Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

July 30, 2010

A few updates and a really exciting announcement

I have arrived at my parents’ home in Louisville, Kentucky and I will be leaving with them and my sister in the morning to go to Saratoga. I’m extremely excited that I will be heading towards the Spa in just a few hours.  Before I leave, here are some updates on things going on in my life.

My last day of work at Chesapeake Farm was yesterday. I only worked there for three months, but I learned more than I ever could have imagined. I’d like to thank the entire Chesapeake Farm team for a great summer and for teaching me so much about raising Thoroughbreds.

Today Sky was confirmed to be in-foal with a single pregnancy and everything looked good. It’s great news and tonight I will be registering the foal she is carrying with the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund. The fund was created in 2005 and is financed through a sales tax paid for breeding a stallion to a mare in the state of Kentucky. If the foal turns out to be a runner and wins some races then I will receive money from the KBIF for being the breeder of the horse.

Speaking of registering horses; I registered Skype for the Breeders’ Cup a couple of days ago. I will be paid a 5% nominator award every time Skype places first, second, or third in any Breeders’ Cup stakes race or Breeders’ Cup World Championships race, even though I will not own her during her racing career.

****************************Now for a very exciting announcement**********************

I am going to be on TV on Monday, August 2nd. The show is called “Keyword: Saratoga” and is hosted by Seth Merrow of and Steve Byk of Sirius radio’s “At the Races.” The show airs on Capital OTB-TV from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. I will be one of the guests on the show, along with Glenye Cain Oakford of the Daily Racing Form and Tommy Roberts of Roberts Communication. I’m being told that I will be the first guest and should be on around 10:45 AM. So if you’re in upstate New York, tune into Capital OTB-TV on Monday morning and check out my television debut.


July 26, 2010

Reporting from Starbucks

Hello, readers! It is good to be back on the blog. Unfortunately, a big storm in Lexington last week knocked out my Internet and I’ve been living without it ever since. I was hopeful that it would be back up soon, but that doesn’t seem likely. Therefore, I am reporting today from a Starbucks that is just a few blocks from my apartment.

Today I will be giving some updates on things going on in my life. Here it goes.

  • Today is my final day off from work at Chesapeake Farm, as my final day will be this Thursday. It was a great experience and I learned more than I ever could have imagined. It’d be great to continue working at the farm; however, I am going back to school at UK for my senior year in just a few weeks and my school schedule does not work with the farm’s schedule.
  • I will be making a trip up to Saratoga for the races and sales and I’m incredibly excited. My family and I have made the trip to the Spa every year since 2004, but there were fears that it just wouldn’t work out this year. Thankfully, everything came together and we will be in Saratoga from August 1st through the 9th. Woohoo!
  • I’ve decided that I am going to do a very short preview of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. This time I will just be giving the hip numbers to watch and nothing more. Also, I will only be giving 10 hips to watch a day for a total of 20. This is a select sale and so I figured I should also be very selective. If you’re interested in taking a closer look at my hips to watch, then you can look them up at
    • Day 1 Hips to Watch: 2, 3, 12, 23, 38, 50, 80, 85, 94, and 99.
    • Day 2 Hips to Watch: 110, 119, 122, 131, 139, 142, 153, 164, 178, and 199.
  • My Even the Score weanling, Skype, will no longer be going to the Keeneland November sale and we are pointing to the Keeneland January sale. I will be posting more about this decision soon.

That’s it for now. Hope everyone had a great Monday and that my next post will be sooner rather than later.

July 19, 2010

Be careful around Thoroughbreds, you may get bitten

Thoroughbreds can be wild and unpredictable and I know firsthand that being around them can be dangerous. People that have little horse handling experience must be especially careful around Thoroughbreds. When working with Thoroughbreds, a person may get kicked, stepped on, or even bitten. I may eventually write a post about how to keep safe around horses, but not tonight. Tonight I will focus on people getting bitten when spending time around these animals; however, I am not talking about getting bitten by a horse’s teeth, I am talking about getting “bitten by the Thoroughbred bug.”

