By Jessica Martini
HALLANDALE, FL – The last time Juvenal Diaz’s Omega Farms had a consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale was 2012 when the auction was held at Palm Meadows. The Ocala-based operation will be making its debut in Hallandale when the sale makes its fifth appearance at Gulfstream Park Wednesday.
“I thought I had some horses who belonged here,” Diaz said of his decision to sell at the boutique auction. “I think they have pedigree and they have talent. We are going to give them the chance.”
Diaz will offer three horses at the Gulfstream sale, led off by a colt by Hard Spun out of Grade I winner Malibu Mint (Malibu Moon) (hip 74). The juvenile, a $75,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale, is a full-brother to recent stakes-placed sophomore Malibu Party.
“He is a little immature–he is just turning two,” Diaz said of the Mar. 22 foal. “He looks like his dad, he looks like a stallion. The sister is little, but this is a big colt.”
Omega Farms will offer hip 136, a colt by Into Mischief, on behalf of a client. The bay, a Mar. 30 foal, is the first out of Sky Mirage (Sky Mesa), a half-sister to Group 1 winner Kinsale King (Yankee Victor) and graded stakes winner Victoria’s Wildcat (Bellamy Road).
“This horse trains like a storm,” Diaz said of the $240,000 Keeneland September graduate. “Instead of trying to get him to go faster, I was trying to get him to slow down. He keeps himself fit. I just try to teach him how to run and that’s it. He is full of energy and smart, but he wants to go all the time.”
The Omega trio is rounded out by hip 163, a colt from the first crop of GI Belmont S. winner Tonalist (Tapit) out of stakes winner and graded-placed West Coast Swing (Gone West). The bay was a $35,000 Keeneland September purchase. West Coast Swing is out of an unraced full-sister to champion Dance Smartly (Danzig).
“He is a beautiful horse,” Diaz said of hip 163. “He is a beautiful mover and very smart. People want a classy horse and he has a Classic pedigree to be any kind of horse. His mother is a stakes winner by Gone West–you don’t see those kind of mares anymore. And the second dam is a full-sister to Dance Smartly. He looks like one of those horses.”
Diaz, who said he aims to pinhook only six to eight horses a year, has an impressive list of graduates come out of his operation, led by champion Blind Luck (Pollard’s Vision), who he purchased for $11,000 as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling in 2008 before selling privately after she RNA’d for $10,000 at OBS April the following spring. Grade I winner Glitter Woman (Glitterman), an $8,000 July yearling, also failed to find a new buyer at OBS April in 1996. And Gentlemen’s Bet (Half Ours), bred by Diaz, was withdrawn from two juvenile sales in 2011.
In the farm’s last Fasig Florida consignment in 2012, future graded stakes winner Baby J (J Be K) RNA’d for $65,000 after working a furlong in :10 2/5.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had the fastest works–I just train them like they are going to go to the races.” Diaz said.
Taking Gentlemen’s Bet, third in the 2013 GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint, as an example, Diaz said, “He was just a laid-back horse and I didn’t push him. So I had to scratch him because I wasn’t going to get anything for him. And this is a horse that can go :43 in change in the Breeders’ Cup. But he was a laid-back colt and I hate to push them. I don’t want to do that. I concentrate on bringing them to the sale with sound mind and body and if they look good doing it, they are not afraid to buy them from me. They don’t have to have the fastest work and a lot of people know that about me.”
A day ahead of Monday’s under-tack preview of the Gulfstream auction, Diaz acknowledged the importance of the pre-sale workout.
“It all depends on the work,” he said. “Everything has to be that day. Not earlier or later.”
Still he cautioned buyers to beware of basing all their decisions on the fastest breeze times.
“I always try to tell the sales companies, ‘Why don’t you advertise what the horse worked in and then what he did after he worked that way?’ I know :10 is faster than :11. Anybody can see that. It makes sense. But in racehorses, it doesn’t work that way.”
Diaz pointed out Saturday’s GII Louisiana Derby winner By My Standards (Goldencents).
“If you look at the Louisiana Derby horse, he worked in :10 3/5 at OBS when everybody goes :9 4/5s and a hundred horses work in :10 flat. He went in :10 3/5 and he won the Louisiana Derby yesterday. If that gets publicized, maybe the owners won’t be afraid to buy a horse, so it’s not a horse that goes in :10 1/5 will bring $1 million and one that goes in :10 3/5 brings $30,000.”
The under-tack show for the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale will begin at 9 a.m. Monday. The sale will be held Wednesday in the track’s paddock, with bidding scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.