Letter from the President - March
The two-year-old sales are in full swing, and I will spend much of the month travelling. I will attend sales in both California and Florida in search of the members of the class of 2008. By the end of the month we will have virtually the entire class assembled.
Sales season is one of my favorite times of the year. We are active as both buyers and sellers, and the auctions feed my competitive appetite. It is the battles won and lost in the ring that will make or break our class. The auctions are a lot like a high stakes game of poker. Your adrenaline pumps, and you have to decide whether to go all in or fold. The best players know when to stand up and walk away. While those who know me might question my poker ability, I think that our track record at the sales speaks for itself when it comes to the horses we buy.
If the first sale is any indication, the market looks strong this year, and West Point Thoroughbreds continues to be positioned well to take advantage of it because of our strategic partnerships and strong buying power. In the end, we will be able to buy the horses we really want, and that puts us at a competitive advantage.
This year, we're also really seeing the impact of synthetic surfaces on the auctions. OBS installed a synthetic surface, and I saw a difference in the horses this year. I am not sure if the results were completely positive. We definitely saw fewer cases of horse's shins bugging them, but we're starting to see an increase in tendon and other soft tissue issues. Our veterinary consultant Dr. Baker hypothesized that we might see an increase like this last year. The sample size is still relatively small, so it is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions. However, the numbers also indicate that catastrophic breakdowns are down at tracks with synthetic surfaces. This was a primary argument in favor of installing surfaces like this. Anything we can do to reduce breakdowns is important for the sport.
I'd also have to say that synthetic surfaces have been pretty good to West Point Thoroughbreds. Right now, our top three horses, Lear's Princess, Awesome Gem and El Gato Malo, thrive on those types of tracks.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention the outstanding progress the stable is making in 2008. We've got a legitimate case of "Derby fever" with both El Gato Malo and Saratoga Russell. It is pretty heady stuff to have the top contender on the west coast in El Gato Malo. While they both carry the banner for our three-year-olds, Awesome Gem and Lear's Princess look poised for exceptional seasons as well. That said, it gives me as much satisfaction to see a horse like Tater Tutt really come into his own. He has won five out of his last seven starts, and he proves what happens with patience and proper management. That is why we pride ourselves on treating each horse like an individual.
Certainly, things have been very good for West Point Thoroughbreds over the past year. I am tremendously optimistic that we will continue to meet and exceed expectations in 2008, and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
Until next month...