As some of you may know, I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and I now live in Lexington, Kentucky. I have lived my whole life in places that are considered to be some of the most horse crazy towns in America. Unfortunately, most people in Kentucky aren’t crazy about Thoroughbreds, or even horses in general. Everyone loves going to the KY Derby and having Derby parties and Lexington is booming when Keeneland is open, but during the rest of the year horse racing is not cared about by most. I believe that one of the reasons that people don’t love this sport is because they haven’t been given an opportunity to love it. Many of my friends will attend the Kentucky Derby, go to the infield, and never see a race. Some will go to Keeneland and spend the whole day in the paddock, unable to see the horses through the crowd and the unwilling to fight through people to make it to the apron to see a race.

This has to change. Members of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries and the fans of the game must begin to display the beauty of this sport. We have to take people out on farm tours or let them come see our horses. We need to take potential fans to the morning workouts and allow them to see these beautiful creatures in motion away from the noise and excitement of the afternoon races. We should be bringing people to the horse park and give them the opportunity to see hundreds of horses up close. Maybe even take a few people on a trail ride. I know that we will get some new fans by bringing people to the racetrack and selling the races as a social event loaded with fun, excitement, and gambling, but this isn’t going to work on everyone. Some people need to be shown the true beauty of these animals.

Since becoming a horse owner in February, I have taken several groups of friends out to see my horses, Sky and Skype. Upon leaving the farm, a few of them have said, “Well, yea that was pretty cool I guess,” while many have said, “That was awesome, Travers! Maybe someday I can be a horse owner too. Maybe someday we could own a few horses together!”

That’s what we’re looking for people!

The sport of Thoroughbred racing is an amazing sport that I love and I hope to be involved in the industry my entire life. It is too amazing of a sport to not have more fans. If we show people what Thoroughbred racing is all about, and let them get a closer look at the sport and the horses, they will get bitten! I’ve seen it happen.

Pictured below are some of my friends “getting bitten” out at Frank Mitchell’s farm, The Croft.



July 17, 2010

A Day on the Farm

A couple of readers of this blog have asked me what I do each day on the Thoroughbred farm where I work. Also, upon hearing that I work on a horse farm, I often hear, “So what exactly do you do?” Well tonight I am going to tell everyone what I do.

I arrive at the farm a little before 7 AM, park my car, and throw on my muck boots. The “parking lot” is about fifty feet from one of the barns and so that is where we start. Behind this barn is a group of paddocks that contain a total of eight yearlings. My co-workers and I bring each of these horses from their paddock to their stall, where they are fed breakfast. Each horse is also checked thoroughly by the farm manager before we exit the barn. Everyone then hops in one of the two farm trucks and we head to another barn and another paddock. This time the paddock contains a group of five mares and foals. We bring in the mares and foals, feed them, and take all the foals’ temperatures. There are two other barns on the farm that we bring up each morning. One of the barns houses fifteen pairs of mares and foals and the other houses fifteen yearlings.

It usually takes about an hour for all of the horses to be brought up from their paddocks. After they’re all in, the team takes the yearlings that are headed for Keeneland September on a walk. This usually takes about a half hour and we have it pretty well-timed so that when we are done walking, the vet is pulling up to the barn. The vet comes everyday and has a list of horses that need to be examined. Now that breeding season is over, that list is much shorter. However, there are usually at least a few horses that need to be seen and so he takes one person with him and makes his rounds. The rest of us take the next hour grooming all the yearlings.

Around 10 AM it is time to start turning all the horses, with the exception of the sales yearlings, back out into their paddocks. There are now lots of dirty stalls that need to be mucked out and replenished with fresh bedding. We get to work on the stalls and get as much done as possible before lunchtime, which is 11:30 AM.

