By Jessica Martini
A colt by No Nay Never (hip 332) turned in the fastest quarter-mile work of the second session of the under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training Monday in Central Florida, covering the distance in :20 4/5. The juvenile was the first of three from an initial pinhooking group owned by Houston Astros third-baseman Alex Bregman to hit the OBS track ahead of next week's auction.
Bregman Family Racing made its debut on the racetrack a winning one just last May when the first horse to carry the family's colors, Cadillac Candy (Twirling Candy), graduated at Churchill Downs.
The family's focus will still be on racing, according to Ciaran Dunne, whose Wavertree Stables preps Bregman's horses in Ocala, but the reoffered lots reflect a slight adjustment for the three-year-old stable.
“Alex made the decision to sell a few colts to try to finance his racing stable,” Dunne said. “I think he's decided that racing fillies is probably, in his grand scheme of things, going to be a better plan. He wants to develop a broodmare band and sort of have a long-term plan of action. By selling the colts, it helps finance some of the racing stable and the broodmare band. That's not to say he won't race a colt going forward, but, if he races fillies, he wants to own them 100% and he'll partner on colts with the hope of making a stallion. We have three in the sale for him here and if the right people with the right plan came along, I am sure he would be more than willing to stay in and be a partner.”
Hip 332, an Irish-bred son of No Nay Never, was purchased on behalf of Bregman by bloodstock agent Mike Akers for €180,000 at last year's Arqana August Yearling Sale. He is the first foal out of group winner Etoile (War Front), who is a full-sister to group winner and multiple Group 1-placed Ancient Rome.
“We got him in October or November sometime,” Dunne said of the colt. “It took him a little while to get his feet underneath him. It's a long process between shipping and quarantine and everything else. But ever since, he's been a really straightforward horse. His works have been more than solid coming into this. So we went in there with high expectations and I think he delivered. He's just a really solid colt by probably one of the top stallions in Europe.”
“He absolutely loves the horse business,” Dunne said of Bregman. “It will be bittersweet for him. Racing is his first love. Pinhooking is probably going to be very hard for him. But we've had the discussion, 'look if you bring them over, you have to sell them.' So I think he will. But, like I said, if someone were to come along, I think he would be more than happy to stay in.”
Four horses shared Monday's fastest furlong time of :9 4/5. A filly by Flameaway (hip 177, video) worked the bullet for David McKathan and Jody Mihalic's Grassroots Training and Sales just minutes after the session's 8 a.m. start time. Out of Cinnamon Girl (Meadowlake), the chestnut filly was purchased by Grassroots for $15,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
Consignor Marcial Galan sent out a colt by Jimmy Creed (hip 239, video) to share the fastest furlong time Monday around 10:30 a.m. Out of Days Like This (Congrats), the juvenile was bred by Jason Hall, Stephen Baker, Herschel Martindale and Mike Riordan.
A colt by Triple Crown winner Justify (hip 299, video), who is out of D'Wildcat Speed (Forest Wildcat) and is a half-brother to multiple Group 1 winner Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy), gave Jonathan Navas's Navas Equine its first :9 4/5 work when he hit the track around 10:40 a.m. Monday morning.
“I am very fortunate to have such a nice individual under my care,” Navas said. “He is an easy colt to work with. He is that kind that goes out there, puts in a lot of effort in training, does his best in the morning, and then comes back to the stall. Rest and repeat.”
Navas picked the well-bred colt out of the back ring at Keeneland last September and purchased him as part of a pinhooking partnership for $50,000.
“I saw him in the back ring, but I didn't inspect him at the barn,” Navas said. “His page is obviously really strong. And I liked the way he was taking everything in at the sale. We liked what I thought I could polish and develop a little bit more with training.”
Asked if he was surprised to get the colt at that price last fall, Navas said, “Yes, to be honest, it was a little bit surprising. With that pedigree, I would have thought I would have had to extend my budget a little bit more. He didn't look as athletic as he does now. He had a belly and he was a little bit narrow as a yearling. But with the time and training, he became a better-looking athlete. That's what I visualized last year and I think that's what we have right now.”
From a racing family in Venezuela, Navas launched his consignment in 2020. He was represented by a Shackleford filly who worked a quarter-mile bullet in :20 3/5 at the 2021 OBS June sale. Purchased for $7,500 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale, the filly sold for $70,000 that June. Now named Join the Dance, she resold for $110,000 at last year's Keeneland Horses of Racing Age Sale and is two-time stakes-placed.
“This is my third year consigning and I had never had a :9 4/5 before,” Navas said of hip 299's work Monday. “He was able to put up this great workout for us and am I very happy with it. It was pretty impressive.”
A colt by Twirling Candy (hip 192, video), consigned by Steve Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds, completed the quartet of bullet workers shortly before noon Monday. Out of Conquest Babayaga (Uncle Mo), the dark bay was bred by St. Elias Stables and RNA'd for $120,000 at Keeneland September last fall.
The final sets of Sunday's initial session of the under-tack show had horses working into a headwind, but it was the earlier sets Monday that had to deal with the wind, according to Dunne.
“All the way through the first set and through the second set, there was a pretty good headwind and then it seemed to get quieter towards the end of the day,” Dunne said. “We had a horse go :10 1/5 in the last set, so I think the track has been consistent the whole way through, which is all we can ask.”
The under-tack show continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 8 a.m. The Spring sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday. Bidding commences each day at 10:30 a.m.