from one day to the next whether they’re going to stay sound. But she was a real nice horse to work with, she’s sound, and, in fact, she was real sweetheart.

“I love these horses and that’s my life. I’ve been breeding ’em for years and years, and I know how hard it is to come up with a stakes horse. I thought, well, she has an opportunity to go on, which I wouldn’t be able to do with her. It will help her, and it also could help the breeders in this state, that you don’t need a $500,000 mare to do something good. You’ve got a chance.”

According to Munger, Ben Cecil will train Roveing Patrol in Kentucky, another remarkable turn of events for the senior member of Emerald Downs’s trainer colony. Munger had never won a stakes race at Emerald Downs until Roveing Patrol’s breakthrough in the Diane Kem.

“We were really happy in the barn, the whole crew,” Munger said. “It was a great feeling. It helped everyone’s morale, and we’ve been getting inquiries every day, asking about that filly. It’s a good feeling to have a good one.”

Statistics as meeting closes

Some relevant numbers on the final day of racing at Emerald Downs:

◗ Favorites won at a 43 percent clip through the first 78 days of the 81-day meeting, capturing 283 of the 661 races. Favorites won 37 percent of the races in each of the three previous seasons.

◗ At total of 4,182 horses have started in the 661 races, an average of 6.33 starters per race. The average a year ago was 6.73 starters per race, and in 2010 it was 7.03.

◗ Including the 29 races scheduled for this final weekend of the meeting, a total of 690 races will be run at Emerald in 2012. There were 728 races in 2011, and 772 races in 2010.

◗ Taylor Said and Winning Machine, who finished heads apart in the Longacres Mile, recorded the highest Beyer Speed Figures at the meeting, at 98. Cielator (88) recorded the highest Beyer by a filly or mare for her victory in the Belle Roberts Stakes on Sept. 9. Music of My Soul, entered in the season-ending Gottstein Futurity on Sunday, has the best Beyer for a 2-year-old, a 72 for his victory in a maiden race Sept. 9.