We meet back up after lunch at 12:30 and go back to work. All of the stalls are mucked out, feed is prepared for the next day, and the barns, with the exception of the big yearling barn, are cleaned by 2 PM. A few guys then grab some feed bags and go feed the horses their lunch outside, while the rest of us feed the sales yearlings inside. While we wait for the yearlings to finish eating we clean tack, knock down cobwebs, rake around the barns, etc. At 3 PM we turn the yearlings out into their paddocks and clean all of their stalls. The stalls are then bedded back down and filled with fresh hay. By the time that all the muck piles are picked up and the barn is cleaned it is 4 PM and quitting time for the day.

The schedule that I described above stays reasonably consistent, but everyday can bring something new that alters the routine. Those curveballs that throw off the schedule a bit keep things interesting and sometimes, when working with horses, there are big curveballs that can make things really interesting.

July 15, 2010

Review of the FT July Yearling Sale

Let’s take a look at what happened with my hips to watch for the Fasig-Tipton July sale. 

#17: Sold for $60,000 to Ken McPeek, agent

#39: Sold for $100,000 to Dogwood Stable

#43: Sold for $30,000 to April Mayberry (Private Sale)

#59: Sold for $45,000 to Tim Kegal, agent (Private Sale)

#68: RNA (final bid – $149,000)

#69: Sold for $190,000 to John Ferguson

#77: RNA (final bid – $65,000)

#82: Sold for $140,000 to Jay Em Ess Stable

#83: RNA (final bid – $28,000)

#85: Sold for $95,000 to Cory Wagner

#106: Sold for $95,000 to Elkstone Group LLC

#119: Out

#127: Sold for $170,000 to Jun H. Park, agent

#146: Sold for $150,000 to Cheyenne Stables LLC

#176: RNA (final bid – $105,000)

#191: Sold for $100,000 to Glen Hill Farm

#199: RNA (final bid – $49,000)

#205: Sold for $80,000 to Cecil Seaman, agent

#226: Sold for $70,000 to Pike Racing, agent

#232: Sold for $100,000 to Mark Edwards / M R Capital

#234: RNA (final bid – $10,000)

#243: Sold for $90,000 to Cory Wagner

#245: Sold for $350,000 to Deborah A. Easter, agent

#282: Out

#307: Sold for $225,000 to Tim Kegal, agent

#315: Sold for $50,000 to Off the Hook LLC

#347: RNA (final bid – $47,000)

#354: Sold for $25,000 to Raut LLC

#383: Sold for $190,000 to John P. Fort

#397: Out

#405: Out

I gave 31 hips to watch at the sale and, of those 31, there were 4 outs and 7 horses did not meet their reserve. The 20 hips from my list that sold went for a total of $2,355,000 and an average of $117,750. The average for the whole sale was $75,780 with 243 horses selling for a total of $18,414,500.

July 12, 2010

My first trip back to Fasig since buying Sky and Skype

Today was my day off from work and so I thought, “What better way to spend my day off than to head out to Fasig-Tipton and look at some yearlings?” I couldn’t really think of anything better and so that is what I did.

Upon arriving at Fasig, I gave a call to my friend Frank Mitchell because I knew he would be on the grounds. Frank works for a company called DataTrack and was at the sale looking at horses for DataTrack clients. I met up with him a few minutes later and he graciously let me walk around with him for the afternoon. I love walking around a sale with Frank, not only because I get to learn a lot, but I also get to meet a lot of people. Frank knows everyone and it is rare to walk ten feet without hearing, “Hey Frank! How are you?” After speaking to a friend in the industry for a few moments, he is always kind enough to introduce me. Thanks to Frank, I’ve had the opportunity to meet several movers and shakers in the industry.

Frank and I walked around Fasig for a few hours and then parted ways. Before leaving the sales grounds I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. First I went to the barn that Sky and Skype were in during the February sale; Barn 1C. I closed my eyes for a moment and let myself slip back to that freezing day in February when I saw my girls for the first time.

