Honey Creek Farms

Solar Horse Farm And Pine Terpene Manufacturer

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Pine Needle Terpenes

Harvesting Pinene Terpenes

Pinene We had a very interesting inquiry recently about specific pine needles on some of the properties we manage. We have a stable up in Greer, Arizona that we co-manage with another couple and there is an abundance of pine in the area. The email we received was about a specific type of pine, and the emailing party inquired about making a trip out from California to walk the property and inspect the pine. After a few emails were exchanged they followed up with a phone call. Initially, I didn’t understand the nature of the call and took a defensive position during our discussions, it almost sounded like someone was trying to scam us out of something, although I didn’t know what that would have been either. I gave them the opportunity to talk and explain the purpose of the emails and the call in greater detail. It turns out they were looking for a very specific flavor terpene called Pinene. Apparently, there is something specific about the pine trees that grow in Greer that had interested the manufacturer and they wanted to come in and collect some data. It sounded like something out of the forestry class I took in High School, as we had spent time trekking through the woods collecting moss and fungus samples.

We opened our doors to them and allowed them to come to stay the weekend at the farm. There is a guest house in the back of the property where we allow guests and clients to stay on occasion and it happened to be available the weekend they wanted to come out.

beautiful Greer arizona

Pinene terpenes are currently a very common form of an organic terpene and can be found in many things besides pine needles like cannabis, basil, dill, rosemary, and parsley. Many that are in the marijuana business use terpenes in their edibles and CBD products. When THC and CBD are extracted from the cannabis plant it loses many of its flavor profiles, and reintroducing terpenes into edible products enhances the flavor of the products.

What they were looking for on the farm was a very unique flavor profile from a type of pine tree found in Northern Arizona. Every climate produces natural plant life that differs from state to state. The pine tree in Washington state is very different from the pine trees found in Arizona. The specific type of pine apparently is a hybrid of the Ponderosa Pine and the Englemann Spruce. I’m not sure what the science behind that is, or if it has naturally absorbed flavor profiles from the spruce after hundreds of years growing amongst each other, whatever the case, it’s interesting and a change of pace from the horse wrangling we’re used to doing on these properties.

It was interesting enough that I thought I would share it with those of you still on our email list and receive periodic updates about our projects. As always, thank you for the support, we look forward to seeing most of you at our annual holiday event his year.

Stable Drains Clog At Toronto Horse Farm

Hiring A Plumber To Unclog Stable Drains

unclogging drainsI received a call yesterday that one of our sister horse farms in Toronto was dealing with an extreme case of clogged stable drains. Their farm is located near Sunny Brook Stables in Toronto.  We all deal with clogged stable drains differently, depending on the resources available. I prefer to run the hose from my pressure washer down the drain pipe and turn it on full blast. If you have access to a water pump, it can be an effective way to pump water through the pipes to force the blockage out. If you are unsuccessful in that effort you can always rent a snake. But there are times when you can throw just about everything at these clogs and you just can’t unclog those drains. Stable drains can be difficult to unclog, as stable stalls are cleaned out, horse feed, and horse manuer can make it’s way into he drainage system and really clog up the pipes. Rocks and dirt will also find it’s way into the drainage pipes and together can really back it up.

After speaking to my associate about the clogged drains, she informed me that they decided to call in a Toronto plumber do snake the stalls and unclog the drains. Apparently this was one of the more sever cases of clogged drains she had seen. Between the horse feed, manure, hay, dirt, and horse hair it was clogged bad enough that they needed to send in a snake with a camera to identify the cause of the clog. It’s out of the question that a varmint crawled in there, got stuck, and died. This has happened on our farm before and not only does it clog the stable drains, it smells, and attracts roaches and other scavengers that may be looking to feed on the carcass. In this case, it wasn’t a dead animal, it was years worth of build up that clogged almost 6 feet worth of drain pipe. They were able to loosen it up with a motorized snake, some chemicals, water pressure, and some serious man hours. The stable drains are now clear and draining properly.

The biggest thing a stable owner / caretaker can do to prevent clogged stable drains is to shovel and dispose of feed using water pressure to unclog drainsand manure before the stall is rinsed. We rinse our stalls daily, horses pee and poop in there all day and for many reasons we clean daily. Shovel all of the debris on the floor into a wheel barrel, and discard of it prior to rinsing the stall out and prior to washing the horses. Preventative measures are always better than dealing with the expense of hiring a plumber to unclog the drains. There may be times every few years like this that you need to call in a professional plumber, but you can usually manage the small clogs on your own. Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer pressurized water to loosen our clogs. The dirt, feed, and manure typically break down pretty easily if the water pressure is high enough. You can always hire a stable cleaning service if you don’t have enough hands on the farm to properly clean the horse stables.


