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How sweet it is. How tough it is. Keeneland Day 3

September 12, 2012 · By Terry Finley · Share

Pyro colt purchased at the Keeneland September yearling sale

Ok. So we got one. And he’s a beauty. Late in the day on Tuesday, I outbid a number of others and landed a colt by the first year stallion Pyro. It’s a heady, surreal feeling when the winning bid is yours and you can go back to the barn and look at what was up for grabs and suddenly is part of the West Point stable and the West Point future. That is sometimes as sweet as an open length victory on a Saturday afternoon. And in these first several days of the September yearling sale, it’s very tough to do this well.

The reasons for this are varied. There are fewer good horses to buy than there were 10 years ago. We’ve gone from foal crops in the thirty thousands to the low twenties. That’s a huge difference.

Buyers are getting really picky and even more sophisticated. The days of “taking a chance” on a horse with some physical flaws or pedigree question marks are gone at least for now. It means buyers are all focusing on the tiny group of “perfect horses.” They look good on paper. They pass all the x-rays, heart scans, pedigree nicking reports and even DNA analyses that buyers throw at them. And then they bring the top dollar.

Finally, I’ve found that the buyers with the big dough stick around longer than they used to through the first week of the sale. Their hefty checkbooks force everyone who is a little less loaded to look harder and be more imaginative and creative in their search for good horses, because the big guns tend to aim at the obvious targets.

So we bought an amazing colt by Pyro. The creative side of this is that he’s a first year stallion. None of his little puppies have run yet- Pyro is all promise with the hope of top performance. So you go with what you saw when the stallion was a fighter and runner, not a lover.

We like that Pyro was a top two-year-old- second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He was a Kentucky Derby contender with his win in the Louisiana Derby. When our biomechanical consultants told us that the Pyro colt was a top profile for all the yearlings evaluated on the day, we were sold. That’s being creative and crafty when the competition is tenacious.

And we get up the next morning and try to do it all over again. 

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A gorgeous colt and it's so interesting to read about WPT's decision-making process. It sounds something like the analysis that went into buying Thunder Quay (though he was bought as a 2-year old) inasmuch as both Pyro and Circular Quay (the colts' sires) are new sires, with Pyro a year newer, so you look at his race record and also at the other progeny he's siring and how they look. And it's great to read this post in conjunction with Jeff's on buying yearlings versus 2-year olds. I look forward to reading/seeing more about this and the new Tiznow colt. Very exciting!
Interesting to see all these high tech things to buy yearlings, yet every year people see that horses like I'll Have Another walk past them and kick them in the rear end and they would not give him a 2nd look. What makes the sport great, its 99% luck and anyone can buy one.
Racing is definitely a sport everyone can play and even the inexpensive horses can be champions like Seattle Slew. Luck does play a big part for sure in the game, especially on the track. Thanks for stopping by.