A Long, Hard Journey to the Market's Top

A Medaglia d'Oro colt faced a long, hard journey on his way to becoming the top-priced yearling sold, at $280,000, during the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. His van trip from California to Kentucky several weeks ago took seven days instead of the usual three or so, according to the bay colt's breeder, Tom Bachman.


"There were transmission problems in Albuquerque; it was very cold and they didn't keep a blanket on him, and he was probably using up some of his energy to stay warm," Bachman said. "Then they came up through Oklahoma City when the big snowstorm went through the Midwest, and they got stopped on the highway there. He (the colt) shed some weight, and it was a tough trip on him. After he got to Kentucky, he got some weight back on him, but he was still thin."


Bachman kept the yearling in the Januuary sale anyway, as part of Kitty Taylor's Warrendale Sales consignment, even though the California horseman knew the colt wasn't in ideal condition. But the yearling had his hot sire going for him, and it also didn't hurt that he is a half-brother to a grade II winner, Sweet Win (by King of Kings).


Peter O'Callaghan of Woods Edge Farm in Kentucky purchased the yearling and said that he and "just a few partners, my family" would try to resell the colt. Woods said the yearling's rangy build, the success of his stallion, and the fact that his dam had produced a graded winner using a similar pedigree cross (Sweet's Win's sire is by Sadler's Wells; the $280,000 yearling's sire is by El Prado, who is a son of Sadler's Wells).


Bachman believed the $280,000 colt's slimness, which seemed like a liability at first, might have made him a more attractive pinhooking prospect.


"Sometimes that can help because people will look at a yearling and think, ‘I can move this individual up,' " Bachman said. "Physically, structurally, he's a very nice colt that looks like he's going to grow up to be quite a nice horse. I was very happy with his sale, and Kitty did a wonderful job."


An example of how tough the current market is on mares was the fate of the colt's dam, Win for Juno. The St. Jovite mare is 16 years old and she wasn't in foal. She sold for only $2,000 during the January auction to Bluegrass Investments even though her yearling son showed she can still produce commercial offspring.

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