2009 MTOBA Yearling Sale Preview

Even the greatest champions of the turf started out as freaked out yearlings in a sale ring.

The time has come again for the next crop of Michigan-bred yearlings to take one step closer to the racetrack in Sunday’s Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association Yearling Show and Sale . The yearling show will begin at 9 a.m. in the Michigan State University Pavilion’s South Barn and the sale will follow at 1 p.m.

This year’s sale will feature 38 yearlings going through the sale ring, a significant decrease from the 74 offered last year. However, the yearling sale has been a rich source of Michigan stakes winners, including last year’s champion Valley Loot and 2008 stakes winners Clever Idea, Equally Good and Ittybittymeadow. Past results suggest there is plenty of blacktype waiting to happen from this sale.

In preparation for Sunday’s sale, I have compiled a few categories I found to be interesting. I have also singled out three yearlings I predict will command the highest prices of the day. If anyone thinks someone else will command the top dollar, I welcome your reasoning.

DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind I am by no means a bloodstock expert. Not even close. The following post is not a suggestion of who to buy, but simply a series of my observations and predictions regarding the upcoming yearling sale. I have seen none of these horses in person and am going strictly by what I see in the sale catalog and online, along with general vibes I get while looking over the catalog. However, if someone should purchase Michigan’s next millionaire based on something written here, a “thank you” would be nice.

So, without further ado, let’s have a look at a few of the horses that stand out from this year’s sale catalog.

For a full list and details of the horses offered in this year’s sale, view the online catalog here.

This gets pretty long, so I am putting it behind the jump to save space on the front page. Click the link below to keep reading.

First Timers:

These new stallions are sending their first yearlings to Sunday’s sale. Buyers always take a risk when it comes to yearlings of new sires, but the possibility of having one from the next big sire before anyone else does makes it worth the gamble.


Gainango: Northwin Stable’s successor to Island Storm leads all stallions in yearlings sent to this year’s sale with six.

Hip #12 – Q Good To Go
This foal, out of winning Navarone mare Babbs Be Good, is a half-sister to last year’s Lansing Stakes winner Equally Good. The filly’s second dam, Telina, sent six of seven foals to the track and they all came back winners, including two stakes winers and two stakes placed.

Hip #38 – Q Northwin Spin
The sale’s closer is out of unraced Zen mare Pushy Princess. This colt is a half brother of Sire Stakes winner Q Fortunate Sun, an earner of over $137,000.

Other Gainango Foals:

Hip #1 – Midnight Ransom

Hip #5 – Q Go S’More

Hip #13 – Go Mocha Jo

Hip #20 – Gainon

Haslam: Young’s Pine River Thoroughbreds’ freshman sire sends one foal from his first crop to Sunday’s sale.

Hip #31 – Lady Haslam
This filly is out of unraced Hunting Hard mare Lady Adelina. Her first dam has yet to send a foal to the track, but her second dam produced a hard-knocker named Duke’s Star, who won 17 races from ages two to eight for earnings over $123,000.

First Foals:

The yearlings in this segment are the first foals from their respective dams. Like the stallions, there is an air of the unknown surrounding the dams’ futures as producers, but getting in on the ground floor with the right mare and cross can lead to success down the road.

Hip #5 – Q Go S’More
Q Go S’More is the first foal from Ulises mare Rockem S’more, a stakes-placed winner. The bay colt’s second dam, Royalty in Motion, is best known for producing two-time Michigan Horse of the Year Rockem Sockem. This yearling is also by a first-time sire, Gainango.

Hip #8 – Money Makes
This Indy King colt’s dam, Tune Lender, is a winning mare by Banker’s Gold.

Hip #22 – Unnamed Colt
Sire Stakes winner Easy Ellie is the dam of this chestnut colt. This yearling’s bottom half appears to be ultra-consistent. His third dam, stakes-placed Selket, was the mother of nine foals who all found the winner’s circle. A generation before that, stakes winner Ida foaled 10 winners.

Hip #30 – Strategies
Winning Honour and Glory mare Kahlea and Cream sends her first foal to this sale. The Strategic Mission colt’s third dam, Delicate Vine, is the Grade 2-winning producer of four stakes-winning or placed foals.

