Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

October 22, 2012

It’s Time to Have Faith

In September of 2011, I sold Skype (renamed Score Classy) at Keeneland. I wrote a few posts about getting her ready for the sale and what she meant to me. In my final blog post before the sale, I wrote “Having Dreams is What Makes Life Tolerable,” which can be read at https://reachingforroses.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/having-dreams-is-what-makes-life-tolerable/. The story was picked up on Paulick Report, Equidaily.com and Jennie Rees even wrote an article about me for the Courier Journal in Louisville. The whole experience of my first time as a seller was interesting, stressful, educational and, honestly, somewhat disappointing. But I just have one question…

Doesn’t it seem like that just happened!?!?!

It sure does to me, but it’s been more than a year since I sold Skype. She’s gone on to bigger and better things and is one of the best 2-year-old fillies in Puerto Rico. She won her first four starts, including the Clasico Eduardo Cautino Insua Stakes (Grade III). In her fifth start, she ran a good race, but just ran out of ground and finished second in an allowance. In her most recent start, she ran very well, but was just second best in the Clasico Dia de la Raza Stakes (GII). Overall, her career record stands at 4-2-0 from six starts and earnings of $62,698. Not too shabby!

Since Skype’s sale, Sky’s only other foal, Sky Above, has also gotten in on the action. A 3-year-old gelding by Artie Schiller, Sky Above won his career debut in a maiden special weight at Presque Isle Downs by a widening 10 lengths. He followed up that effort with a strong runner-up finish in an allowance race. His first two races were on a synthetic surface, but his third start came on turf and he was off the board. He’s bred to like the turf so maybe he just had an off day.

Anyway, the point is that Sky has two foals of racing age and they are both debut winners and have a combined record of 5-3-0 from nine career starts with earnings of just shy of $100,000.

Sky Above sold at the 2010 Keeneland September sale and, as I wrote previously, Skype went through the ring at the 2011 Keeneland September sale. Well now it’s time for Faith to strut her stuff. It’s unbelievable, but “little Faith” (as I called her when she was a foal, but she’s anything but little now) will sell on Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings sale.

You can view her catalog page at http://www.fasigtipton.com/catalogs/2012/1022/468.pdf.

I hate to use the “it seems like yesterday” cliche, but when I think about the day Faith was born, it really does seem like yesterday! Heck, I remember the day she was bred to Parading like it was yesterday. She was covered on March 6, 2010 while I was dancing away at UK’s 24 hour dance marathon known as DanceBlue.

Exactly 11 months later, on Super Bowl Sunday, I got a call from Frank Mitchell that Faith was on the ground. I was able to make it out to see her when she was just a couple of hours old and I took the video below…

The next video was taken last week on her final day at Trackside Farm before moving to the sales grounds. She’s grown up just a tad.

I couldn’t be happier with how Faith has grown up and come along. She is a beautiful chestnut filly with great conformation and a fantastic walk. I’m also happy to say that her x-ray report came back perfect.

Faith has all the makings of a great racehorse and I truly believe that is what she will become.

This isn’t an easy game. The last two years have not been all blue skies and rainbows, but there are three things that have gotten me through the hard times: Faith, hope, and love.

The Thoroughbred industry is a game built on HOPE. Every trainer and owner “hope” they have a Derby or Oaks prospect (or if you’re my dad, you hope you have a Travers or Alabama prospect), every breeder and consignor “hopes” to sell a horse someday for six or seven figures, every jockey “hopes” to get a mount that will change their lives…the list goes on. Everyone in this game is hopeful that something great is in one of their stalls in the barn. I’m no different. And the hopes and dreams of breeding a major stakes winner keep me going through the rough patches.

I am also extremely blessed in that I have a ton of LOVE in my life. I have the most wonderful family in the world that has loved and supported me in everything I’ve ever done. I have the best friends that a guy could ask for, seriously. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to have one truly close friend; I have a half-dozen. And I also have the love and grace of God. As 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.”

That brings me to FAITH.  It took a lot of faith (and some would say stupidity) to get into the Thoroughbred breeding industry as a nearly broke college student almost three years ago. Two years ago, when the first foal that I bred hit the ground, I decided to name her Faith. I published a blog post when I named the new foal and wrote

The new filly will be nicknamed Faith.

