Raising a good horse is not a simple thing, and selling one well is even harder. One breeding partnership that has seen its time in the snakebite section of the sales results is operated by Kentuckian Hume Wornall and Louisiana native Jay Adcock.
Currently, the lifelong horsemen have three 2-year-olds who are stakes horses. Two of them, Budro Talking (by Tale of Ekati) and Emily's Lollipop (Tiz the One), are stakes winners, and a third, the Redding Colliery gelding I Want a Picture, is stakes-placed. From a foal crop of 10 bred by the partners, those results are nothing to sneeze at.
At the sales, however, those three promising young racers sold for an average of $1,500. Ouch.
Adcock said: “We couldn't operate if that was all we got. But we have a really good program here in Louisiana, and if you breed a nice horse, one that can get out and race and win, you can earn some money that way too.
“These were all nice babies, and we took a risk by sending them out of Louisiana to sell. We wanted to try them on the open market and hoped that buyers would look beyond sires standing in Louisiana for $1,500 and $2,000 and buy the individual,” Adcock explained. “That did not work out.”
Emily's Lollipop, who has won two of her three starts, including the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, sold for exactly the average. The dark bay daughter of the Tiznow stallion Tiz the One sold for $1,500 at last year's Ocala Breeders Sales August yearling auction. The buyer was Scott Gelner, who trains the filly for Anton Kubacak.
The stakes-placed I Want a Picture, by the Mineshaft horse Redding Colliery, did a bit better at the sales in Kentucky. The gray gelding sold for $3,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale and was pinhooked as a 2-year-old in training sale for $40,000 earlier this year. I Want a Picture was second in the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity.
The yearling who put a stake through the breeders' hearts was Budro Talking.
“There wasn't a thing the matter with the colt,” Wornall said, “but I didn't get the little rascal sold either.”
Instead, the colt was a $1,000 RNA and returned to his owners without getting a live bid. The breeders gave the colt away, and he too was pinhooked, bringing $20,000 from owner Jerry Durant at the Texas Thoroughbred Association sale of horses in training, which was the same sale that I Want a Picture came out of.
Budro Talking has now won two of his three starts, including the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs, named for another colt who wasn't much loved at the sales but who became a racing and breeding legend.
Budro Talking is also the only one of the three who is Kentucky-sired, being by the Darby Dan stallion Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat). The other two are by Louisiana-based stallions that stand at Adcock's Red River Farm near Coushatta, La.
Wornall explained that Adcock “foals all the mares at his farm in northern Louisiana,” about an hour away from Louisiana Downs in Shreveport. “There, he raises and weans them, and grows off the foals to about this time of year,” Wornall said, “when he sends them up to me. I raise them here in Kentucky to sale age.”
Some of them sell in Louisiana at the Equine Sales auction in Opelousas, La., and others sell in Kentucky or Florida. One of the challenges the partners and other breeders of Louisiana racing prospects face is that “buyers down there wouldn't give $5,000 for Secretariat ready to win the Belmont Stakes,” Wornall said. The attempt to try other markets didn't work any better, however.
Seen at the Keeneland November sale this week, Adcock and Wornall were not visibly the worse for wear after the thrashings they have taken at the sales. “Fortunately, the sales don't all turn out that bad,” Wornall said.
The partners sold a yearling filly by Twirling Candy at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton July selected yearling sale for $62,000. “That filly was beautiful from the day she was foaled,” Wornall said. “She never did anything wrong, was athletic and beautifully balanced, but she was only about 15 hands. We felt pretty lucky with her price.
“Then she came back to the sale in the Fasig October yearling sale,” Wornall said, “and the fellows at Hunter Valley had done a great job with her. This filly had obviously had a growth spurt, stood nearly 16 hands, was just gorgeous, and sold for $135,000. What a game!”
The dam of the Twirling Candy filly is the Forestry mare Money for Makeup, and she was bred back to a Louisiana stallion because the Louisiana program requires that an in-state mare must be bred to a Louisiana sire at least every other year. As a result, the mare has a Redding Colliery filly of 2017 and is back in foal to champion sprinter Runhappy, who stands at Claiborne Farm, on a single cover for 2018.
In addition to looking forward to that happy prospect, Wornall and Adcock also have hopes for the three stakes horses above. Emily's Lollipop is entered in the Louisiana Jewel Stakes on Nov. 17, and then I Want a Picture and Budro Talking are both entered in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes the following day.
Frank Mitchell is author of Racehorse Breeding Theories, as well as the book Great Breeders and Their Methods: The Hancocks. In addition to writing the column “Sires and Dams” in Daily Racing Form for nearly 15 years, he has contributed articles to Thoroughbred Daily News, Thoroughbred Times, Thoroughbred Record, International Thoroughbred, and other major publications. In addition, Frank is chief of biomechanics for DataTrack International and is a hands-on caretaker of his own broodmares and foals in Central Kentucky. Check out Frank's lively Bloodstock in the Bluegrass blog.
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