APS Rebates

Can We Get APS Rebates For Our Solar Stable In AZ?

barn rooftop

Hey guys, we have converted the stables on one of our Arizona farms to solar. The stables run a lot of electricity during the summer months with fans and misters for the horses. Winter months can get cold for the horses, so there are heating units in the stall that run in the evenings. The stables are also equipped with flood lights and cameras fo surveillance. The energy being generated from each stable was ridiculous. The power bills were far exceeding our budget for the stables on the property, we decided to cover all the stables on the property to solar power. The houses on the property are still running on city utilities, we may convert those to solar at some point if we see that the stables are truly saving us money on our utility bill.

So the question I have and should have asked the sales guy when we signed up for solar is, are APS rebates even a thing anymore? Do any of you guys know if they still offer some sort of incentive for going solar? I think that SRP still has something in place to entice people to convert to solar, but for some reason I was under the impression that APS rebates were no longer a thing.

horse farm in AZI called and left a message at Phoenix Green Team and have not heard back yet in regards tot he current APS rebates they have to offer. My hope is that we can save some money on the energy bill and put that money back into the horse trailers. They all need some work, new tires, some need electrical work, and others need new hitches. The horse trailers will all need to be refurbished before we transport any horses out of state. We hope to get the money together through fundraisers and saving money on various things like groceries and utility bills.

By the end of 2018 Honey Creek Farms will have transformed all of our horse stables into solar powered shelters. Our goal is to make our farms more environmentally friendly for the animals and the people that work on them. By 2019 the homes on the farms will also be converted to solar. All horse feed will be locally sourced organic feeds and we will have 100 gallon rain water collection bins  that will drip feed the horse trough and use rain waters for the drink.  All lighting on the property will be converted to solar by the year 2020.

Honey Creek Farms will continue it’s pursuit of organic, self sustained, horse farming communities across the country. As we expand we will be looking for more environmentally friendly ways to operate our farms, farm houses, stables, and crops. Stay tuned as we continue this green transformation into the the environmentally friendly Honey Creek Farms we always dreamed of being.

New Barn Roof Collapses

Newly Constructed Barn Roof Collapses After Storm

damage to barn roofOne of the new horse barns on the farm collapsed recently after a storm blew through and caused damage across the property. There appears to have been some construction defects with the rooftop before the storm came through. The corner of the roof hadn’t been secured properly to the trusses and when the wind got underneath it, it peeled back and we lost the plywood, tar paper, and the wood shingles. We called out a local roofing company to assess the damage and they were able to identify the flaws in the roof were there prior to the wind damage occurring. They pointed out that the roof wasn’t properly anchored to the truss and they could identify that because there weren’t and nails or screws in the wood where the corner of the roof joined. This wasn’t something that we wanted to pay for, especially since we had just payed to have the barn built. After speaking with the roofing contractor about the defect, they suggested that we contact a Goodman Construction expert witness to assess the damage and give us guidance for repairing the damage. We reached out to the construction contractors that built the barn and they have been responsive to emails and phone calls but said they couldn’t confirm that there were construction defects prior to the storm now that the roof had been damaged. We are hoping that an expert witness can evaluate the damage and provide us with the proof we need to win this in the court of law. If this does go to court we will also use them for their export witness testimony, and hope that their findings are enough proof that the defects existed prior to the storm damage. We will keep updating this as this process moves forward into the court system. Our barnes are home to some of the most beautiful horses in the area and we take construction defects seriously when they jeopardize the life of the horses, or the horses caretaker. Our farms are a family friendly place where animals are well cared for and their owners are welcome to visit any time. The safety of these animals, the people caring for them, and the families that own them is our number one priority. Thank you all for your support.


Retired Jockey Enjoys Senior Living

Horse Jockey Joins Long Island Retirement Community

horse jockey Tony Romero

Local trainer and professional horse jockey Tony Romero settles down at The Amsterdam Senior Living Center on Long Island. The Harborside community is the perfect place to wrap up an amazing career at the horse track. Tony had his eyes on success since he was just a young man, dreaming of becoming a triple crown winner and working his whole life towards horse jockeying and caring for the animals.

In 2003 Tony began donating his time at Honeycreek Farms and helping out with the younger Jockeys and horses. Getting the new studs trained and prepared to be ridden is usually something that is left to the stable hand, but Tony insisted on contributing on a daily basis. Feeding and grooming were also part of the care taking process.

By 2006 Tony took two of our Jockeys from green behind the ears, to professional levels of competition in just two years. By 2008 the team had three Jockeys actively competing in Derby’s around the country including the Kentucky Derby and the much hyped Santa Anita Derby on multiple occasions. This level of success makes Tony one of the most decorated trainers in our community.