After the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, Packers’ wide receiver Greg Jennings was interviewed on the field. During the interview he repeated the phrase, “To God be the glory.” I remember watching it live and thought it was really cool that Jennings remembered to give praise to God. Many athletes say, “I’m going to Disney World,” after winning a championship, but not Jennings. His words inspired me to go with a name that had a Biblical connection.

I began to think about some of my favorite Bible verses. One that came to mind was 1 Corinthians 13:13. It states, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Faith, hope, and love. They were all finalists for the nickname of the new foal. Then I began to think about each one a little more.

I have a lot of hope in my life. I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about the entire Thoroughbred industry being built on hope. I have hopes and dreams for my personal life and my career.

I have a ton of love in my life. I have the most supportive family in the entire world that loves me more than I can even understand. I have many close friends that love me. I also have a God that loves me and looks after me.

Now we move on to faith. I am less than three months from graduating and my future is still uncertain. Sometimes I lose sleep at night thinking about where I will be in a year. I have three horses that I have very high hopes for, but I know that this sport is one of the toughest in the world. It has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I can hope all I want, but that doesn’t mean my hopes will come true. What I need most in my life is faith.

I need faith that I’ll be okay when I graduate. I need faith to remember that God has a plan for my life and He will direct my paths. I need faith that whether Skype and Faith go on to be Grade 1 winners or low-level claimers that I’ll be okay. I need faith that my life is only slightly affected by things that I can control. The rest is up to the Big Guy. By nicknaming the foal Faith, I will constantly remember that I just need to “keep the faith.”

So there you have it. I can tell you that I was right in my thinking that by naming the foal Faith I would constantly be reminded to “keep the faith.”

It’s taken a lot of faith to get through the time of Faith’s foaling to this sale. But she has given me more happiness and joy than I could have ever imagined and, obviously, she has given me a lot of faith. Faith that she’s going to go on to bigger and better things, better than her siblings, better than her mom, and who knows, maybe even better than her dad.

I’ve got Faith. Now it’s time for someone else to have it.

March 19, 2011

A Closer Look at Stevie Wonderboy. Part 2

A couple of days ago I gave some detailed information about the pedigree of Stevie Wonderboy. Today, I’ll take a look at his short, yet very successful racing career.

Stevie Wonderboy, who was bred by John Gunther, Tony Holmes, and Walter Zent, was born on March 27, 2003 in Kentucky. After failing to meet his reserve at the 2004 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Stevie Wonderboy would be sold for $100,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Calder selected two-year-olds in training sale.

Trained by Doug O’Neill and racing under the colors of Merv Griffin, Stevie Wonderboy made his career debut in a Maiden Special Weight at Hollywood Park on June 18, 2005. He steadied at the half-mile pole and ran hard to secure a second place finish to eventual multiple graded-stakes winner, What a Song. It would be the first of two times Stevie Wonderboy would be beaten by What a Song.

Stevie Wonderboy flashed enough talent in his debut that Doug O’Neill confidently entered him into the G3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship S. for his second start. He was a bit slow into stride, but ran well at the end to finish third behind What a Song and Bashert at odds of 4.20 to 1.

After running a decent third in a G3, Stevie Wonderboy was given a class break and entered into a Maiden Special Weight at Del Mar on August 6, 2005. He stalked the pace, took the lead nearing the stretch, and never looked back; cruising to a four-length victory as the 2/5 favorite.

Coming off a convincing victory in his last start, Stevie Wonderboy was favored in his next race: the G2 Del Mar Futurity. He did not disappoint and galloped home to a five-length victory for his first graded-stakes win. The race would serve as his final prep for the G1 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Stevie Wonderboy broke from post 12 and had lots of trouble in the BC Juvenile. The Equibase chart of the race notes that he “checked at the start, clipped heels and stumbled along the backstretch, and raced far back for a half.” Once he settled down a bit, he quickly got back into the race and circled four wide entering the stretch. Stevie Wonderboy then finished very strong and the chart says he “charged to the front inside the sixteenth pole, then edged clear through the final fifty yards.” It was the biggest victory of Stevie Wonderboy’s career as he defeated a tough field that included Henny Hughes, First Samurai, and Brother Derek. The win gave Stevie Wonderboy a Grade 1 victory and secured his 2005 juvenile championship. Stevie Wonderboy’s exciting win in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (along with a post-race interview with the connections) may be viewed in the video below.