I hung around the barn for a few minutes and then walked over to the pavilion and into the sales ring. I crept up to the seats where my dad and I were sitting when Hip 260 came through the ring. I looked down at the seats and remembered sitting there as I signed for my first horses. It is all so fresh in my memory that it’s not like it happened yesterday; it’s like it happened an hour ago. Just standing there for a few moments reminiscing was the best part of my day. Remembering the day I became a horse owner always brings a smile to my face.

July 9, 2010

FT July Yearling Sale Preview; Conclusion

Well I’ve finally made it through the catalogue. Here are my hips to watch for the final part of the FT July Sale.

Hips 326-407

#347: Yes It’s True – Selu, by Cherokee Run.
This colt is out of a mare who has produced one foal to race and one winner. The 2nd dam, Steel Maiden, is a stakes winner and producer of a Black-Eyed Susan (G2) winner. The 3rd dam is a half-sister to champion Ruffian and sires Icecapade and Buckfinder. She is also the dam of graded-stakes winners Private Terms, Blue Ensign, and Light Spirits and granddam of Travers Stakes winner Coronado’s Quest.

#354: Harlan’s Holiday – Silver Chance, by Silver Buck.
Here is a son by Harlan’s Holiday, who has produced 11 black-type winners. The dam of this colt, Silver Chance, is a full-sister to champion Silver Charm.

#383: Rahy – Tell Seattle, by A.P. Indy.
This son of Rahy is out of an A.P. Indy mare that has produced 3 winners, including a stakes winner. The 2nd dam, Won’t She Tell, is a half-sister to Triple Crown winner Affirmed and the producer of 3 stakes winners.

#397: Elusive Quality – Veiled Threat, by You and I
Hip 397 is a son of leading sire Elusive Quality. The dam has produced 2 winners from 3 foals to race and the 2nd dam, who is a half-sister to G1 winner Versailles Treaty, produced graded-stakes winners Out of Place and Lead Kindly Light and is the granddam of G1 winner Gold Fever.

#405: Pulpit – Wild Crazy Lady, by Touch Gold.
I think that people are going to wait around for this filly to go through the ring. This daughter of Pulpit has some great bloodlines. Her second dam produced 2 graded stakes winners and is the granddam of several winners, including multiple G1 winner Behrens. This filly also comes from the same family that produced graded-stakes winners Cowboy Cal and Commentator.

That’s the end of my hips to watch for the final part of the sale. I’ll now give all of my hips to watch for the Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale.

17, 39, 43, 59, 68, 69, 77, 82, 83, 85, 106, 119, 127, 146, 176, 191, 199, 205, 226, 232, 234, 243, 245, 282, 307, 315, 347, 354, 383, 397, 405.

July 8, 2010

FT July Yearling Sale Preview; Part 5

Well we are through 250 hips and there are just about 150 to go. I am going to break up the final part of the sale into two posts. Today I will write about hips 251 to 325 and then tomorrow I will give my hips to watch for the last part of the sale. For those of you that have found these posts interesting, please let me know. If you are one that hasn’t enjoyed reading these last few posts also let me know, but have no fear because my FT July Preview ends tomorrow.

Hips 251 – 325

#282: Tale of the Cat – Majestic Trail, by Kris S.
This one has the potential to be a runner. Although he is out of a mare that has yet to produce a winner, this colt has some really nice blood. Tale of the Cat has sired over 60 stakes winners and this colt’s 2nd dam produced 2 stakes winners, including G2 winner Supremo. Hip 282’s 3rd dam is G1 winner Andover Way; dam of the mighty sire Dynaformer and granddam of Offlee Wild.

#307: Unbridled’s Song – Misty Rosette, by Stormin Fever.
Here is a colt by one of the top sires in the country, out of a graded-stakes winning dam. The dam is a full-sister to a G2 winner and this is her first foal.

#315: Songandaprayer – Nothing Special, by Tejabo.
This is a half-brother to recent G2 winner Haynesfield, out of a dam that has produced 6 runners and 5 winners. The 3rd dam, Cool Mood, is the granddam of G1 winners With Approval and Touch of Gold and great-granddam of champion Serenading and G1 winner Healthy Addiction.