Tony is also an accomplished Chef, receiving his culinary degree from the CIA in New York, Tony had dreams of being a Chef long before his career as a Jockey began. He worked at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in NY for a few years as Sioux Chef . His accomplishments as a Chef were local awards received for various culinary accomplishments.

Tony cooking at CIA in NY

Tony will be joining his wife in retirement after a long life of great accomplishments and raising a family of four. His kids are all involved in horse racing and are active in the local communities training and preparing other racers for a career in horse racing.

Horse Jockey Needs Bone Marrow Match

Pint Sized Jockey In Need Of Bone Marrow Transplant

horse jockey "Pint Sized Jerry"

Our dear friend “Pint Sized Jerry” is in need of a bone marrow match for a transplant. Jerry has been a successful horse jockey competing in local events and even competing in national tournaments. Jerry has been working with our training team to teach our up and coming competition team the ins and outs of Jockey life. As a life long competitor Jerry has been in great shape and never exceeded 130 pounds. Last year Jerry became ill and dropped down to 110 pounds and was visibly ill. After a lot of blood work and enough visits to the Doctors office it became known that Jerry had bone cancer. This saddened us all, Jerry has been a part of the Honey Creek Farms family for a long time and will continue to be a part of it in life and after death.

Finding A Bone Marrow Donor Match For Jerry

Prior to Jerry getting cancer we didn’t even know there was such a thing as donating bone marrow. When you are career driven, it’s easy to get your head buried in the sand and not see the word that is revolving around you. Having someone close to you discover they have cancer can be a real eye opener. Here on the farm we are family, and when there is a family member in need we all band together like brothers and sisters to help resolve whatever issue they may have. What Jerry needs is a bone marrow transplant, this is looking like a process that is far more complicated then I could ever have imagined. Like a blood transfusion, the bone marrow needs to be a match from donor to recipient. Jerry is very active in the Jewish community and has already had many brave men and women step up and register as donors. For anyone coming to this blog post from Jerrys email can learn more about the Jewish led Gift of Life bone marrow match registry where the community is as strong as ever. Please visit the website, register as a donor, and do your part to save a life.

Jerry And His Journey

We don’t know what this journey is going to be like for Jerry, we know it will be hard, and we know it will be costly. For the friends and family that read this post that want to donate to Jerrys recovery you can contact me directly. You all have my number and you all have my email address if you are reading this now. Please let me know how you know him and what you would like to do to help him out on this Journey. We will continue to employ Jerry on the farm even when he is hospitalized. If there is anyone that has a horse that needs to be stabled we have some stalls available for rent, that would help with employing Jerry while continuing to provide value to our community of horse owners. Thank you to everyone that has responded so far to the last email, your donations and comments have been warmly embraced by all of us here at Honey Creek Farms.

Horse Farms Huntersville North Carolina

Visiting The Horse Farms In Huntersville

horse trainer HuntersvilleWe took a trip out to Huntersville North Carolina to visit Gabel Acres and ride some horses that were for sale. We brought out one of our trainers from Evergate Stables that we use when purchasing show horses. Sayre Happy is a great trainer and a rider that we use to qualify our horses before purchasing them. Sayre are up in Redmond, Washington and spent lots of time in her youth working on family horses. When we came out to North Carolina we knew we wanted Sayre to fly up from Florida to help us make a buying decision. Buying a potential show horse is not cheap, and you better make sure that you thoroughly inspect it for health issues, both internally and physically. Horses are amazing animals and can grow attached to their owners/riders so in our opinion it’s best to get them while they are young before they develop any bad habits or grow too attached to the rider. The horses that were available for us to ride were young enough that we could break them in how we wanted and didn’t have to worry about them being trained by someone other than the training team we hired to care for our show horses. We had the option of a few horse farms before choosing Gabel Acres. I’ll list them below.

Best Horse Farms In Huntersville

Gabel Acres

Lenux Stables & Riding Academy

Horse Shadow Run

Fairy Tale Farms

High Standards Farm

T-Bar T Ranch

Woodring Farms

Boones Farms & Stables


Riding The Horse For The First Time

training horses in Huntersville

We ended up purchasing a horse from Gabel Acres that we thought was going to produce for us and our team. The horse was beautiful and came from a great pedigree. One of our new instructors Alisha decided she was going to try and bare back the stud before loading the horse into the trailer. At first I though that she was kidding, but she wasn’t. She should have know that you don’t mount a stud like that for the first time without a saddle. At the moment it took place the incident was scary, but looking back on it I can’t help but laugh even as I am writing this. Alisha introduced herself to the horse briefly and felt confident enough to make the jump and try and mount him. The horse immediately freaked out and bucked her off. It was a scary moment all the way until she jumped up laughing. Well, the laughing didn’t last long. Alisha had hurt her lower back and wanted to go see a Chiropractor while we were the in Huntersville. We got the horse loaded into the trailer and headed over to Doyle Chiropractic. Dr. Doyle checked out Alishas lower back and offered some acupuncture treatment which she excepted. After about an hour of treatment Alisha was cleared to go. We then began our journey back to Honey Creek Farms to get this horse settled and begin it’s training.