Following his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Stevie Wonderboy was given the rest of 2005 off. He returned to racing on January 14, 2006 in the G2 San Rafael S. at Santa Anita. He ran a decent race, but was unable to catch Brother Derek and finished second as the 3/5 favorite. The San Rafael would be Stevie Wonderboy’s final start.

Unfortunately, Stevie Wonderboy suffered an injury to his right front ankle while training in February of 2006. He was able to eventually return to training after several months off; however, he was soon put back on the shelf with a chip in the same ankle. The connections were hopeful that he would someday return to racing, but he would never make it back to the track and was retired in June of 2007.

Stevie Wonderboy finished with a record of 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third from 6 starts and career earnings of $1,058,940. I’m sure many were very disappointed that the juvenile champion was only able to make one more career start; however, Stevie Wonderboy retired as a champion, G1-winning millionaire. I’ll take a barn full of those!

March 6, 2011

Sky will be bred to…

Last year when I bought Sky at the Fasig February sale, I was pretty sure that she would be bred to Parading. He has one of the best pedigrees in the stud book and he won on all three surfaces (just like Sky). Also, his stud fee was in my budget; standing for $3,500 LFSN. Just a few days after purchasing Sky, I reserved my season to Parading. It was a very simple and non-stressful decision.

This year I decided that I wanted to go another direction. Sky now has three foals on the ground; one by Artie Schiller, one by Even the Score, and one by Parading. Artie Schiller was best going a mile or longer on the turf, Even the Score was most successful at age 6, and Parading did not make a start until age 4. They all had very nice racing careers, but experienced most of their success at ages 4 and above. This year I wanted to breed Sky to someone who experienced success at age 2; someone more precocious than the other three stallions. I also wanted to breed Sky to someone who she nicked well with and matched physically.

So…the search began. I attended a number of stallion open houses, spoke with farm representatives, and frequented the Blood-Horse’s online stallion register. I made a list of stallions that I thought would be a good fit for Sky. Then I proceeded to constantly bug my good friend Frank Mitchell about which stallions on my list matched Sky from a physical standpoint. Some of the stallions on my list did not match Sky well, and so the list got shorter.

My final list had six stallions on it. I contacted the farm where each of the stallions stood to see if I could get a season to them. I was accepted for a few and turned down for a few. This brought the list down to about three stallions and then this past Thursday I made my decision.

Sky will be bred to…

Stevie Wonderboy

Stevie Wonderboy is the champion two-year old colt of 2005, comes from the A.P. Indy sire line being by Stephen Got Even, matches Sky well physically, and nicks well with her as well. I am very excited about the Stevie Wonderboy – Sky foal that will be born in 2012.

Thank you to all that assisted me in making my decision and a special thank you to Frank Mitchell for putting up with my constant e-mails and phone calls. Thank you to Airdrie Stud, the farm that stands Stevie Wonderboy, for all the help and for believing in my mare. Finally, thank you to all of the representatives of stallions that I did not select, but inquired about. Your assistance was much appreciated.

So…there ya go. Sky will be bred to Stevie Wonderboy in 2011. Maybe we’ll see that foal at the Spa in 2014.

February 8, 2011

One Year as a Horse Owner

It was one year ago today that I became a horse owner at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed sale. February 8, 2010 is so fresh in my memory that it is not like it happened yesterday, but as if it happened ten minutes ago. If I close my eyes I can picture sitting in my seat in the sales pavilion and shaking as Walt Robertson pointed at me and exclaimed, “Sold!” Then I remember my dad and I rushing over to see the results on one of the computers. We both teared up a little when the following picture came on the screen.

To commemorate the anniversary of me becoming a horse owner, I would like to re-post three blog articles that were written about that special day.

The first is titled “The Scoop at Fasig February” and was written by Frank Mitchell. This is his recap of my journey to buy my first horse. Last year, this article was the highest viewed post on Frank’s blog, Bloodstock in the Bluegrass. Give it a read at http://fmitchell07.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/the-scoop-at-fasig-february/

The second article was written by me back when I started this blog in early June. This is my recap of the day I bought Sky and Skype. It is titled “The Day I Became a Horse Owner” and can be read at https://reachingforroses.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/the-day-i-became-a-horse-owner/

There is also a second part to the first article that I wrote and can be read at https://reachingforroses.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/therollercoastercontinues/

February 8, 2010 will go down as one of the best days of my life. Hopefully by reading the above articles you can share in some of my excitement from that day.

