On the final weekend of “Win and You’re In” races across the country, and in Europe, a lot of talent earned their way to Santa Anita Park for the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. While it’s certainly an accomplishment for an owner to get a horse to the big dance at year’s end, having multiple starters is a longshot at best.
Don’t tell Sol Kumin; he’s already “in.” The brash, fun-loving hedge-funder from Boston will have his name listed on a potential roster of as many as 15 horses for the Breeders’ Cup.
Kumin is often criticized for his fractional ownership of horses that have already proved themselves on the track, but that’s just not true. Last year’s champion 3-year-old filly and winner of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), Monomoy Girl, was purchased as a yearling for $100,000 for Kumin’s Monomoy Stables and Michael Dubb by bloodstock agent Liz Crow. Kumin’s first “big” horse, champion Lady Eli, was purchased for $160,000 as a yearling by him and Sheep Pond Partners partner Jay Hanley. Many of his “buy-ins” occur before a horse has proved itself in stakes company.
Kumin was on hand at Keeneland Oct. 4, opening day, to see British Idiom run away from her rivals in the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) to earn her spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The daughter of Flashback was purchased by Crow for $40,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale for Kumin, along with fellow owners Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group, Michael Dubb, and Michael Caruso’s Bethlehem Stables.
Off a score in a maiden special weight at Saratoga for horses that had been sold at public auction for $45,000 or less, British Idiom made her way to Keeneland by the deft handling of trainer Brad Cox, who also trains the rehabbing Monomoy Girl.
Kumin is not afraid to let a trainer take a swing at a big race, which is refreshing in a time when horses are making fewer starts.
“We took a shot with Brad the other day with Andesite and figured if she’d run first or second we’d take a shot at the Breeders’ Cup,” Kumin said after the Alcibiades.
Andesite, a juvenile by The Factor purchased by Brad Weisbord’s BSW Bloodstock (with Crow acting as agent) at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales March 2-year-old auction, missed by a head in the Sept. 28 Pilgrim Stakes (G3T), and is on task for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1T) with Cox tightening the girth.
In the race prior to the Alcibiades, the well-seasoned Whitmore, in whom Kumin owns a part, broke last and rallied furiously in the stretch to just miss in the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (G2) and will head for his third attempt in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). The Phoenix winner, Woodford Racing’s Engage, is Breeders’ Cup bound and is partly owned by…Kumin.
He had quite a day in Lexington for Keeneland’s opening day, but didn’t stick around for the weekend as his children’s soccer and lacrosse games took priority on Saturday and Sunday.
Thus, Oct. 5 Kumin missed Bowies Hero’s thrilling win in the Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1T). He owns the 5-year-old Artie Schiller horse along with Agave Racing Stable and Erik Johnson’s ERJ Racing. He also missed Uni’s course-record mile in 1:32.87 in the First Lady Stakes (G1T). Kumin is part of Head of Plains Partners, which co-owns the Chad Brown-trained daughter of More Than Ready with Dubb, Robert LaPenta, and Bethlehem Stables. Uni earned a “Win and You’re In” to the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1T); however, she probably won’t go there due to the 1 3/8-mile trip. A repeat run at Del Mar’s Matriarch Stakes (G1T) will likely come later in the season.
Kumin has a cadre of other Breeders’ Cup potential runners such as juvenile filly Comical, who might square off against British Idiom; Eight Rings in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1); and Shekky Shebaz. Others expected at Santa Anita include Coal Front, Catholic Boy, Yoshida, Mia Mischief, Landeskog, and the big mare, Midnight Bisou, who is unbeaten on the year against top distaff company.
“We’ll be there,” Kumin said. “We’ll have some ammo.”
He isn’t kidding.