By Jessica Martini
The six-session under-tack preview of next week’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Sale of 2-Year-Olds kicked off Monday with a pair juveniles sharing the fastest furlong time of :10 flat on a windy day in Central Florida.
Less the 20 minutes into the preview, hip 144, a colt from the first crop of Strong Mandate, set the fastest furlong time of :10 flat. Consigned by Randy Miles, the dark bay is out of Callous Effect (Majestic Warrior), a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Miss Frost (Curlin).
“We were expecting that kind of work because he has been the ultimate professional all year,” Miles said. “We were expecting it, but with the weather conditions we were really concerned. So we were relieved when he did it. The wind was blowing like 20 mph in their faces today. It was really difficult conditions. The wind is very bothersome to these young horses, so to see him stand up and not let the wind bother him was very satisfying.”
On behalf of the longstanding Royal Flush Racing partnership, Miles signed the ticket at $60,000 to acquire the colt from the Brandywine Farm consignment at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October Sale.
Royal Flush enjoyed pinhooking success with another first-crop juvenile at last year’s OBS April sale, having purchased a colt by Orb for $30,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and reoffering him in Ocala where he sold for $685,000. Miles said he and his team, which includes his veterinarian wife Lisa Casinella, look for value with younger sires at the yearling sales.
“The real good stallions are so hard to buy and we try to budget ourselves on what we spend on these yearlings,” Miles said. “We work really hard at trying to get value so that most everybody who shops at a 2-year-old sale can afford our horses.”
Of the Strong Mandate colt, Miles admitted, “We paid a little bit more than we wanted to for him. We were hoping to get him cheaper, but we liked the horse as a yearling and we paid a little bit out of our price range, but he’s paid us back.”
Previously based in Virginia, Miles has been in Ocala for much of the last decade. He trained privately for Live Oak Stud for four years before returning to the sales scene four years ago and his primary focus is now squarely in the pinhooking arena. In addition to his 2017 April success with the Orb colt, Miles also and Royal Flush pinhooked a Midnight Lute colt, purchased for $28,000 at Keeneland September, for $310,000 at the 2016 April sale.
He credits Casinella with keeping the team on budget at the yearling sales.
“She doesn’t let us get into trouble,” he said. “Even when we want one, she’ll say, ‘No, you can’t have that one.'”
Miles sent out six juveniles to work Monday and found conditions consistent throughout the day.
“We took one of the last horses up today and it was still windy and still just a tad bit bothersome to some of the horses,” Miles said. “The horses probably, in our eyes, worked a tick off of what we thought they would and we’re pretty good at gauging what we think they are going to work. I thought it was consistent all throughout the day. The track didn’t have anything to do with it today. I think it was all the wind.”
Equaling the :10 flat time some 2 1/2 hours later was hip 127, a daughter of Quality Road. Consigned by King’s Equine, the bay filly is out of Bridles Prayer (Unbridled’s Song), a daughter of Grade I winner River’s Prayer. She RNA’d for $80,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.
Eddie Woods sent out four of the five fastest quarter-mile workers, including hip 30, a filly by The Factor who earned the bullet time of :21 1/5. The gray juvenile, a $35,000 Keeneland September purchase, is a daughter of graded stakes winner Another Romance (Saint Anddan).
The under-tack show continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 8 a.m. The OBS April sale will be held Apr. 24 through 27.