Have a great day and stay tuned for some pictures and videos of Sky’s new foal that was born on Sunday.

January 12, 2011

Why you won’t find Skype at Keeneland January

In less than a month I will have been a Thoroughbred owner for one year. In my short time as an owner/breeder I have found out that things don’t always work out as planned and, in fact, they rarely do. When I originally bought Sky and Skype I had planned to enter Skype in the Keeneland November Sale as a weanling. However, I was advised by many of my friends in the industry that I should wait for the Keeneland January Sale. The November sale was too big for a weanling by a non-commerical stallion and out of a non-stakes performing mare with a blank first dam. It made sense and I took their advice.

So my plans changed and I set my sights on Keeneland January.

I was fortunate enough to work the entire Keeneland September Yearling Sale for Bluewater Sales. It was an amazing experience and I’ve never learned more in a two-week period of time. It was while working this sale that I realized just how rough the market is right now. I watched hundreds of horses go through the ring for one or two thousand dollars and then would look down at my catalogue and have to pick my jaw up from the floor. Horses with fantastic pedigrees were going for nothing. What was wrong with them? Was the scope grade not perfect? Did the vet find something in the x-rays? It could have been a million things. I discovered that a horse that doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle will bring little to no money at auction. It has to be by the right stallion, out of the right female family, have winning siblings, look the part of a potential athlete, and have a perfect vet report. Just one missing piece and it all comes tumbling down. To say it was scary for me to watch horses go through the ring on the final days of the sale would be an understatement. Larger breeders and pinhookers can make up for several horses selling for close to nothing by hitting big with a couple of others. Unfortunately, like so many other breeders, I don’t have that many shots. In fact in my case, I have just one.

After the September sale I began to question my decision to put Skype into the Keeneland January sale. I had several consignors come out to look at her and their opinions varied on what Skype would bring at the January sale. The optimistic consignors told me that if she had a clean vet report that she could bring the stud fee (Even the Score stood for $15,000 at the time he was bred to Sky). In order to put Skype through the ring at the January sale, it would cost me close to $4,000 (entry fee, minimum consignment fee, transportation to the sale, x-rays, board at the sales grounds, and sales prep). So, if Skype vetted cleanly, looked good at the sale, and had a few people on her, then she had the potential to bring around $15,000. If she went for $15,000 then I would be paying over 25% of her sales price to put her through the ring! And what if she didn’t bring $15,000? What if enough people didn’t get a look at her or someone found something on the x-rays? What then? Would she even bring the $4,000 to cover the expenses? It’s possible that she wouldn’t and I would lose money and lose my horse. I decided that I couldn’t take this risk. Like I wrote earlier, I just have one shot and so I have to make it count.

Plans changed again.

I decided to not enter Skype in either the Keeneland January or Fasig-Tipton February sales. The risk-reward of putting her in a public auction just didn’t add up. Instead, I will be looking to sell Skype privately. This will save me money on commission and entry fees and will allow me to protect my interests a lot more than I would have been able to at a public auction. I have some ideas about how to market Skype and I already have a few people interested in her. I am hopeful that there will be more to come and I believe there will be. Skype has good size and scope and has the potential to develop into an attractive racing prospect. If I can find someone who believes in her one-tenth as much as I do, then I’ll find a buyer.

So that is the plan for now, but I don’t know what curveball this game will throw me next. Maybe this time the plans will work out and maybe I’ll be writing another post in the future about another plan. I have heard the quote, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plan.” I do not know the original origin of this quote, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to find out this person owned Thoroughbreds. I know God has a plan for me…I’m just hopeful that plan includes selling Skype for six figures ;-).

October 25, 2010

Two Quick Updates on Charlie

Our good friend Charlie (Usain Again) won another race on Thursday, October 21st! For those of you that aren’t counting, that was Charlie’s fifth win in seven lifetime starts. His record now stands at 7-5-1-0, with $36,585 in career earnings. I apologize for not informing the blog about Charlie’s upcoming race, but I was afraid that the announcement may jinx him. Hopefully a few readers have put Charlie (just to be clear, his registered name is Usain Again) on their “watch lists” and received an e-mail notification of his race. I know that this blog’s number #1 fan, “Observer,” was able to cash in on Charlie’s win price of $14.20 and I hope he wasn’t the only one.

