Breeze-ups revisited

Gulfstream_Park,_at_Hallandale,_near_Hollywood,_Florida,_'the_track_by_the_sea',_One_of_the_nation's_most_scenic_race_courses
Gulfstream Park, home of the Florida Sale

Back in March 2016, thebreedingshed looked at that month’s Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale (click here) to see if there was a relationship between the one-furlong breeze times of the sale’s two-year-olds and their subsequent prices at the auction.

Now that the graduates of that sale are three-year-olds and that the US Triple Crown season has just finished, let’s see how their careers have begun and whether there is any relationship between breeze performance and future track success. The champion US two-year-old colt of 2015 Nyquist had been a Florida Sale graduate twelve months earlier.

First, though, a brief recap of our analysis of breeze time and sales prices.

We found from the 110 horses who breezed a furlong that ten and two-fifth seconds (10/2) was the mode (most often recorded) time, clocked by around a third of the two-year-olds. At the extremes, ten horses clocked ten seconds flat, while seven failed to break eleven seconds.

This 10/2 or standard time proved an important benchmark when 61 horses changed hands at the subsequent auction. 20 horses who clocked this time fetched an average price of $322,000. However, the 18 horses sold who ran the furlong slower than 10/2 averaged around half as much.

The 23 horses who ran faster than 10/2 were, on average, the most sought-after group averaging just over $500,000 apiece.

There was, therefore, a broad relationship between times and prices – generally, the faster the breeze the more expensive the horse. However, only two of the ten horses who clocked a flat ten seconds figured among the eleven lots who sold for $500,000 or more, so clearly a very fast time alone was not necessarily sufficient to generate a big sale-price.

So how have the fastest breezers fared in their careers thus far?

Of the ten horses to clock a bare ten seconds, one did not go through the ring and another did not sell. Of the eight who did change hands, five have raced in the US to date, of whom only one has won. That is the appropriately named Speedmeister, the winner of a maiden at Keeneland last October on the first of three starts. The son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister out of an unraced half-sister to Grade 3 winner Cinemine, Speedmeister had been sold for $650,000.

 Perhaps sale price was a better indicator of future performance?

The five most expensive lots (the cheapest of whom cost $975,000) have run only seven times between them to date, though two have been successful. Egyptian Hero, a million-dollar son of American Pharoah’s sire Pioneerof The Nile from the family of Grade 1 winners Chaposa Springs and You And I, has won twice at Tampa Bay Downs from three starts. Curlin’s son Dabster also fetched a million and hasn’t been out since winning a maiden at Santa Anita in January on his second start.

The top lot at $1.8m has still to reach the track. Named South Beach, he was one of the choicest lots in the catalogue on pedigree, by Tapit out of a half-sister to Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Hard Spun. He clocked 10/1 in his breeze, as did Dabster, while Egyptian Hero ran 10/2. The fastest of the most expensive purchases was Inca Chief (sold for a million dollars after running ten seconds flat), by Nyquist’s sire Uncle Mo, who recently finished second on his debut in a maiden at Monmouth.

So which have been the most successful Florida Sale graduates thus far and how did they breeze and sell?

No graded stakes winners have emerged yet from last year’s sale, though a couple have been placed at that level and have earnings to date just shy of $200,000 each. Both, incidentally, recorded faster than standard breezes of 10/1.

Firstly, Mopotism is a $300,000 daughter of Uncle Mo out of a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Songster. She won the Island Fashion Stakes at Sunland Park in February and has finished second in the Grade 2 Las Virgenes Stakes and third in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes.

The other is Local Hero, a $500,000 son of Hard Spun out of Grade 3 winner Liam’s Dream from the family of Distorted Humor. He has finished third in the Risen Star Stakes and the Louisiana Derby, both Grade 2 contests at Fair Grounds.

Another definition of a successful sales graduate is perhaps one which has exceeded its sale price in prize money earned. Three horses have managed to earn their corn so far; Baseline, Gran Cherry and Lion Heart Legend. At $70,000, $55,000 and $50,000, they were three of the very cheapest lots to change hands (all breezed slower than standard times) but they probably have the happiest owners now too.

[Image: Boston Public Library]

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