Freshman Sires:

The sires in this category send their first two-year-olds to the races in 2009. Only a handful of juvenile races have been run in Michigan, so the resumes for these stallions are being written before our eyes.

Hip #4 – Zero Down
This filly’s sire, winning Halo’s Image stallion War Image, has yet to send a foal to post.

Hip #25 – Blitz Escape
Blitz Escape comes from the second crop of winning Storm Cat stallion Fire Blitz, who has had one unplaced starter to date.

Hip #33 – Wando Gold
Wando Gold’s sire, Wando, sent his first foal to the winner’s circle just last Sunday. More on this sire in a moment.

Best Name:

Sometimes having a cool name can get a horse places its less creatively-named peers only dream of reaching. Just ask Arrrrr. There are not too many particularly unusual names in this year’s sale, but there is one that stands out.

Hip #9 – I Cant Win
Come on, how can you not pull for a horse so pessimistically named? Here’s hoping this Demaloot Demashoot filly wins her first start by a double-digit margin.

Famous Relatives:

In the world of horse sales, it never hurts to have a few big race winners in the family tree. These horses have just that luxury and ought to benefit from it in the sale ring.

Hip #1 – Midnight Ransom
The second dam of this Gainango gelding, Trick Bag Baby, produced one of the most unlikely champions in Michigan’s recent history, 2006 Thoroughbred of the Year Weatherstorm.

Hip #2 – Meachem Road
This Equality gelding’s dam, Queen of Savoy, foaled a multiple stakes winner in Clever Idea. However, the marquee name in her produce record comes from her foal Contessa Halo, dam of Grade 3 winner Ikigai.

Hip #5 – Q Go S’More
The family tree of this Gainango colt includes arguably the most successful Michigan-based MI-bred of the decade. His dam, Rockem S’more is a full sister to two-time Michigan Horse of the Year Rockem Sockem.

Hip #26 – Unnamed Filly
The Creative filly with no name’s second dam foaled two Sire Stakes winners, including J.P.’s Big Boy and 2005 Michigan Horse of the Year Creative Miss.

Hip #32 – Jump Forward
One of the foals of the Jump Start colt’s second dam produced a horse who was on last year’s Kentucky Derby trail and started in the Preakness Stakes, Racecar Rhapsody.

Hip#33 – Wando Gold
This Wando filly is a half-sister of 2003 Michigan Horse of the Year Goldinrunner.


Just because it is a Michigan-bred sale does not mean the foal’s sire has to be a state resident. This list highlights yearlings who are by out-of-state stallions. They may not be eligible for the Sire Stakes, but there is still money to be made if one finds the right horse.

Hip #8 – Money Makes
This colt’s sire, Indiana-based Indy King, has sent three crops to the races. The son of A.P. Indy is currently the second-leading sire by earnings in the Hoosier State.

Hip #30 – Strategies
Kentucky’s Strategic Mission is the sire of this dark bay or brown colt. The Mr. Prospector horse’s claim to fame from his five crops of racing age is siring turf star Showing Up.

Hip #32 – Jump Forward
Jump Forward’s sire is Kentucky-based stallion Jump Start. Of his four crops, the A.P. Indy stallion has sired five graded stakes winners including G1-winner Rail Trip.

Hip #33 – Wando Gold
Canadian Triple Crown winner Wando is this chestnut filly’s sire. The Kentucky-based Langfuhr stallion recently had his first winner, D’s Wando, at Woodbine and he is ranked #23 among freshman sires by progeny earnings in North America.

Hip #37 – Credit Rating
Florida’s Belmont Stakes winner Sarava sired this gray or roan colt. With two racing-aged crops, the Wild Again horse is still seeking his first stakes winner.


These yearlings will probably have to be involved in a heated bidding war to crack the top sellers, but their pedigrees suggest they just might outrun their sale prices.

Hip #18 – Secret Rogue
This Secret Romeo colt’s dam has only had one other foal, but it’s a stakes winner of over $80,000. Lots of horses in his family tree went on to break six digits in the earnings column.

Hip #19 – Comeflywithanangel
There is not much blacktype in the most immediate sections of her dam line, but this gray or roan Equality filly’s dam has produced a hard-knocker in Pauliano Pkwy and a two-year-old who already has a win and a placed finish at Pinnacle this year, Power of Titus.

