by James Platz
Walnridge Farm’s Richard Meirs, VDM, is very happy with the group of yearlings he is bringing to Harrisburg. The farm will offer 28 pacers and trotters eligible to the programs in Ontario, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, and sired by some of the sport’s hottest young sires.
“The horses have really come together well. They are showing extremely well, they videoed incredibly well. I’m excited, especially for these young stallions. I’m excited to have them going with me to the sale barn. It’s going to be fun,” said Meirs. “I’m really, really fortunate to have some outstanding Captain Crunch colts. I have a super bunch of Huntsvilles. I’m extremely high on my Tactical Landings. I’m very happy with the group of babies I’ve got to go.”
The breeder and veterinarian has especially close ties to Captain Crunch and Tactical Landing, and the Walnridge consignment reflects that. Cataloged are a pair of Captain Crunch colts, Captain Delight (Hip 275) and Salty Dog (Hip 359), as well as filly Cry Havoc (Hip 883).
“I bred and raised Captain Crunch myself. These individuals are really athletic. They get over the ground incredibly well. They’re very, very well conformed. As far as their conformation is concerned, they’re flawless. I’m extremely excited for his future,” Meirs said.
At Lexington, babies from the first crop of Captain Crunch averaged $62,000.
On the trotting side, Walnridge has cataloged 10 trotters, six of which are sired by Tactical Landing, with five colts and a filly. Meirs is part of the stallion’s syndicate.
“I spent a lot of time with the horse. Ironically, I pre-purchased him for the sale, his stallion rights. It’s just an honor to have his babies in the barn. They’re very athletic. They are super smart. I really like them a lot,” he said.
Queens Landing, Hip 243, is the lone Tactical Landing filly. She is the second foal from Yankee Glide mare Cool Cates, a full-sister to O’Brien Award winner Il Villaggio. Of the five colts, four are from mares with previous winners to their credit. Royal Beluga, Hip 479, is the fifth foal from Tactical Caviar, full-sister to world champions Triumphant Caviar and Centurion ATM. Tactfully Put, Hip 138, is a brother to New York Sire Stakes leg runner-up Seven On The Rocks.
Also featured this week is a trio of Huntsville babies – two colts and one filly – that Meirs considers notable. Tipsy Chick, Hip 722, is a filly from a Four Starzzz Shark mare with two winners from two previous foals. Colt Pop It, Hip 118, is a first day entry that is the first living foal from the 22-time winner Pop The Tags. The mare is a full-sister to Metro elimination winner Wind me Up. Crisper, Hip 491, is a half-brother to a pair of six-figure earners.
The consignment is spread across four racing jurisdictions, with some horses possessing dual eligibility. Meirs said the diversification is by design.
“I have a very nice group of very loyal clients. We discuss the breeding programs. I try to encourage diversity in the programs,” he said. “As everybody knows, these programs being propped up by casino revenue and sports betting revenue and appropriated revenue are volatile. Not to mention the volatility of the world economy and even an occasional virus that shows up and throws a big wrench into our market. So, I try to encourage my clients to spread out their investments and that’s why there is the diversity that exists.”
Not only diverse in the programs where they participate, but the stallions selected. The Walnridge consignment includes yearlings sired by All Bets Off, Always B Miki, American Ideal, Betting Line, Bettor’s Delight, Credit Winner, E L Titan, Lazarus, McWicked, Six Pack, Sportswriter and Stay Hungry.
Last year, Walnridge sold 26 yearlings at Harrisburg, averaging $59,231. Meirs likes selling at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex and feels it works best for him due to the demands of his veterinary practice and export business.
“Harrisburg is a little bit more meat and potatoes kind of sale. In my opinion, the Lexington sale is either a real big high or sort of a medium to low, and there’s not much in the middle. I think a lot of good horses are sold at Harrisburg, and I think they’re sold reasonably,” he said. “I wouldn’t go anywhere else because I like the people that run the show and I like the way it’s done.”