The other news that relates to Charlie is somewhat disappointing. Today his half-sister by Devil His Due went through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale and only brought a bid of $1,000, which did not meet the reserve. I was hopeful that Charlie’s recent success would lead to a decent sale price for his half-sibling, but unfortunately things did not work out that way. To remind you, Charlie is a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling graduate of 2008; selling for $5,200 to Jose Pinchin. Both Charlie and his half-sister were bred and consigned by Maine Chance Farm (University of Kentucky).

Lastly, I have one update on my life. This Friday I have a meeting with the Associate Dean of the MBA program at the University of Kentucky to discuss the program, its benefits, the application process, scholarships, etc. I’m really looking forward to the meeting and hopefully it will go well.

That’s all for now. Everyone have a great week!

September 6, 2010

My Boy Charlie

When I came to the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2007 as an Equine Management major, I loved horse racing, was a decent handicapper, and had read many books about Thoroughbred breeding and training theories; however, my hands-on horse handling experience was almost non-existent. I did not get a chance to work with the horses my first semester, but finally got my chance in the spring when I enrolled in “Horse Handling 101.”

The class took place at UK’s Maine Chance Farm and it’s purpose was to take someone with little or no horse handling experience (like myself) and make them comfortable working with horses. The class was required to be taken by all Equine Management majors and I remember hearing the moans and groans from several students in the class as our instructor gave a lecture on the proper way to groom a horse. “Why am I taking this class? I’ve been grooming horses since I was eight,” they would say. In fact, just to fit in, I recall myself throwing out a quiet, “This is so stupid,” to a few classmates. I tried to act like I already knew how to properly groom a horse, bathe a horse, and walk a horse, but in reality, I knew none of it.

It was during the third week of class that our instructor gave us our semester-long assignment. Each student would be assigned one horse for the semester. The student would be responsible for grooming the horse regularly and training the horse to perform specific tasks. The horses being used for the class were a variety of ages and sexes, but I happened to get assigned a yearling colt. “A yearling colt?!?!?” I remember thinking. I even went to my instructor and asked if she made a mistake, reminding her that I had no horse handling experience. She smiled and said, “You’ll be fine, Travers. He’s a sweetheart.”

I was skeptical, but the instructor was not joking. He was a sweetheart. A yearling colt by Seattle Fitz (ARG), he was out of an Assault Landing mare named Charlmar, and so we nicknamed him “Charlie.” Over the next few months, I spent a lot of time with Charlie. We bonded because we were both new to everything. I was training him, but he was also training me. The relationship continued to grow throughout the semester and, in my mind, he became my horse. On the final class of the semester we had a final exam to evaluate the progress of our horses. Charlie performed beautifully and together we got an A in the class.

The day of our final exam would be the last time I would see Charlie for a few months. The school year was over and I went home to Louisville for the summer. Upon returning to Lexington the following August, one of the first things I did was go see my boy. It was like we’d never left each other and I remember talking to him in his stall for close to an hour that day. Also on that day I found out that the plans for Charlie were finalized. He would be sold in the Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale in a couple of months.

I visited Charlie at the farm frequently over the next couple of months and then October came and it was time for the sale. I went to Fasig-Tipton on the day Charlie was to be sold and, upon walking up to the Maine Chance consignment barn, the farm manager smiled and said, “He’s in the third stall on the right.” He knew why I was there. I quickly walked over to his stall and went inside to see him. He was really shined up and it was amazing that he was the same horse that I started with in the previous January. We were in the back of his stall together for a half-hour or so, and then I kissed him on the nose good-bye and headed to the stall door. I reached for the door and then felt a strong push on my back. He was pushing his nose up against my back, just like he would do everyday when I left his stall at the farm. Well at that point, the tears started to fall. Charlie was my horse, he was my first horse, and I was surprised at how difficult it was to let him go. I talked to him for a few more minutes and then finally had to leave his stall.

