Thoroughbred sales don't support anti-Lasix crowd; Frosted & I'm a Chatterbox impress

Profile Picture:

TwinSpires Staff

September 24th, 2015

By Dick Powell

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale grinds on and the results have been spectacular. Through nine sessions, 2,076 yearlings have been sold for $270,447,300, with the $130,273 average increasing 4.35% over last year.

The market for American-bred yearlings has been strong across the entire market and the strength is not just reflected at the top but all strata.

“The depth of the buying bench participating in this sale is a key indicator of a healthy, vibrant market,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “The money is spread among many buyers which creates competition for these horses.”

Despite our medication policies not being in line with the rest of the world, the rest of the world can’t buy enough of our yearlings.

We have been told over and over again that we have to get our medication policies in line with the rest of the world (see Lasix) or we will be left behind, but the results of our yearling, 2YO and bloodstock sales denies this assertion. 

I looked up the top 10 sires, by average, at this year’s sale and all but Malibu Moon (A.P. Indy) raced on Lasix. And he only had two career starts so he probably would have raced on it without being retired early.  

I’m not saying that our horses are better because they race on Lasix but the “sky is falling” mantra we constantly hear from our own industry if we don’t get rid of it just doesn’t hold up to the facts.

Plain and simple, there has been no decrease in world-wide interest in U.S. horses. This year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale is just the latest example.

And, speaking of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, how do you explain Yogi Berra? The Hall of Fame catcher died late Monday night and despite being one of the 10 best baseball players of all time, he certainly would have failed any conformation test. In fact, there was nothing about the short and squat Lawrence Peter Berra as a young man, just out of the United States Navy after serving in the Normandy Invasion at D Day, that would ever lead anyone to think that he would become a baseball immortal. 

True, if baseball had a yearling sale, it would make sense to go with physical, can’t-miss specimens like Mike Trout or Alex Rodriguez. But like many of the yearlings selling for big money at Keeneland, it is no guarantee of future success. There is always a Yogi Berra to prove the experts wrong.

FROSTED (Tapit) earned another well-deserved stakes win in a $1 million race when capturing Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby (G2) impressively as the even-money favorite at Parx Racing. The $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) victor has performed commendably this year despite the presence of Triple Crown winner AMERICAN PHAROAH (Pioneerof the Nile) in many of his races. And to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s credit, he never ducked the champ.

The only horse making up any ground in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Frosted came back in the Belmont Stakes (G1) to finish a decent second. After running a close second to TEXAS RED (Afleet Alex) in the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga while giving away four pounds, Frosted was used hard in a cutthroat duel with American Pharoah in the Travers Stakes (G1) before weakening late. 

Three weeks later, Frosted showed up at Parx Racing and despite winning by two lengths and earning a healthy BRIS Speed rating of 105, he was a bad bet at even money. There was not enough reward to take the risk that he might not recover from his grueling effort in the Travers or that the speed-favoring Parx Racing oval would not be conducive to his style. Reunited with Joel Rosario, Frosted was able to sit off the leaders and make a strong move approaching the top of the stretch to win convincingly.

Combined with another huge season of yearling sales where he had the top two most expensive yearlings sell at Keeneland, sire Tapit (Pulpit) has had a sensational year on the track with four individual Grade 1 winners. There are rumors that Gainesway Farm is considering raising his $300K stud fee. 

I’M A CHATTERBOX (Munnings) earned a well-deserved Grade 1 victory in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) at Parx Racing right before the Pennsylvania Derby. She led all the way in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga going nine furlongs but was taken down by the stewards after veering out suddenly at the wire. 

In the Alabama Stakes (G1), I’m a Chatterbox took back and let EMBELLISH THE LACE (Super Saver) make the pace, being ridden as if connections didn’t think she could get the 10-furlong distance. I’m a Chatterbox wound up a game second that day and showed no signs of wear and tear in the Cotillion, sitting off the early pace and dominating when the running got serious.

It was another big win for a filly trained by Larry Jones and Florent Geroux planted a flag in the ground that he can get it done against the top riders in America.