At Los Alamitos, Kumin the Breeder Beats Kumin the Owner

Sol Kumin | Coglianese

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As the field crossed the wire in Saturday's GII Los Alamitos Futurity, Sol Kumin experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all at once. Kumin is the co-owner of second-place finisher Carmel Road (Quality Road) and third-place finisher Fort Bragg (Tapit). They ran well but couldn't outrun Practical Move (Practical Joke). Along with Chad Brown, Kumin bred, but does not own, the race winner.

“It was cool because I always loved the winner's dam, Ack Naughty (Afleet Alex),” he said. “Would I have loved to see one of the two horses we had in there with Baffert win and run off the screen? I probably would have been happier had that happened. But to look up and be able to say you bred the winner and owned the horses that ran second and third is fun. But I still enjoy the racing part of it more. I sometimes wish I still owned the horse than won.”

Kumin, one of the most prominent owners in the sport, is known for being a partner on dozens of top horses every year. He says he has no intention of becoming a breeder on a large scale, but will keep the occasional mare for breeding purposes.

“I don't think I'll ever have a commercial breeding business,” he said. “I'm too emotional and I know myself well enough to know what my limitations are.”

He did, however, keep Ack Naughty. Trained by Brown and a New York-bred, she debuted in 2014 and won four times from 15 starts. She finished second in the Chelsea Flower S. and the Mount Vernon S. and was third in the John Hettinger S.

“We raced the horse and loved her,” Kumin said. “She was among one of the first crops of horses that we owned. When it came time to sell her, I didn't want to. We put a value on her and bought out our partners. Chad loved her, too. She ran a bunch and always tried really hard. We had a little crooked yearling who turned into this big, pretty horse.”

When Brown was told of Kumin's plans he asked if he could stay involved and the two went in as partners on the mare. In her first year, she was bred to Violence and produced a colt who has yet to race. Her second foal is Practical Move. She was bred to Practical Joke because Brown trained the sire and owns a share in him.

Normally, with Kumin, the plan is to race the horses he bred. But he explained that Brown prefers that the foals are sold at auction. Practical Move RNA'd for $90,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September sale and then sold for $230,000 as a 2-year-old at the OBS April sale. His owners are Pierre Jean Amestoy Jr., Leslie A. Amestoy and Rogers Beasley. He is trained by Baffert's former assistant, Tim Yakteen.

Coming into the Los Alamitos Futurity, Practical Move had yet to cross the wire first but was placed first through disqualification in an Oct. 10 maiden at Santa Anita in which Kumin's Fort Bragg was taken down. After that, he ran third in the GIII Bob Hope S.

“I knew this horse really well,” Kumin said. “Not only did I breed him but every time he ran we had horses in there against him. I had watched all of his races.”

Kumin started out with five to seven mares which he boards with Des Ryan at Dell Ridge Farm. But from such small numbers he has enjoyed considerable success. He bred and owns Fluffy Socks (Slumber {GB}), the winner of the GII Sands Point S., the GIII Jimmy Durante S. and the Selima S. He also bred and owns Grade III winner Sy Dog (Slumber {GB}).

“We have had three graded stakes winners out of something like ten horses that we bred,” he said. “It's been pretty outrageous so far.”

His collection of home breds is about to grow. Brown was the co-owner of Slumber (Cacique {Ire}), who won the GI Manhattan S. in 2015. Slumber began his stallion career at Calumet Farm but, Kumin said, the farm considered retiring him and sending him to Old Friends because he was breeding to only a small number of mares. When told of that, Kumin said he bought the stallion for $1 and sent him to Rockridge Stud in New York, where he stands for $7,500. Kumin is optimistic that Slumber can be a success and is supporting him at stud.

“We bred 20 mares to Slumber last year and 16 or so the year before so we're really starting to pump things up,” he said. “We have him in New York and will keep breeding 15 to 20 mares to him every year. Let's see if they will be as good as we think they can be. This has been my first real effort as a breeder. We're not going to sell many. We are breeding them to race. They will go to top trainers and, hopefully, we'll get some good horses out of this.”

Whether it's with Carmel Road, Fort Bragg or National Treasure (Quality Road), who was third in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Kumin has an excellent shot of having a horse in next year's Kentucky Derby, where they might meet Practical Move. He'll root first for the horses he owns. But if he has to lose, it might as well be to the horse he bred.

“I look at it like this, we have a mom that I loved the whole time we had her and now she's turned out to be a producer,” he said. “There's nothing wrong with that.”

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