Be back tomorrow with a look at the final part of the sale and an overview of all my hips to watch.

July 6, 2010

FT July Yearling Sale Preview; Part 4

Yesterday we made it through the first day of the sale and today I’ll be giving my hips to watch for the first part of day two. My hope is that I’ll be completely through the sale by this weekend. The Fasig-Tipton July sale is rapidly approaching and begins just one week from today.

Hips 204-250

#205: Gone West – Down Here, by Dehere.
I’ve always been a big Gone West fan and who could blame me? The dam of this filly has only had two foals to race, but one is a winner. The second dam, Sociable Duck, is the dam of two stakes winners and the granddam of 5 stakes winners, including G1 winners Roman Ruler and El Corredor.

#226: Medaglia d’Oro – Forty Carats, by Forty Niner.
Lots of blood on the dam side and by a hot sire. Here is a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and his offspring are selling incredibly well. The 2nd dam is the granddam of G1 winner Bob and John. The 3rd dam of this filly is former broodmare of the year Too Bald. She produced 11 winners, including champion Capote and multiple G1 winner Exceller.

#232: Malibu Moon – Futures Market, by Unbridled.
Malibu Moon has really grown on me as a sire. The second dam of this colt produced multiple graded-stakes winner King Cugat and is the granddam of graded-stakes winners Rey de Cafe and El Crespo. The 3rd dam, Con Game, is the dam of multiple G1 winner and successful sire Seeking the Gold.

#234: Even the Score – Ginger Creek, by Allied Forces.
Here is a son of Even the Score and of course I’m not going to skip a yearling by Skype’s dad. This is the first foal out of a half-sister to multiple G1 winner Take the Points. Take the Points is by Even the Score and so you can see that this is an extremely similar breeding to the one that produced Take the Points.

#243: Sky Mesa – Hello Barbara Sue, by Dehere.
This is a son of Sky Mesa and if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m slightly partial to grandchildren of Pulpit. This one is out of a dam who has had four foals to race and four winners, including graded-stakes winner Buddy’s Humor. The 2nd and 3rd dams of this yearling each produced 3 stakes winners.

#245: Medaglia d’Oro – High in the Park, by Ascot Knight.
This filly is out of a dam who has had 6 foals to race and 6 winners, including G1 winner Divine Park. The second dam of hip 245 produced 9 winners and is the granddam of 3 stakes winners, including Queen’s Plate victor T J’s Lucky Moon.

July 5, 2010

FT July Yearling Sale Preview; Part 3

It is now time to take a look at my hips to watch for hips 151-203 of the upcoming Fasig-Tipton July sale. This will take us through the first day of the sale, which is July 13th. As you will see below, I wasn’t crazy about very many horses in this segment of the sale.

Hips 151-203

#176: Badge of Silver – Clap Happy, by Greinton (GB).
This son of Badge of Silver is out of a dam who has produced 3 stakes winners and 6 total winners. The 2nd dam is 14-time winner Applause. She is a half-sister to G3 winner Prospective Ruler and a producer of 8 winners, including 2 stakes winners.

#191: Candy Ride (ARG) – Dancehall Floozy, by Paramount Jet.
This is a daughter of the Argentinian-bred sire Candy Ride. He has experienced some pretty good success in the beginning of his stud career. The sire of only 3 crops of racing age, Candy Ride has already sired a handful of G1 winners, including Misremembered, Sidney’s Candy, Capt. Candyman Can, and Evita Argentina. This filly is out of a mare who has 6 foals of racing age and they’re all winners. The best of these 6 winners is Bickersons, multiple stakes winner and victor in the G2 Forward Gal.

#199: Grand Slam – Disrupt, by Deputy Minister.
This son of Grand Slam is out of a dam who has yet to produce a winner from 3 foals of racing age; however, she still has some potential because of her great bloodlines. The 2nd dam of this colt is multiple G1 winner Dispute, who is a full-sister to multiple G1 winner Adjudicating and half-sister to G1 winner and sire Time for a Change.

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