05/21/2009 11:00PM

Girdner thinks pricey filly will pay her way


Paul Girdner describes himself as "an old horse bum."

After 50 years involved in various aspects of horse racing, the 77-year-old Girdner is entitled to make such a claim. Earlier this month, Girdner, who lives in Boise, Idaho, added to his Thoroughbred holdings when he paid $120,000 for a California-bred Chief Seattle filly at the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in training.

The Chief Seattle filly was the most expensive California-bred at the one-day sale. She will be Girdner's hope on the racetrack in the second half of the year, and is expected to make her career debut at Del Mar this summer.

Girdner paid more than he would have preferred, but thinks he got the filly he wanted.

"I thought we'd get her cheaper," he said. "I thought it would be $90,000 or $100,000. She was an outstanding individual."

The Chief Seattle filly was one of 11 horses to sell for $100,000 or more in the sale, which recorded a decline in average price of $36,675, or 31 percent. The Chief Seattle filly is out of Exceedtheprospect, an 11-year-old Allen's Prospect mare who was a winner and has produced two winners.

Bred by Jack Murphy, the filly was part of a group of prospects that Girdner inspected on the advice of former trainer Nick Hines, now a television commentator and the racing manager of Southern Equine Racing. Hines trained for Girdner when he had a public stable.

"Nick kind of spotted her for me," Girdner said. "He's been looking at horses for me for years and years."

The filly was consigned by Andy Havens Bloodstock, agent, making the second time this year that Havens had sold the filly at Barretts. At the January mixed sale, Havens sold the filly for $20,000. She was purchased then by Twin V Farm, and was consigned to the May sale by "a group of guys that like to pinhook," Havens said.

Havens took over care of the filly before the sale, but said that Shane Chipman of B.C.3 Thoroughbreds in Utah did most of the prep work.

"She was sent to me late in the game," he said. "I wish I could take more responsibility. She was an easy horse to like."

Havens, one of California's leading consignors, said the downturn at the sale was not a surprise.

"A lot of people were looking for horses," Havens said. "They were really picky and they didn't want to pay a lot for them. It was a sale in a bad economy."

The Chief Seattle filly, who has yet to be named, was sent to Ballena Vista Farm for a monthlong break after the sale, according to Hines and Girdner. She will be sent to trainer Jeff Mullins in early June. Girdner has since sold a 25 percent share to Ron Brewer, an active owner in Southern California.

Girdner once operated Les Bois Park in Idaho for 12 years, but he is no longer involved with the management of that track. He owns Southwest Hides, which exports cattle hides to the Far East. The family business is operated primarily by Girdner's son, which gives him more opportunities to travel to California and follow racing. He has campaigned horses throughout the United States, including in New York, where he raced the statebred winner Latest Scandal.

Earlier this year, Girdner won the Warren's Thoroughbred Stakes on the California Gold Rush Day program at Hollywood Park with Rule the Storm, who will be pointed for the Del Mar meeting, he said.

By then, the Chief Seattle filly's career could be well under way.