Charlie would sell a few hours later for $5,200 to Jose Pinchin, making him the highest priced yearling offered by Maine Chance for the sale. It was just under one year later that Charlie (now named Usain Again) would make his debut at Calder in a one-mile $16,000 maiden claimer on the dirt. He was in seventh place at the eighth-pole, but flew home late to get up and win by a half-length. I watched the race with my family at home and we were all screaming for Charlie as he crossed the wire first. The race can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

Charlie would make his second start on November 7th and would improve his record to two-for-two! His second race can also be viewed on YouTube here.

Charlie would then be put on the shelf for a while. After his second win, I did not see a published workout for him in several months. I was very concerned that something had happened to him, but thankfully a few months ago I received a DRF Watch alert that Charlie had put in a three furlong workout. He had been working once every few weeks for the last couple of months and today Charlie made his third lifetime start.

He raced in the second race at Calder today and would go off the $1.80 to 1 favorite in a $6,250 claimer over a mile and a sixteenth. He took them gate to wire and now has a lifetime record of 3 wins from 3 starts! He also got claimed today by Fred G. Warren for Breakin Wind Farm. I’m sure that he will return in another claiming race and that this will not be the last time he is claimed. I do know that he may have many more owners over his lifetime and right now he is the property of Breakin Wind Farm, but in my mind, he will always be mine. He will always be my boy, Charlie.

August 5, 2010

Review of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale

On Monday morning I had some time to kill before the races and so I walked over to the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds. The guys over at Fasig-Tipton really had the place polished up and it shined like a new penny. My initial reaction was, “Wow! This place is gorgeous.” The renovations definitely had my eyes wide open.

I observed the newly remodeled pavilion and sales grounds for a few minutes and then moved onto the horses. At this point, I felt like I was at any other sale. There were beautiful horses everywhere, busy consignors, interested buyers, and even some tourists. One horse specifically caught my eye and it was hip #101. I was on my way to say hi to the owner of Bluewater Sales, Meg Levy, when this horse stopped me in my tracks. A beautiful bay son of A.P. Indy, this was the first foal out of champion sprinter Maryfield. I eventually made my way over to Meg, who consigned hip 101, and commented on how amazing the horse looked. She responded by saying, “Yeah, he’s a really nice colt and has the potential to be the sales topper.” Well, she wasn’t kidding because hip 101 would go on to be the sales topper; selling for $1,200,000 on Tuesday night.

After speaking with Meg, I walked over to Sam-Son Farm’s consignment and requested to see hip #69 out of her stall. I wanted to take a closer look at this particular daughter of Smart Strike for one reason: her third dam. This filly’s third dam is Loudrangle and Loudrangle is the 4th dam of my mare, Sky. When they brought her out of the stall, I immediately got a great first impression of her. She was very pretty, had a great walk, and was very correct. On Monday night she sold to Glen Hill Farm for $300,000, so apparently I wasn’t the only one that liked her a lot.

Speaking of Monday night, let’s fast forward to Monday at around 6:30 PM. I had just arrived back at the sales grounds after a day at the track and could feel the excitement. I walked around for an hour and finally the sale began at about 7:30. The sale started off with a bang with hip #4 selling for $775,000. Shortly after, hip #7 went through the ring and sold for $325,000. The significance of this hip was that I worked with the horse all summer. I spent time with this son of Rock Hard Ten six days a week for twelve weeks. I’m very proud to say that I had a part in prepping him for the sale and I’m happy that he sold so well. Congratulations to all of his connections and to his new owners, Shadwell.

I went back to the barn area and said goodbye to hip #7 and then I headed back to my spot on the rail by the show ring. By this time, the sale was really booming and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was at a big party, definitely not at a horse sale. Everyone in sight was drinking and socializing and it seemed that many were totally unaware that a major Thoroughbred yearling auction was taking place. Also, as I looked around at the people with my dad, we started to feel out-of-place. Neither of us were very dressed up and everyone else seemed to be dressed like they were headed for the red carpet. It was weird because I did happen to have a tie on, and before I arrived at the sale I figured that I would be overdressed. If I were at a Keeneland sale, or a different Fasig-Tipton sale, I probably would have been slightly overdressed. This was not the case because I apparently missed the “Dress like you’re going to meet the Queen” memo.

