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…