The recent Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select sale was of
great interest to horsemen because it provided the first glimpse of the health
of 2012's yearling market. The auction also gave people a chance to see how the
first offspring of young stallions would be received in the sale ring as
Colonel John ranked second overall (among stallions
that had three or more of their progeny sell) on the Fasig-Tipton auction's
leading sire list. Four members of his first crop brought an average price of
$141,000. The second-ranked first crop sire and sixth finisher overall was Old Fashioned,
whose six offspring averaged $112,000.
"I don't think it good have gone better," said Rick
Porter, whose Fox Hill Farms raced Old Fashioned, who captured the 2008 Remsen
Stakes (gr. II) and 2009 Southwest Stakes (gr. III). "Unfortunately, I wasn't
there (at the Fasig-Tipton sale), but everybody I talked to -- Mark Taylor (of
Taylor Made Sales Agency), Tom McGreevy (Porter's agent), and Victoria Keith (
Fox Hill Farms executive assistant) -- was extremely happy. A lot of people who
don't normally make remarks about horses came up to Mark and Tom and they said,
‘Boy, the Old Fashioneds as a whole are a really good-looking group of horses."
A 6-year-old son of Unbridled's Song, Old Fashioned
stands at Taylor Made Stallions in Kentucky. His inaugural stud fee in 2010 was
$12,500 and his Fasig-Tipton average represented quite a nice multiple (nearly
nine times) of that amount.
"It's great if they bring a lot of money," Porter
said, "but if they can't run, it's not going to make any difference. But they
usually run better if they look good."
Porter said he has put together a group of some of Old
Fashioned's first crop members to pinhook as yearlings and will offer them
through Taylor Made at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Porter also is
pinhooking some members of U.S. and Canadian champion Kodiak Kowboy's first
crop of offspring through Vinery at Keeneland.
There are 10 or so horses scheduled to be pinhooked in
all. "I'm not exactly sure how many
there are unless I look it up on the computer," Porter said. Because Porter
doesn't breed much, the bulk of the yearlings were purchased privately or at
public auction when they were younger. Porter raced Kodiak Kowboy in
partnership with Vinery.
An upswing in the Thoroughbred market and the
impressive physical qualities of Old Fashioned's foals were the reasons why
Porter decided to undertake a pinhooking venture involving the young stallion.
"If we bought them right and they're nice horses, I
think we can make some money just because of the market," Porter said. "They've
developed very nicely and I think we'll be successful, so now we'll just have
to find out whether I was right or whether I was wrong. If we can get anywhere
near the average of the Fasig-Tipton (Kentucky sale) horses with the ones I
bought, we'll be in good shape. With Kodiak Kowboy, it's a different situation.
We're trying to support him."
Porter's focus in the Thoroughbred business isn't
pinhooking, but he isn't a stranger to the game.
In 1995, Porter purchased a Storm Cat filly for
$205,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction. The following
year, through Kip Elser's Kirkwood Stables, Porter resold the filly for
$900,000 at the Barretts March sale of select 2-year-olds in training. Carrying
the colors of The Thoroughbred Corp., she earned more than $2 million while
winning seven grade I events, including the Acorn (gr. I) and Beldame (gr. I) stakes.
The filly's name? Sharp Cat.
"I hadn't been in the horse business long back then
and I thought that it wasn't going to be too hard of a business," Porter said.
"I decided to buy some horses and maybe take a third of them and pinhook them.
I thought I should be able to make enough money to cover all my expenses. Kip
really liked Sharp Cat and we decided to take her to Barretts."
But even though Sharp Cat was a pinhooking home run,
Porter had some regrets.
"I remember saying, ‘I don't think this is such a
good idea to take my good horses and pinhook them,' " Porter recalled.
But it's a risk he'll be taking again as he seeks
new homes for Old Fashioned's yearlings.