Hip #22 – Unnamed Colt
As mentioned earlier, this Equality colt’s high-percentage dam line gives him as good a chance as any to succeed on the racetrack.

Hip #26 –  Unnamed Filly
This anonymous Creative filly’s dam, Heavy Duty Cutie, has not sent out a starter just yet, but her second dam is a Michigan champion-earning and Sire Stakes-winning producer. Whether that foaling ability is passed on remains to be seen, but there are far worse sources to draw from in terms of heredity.

Projected Top Three Sellers:

By my best estimates, these three yearlings ought to pull the highest bids of the sale. The yearlings are listed by hip number, not necessarily the order I think they will finish.

Hip #2 – Meachem Road
Queen of Savoy’s foal in last year’s sale was the second leading seller at $14,500. Clever Idea’s success at Pinnacle  and Ikigai’s exposure on the national stage give this Equality (whose foals don’t do half bad in Detroit themselves) gelding some resume-building tools as well. That kind of name recognition could be hard to pass up.

Hip #21 – Countess of Music
The Native Factor/Dutchess of Music cross is proven money. The nick has produced two stakes-winning earners of over $100,000 and the second-place finisher in one of last year’s Sire Stakes races. The fact that the foals have transferred well from Great Lakes Downs to Pinnacle Race Course also bodes well for her potential sale figures. There is no such thing as sure thing when it comes to yearlings, but this filly has a lot of history on her side.

Hip #33 – Wando Gold
If you haven’t noticed, this one has popped up in several categories in this preview. Thus, it should be no surprise to see the Wando Filly among the final three. Wando appears to be a sire with potential and the chestnut filly is out of a Michigan champion-producing mare, Miss Huddle. This filly is bound to be among the most desired in this year’s catalog.


Filed under Commentary, Pinnacle Race Course

7 responses to “2009 MTOBA Yearling Sale Preview

  1. old time race fan

    I have a question. What makes a foal “Michigan bred” and eligible for the state bred races? If a mare travels to Kentucky and is bred to a horse based down there, then returns to Michigan and the foal is born here, is it Michigan bred? Or does the foal have to actually be conceived in the state?
    Also, what if an owner has a mare here, is bred here, but the foal ends up being born down in Kentucky or Florida for whatever reason? Just curious how this is defined.

  2. mibredclaimer

    Old Time Race Fan,

    This is from MTOBA’s website…

    “A Michigan bred is defined as:

    A Thoroughbred foaled in Michigan whose dam has complied with all state regulations and has remained for not less than 7 months of that foaling year within the state.

    A Michigan accredited bred is eligible for breeders awards, owners awards and state supplements for restricted races.”

    Here is another good thing to know about the whos, wheres and whens of Michigan-breds…

    The sire and/or mating does not need to be in Michigan to qualify the foal as a Michigan-bred, however, to qualify for the Sire Stakes races at the end of the year, foals must be Michigan-sired. The definition of a Michigan-sired foal is below, courtesy of the ORC website…

    A Michigan sired thoroughbred horse is defined, by law, as “a horse sired by a registered stallion that was leased or owned exclusively by a resident or residents of this state and which did not serve a mare at a location outside of this state during the calendar year in which the service occurred.”

    Hope that helps clear things up. If not, I’ll be glad to try again.

  3. ragman

    I’ll go with # 32 Jump Forward and even predict that Bob Gorham is the buyer.

  4. scott

    its hard to get serious about being a player in this sale,with the state of affairs…a may or june 2yr sale has more appeal..since most likely only 1 or 2 of these will have the ability to compete outside of mi..

  5. mibredclaimer

    Jump Forward definitely has some merit, but I think the fact that it is a Kentucky-bred might hurt his stock a bit. I’ll let you know who snaps him up.

    They tried having a two-year-old sale at Pinnacle earlier this year, but it didn’t have enough entries to go.

  6. ahorseofadifferentcolor

    Be sure to give us the full report!

  7. Charles Clay

    Interesting MTOBA sale today. Looked like 15 or 16 sold out of 36-37 horses available. A few spirited bidders.

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