As I alluded to in a previous post, I will be heading down to Lexington, Ky. in coming days for opening weekend at Keeneland Race Course.
Also on the itinerary for the weekend is the Keeneland Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Having never been to a Thoroughbred sale of this magnitude, I am looking forward to the new experience.
As many of you have surely noticed, I have a knack for finding Michigan ties in just about any racetrack adventure I have had. It appears this one will be no different.
While perusing the online sale catalog, I was quickly drawn to the dam line of Hip No. 61, an unnamed dark bay or brown colt by Bluegrass Cat. The juvenile’s bottom half runs deep in the history of Michigan, from local legends to national powers.
The colt’s dam, Maid’s Broom by Deputy Minister, is one of the most successful producers of Michigan-breds in recent memory.
Her masterpiece is Tenpins, the highest-earning Michigan-bred of all time. The Smart Strike horse won nine of 17 races and earned $1,133,449 over his career, including a track record-setting win in the Arlington Park Handicap (G2). He also racked up Grade 3 wins in the Prarie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup Handicap, Philip H. Iselin Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Monmouth Park, the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland Race Course and the William Donald Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico Race Course. He also hit the board in the Hawthorne Gold Cup, another running of the Fayette Stakes, the Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds and the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Despite all of his big efforts, Tenpins could only muster a third place finish in his lone start on Michigan soil, a Maiden Special Weight in his debut at Great Lakes Downs. He currently stands in Louisiana at Elite Thoroughbreds.
Maid’s Broom also produced three foals who earned stakes victories at Great Lakes Downs or Detroit Race Course. Override Battle, an earner of $222,850, set the track record at Great Lakes Downs for a mile. It’s A Sweep, who earned $196,781 in his career, set the GLD track record at 1 1/16 miles, then set the mark for 1 1/8 miles in his next race. Dust Around did not set any track records, but she did earn $101,780 during a successful stakes career at Detroit Race Course.
Going back a few generations, potential buyers will notice two-time co-champion older male, and leading sire, Nodouble. Though he was an Arkansas-bred, Nodouble got his start in Michigan (for a $7,500 tag at Hazel Park. He won the race and wasn’t claimed) and earned one of his biggest wins in the 1968 Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Race Course, where he upset defending Horse of the Year Damascus.
If this colt were a Michigan-bred and I had the money, I would think long and hard about purchasing him, bringing him back to Michigan and, more than likely, destroying everyone. Unfortunately, as a Kentucky-bred horse by a Kentucky sire, he is not eligible for any stakes races at Pinnacle Race Course. Looking at the bottom of the page though, he is eligible for the Breeders’ Cup, so perhaps I would have to set my sights a little higher.
Whether I have the available funds to bring him home or not (doubtful unless he has a number of legs that doesn’t equal four), I intend to get some pictures to share of him and any other juveniles that catch my eye at the sale or its preview day.
Because of my upcoming trip to the Bluegrass State, things might be a little quiet around here for the immediate future. To fill the time, I recommend checking out the newly launched Hello Race Fans! website.
The site is organized by fans of the racing industry to introduce newcomers to the various aspects of the sport and keep current fans up to date with features and analysis of key races and events. Among the highlights of the site are letters to new horseplayers from members of the industry.
If for any other reason, be sure to visit the site to check out the HRF Index. Fashioned after The Paulick Report’s Derby Index, the HRF Index polls various members of the racing media community, myself included, regarding some aspect of the racing industry.
The inaugural index sorts out the top handicapping books, as decided by the panel of voters. Normally, I do not believe in handicapping books, as I lose just as much money after reading them, but end up thinking twice as hard about it. However, for the opportunity to be included in such an esteemed group of judges, I managed to find five books I liked enough to tout.
For those of you who will be in Lexington this weekend, enjoy the races and the sale, as I intend to do the same. For those of you who will not be attending, enjoy the website as I already have.