By Jessica Martini
For Brooke Hubbard, who serves as racing manager for Steve Young’s Sayjay Racing, the past three years have been a crash course in the racing business and she’ll be hoping for an A+ when the stable looks to pinhook a colt by Astrology during Wednesday’s Barretts Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale at Del Mar. Hubbard selected the colt (hip 99) for $70,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Brooke, a 27-year-old Californian, is a lifelong horsewoman who found herself in the racing game almost by accident.
“I’ve grown up with horses–I got my first horse when I was seven and it’s all been downhill from there,” she laughed. “I was showing, I did three-day eventing and I did dressage for a couple of years. Then college struck and I didn’t ride much, but I got back into riding probably about 2012. I literally just started in the racing circle in 2014. Steve Young, who owns recycling companies, has a stable of 22 horses as a hobby and he asked me if I wanted to manage his horses. I purchase all of his horses for him.”
Young is chairman and founder of the California-based recycling company Allan Company. He campaigned 2013 GIII Affirmed H. winner Tiz a Minster (Ministers Wild Cat).
While Hubbard admits learning Thoroughbred pedigrees has taken some time, her background in the show world has transferred quickly when it comes to conformation.
“I’m still learning sires and bloodlines, that is something that is coming a little slower to me, but I was in horse judging in high school,” she said. “I judged horses on conformation depending on what discipline they were doing. That helps me with looking at horses at the sales.”
Hubbard has also had the assistance of a high-power teacher in bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill, whose brother Doug trains horses for Sayjay Racing.
“I learned everything from Dennis, as far as how to get around the sales and how to ask the consignors where their bottom line is and where they think the horse is going to be before the sale,” Hubbard explained. “He’s been a very big instrument in helping me move on by myself. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
Hubbard continued, “He’s helped me a lot with looking at the bigger picture. I used to go to the sale and pick apart the horses on little things that I didn’t like. He showed me that you can kind of go with a couple of faults if the overall body of the horse is decent. We both like the same type of horse–we kind of like the nice shoulder, bigger hip, a little bit more together, not such a long body.”
Their similar tastes can sometimes be a pitfall at the sales.
“I’ll go up and ask him what his short list is and we’ll have a lot of the same horses,” Hubbard admitted. “I know I cannot compete with him, so I just mark those horses off my list if he’s on them. His budget is a little stronger than mine,” she laughed.
While Sayjay Racing’s primary focus is racing, the stable has pinhooked a handful of yearlings-to-2-year-olds in the last two years and will reoffer three juveniles this spring.
“We’re more into buying to race, not necessarily to pinhook,” Hubbard said. “Basically, with these pinhooks, if they don’t bring what [Young] wants, then he just keeps them to race. The goal is to make money, of course.”
Sayjay’s Barretts offering, consigned by Eddie Woods, is a May foal by Astrology out of Glamorous Lady (Kingdom of Spain). He is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner and multiple graded placed Da Stoops (Distorted Humor).
“Physically, he looked very athletic,” Hubbard said of the dark bay’s appeal at last year’s September sale. “He was a bigger colt, with a good shoulder and a nice hip and he was really balanced. Normally with yearlings, in the price range that I can buy in, it’s hard to find a physically attractive, really balanced yearling. I just felt like he was really nice and moved well. And he had a good head.”
In addition to the Astrology colt, Sayjay will be offering a colt by More Than Ready (hip 410) at the OBS April Sale and a filly by Blame at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale.
Sayjay Racing has plenty to look forward to on the racetrack, as well. The stable’s What’sontheagenda (Dialed In), a $75,000 purchase at OBS last April and co-owned with Beerman Family Trust, makes his third trip to the post Saturday afternoon in Santa Anita’s seventh race.
“Doug O’Neill has him and he really likes him,” Hubbard revealed.
The Richard Baltas-trained Mistressofthenight (Midnight Lute), purchased for $60,000 last April, was recently fourth behind budding superstar Unique Bella (Tapit) in the Mar. 4 GIII Santa Ysabel S.
Those two sophomores will soon be joined by a trio of juveniles Hubbard purchased at the OBS March sale; a Majesticperfection colt (hip 281) and a Tiznow filly (hip 302), both purchased for $75,000; and a colt by Proud Citizen (hip 651) acquired for $85,000.
Hubbard, who has gained plenty of experience in a short amount of time, said of her future plans in the industry, “I hope to keep doing the bloodstock side. I’m actually really active on the racing side, too. All of the horses that I buy, I put them with trainers and I talk to them about how they’re doing and what races they should be going in. It’s cool to see both sides, but I enjoy the bloodstock side a little bit more.”
The training preview for the Barretts March sale will be held Monday at Del Mar, beginning at 10 a.m. PT. The auction begins Wednesday at 2 p.m. PT.