When buyers judge horses physically, they examine at a variety of things, including the angles of the legs and shoulders and the appearance of the head and neck. They also look at a horse's overall body type.
A popular body type today is the longer, leaner, leggier look. Strapping, rangy horses, like the ones sired by Medaglia d'Oro, catch buyers' eyes because they look like the type of Thoroughred that can carry their speed beyond the sprint distances and handle two turns. Yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers seeking to attract upper end buyers particularly like this body type, which is a change from the past when they preferred the more muscular, blocky horse that was precocious.
I had an interesting conversation at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling sale with a pinhooker who wasn't particularly crazy about the offspring of first-crop sire Hard Spun because of their sturdy, stouter appearance.
Obviously, buyers in general didn't have a big problem with how the young sire's progeny look. The six that sold brought an average price of $140,833, which was the highest amount for a first-crop sire and the second best overall, behind only Medaglia d'Oro.
Those blocky bodies aren't uncommon in Northern Dancer line stock and Northern Dancer himself was compact and muscular. And there was plenty of stamina to be found in his blood and speed as well, which was displayed by Hard Spun's sire, Danzig, during his brief racing career.
The body type seen in Hard Spun's offspring may be a little "retro" and no longer at the height of commercial appeal in some segments of the market, but history says his offspring have plenty of potential to negotiate two turns. Hard Spun's longest winning distance was 1 1/8 miles and he was second in the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I).
It will be fun to see if Hard Spun can make retro trendy again.