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Two Mares, One Hip Number

Published: February 6, 2020 4:05 pm ET

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To paraphrase horse owner Mark Weaver, everything old is new again. Weaver, part of the Weaver Bruscemi partnership that owns horses with trainer Ron Burke, is resurrecting the practice of offering two horses — at the same time — for sale at auction.

On Tuesday, four-year-old female trotters Matterlei and Wildfire Seelster will be sold as hip numbers 120B and 120A, respectively, at the Blooded Horse Sales’ Winter Speed Sale. The winning bidder will have his or her choice of one of the horses. The unselected horse will return to the ‘Burke Brigade.’

Murray Brown, the former Hanover Shoe Farms public relations director and general manager/VP of the Standardbred Horse Sales Company, recently wrote about the practice in Harness Racing Update.

“I’ve heard Murray Brown and Eric Cherry (horse owner-breeder and co-owner of online auction ongait.com) talk about it,” Weaver said. “We need to get rid of horses. Particularly, with these two, they fit the same class and they’ve had to race against each other and that just doesn’t make good business sense. They’re very similar horses.

“I’ve had a lot of feedback. People said they’ll be watching to see what happens. Just to see two horses in the ring will be kind of different.”

Matterlei, by Explosive Matter and out of Hawaiian Lei, has won five of her last seven races dating back to November. Wildfire Seelster, by Explosive Matter and out of Warrawee Lassie, has won six of her last eight starts, also dating back to November.

“We figure we’ll sell them and let the buyer decide which one they want, and we’ll keep the other one,” Weaver said. “I think that gives the buyer an added level of confidence. I think the buyers will appreciate it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We’re keeping the other one, so it’s not like we’re trying to dump anything. It’ll be interesting. It’s an old idea, but I think it’s a new idea. It’ll be cool.”

Weaver plans to continue the practice of offering two horses together in upcoming auctions at ongait.com. He said, though, it might not be two horses of the same type, as is the case with Tuesday’s sale. For example, a four-year-old pacing gelding might be offered with a six-year-old trotting mare.

“I really like the concept,” Weaver said. “They have to be similar in value, but it really doesn’t matter if they’re like horses. You’re still giving the buyer the option to pick.

“Every year, we need to move about 30 or 40 horses to make room for others. It’s a big cycle. We try to sell horses when they’ll bring good money based on their current form. If we sell a bunch of horses and none of them go on, we’re going to have trouble selling horses (in the future). We want them to do well. Fortunately, over the last six, eight, 10 years many of our horses have.”

The Blooded Horse Sales’ Winter Speed Sale begins at 9:30 a.m. (EST) at Champions Center Expo in Springfield, Ohio. For more information, click here.

(USTA)


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