By Christie DeBernardis
Scott Dilworth is no stranger to pinhooking success. The Texas-based horseman and his wife Evan purchased a Scat Daddy filly for $180,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton July Sale and sold her to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $750,000 at OBS March eight months later. That filly was Acapulco, who went on to dominate the 2015 G2 Queen Mary S. and finish second in that term’s G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S.
“She was one of a kind,” Dilworth said. “When she walked out of the stall, she displayed herself. They didn’t even have her set up before I knew I was going to buy her.”
Dilworth hopes to achieve his next big pinhooking score with a horse who gave him a similar feeling, a War Front colt he purchased for $560,000 as a Keeneland November weanling who will sell as hip 165 Monday night during Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale.
“Just like with Acapulco, the minute he walked out, I just fell in love,” Dilworth said. “One thing I liked about that War Front colt was he had a lot of leg underneath him and most War Fronts don’t. I really thought he would grow into a good baby and that is what he’s done.”
Out of Dynamic Feature (Rahy), hip 165 is a half-brother to MGSW and GISP turfer Parranda (English Channel), who won the Singapore Cup in addition to her quartet of graded victories on these shores. The bay also hails from the family of GISW Dixie Brass and GSW Sisterly Love. Bred by SF Bloodstock, Denny Andrews and Crockett Farm, he will be consigned by part owner Tom VanMeter’s VanMeter-Gentry Sales (Click here for Thorostride video).
“I was going to buy him by myself and I had a number in mind of $350,000,” Dilworth said. “I got up there and they blew past me. They were at $550,000 and I didn’t know it, but Tom was standing behind me. There are two versions of the story and my version is I turned around and he said, ‘That’s too cheap.’ So, I turned around and hit him with $560,000, then turned back around and said, ‘You’re in, aren’t you?’ His version is that he said, ‘You shouldn’t let him get away for $10,000,’ and then I turned around and hit him with $560,000. But, anyway, I do remember saying, ‘You’re in, aren’t you?’ It didn’t take long to piece him out some more.”
Like other esteemed members of the Thoroughbred industry, Dilworth began his racing career with Quarter Horses. He also owned a livestock insurance company and a ranch, giving him ample experience with horses. In 2005, he sold his ranch and decided to try his hand at pinhooking Thoroughbreds.
“I had a livestock insurance agency at one time and I was around racetracks all the time through that,” Dilworth explained. “I was ranching out in West Texas. I sold my ranch in ’05 and when I sold it, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew Bob Baffert from back in my Quarter Horse days, so I called him and said, ‘Do you want to start pinhooking horses?’ He said, ‘I’ve been there and done that.’ He didn’t want to do it, but he put me in touch with some people that did do it. I went to the Fasig July sale in ’05 and met the McKathans. We started partnering on horses and that is how I got started.”
Dilworth also met his other longtime partner VanMeter at that same auction.
“The very first horse I ever bought, I was partners with Tom,” Dilworth said. “We were chasing the same horse, so we decided instead of beating our heads against one another, we should partner up.”
Dilworth has enjoyed much success with his partners, including the sale of Acapulco and Speedmeister (Bodemeister), a $250,000 FTKJUL yearling turned $650,000 FTFMAR juvenile. On the rare occasions that they are unable to sell a pinhooking prospect, Dilworth and his partners will race the horse themselves and have scored in that arena too, with the likes of MGSW Tower of Texas (Street Sense) and impressive Saratoga maiden winner Pure Shot (Fast Bullet) as two recent examples.
“I’d rather sell a horse any time than race it. I love selling horses,” said Dilworth, who sells the homebreds from his seven-horse broodmare band in addition to pinhooking. “Pure Shot, we took him to two sales and couldn’t get him sold. Tower of Texas, we took him to three sales and couldn’t get him sold. But, anyway, it was to our good fortune that they didn’t sell.”
Dilworth is not sure which way things will go with his War Front colt at Monday’s sale, which gets underway in Lexington at 3 p.m., but he does have high hopes.
“We have no idea what he is going to do, but we have some high expectations on him,” Dilworth said. “He is just a grand individual.”