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Here's To Our Breeders!

The View

I really hate when people argue about who is more important to our business.

“Without owners there would be no one to buy the horses.” TRUE!

“Without breeders there would be no horses to buy.” TRUE!

“Without trainers and grooms there would be no product.” TRUE!

“Without customers betting there would be no revenues.” TRUE!

Just stop… please. We’re all in this together, most of us because we love it, and after the horses themselves no one is more important than the next. We’re all important.

Today though, I do want to salute our breeders.

When something happens at a sale, like opening night in Lexington a few weeks ago, with yearlings selling like hotcakes - very expensive hotcakes - I know that some people lament about how good the breeders have it. And yes, when 115 yearlings go through the ring in a few hours and average $161,217 it does seem that way. But if it were that easy, why aren’t we all doing it?

Obviously, it’s not that easy, and I can share a bit of my own experience from over the past few years to illustrate to some, that don’t already know, just why it isn’t.

Admittedly, this is a small sample size, but it’s the only one that I can speak first-hand about.

I have one broodmare, in partnership with Tom Grossman of Blue Chip Farms, an unbelievably great partner with a broodmare facility/farm second to none.

The partnership began in 2016 when my Bettors Delight mare ended her racing career and Tom and I bred her to Sunshine Beach, resulting in a beautiful colt. He sold in 2018 for the reasonable sum of $25,000 and we were on our way. He took a mark of 1:55 in the winter of his three-year-old year and looked like he would be a good OSS Grassrooter at the least, but after the pandemic shut-down that spring, he got hitting a knee badly and regressed from there.

Foal number two never happened. The mare was in foal to American Ideal and lost it - it was too late to breed her again at that point so we missed an entire year.

Foal number three was a perfect looking colt from the first crop of Huntsville who was slated to sell in Harrisburg. Did I mention the pandemic? In the end he was lucky enough to sell on the final day at the outdoor Timonium Sale, a day that, through the fault of no one, and thanks to days of rain, cold and wind turned out to be a buyer’s day - to say the least! The Huntsvilles had been hot all fall, and our expected tag of $30,000 or more fell just a tad short when the hammer dropped at $10,000.

The day before our Huntsville colt sold, his weanling sister by Hes Watching developed a bad bout of colic. Everything that could possibly be done for her was done, but she passed away at the veterinary hospital a day later. We therefore have no yearling to sell in 2021.

Our hopes now rest on another gorgeous Huntsville colt that will sell in 2022, and the McWicked foal in her belly.

I wouldn’t trade the experience to be 100% honest, and Tom, Jean [Brown] and everyone at Blue Chip are top-notch. I love partnering with them and look forward to a bright future together. Please though, even when you see yearlings selling for $800,000 and $750,000 and so on, please don’t ever think that it’s easy.

I know that for our breeders, the hours are long, the investment - of both time and money - is huge, and although the highs can be quite high at times, the lows come often and are usually quite low.

But if you don’t believe me, please give it a try. We don’t have a huge surplus of breeders and could use some more. Hmmm, I wonder why that is?

Dan Fisher
[email protected]


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