Chitu Colt Claims Quarter-Mile Bullet at OBS Thursday


Chitu | Serita Hult


A colt by Chitu (hip 297) turned in the fastest quarter-mile breeze of Thursday's fifth under-tack preview for next week's Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training when covering the distance in :20 3/5 for Kenny Davis and Sherry Mansfield's Hawk's Nest. The youngster, one of three juveniles consigned to the auction by the couple, was purchased by Davis and partner Gary Logsdon for $48,000 at last year's OBS October sale.

“When I bought him as a yearling, I figured he could do it,” Davis said from his Summerfield farm Thursday afternoon. “That's why I bought him,” he added with a chuckle.

Catalogued in Book 1, the colt was originally scheduled to breeze Monday, but connections were forced to call an audible late last week.

“We took him up to the sale and the next morning we galloped him,” Davis said. “The following morning, he didn't eat his breakfast and he had a temperature. I called Tod [Wojciechowski] at the sales company and explained the situation. I wanted to switch places with him and my Exaggerator colt. He wouldn't let me do that, but he told me he'd work me in. I called him the other day and he scheduled me to go today. We gave him two or three days and I guess he must have been perfect today because he laid it down.”

While Davis hasn't been to the sales grounds since shipping his horses in, he gives credit to trainer Manny Ortega for getting the colt ready to breeze Thursday.

“He's been with me 12 or 14 years,” Davis said of Ortega. “He gallops horses for Todd Pletcher at his training center. He's been there about 15 years. And this is what he does on the side. He works a regular job in the morning and then he helps me and pinhooks a horse or two on the side. He does excellent work and he's a very hard worker.”

The 75-year-old Davis first took out a trainer's license in 1969.

“I was a little raggedy boy running around Keeneland grooming horses for $35 a week,” he recalled. “I worked for a guy named Frank Carter and I groomed a mare called Sal Allen. She belonged to Mary Anne Hockensmith. Mr. Carter told her, 'You won't let me run this mare for a claiming price, you might as well take her home. I can't make you any money on her.' So she took her home. A couple months later, I went down and talked to Ms. Hockensmith and told her I'd like a chance to train the mare. I trained for her for 27 years.”

Of the exploits of his first trainee, Davis said, “Sal Allen was the first horse I ever won a race with. I was a rookie trainer. I ran her in a $5,000 claimer at Churchill and she ran second. I think I ran her against the boys. The next time I ran her in an allowance race at River Downs. She won. And the next time I ran her, I ran her in a stakes at River Downs and she got beat a nose, ran third. That shows how much I knew about a condition book. However Mary Anne Hockensmith has always been there when I needed her.”

Logsdon, an attorney in Brownsville, Kentucky, is another longtime associate and friend.

“We've been partners for 50 years,” Davis said. “He is a very good friend. I met him at River Downs. He wanted me to claim him a horse, he was just a young feller, and I claimed him his first horse. We did all right. And then we ended up in the pinhooking business. We used to buy near 10 a year. Now we just buy a couple. If we have six or eight mares and if a couple don't have foals, we'll buy a yearling or two to replace them with.”

Davis had already purchased a yearling by Exaggerator (hip 950) and thought he was done shopping when he saw the colt by Chitu last October at OBS.

“I was with a guy named John Wall and he does my eyeballing,” Davis explained. “I can't hardly walk, so he goes to the barns and looks at what I like and tells me what he thinks. I had bought the Exaggerator colt and I bought a filly and I thought that would do me. But then I saw that colt walk and he was coming to the sales ring. I saw him about barn eight or nine and told John to go look-he had the kind of walk I like and look I like. So I was talking to John and I'm looking the colt over and Joe Pickerell comes over and asks if I was going to try to buy him. I said, 'Yep.' And he said, 'Well I was thinking about trying to buy him.' When the bidding got started, I wanted to quit, but John and Joe pushed me to go ahead and buy him. They pushed me into buying a nice horse.”

Davis and his wife Sherry Mansfield maintain a broodmare band of around 10 head on their Florida farm.

“Sherry plays a big role in our breeding-she's the pedigree person and I'm the eyeballs,” Davis said. “I check out the conformation and she checks out the pedigrees. We've done it that way for years. When she got out of college and went to work for me, all she knew how to do was lead a horse. She's been with me 54 years. She is as sharp as they come.”

Of his expectations for his bullet worker ahead of next week's sale, Davis said, “We are proud to have the colt and if we have a good sale, maybe we will make some money. And if we don't, we'll run him. That's the way we normally do it. We take them to the sales and if we get them sold, if we make some money, we sell them. And if we don't make any money, we bring them home to race them. We've done that for years.”

Three juveniles shared Thursday's fastest furlong time of :9 4/5.

Grassroots Training and Sales sent out a filly by Street Boss (hip 730) to work in :9 4/5. The chestnut is out of the unraced Andariel (Ire) (Excelebration {Ire}), a half-sister to multiple group placed Bannock (Bertolini). Bred by Green Lantern Stables and PM Equine Investments, she was purchased by Grassroots for $50,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July sale.

Hip 869, a filly by Not This Time, also worked the furlong in :9 4/5 Thursday. Out of stakes placed Chilling Effect (Gold Fever), the chestnut is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Archidust (Verrazano). She is consigned by Harris Training Center. The filly was purchased by Meah/Lloyd Bloodstock on behalf of Voric Stables for $60,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July Sale. Bred by Wolverton Mountain Farm, she sold for $40,000 as a Keeneland November weanling.

Completing the trio of bullet furlong works Thursday, hip 840 turned in a :9 4/5 work for Kings Equine. The bay filly from the first crop of Grade I winner Frosted is out of multiple graded stakes winner Carolyn's Cat (Forestry) and is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Mufajaah (Tapit). Bred by Bonne Chance Farm, she was purchased by Scott and Evan Dilworth for $170,000 as a weanling at the 2018 Keeneland November sale.

The under-tack show continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 7:30 a.m. The Spring sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday. Bidding begins each day at 10 a.m.

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