American Graded Stakes Standings brought to you by Keeneland: Horses that ‘Slipped Through the Cracks’

by | 11.17.2010 | 12:48am

There have been 247 individual winners of American Graded Stakes thus far in 2010, with 118 of them (48%), or almost half, selling at public auction as weanlings, yearlings, 2-year-olds in training or horses of racing age. Throw in the others that were offered at sales but bought back by consignors and then sold privately, and it's safe to say that more than half of the winners of America's best races were available to anyone willing to step up and make a bid.

There is a widespread belief among many that horses capable of winning a Graded Stakes are only available to the sheikhs, captains of industry, and high-end players at public auction. Statistics say otherwise. While the average hammer price of those 118 horses that won at least one AGS race of 2010 is $203,540 and the median is $165,000, there are more than a few that “slipped through the cracks” and were picked up for prices far less than the average.

Among them: Grade 1 winners Evening Jewel (sold for $8,000 as a yearling), Blind Luck ($11,000), General Quarters ($20,000), Boys At Tosconova ($35,000), Life At Ten ($35,000), Dr. Zic ($40,000), Tell A Kelly ($45,000), JP's Gusto ($52,000) and a mare by the name of Zenyatta ($60,000). Some of these, like Evening Jewel or Blind Luck, were resold privately, but they were there in the sale ring for the asking.
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Of note is the fact that the two best juveniles in training, Hopeful winner Boys at Tosconova and Del Mar Futurity winner JP's Gusto, sold for very reasonable prices, both at the Keeneland September sale.

Here are some Grade 2-winning bargains: Made for Magic ($11,000), Haynesfield ($20,000), Hour Glass ($42,000), City to City ($50,000), Phola ($50,00), Cat By the Tale ($52,000), and Position Limit.

Over the next week at Keeneland, we'll be hearing about those horses that bring top prices, and for good reason. Some of those horses will pan out very well, like the $1.7 million Munnings did, a Grade 2 winner this year. But it's the hidden gems, those who might be less than perfect, who represent what the majority of yearling buyers are looking for. As long as we have horses like Boys At Tosconova selling for $35,000 and a year later moving to the head of the class, we'll have buyers looking for the next one like him.

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