By Christie DeBernardis
A colt from the first crop of Florida stallion Valiant Minister was one of two to breeze a bullet quarter mile in :20 3/5 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's Spring Sale under-tack show Friday. Hip 996 will attempt to follow in the hoofprints of his Bridlewood-based sire, who topped OBS's 2015 June sale after a bullet work, selling to Charles Chu of Baoma Corp. For $680,000 after breezing an eighth in :9 4/5.
“I remember Valiant Minister when he sold here,” said SGV Thoroughbreds' Steve Venosa, who consigns Hip 996. “Eddie Woods had him and he topped the sale. He went out to Bob [Baffert] and unfortunately the horse only had one race, but he ran tremendous.”
Donato Lanni purchased Hip 996's dam La Nonna (Unbridled's Song) on behalf of Baoma Corp. for $72,000 at Keeneland January. This colt is her first foal and Venosa snatched him up for $40,000 at the OBS October Sale.
“I came into the October Sale at OBS and Lisa McGreevy at Abbie Road Farm had him,” Venosa said. “I went to look at all of the Select horses and I really loved this colt. He was the only horse I wanted to buy and I bought him for my partnership.”
The horseman continued, “He was always very forward from the first day we put the tack on him. He did everything right and had a great mind about him.”
Venosa was very pleased with the colt's sharp work Friday (video).
“You never know until you lead one up there,” Venosa said. “The track has been interesting this week. The first day was canceled because we had a lot of rain. Then Monday the track didn't look like it's normal self early, but it righted itself the second day. It's been kind of crazy. I think the wind yesterday really affected a lot of horses.”
He continued, “We were watching the weather and monitoring the rain coming. We had two going today and crossed our fingers the weather would cooperate. We were going back and forth between working a quarter or an eighth, but we figured we'd go ahead and send him a quarter. He is plenty fit enough. We knew he'd go up there and perform and he did. Everybody back at the barn was excited. We have a great team and you are only as good as your team.”
“We were expecting a really good work out of him,” said Pick VIew's Joe Pickerell. “He is a big, strong, mature, classy colt, who has been one of our fastest horses on the farm all year. We were pretty confident he would work well if he duplicated what he has been doing all year.”
There were also five fillies to work a bullet eighth in :9 4/5: Hip 866, a daughter of Temple City (video); Hip 889, a filly by Outwork (video); Hip 917, an Uncaptured filly (video); Hip 955, a daughter of Practical Joke (video); Hip 975, a filly by Fury Kapcori (video).