Yearling Buyers Hope for Derby Win: Jet Pilot Costliest of Fifteen to Score, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-05


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Yearling Buyers Hope for Derby Win Jet Pilot Costliest * Of Fifteen to Score 1947 Victor Purchased by Mrs. Graham for 1,000; Fonso Was Cheapest at 00 By CHARLES HATTON CHURCHILL DOWNS, Louisville, Ky., May 4. — Probably everyone who attends the yearling sales secretly hopes to buy a Derby winner. Occasionally someone enjoys such a stroke of luck, and it already is a legend of the auction rings that Fred W. Hooper obtained one with his very first yearling purchase, when he paid 0,200 for Hoop Jr. at the Keeneland sales. Our records show that 15 of the 76 winners of past Derbys were bought as yearlings, either privately or at public auction. The cheapest was Fonso, sold at auction for 00, and the most expensive Jet Pilot, whom Mrs. Elizabeth Graham purchased for 1,000. Down through the years from 1877, when the 50 Baden-Baden won the Run for the Roses, to Jet Pilot in 1947, "bargain yearlings" who scored in the classic were Day Star 25, Riley 50. Judge Himes ,700, Elwood 00, Donau 50, Worth 25, Old Rosebud 00, George Smith 00, Omar Khayyam ,500, Cavalcade ,200, Gallahadion ,000 and the aforesaid Hoop Jr. and Jet Pilot. George Smith was sold at the Saratoga sales, as was Cavalcade, while Omar Khayyam was purchased at the Newmarket sales in England. Hoop Jr. and Jet Pilot were offered at the Keeneland summer auction of "select yearlings." One of the favorites for this 77th version of the Kentucky Derby is Mrs. N. A. Mikells ► Repetoire. He was purchased at the Saratoga sales for a trifling ,000, and though he was the only offering by the good speed sire Happy Argo, the many experts about the ringside failed to perceive anything special about him. If this native Virginian can bring off tomorrows 00,000, he must be put down as one of the greatest yearling bargains in Derby history, for the reason that the average for year-old thoroughbreds now far surpases that of the days of Fonso. Other Bargains of Sales Ring Several of the prospects for this Derby were obtained through the cooperative Breeders Sales Company auctions at nearby Keeneland. Ruhe was purchased there for ,500, Phil D. for ,500, Sir Bee Bum for ,600, Royal Mustang for 2,000, Anyoldtime for 1,000 and Kings Hope for ,000. All of these became bargains as two-year-olds, with the single exception of Anyoldtime. A rather amusing aspect of the purchase of Phil D. is that W. C. Martin, of Texas, bought him at the fall sale of the "less select" yearlings without having examined the colt before he came into the ring. Further, he was the only horse Martin acquired a£ the sale, and he went on to earn 1,190 as a two-year-old, augmenting his record with the San Felipe Stakes this season. As for Kings Hope, one capable trainer looked at him several times, trying to estimate how long he would stand training if he were to buy him. He finally concluded the colt wouldnt stand up long enough to be broken. So Freddie Sharpe bought him for ,000, and he promptly won six stakes, five consecutively, and earned 2,855 as a two-year-old. William Evans of the Breeders Sales Company has compiled statistics on the Derby performances of yearlings sold under their auspices from 1945 through 1950, and on the whole they have not fared at all badly. A total of 20 were good enough to run in the race, and of these Hoop Jr. and Jet Pilot won, Hampden finished third and Sunglow fourth. Hampden was the cheapest Keeneland yearling among these starters at the ,100 William duPont paid Dr. Eslie Asbury for him, and Jet Pilot was the most expensive. Someone has well said that the grab bag of the yearling auctions is the greatest gamble of all. Almost any horseman can pick a sound, well-bred colt or filly, but it is easy to debunk any notion that one can select a youngster designed to be a Derby horse. One of the most encouraging things that has ever happened to the market breeding business was the sale of Jet Pilot for 1,000 and the fact that he proved himself worth several times even that sum. Continued on Page Thirty-Seven Derby Won by 15 Sold as Yearlings Jet Pilot Was Costliest At 1#000 and Fonso The Cheapest at 00 Continued from Page Twenty -Four He amassed 98,740 before retiring to the stud, and may be syndicated at something like 00,000. Until this horse, Royal Blood, I Beaugay and others came along, yearlings | selling in the higher price ranges were almost all "lemons." Competition among market breeders now is such that most of them have assembled or are assembling bloodstock of a quality comparable to the more successful private ! studs. While there always will be Phil D.s ; and Repetoires, ith about the same degree , of expectancy as lightning striking twice , , the emphasis on racing in the same place, ! class in the immediate removes of sales yearlings pedigrees is bound to result in , other bargains among the costlier colts and I fillies. . Many sportsmen and women who can readily afford their own studs seem to prefer ! patronizing the sales. Trainer Melvin "Sunshine" Calvert says: "Perhaps its because, when you breed horses to race, you i can not be fure of obtaining the type of foal, nor even one of the sex you want. At the yearling market, one can find colts and fillies of all makes and shapes and almost any pedigree pattern." A number of owners of the private studs also buy colts or fillies occasionally, depending upon whether their own mares have given them a preponderance of one sex or the other, and because of the intrinsic worth of well-bred fillies as producers. j

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