By Jessica Martini
A colt by Frosted (hip 247) got Nellie and Chetley Breeden's new Grade I Investments consignment off to an auspicious start when he was one of four horses to earn the furlong bullet of :9 4/5 during the second session of the under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training in Central Florida Wednesday.
Nellie Breeden is no stranger to the sales scene, having spent time as assistant trainer to her father, legendary pinhooker Jimmy Gladwell, as well as pinhooking through the Top Line Sales consignment of her brother, Jimbo and his wife Torie, but she did admit to some nerves as she and her husband sent out the first horse to work under their own banner.
“We've gotten horses ready for the sales previously and they've sold with my brother and sister-in-law, so [the colt] doing his job, we were prepared for that,” Breeden said. “But when he came down the lane and they said, 'Grade I Investments,' I think my heart was going to come out of my chest. I just wanted him to do a good job. I was so proud of him.”
While 10 horses worked in :9 4/5 during Tuesday's first session of the under-tack show, no horses broke :10 during Wednesday's first set. Hip 342, a filly by Brethren consigned by Goldencents Thoroughbreds, was first to hit the :9 4/5 mark during the day's second set and was followed just minutes later by Grade I Investments lone offering of the March sale.
“We knew he was fast. He had prepped well,” Breeden said. “Today it seemed like the track was maybe a tick off or something this morning. Going into it, we thought he would do :10 flat and then you hope for a :9 4/5. It sounds good leading into it, but then when he gets on the track, you think, 'Gosh, am I crazy? Can he really do it?' But we thought he was fast, so he did what he was supposed to do.”
Hip 247 is out of the unraced Ananda (Scat Daddy), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Daddy Nose Best. A partnership of family members purchased the colt for $50,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
“The first thing we liked about him was his physical,” Breeden said of the colt's appeal as a yearling. “And that has stayed superior. The only thing that has changed is that Frosted has really gotten hot in the last eight weeks or so. That's really been in our favor, but as far as the colt, he has never had to take a day off. He's maintained his physique throughout the training, so he's just gotten stronger and stronger.”
Consigning was just the natural next step for the Breedens, who lease Two Springs Farm in Micanopy from Dean and Patti Reeves.
“I had previously been working under my dad and so we have been training the horses and then sending them over to Top Line,” Breeden said. “In the 2-year-old game, most people who train their horses, sell them. So we just thought it was a natural progression for us to take that step and showcase some of the horses that we train and try to bring them to the buyers.
“We were actually going to sell last year and then Mr. Reeves purchased the farm, so we started bringing that farm back to life and it was just too much of an undertaking to sell at the same time. This year, we had our wits about us and decided it was time to take the plunge.”
The current plan is to keep the consignment small, but Grade I Investments will have horses at the OBS April and June sales.
“We buy [yearlings] as a group,” Breeden said. “It's my brother, Raymond and his wife Megan and then my mom and dad and some of our other family has bought in on other horses that are going to other sales. But it is usually a group effort, which makes it a lot of fun. Chetley and I will get the opportunity to sell a few of those, but not all of the horses that we are pinhooking will sell with us. Some will go to Top Line as well. The horses that we own a majority of or a bigger piece of, we will sell. We don't intend to grow the consignment as a major source of income for us. It's more to showcase our horses and will be a more boutique style. That's our goal. Just to showcase our horses really well and bring them to the buyers.”
With just one horse in its inaugural consignment, things are off to a good start for Grade I Investments.
“Everyone asks, 'Are you nervous?'” Breeden said. “We've gotten horses ready for the sales for years, so honestly, that hasn't been the nerve-wracking part. The nerve-wracking part is, 'Do I have all of my paperwork in?' 'Do I have this?' Just the logistics of the sale, that's been the biggest learning curve so far.”
The couple has plenty of support right nearby on the OBS barn area should they need it.
“I am neighbors with my Uncle Robby [Harris from Harris Training Center] and my cousin J.R. [Boyd] from Brick City, so if I need something, they are right there to help,” Breeden said. “And of course Jimbo and Torie, any question I have, they are right on the spot to help out. It's really nice to have it be a family affair. It's been a good experience so far.”
The bullet furlong workers at OBS Wednesday also included: a filly by Mitole (hip 312, video) consigned by S B M Training and Sales; and a colt by War Front (hip 392, video) consigned by Kings Equine.
The under-tack show continues through Friday with sessions beginning each day at 8 a.m. The OBS March sale will be held next Monday through Wednesday and bidding commences at 11 a.m. each day.