Regardless of feeling slightly underdressed, I still had an amazing time because I was with my family and I was around the horses. I was hoping to form a solid opinion about the sale having a party feel to it, but I still have mixed feelings. It seemed to me that the horses were not the main focus of the sale, and rather socializing and looking good were more important to most. I did not like that. However, the sale did have an incredible amount of energy and a buzz to it that I’ve never experienced before at a horse sale and how could I be upset about that? It was definitely a very fun event and I think that’s great for the sport. We need to be displaying the fun, excitement, and energy of Thoroughbred racing and sales at every opportunity. We never know when a potential owner, breeder, buyer, or fan is going to see a snapshot of our sport, and so we have to produce as many good pictures as possible.

August 3, 2010

TV and Radio Shows in the Spa

The last couple of days have been very busy ones, but also very exciting. There’s a lot to write about so let’s get to it.

Yesterday morning I made my television debut on the Capital OTB-TV show “Keyword: Saratoga” with hosts Seth Merrow and Steve Byk. I awoke extra early yesterday and got myself all cleaned up. I tried to eat some breakfast, but I had a stomach full of butterflies so I wasn’t very hungry. I left the hotel with my family shortly after eating half of a cinnamon roll and arrived at the set around 10 AM. The show began at 10:30 and so I had a half-hour to prepare (and by prepare, I mean try to calm myself down before going on air). I remember sitting in my chair in front of the camera, the producer counting down from five, and trying to take a few deep breaths. I was extremely nervous, but once the producer pointed at us to signal that we were on the air, the next fifteen minutes went smoothly and seemed to fly by. A big thank you to Seth Merrow and Steve Byk for inviting me on the show and giving me the opportunity to talk about Sky, Skype, and the blog on TV. I had an amazing time and I hope to someday be a returning guest on the program.

I’ve already gotten a lot of positive feedback on the show. In fact, yesterday when my dad and I were leaving the track, a man stopped me and said, “You’re Travers, right?” I didn’t know the man, but I smiled and said yes. “Yeah I saw you on TV this morning! You did a great job,” he said. Well that made my day! My mom and dad told me that I did great on the show, but they’re my parents so I take everything they say with a grain of salt (sorry Mom and Dad). This guy, however, doesn’t even know me, but thought I did really well. I couldn’t stop smiling for an hour.  

Not only was yesterday my TV debut, but also my radio/podcast debut. I was fortunate enough to be a guest on Claire Novak’s YouBet radio blog. I discussed many of the same topics in this interview as I did on TV: my horses, how I became a fan of horse racing, my blog, etc. Thank you to Claire and producer Joe DePaolo for having me on the show. Readers: you can listen to the podcast and hear from Claire and Joe throughout the Saratoga meet at http://blog.youbet.com/claire-novak/.

As I write this post, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale is wrapping up. Tomorrow I will be back with a post about the sale and my experiences while walking around the sales grounds. It was an interesting sale to say the least and I look forward to hearing the opinions of other readers who were there to witness the 2010 edition of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.

August 1, 2010

A couple reminders and one happy birthday wish

Well I have arrived in Saratoga for another episode of “Saratoga: The Manley Family Edition.” It feels great to be back at the Spa and today I was reminded why Saratoga is the Mecca of American Thoroughbred racing. I’ve been to racetracks all around the country and nothing, so far, compares to Saratoga.  Former NFL head coach Bill Parcells once said, “Saratoga is the happiest place on Earth.” I tend to agree with him.

I will be giving updates on my trip and will do a review of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, but tonight I am just going to give a couple of reminders and announcements.

Reminder that tomorrow I will be a guest on the show “Keyword: Saratoga” with hosts Seth Merrow and Steve Byk. The show airs on Capital OTB-TV and I will be on discussing the blog, becoming a horse owner/breeder, and my journey to “make it” in this industry. I’m a little nervous about my TV debut, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’d greatly appreciate any readers that are in the viewing area to tune into the show tomorrow.

I am also going to be a guest on Claire Novak’s radio blog that she produces with Joe DePaolo for YouBet. The show can be found at this link: http://blog.youbet.com/claire-novak/. It should air in the next day, so please check this out. I got to hear a sneak-preview of the show and it’s really entertaining and informative. You don’t want to miss it!

Finally, I would like to wish a happy six-month birthday to Skype. She was just one week old when I purchased her and it’s amazing to think that I’ve been a horse owner for half of a year now. Time flies when you’re having fun and I’m having a ball with these horses so time is just zipping along.

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