Three months ago we had two race horses: one an open mid-level claimer and one a promising two-year old (aren’t they all?). Now we have win but no promising two-year old, a potential broodmare whose racing career is all but over, but a relatively profitable bank account and folks ready to go racing.
E Sveikata (Even the Score – My Philly) was a homebred by Gabe and Jenepher Puniska (Hess on the breeding forms) that we bought 40% of in March. She was training at Eisaman Equine and doing well. In June she went to the racetrack to the barn of Kathleen O’Connell where she took her training to the next level. We were all patient and careful with her as she made the adjustment from the farm to the track. We call her ‘Kat’ while the barn called her ‘Eva’ short for Eva the Diva because of her regal prep work at Eisaman.
Kat’s first start, in a $32,000 maiden claiming race, was on September 28th, nearly six months after paying out with no possibility of return. We, of course, wanted to win, but our hope was to hit the board. She finished 4th. She came back just fine, though, and was entered back on October 19th, same level, same distance (5.5 furlongs).
For race number 2, the track came up sloppy and she drew the rail – two things you really don’t want to see for a young horse. She also had developed a minor urinary tract infection that didn’t impede her training, but did need treatment. By race time she was testing fine and we decided to let her rip and see what she could do in the slop and pinned inside – she’d have to do eventually. She broke a step slowly and also had to be steadied behind horses entering the turn but was still able to finish second. Things were looking up!
Race three was last week, November 8. She went a furlong further, which we thought was more to her liking. It was going to be our last race on the dirt before we moved her to the turf. We stayed at the same level and she broke alertly and, while wide the entire trip, proved to be much the best. So much so that someone anted up $32,000 for her and claimed her away from us. All that time, energy and money and she was gone. It was truly a bittersweet moment. After the expenses are tallied up, the group would have earned between 15 – 18% off of our initial outlay. One thing you learn over time in this business, making money is hard and when you do, be thankful. But we won’t know what Kat will become. Her development will be different under a new trainer and regimen. We’ll continue to chart her progress and wish her and her new connections the best of luck going forward.
On to Tabby Lane.
Everyone that reads this knows Tabby. Tabby’s career is spotty, but overall you can never complain with a horse that can start 40 times and win at a 25% clip. She won as high as a first level allowance/optional claiming as well as several starter allowances. She may race one more season or she may become a broodmare.
It’s doubtful she could make it as a broodmare in Kentucky, New York or California, but she may do well here in Minnesota. With the right stallion she could possibly throw some nice offspring. Of course breeding is a bit of a crapshoot and any number of things can go wrong. There are some folks in the group that probably won’t want to go that route and some that do, depending upon the costs involved. Realistically, breeding is paying out for 3 years with no possible hope of a return until then. Even then, we’ll probably need to breed to race in order to prove her out before we can breed to sell.
There are options. She may come back and race one more season. We may sell her as a broodmare prospect – I’m certainly not opposed to that. I’m not even opposed to selling part of her as a broodmare prospect and retaining a small share just to be a part of the process and learn about it from the inside from those that know this end of the business. It’s nice to have options while she, for now, rests and recreates out on the farm.
The business marches on, of course, and folks are ready to get started once Tampa gets rolling to claim a horse and get back in the game for another season. The purses at Canterbury should escalate nicely and will provide us with a better potential return than was ever possible before – at least in my tenure up here. There are remnants of the Tabby Lane group – depending, of course, what happens to her career – the remnants of the E Sveikata group as well as the foundation for the next group that was already in place. It could be a very active winter for us!
For now, though, it’s time to close up the book on Kat, decide what to do with Tabby and flesh out the 2013 claiming group. Business marches on indeed.