Hanover’s yearling sales philosophy, compensation for use of a name and thoughts on the reign of Somebeachsomewhere

Hanover’s yearling sales philosophy, compensation for use of a name and thoughts on the reign of Somebeachsomewhere

October 16, 2019

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by Murray Brown

I should know better than to expect to get an error, let alone four of them, by Hanover’s Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky.

In my last column, I answered a question from Clay Horner. When it was pointed out that my answer contained those errors, my editor removed that part of my column until I could correct the record, which is why that section no longer appears in the online issue.

However, it is important to note:

1. Mayhem Hanover was Musicale Hanover’s second foal, but her first colt.

2. Capt Midnight sold as a yearling for $350,000, not $375,000.

3. Social Scene was not in foal to Captaintreacherous when Hanover bought her. She was subsequently bred to him at Myron Bell’s request/suggestion.

4. Bedroom Confessions was purchased already in foal to Captaintreacherous. Thus Myron and Stephanie Bell are officially the breeders of the spectacular filly she has at her side, although she was foaled at, is being raised by and will be sold as a yearling by Hanover.

A lesson thoroughly learned.

Never try (even unintentionally) to get anything, especially concerning Hanover, by Dr. J.

Perhaps more importantly, do not rely on my long ago almost perfect memory. That was then. This is now. The overriding need is to check and then double everything that I write.

Hanover’s yearling sales philosophy

I was recently asked to discuss some of my past experience at Hanover in the yearling sector.

Before I go any further, I need to mention that different people who breed and sell yearlings have different goals, needs and motivations.

I respect them all and understand most of them.

In my opinion, we would be best served by doing what our thoroughbred brethren do when such horses are not sold — that is, to list the horse as an RNA.

There are a few, including the industry’s largest vendor, Preferred Equine Marketing, that do it religiously.

I am just guessing, but I believe the vast majority do not.

Some have even been known to have used non-existent or phantom names to disguise the fact that the horse was a bid in.

Reporting RNAs across the board would serve two purposes.

The first is that the public knows the truthful result of the bidding.

The second is that it allows the consignor and any prospective purchasers to get together on a possible private purchase of said horse or horses.

It becomes a win-win situation.

I understand a breeder, especially a smaller breeder, believing his horse is worth a certain amount to him and when the horse does not bring anywhere near what he or she believes it is worth, deciding to bid it in.

That would be comparable to a person who has a brand new Mercedes selling it for the price of a Buick. It’s rare and probably should not happen.

However, with Hanover that was never the case.

The over-riding philosophy has been that what you might lose on the oranges, you are likely to make up for on the apples. If on the rare occasions you didn’t, then so be it.

Above all, the feeling was that Hanover feels their reputation is ultra-important. They are not focusing on just one yearling or a small group of yearlings, or even just one year’s crop.

They were selling hundreds of them and, perhaps more importantly, expected to be doing so for many years to come. If they sold a good horse too cheap, they felt that buyer would be back. Mr. Simpson would sometimes jokingly phrase it, “You’ve got to sometimes sell some good horses cheap, in order to sell some cheap horses good.”

That is just the nature of the auction process — especially when it applies to yearlings.

One never knows what they are truly worth until they hit the racetrack.

Over the years there have been numerous people who have asked to be able to privately purchase Hanover yearlings, sometimes for more than they would have been expected to bring at auction. The answer has always been a thank you, but an emphatic NO!

The feeling was that it wouldn’t serve them well for a customer to lose a horse to a Hanover bred that they did not have a chance to get.

Once again, it is a case of strictly abiding to policy and looking at the entire picture.

They are in it for the long run and value the trust of their customers and hope to do that for many years to come.

It is a tradition that I firmly believed in and defended fiercely in all my years there.

Compensation for use of a horse’s name

The decision in California to allow college athletes to be compensated for using their name and image is in my opinion long overdue and well merited.

I am sure other states will follow suit, as they well should.

How does this apply to horse racing you might ask?

Several years ago I was involved in a situation where an owner of a horse expressly forbade a farm and the sale from whence the horse came from using that horse’s name in advertising without the express written consent of the present owner of the horse.

Silly, you might say? Perhaps.

Nevertheless, the sales company took the threat serious enough to insert a clause in the Conditions of Sale allowing the sales company to use the name and image of any horses that were sold by said company in perpetuity without any recourse. To my knowledge the clause still exists.

Would it stand up in court? I have no idea.

The king is dead, long live the king

The passing of Somebeachsomewhere left a huge void in worldwide pacing that will be felt for generations to come. His influence was dearly seen at the recent Lexington race meet and sale.

His absence was clearly felt and noticed at the sale where he continued to lead all pacing stallions in both dollar amounts and averages received for his yearlings.

Many, myself included, felt that the throne had been passed to his great son Captaintreacherous who leads 2-year-olds in earnings by a very significant margin over his dad in second place.

I felt going into the sale that it was a certainty that CT would lead all pacers in receipts with SBSWs perhaps being relegated to the bargain department.

Not only did I think it. I wrote it. I could not have been more wrong.

Surprisingly, at least to me, as this is written, SBSW leads CT by the very slimmest of margins among 3-year-old earners.

Iconic sire Bettors Delight occupies third place in both categories. That’s a truly amazing feat for a stallion, now 22 years old, who is enjoying his finest year ever.

Of prime importance might be the fact that the old guy is number one in the all age category by a significant margin over Somebeachsomewhere who occupies second place.

Don’t miss the Pelicans

On a totally non-equine related subject, if you have an interest in basketball and have the opportunity to see the New Orleans Pelicans play, do not miss it.

They will likely not be the best team in the NBA, but without a doubt they will be the most exciting and entertaining.

I watched their first exhibition game against the Atlanta Hawk and they came as advertised. Zion Williamson was his normal inhuman self. In addition they are loaded with other exceptional young talent Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart are just a few. The main thing they may lack is seasoning and maturity. Veteran JJ Redick should supply some of that.

Black Book Two provides rare opportunity

Looking at the Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s Black Book Two mixed sale catalogue, if someone is contemplating getting into the breeding business or upping their presence in it, there may never be a better opportunity to do so than at this year’s Harrisburg sale.

There are shares or breeding rights to just about every top trotting or pacing stallion in the industry available, some in abundance, especially to the leading trotting stallion Muscle Hill.

I suppose this is because there is an plethora of young, proven or unproven stallions out there whose shares are also to be found available for purchase. They include, but are not necessarily limited to Bar Hopping, Chapter Seven, Devious Man, Father Patrick, International Moni, Royalty For Life, Southwind Frank, Tactical Landing, Trixton and Walner.

The pacers are equally represented at or near the top, but there are not nearly as many of them.

If you are looking for broodmares, the place to start of course is with the White Birch Farms dispersal. The Parisi family has been breeding trotters and pacers for in excess of 60 years through three generations.

Included in this once in a lifetime dispersal are several mares who are already viewed as foundation mares from which breeding empires rise, or several who will undoubtedly reach that status.

If only I were significantly younger and had the means to dive in. This is where I would undoubtedly begin.

Have a question for The Curmudgeon?
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