03/10/2013 10:21AM

Executiveprivilege stands out among last year’s sale grads

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In a year’s time, the horses that made the biggest splash during the 2-year-olds in training sale season can be very different from the ones that make the headlines heading into the spring racing season.

The risk and reward of buying at the top of the market comes in many stages, from the immediate success of a precocious runner, to the delayed gratification of a late bloomer, to the long-term investment of a breeding prospect. As the 2-year-old sale season begins in 2013, some of the horses that drew the highest prices last year have already begun to show returns.

The clear success story of the previous juvenile season has been Executiveprivilege, who sold for $650,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring 2-year-olds in training sale. Consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, Executiveprivilege topped the OBS April sale and was the 10th-highest-priced 2-year-old in training sold at public auction in 2012.

The First Samurai filly has already more than made back her purchase price on the track for owners Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman, winning 5 of 7 races and earning $940,000.

Executiveprivilege was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 2-year-old filly, and her biggest victories came in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes, the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes, and Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes. Executiveprivilege finished second by a length to eventual champion Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She is in training with Bob Baffert for her 2013 debut at Santa Anita Park.

Of course, landing a quick-starting championship-caliber horse is very much the exception to the rule when buying a racehorse, even at the highest levels. In fact, four of the top 10-priced juveniles from last year’s sale season have yet to race as of Feb. 27.

However, the time to judge the success or failure of a purchase could be several years down the road, even after a horse has retired. Of the past 10 Horses of the Year, three were unraced at this point in their 3-year-old seasons (Zenyatta, Mineshaft, and Azeri), two were maidens (Wise Dan and Saint Liam), and four were maiden winners (Havre de Grace, Curlin, Invasor, and Ghostzapper).

Much like this year’s list of the highest-priced 2-year-olds, there was only one future Horse of the Year of the past 10 that was a graded stakes winner in mid-February of her sophomore campaign – 2009 champion Rachel Alexandra.

“In order to be fair, you’ve got to look at their whole career,” said Tom Ventura, president of OBS. “You can’t just look at the first four or five months that they’re likely to have raced.”

The top-priced juvenile of last year’s auction season was Darwin, a Big Brown colt who drew a bid of $1.3 million from the Coolmore partnership at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.

Consigned at the Fasig-Tipton Florida selected 2-year-olds in training sale by Wavertree Stables, agent, Darwin won his debut by two lengths at Belmont Park in October, then finished fourth in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct in November. After being sidelined with an injury, Darwin was shipped to Coolmore’s Irish operation earlier this year to prepare for a European campaign as a 3-year-old under Coolmore’s trainer, Aidan O’Brien.

Also overseas is the second-highest-priced juvenile of 2012, Price Is Truth, who was purchased by John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, for $1.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.

The Distorted Humor colt, consigned by Lynne Boutte, agent, was sent to join Sheikh Mohammed’s stable in Great Britain for his 2-year-old campaign. He was unplaced in three starts and was sent to the United Arab Emirates, where he recently finished third in a maiden race at Meydan Racecourse.


Top 10 highest-priced 2-year-olds in training of 2012

Horse Pedigree Sale price Sale Buyer Race Record; Earnings; Achievements
Darwin B. c., Big Brown-Cool Ghoul, by Silver Ghost $1,300,000 FTFMAR Demi O'Byrne 2-1-0-0; $50,800
Price Is Truth Ch. c., Distorted Humor-Secret Thyme, by Storm Cat 1,200,000 FTFMAR John Ferguson 4-0-0-1; $1,886
Forever Thing B. c., Tapit-Liberty Flag, by Kingmambo 1,000,000 FTFMAR Sallusto/Albina-Black Rock LLC 1-0-1-0; $7,980
Pazolini B. c., Bernardini-Jolie Boutique, by Northern Jove 875,000 FTFMAR John Ferguson Unraced
Brave Command Dk. b. or br. c., Hard Spun-Lucky Lavender Gal, by Carson City 870,000 FTFMAR John Ferguson 3-0-2-0; $2,543
Oldwick B. c., Street Boss-Varnish, by Cox's Ridge 825,000 FTFMAR Steven Young, agent Unraced
Boss Man Rocket Dk. b. or br. c., War Front-Henna, by Horse Chestnut 800,000 OBSMAR Frank Fletcher Racing Operations 5-1-0-1; $29,228
Ennobled Friend B. c., Malibu Moon-Seek to Soar, by Seeking the Gold 725,000 FTFMAR John Ferguson Unraced
Unnamed Ch. c., Majestic Warrior-Counter Cat, by Hennessy 700,000 KEEAPR George Bolton & Stonestreet Stables Unraced
Executiveprivilege B. f., First Samurai-Refugee, by Unaccounted For 650,000 OBSAPR The Three Amigos 7-5-1-0; $940,000; MG1W

Statistics through Feb. 27