Archives for March, 2008

Ocala Horse Auction – Day 5


On the first day of the auction, we purchased two horses – a colt by PUT IT BACK and a colt by HOLY BULL.   We acquired 2 of the first 5 horses on auction, then watched 200 without placing a bid.  GM Sean Gerson and Trainer Peter Miller decided that bidders were paying WAY too much for many of the horses.  Probably a 50% premium.  Gerson Racing opted to stay out of the fray and pick their spot.

Day two did not start out much better.  Bidders continued to overpay for horses.  Decent horses, however nothing that knocked our socks off.  Patience is a virtue, and it paid off when Gerson Racing was high bidder for a colt by ROAR OF THE TIGER.  Sean Gerson had just about enough time to sign the bid slip and run for the airport.  For pictures from Ocala, check out:

 The highlight of the day was a billy goat that was in one of the horse stalls.  This is a common practice to keep the horses calm.  While Sean and Pete were looking at a horse, I noticed the billy goat was now on the roof of the horse stables with two grooms carrying brooms in full pursuit.  Eventually the goat was coaxed off the roof and returned to his stall.  The good news is the Godfather got the "money shot".  Check out:

As always, an outstanding job by Sean and Peter to pick out the best horses at the auction.  "Rising Stars 2008" will have four horses.  Filly by E DUBAI, colt by PUT IT BACK, colt by HOLY BULL and colt by ROAR OF THE TIGER.  They are all on their way to San Luis Rey Downs in San Diego and we expect them to start running in May or June at Hollywood Park.  Congratulations to the Rising Stars!

Ocala Race Horse Auction – Days 3/4

Monday was our last opportunity to look at the 460 race horses going through the auction.  Trainer Peter Miller, the hardest working man in the thoroughbred business, put in a 12 hour day examining two year colts and fillies for our team, Rising Stars 2008.  As you may know, Peter picked us out 3 stakes winners last year at Ocala.

On the ground in Ocala were GM Sean Gerson, The Godfather, Doc Smith, Rich Siegel, Matt Vest, Alabama Ed and Miami Scott.  We took great pride when we found our filly "Set Play" was on the cover of the sale catalog.  Her picture was actually in multiple publications as she was one of only three Grade 1 stakes winners out of 450 horses sold at Ocala last year.  What are the odds!

We attended the Adena Springs auction Sunday night.  Not many fast race horses for sale, but planty of BBQ.  As trainer Brian Koriner said, "they sure won’t make their $20 off Sean Gerson – that brother can put it down with a shovel."  Most of our group had never been to a horse auction, so a great time was had by all.  Our only challenge was the parking situation.  General parking was a mile from the venue so Sean yells out to the parking attendants "I have my Dad and his wheelchair in the back."  I immediately informed the team that our karma was about to take a turn for the worse.  The next morning Sean’s business phone, fax and computer all went on the blink.  I rest my case.

Tuesday was the first day of the Ocala sale.  Trainer Pete Miller was on the ground at 7:00 am making a few last minute notes on the prospects.  He decided on two nice colts, one by Put it Back and one by Holy Bull.  As always, you never know if you can afford a horse until the auction is under way.  First up was HIP #4, a chestnut colt by the sire PUT IT BACK.  Bidding started slowly and we were the winning bidder.  Sean asked for my thoughts and I commented, "I think you should PUT IT BACK."  Just kidding.

Next up was our "hot" selection, HIP #7 a dark bay or brown colt by Holy Bull.  He has already been named Launch the Bull.  This time bidding was a bit more furious, however once again Gerson Racing was the winning bidder.  We had now purchased 2 of the first 5 horses at the auction.  Interestingly enough, that would be our last acquision of the day as another 200 horses went through the ring without Gerson Racing making a purchase.  Just not much we liked.  We have 4 horses on our short list for Wednesday, the second and last day of the auction.

I’ll close with a pretty funny story. There was a horse that had "shins", meaning he has some physical problems, but nothing that can’t be fixed.  When he went up for auction, no one bid.  I told Sean he and I should buy the horse privately from the owner, so he wanders over and says, "I know your colt didn’t sell – would you take $20,000 for him?"  The owner screamed, "Are you kidding me?  Get the frick out of my stable!" and chased Sean down the sidewalk with a rake.  Now THAT is funny!  I told him that wheelchair thing would come back as bad karma…

Ocala, Florida – Day 1 and Day 2

Day one was spent in Tampa, Florida at Tampa Bay Downs.  Sean Gerson, Peter Miller, Burt "Doc" Smith and I (along with a small posse) spent the day sweltering in the 90% Florida humidity with 25,000 of our closest friends.  I was the youngest person at the track by 20 years.

We had to park in the swamp (literally), within rock throwing distance of the of the alligators.  War Pass, the undefeated two year old and early Kentucky Derby, ran dead last at 1-9, which resulted in a $77.00 show payoff.  A "bridge jumper" (someone that bets huge amounts on a favorite to run third) had bet $100,000 on War Pass to show.  Look out below!

Next up was dinner at a steak house, where it’s always interesting to see how much money each person will contribute to the $1,500 bill.  We will withhold names here, however one particular trainer donated a five and two ones.  Nice. 

Sean needed to switch out the rental car, so I accompanied him to the airport.  Sean is not happy unless he has the biggest SUV on the lot, and it must get less than 8 miles to the gallon.  The airport was packed…at midnight!  It took us 40 minutes to get out of the parking lot.  National Car Rental – where all of systems are on a piece of paper.  Nice.

After 3 hours of sleep, we were on the road to Ocala.  Fortunately, Sean was so busy messing with his GPS and text messages that we did not end up with a repeat of his 105 MPH Ocala from last year.  We arrived safe and sound, then headed directly to the training track so trainer Peter Miller could "go to work".  Sean, Bert and I talked about our "shoulda woulda coulda" Pick 6 near wins, then spent 4 hours looking at horses in the sale.  We already bought a filly by "E Dubai" and I just love another filly by the same sire.

In the afternoon, team member Matt Vest wandered in.  We hit the off track betting, and thanks to one John Sadler, took home the bacon.  Sean Gerson and John Sadler are bigggggggg buddies!

Peter Miller has his eye on a few nice horses, so we’ll spend Monday checking them out prior to attending the Adena Springs sale Monday evening.  More to follow…



Update from Snowy Oklhaoma (March 8, 2008)

Greetings from snowy Oklahoma!  Two snowstorms in five days, however it melts off pretty quickly and we’ll be in the 70s the week March 10.  Here is the very latest.

The House of Blues Dallas "Sit Down" was a huge success! We had 15 attendees, including two former NFL players, an Entrepreneur of the Year, several CIOs and a private equity partner.  Outstanding!  More to come…

"Princess Susan M" and "Big Mahogany" finished fourth and third at Bay Meadows.  They came out of the races fine and will be back at Santa Anita shortly.  Sean Gerson, Peter Miller and I will be in Ocala next week to buy horses for "Rising Stars 2008".  Kentucky Derby, here we come!

Las Vegas job market came to a screeching halt, however I do have a few "hot" ones.  Need two CFOs (one casino, one SEC), a VP of Marketing (casino) and a VP of Project Managerment (technology).  Any and all referrals gratefully accepted!