Championship Pedigree

Our main trainer Sayre flew in for a week to hang out on the farm and help us get the horse ready for a show. She also took some time to train Alisha so there were no other accidents. Horses are giant animals that are very strong and it would be very easy for a young girl that weighs 120 pounds to get hurt really bad. Part of our training on the farm includes instructor led trainings for the barn hands and up and coming trainers. We also have riders that frequent our property to train with their horses and also help our young team with any questions they may have regarding any of the processes that happen on the farm. As we continue to shop for championship pedigrees, we also continue to train our staff to have championship mind sets when preparing our horses for a competition. The need for everyone to be professional is imperative to our success.

Video Of Our Contracted Training Partner Sayre Happy Riding HC BELLINI



Tait Reflects On Year At Twin Hills

After nine years spent abroad, for the most part as a manager of Sheikh Mohammed’s global operations, Olly Tait returned to Australia on a permanent basis exactly a year ago last weekend. It was just over 12 months ago that Tait and his wife, Amber, jumped at the chance to purchase Twin Hills Stud in Cootamundra, a farm that Tait had a hand in running during his time with Darley and that was also nearby to where he grew up in rural New South Wales.

With now a year under his belt, Tait has a chance to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of starting a new business in the booming Australian bloodstock industry, and indeed on Saturday he had something to celebrate when Levendi (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) won the G1 Australian Derby. Twin Hills Stud purchased the dam, Lipari (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), in foal to More Than Ready for A$170,000 at last year’s Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.

“It’s a year to the day [on Saturday] that we took ownership of the farm and it’s gone really well,” Tait summarized. “Overall we are where we thought we’d be, but probably the way we got through the first year, there are elements that have gone better than anticipated and there are elements that have not lived up to my expectations. But, overall we’re in a good spot.”

“The strength of the business is the quality of the farm,” Tait said. “It’s on fantastic land and has wonderful facilities. We’re looking after a large number of nice horses for the clients, so that’s been really pleasing. I knew it was a good farm, but you have to get that message across and you have to get people to come with you on that. I think that’s happened.

“Building a business from scratch is a challenging thing to do,” he added. “We’re facing the challenges that come with that, but it’s very clear to see the rewards that come with facing those challenges and building a business.”

One of those challenges, Tait admitted, was standing stallions. Tait syndicated the locally raced Odyssey Moon (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), winner of the Inglis Nursery and second in the G1 Sires’ Produce S. at two before winning a Group 3 and three, and shuttled the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby’s Kitten (Kitten’s Joy) from Lanwades Stud in Newmarket.

“We stood two stallions that year and I think that was probably more challenging than we anticipated,” Tait said. “It’s a very competitive stallion market but I firmly believe stallions will always have a place in our business.”

Tait said Bobby’s Kitten won’t return to Australia this year.

“The number of mares he attracted was disappointing but I’m a great believer in the horse and I’m pleased to have some mares in foal to him myself,” he said. “Ultimately, stallions need to cover enough mares to be competitive.”

He noted that shuttle stallions have experienced a decline in popularity in Australia in recent years, but warned against ruling out their use.

“There’s no doubt colonial stallions are more popular than shuttle stallions; for instance in Bobby’s Kitten’s case, that’s reflected in his fee,” he said. “He was a Group 1-winning turf sprinter as a 3-year-old beating older horses winning America’s best turf sprint race. If that was his [racing] profile in Australia, he wouldn’t be standing at the fee he was standing at; he’d be a lot higher.”

“There’s no doubt shuttle stallions are not as popular as they once were. When I started working for Darley in Australia shuttle stallions stood at a premium and local stallions stood at a relative discount. It’s been completely reversed now. But shuttle stallions have their place. People can be dismissive in saying, ‘you take Danehill out of it, what have shuttle stallions done?’ Well, you can’t take Danehill out of it. You can’t take Street Cry out of it. You can’t take More Than Ready out of it. They’re really good stallions who had a really positive influence on the breed here. There will be shuttle stallions that come here and continue to make it. At the moment the market dictates that it’s more challenging to stand them but people will continue to try and some will make it.”

“Good stallions can come from anywhere. Odyssey Moon is a Group 3 winner, Group 1-placed by a very good stallion. I Am Invincible is a Group 3 winner, Group 1-placed, by a very good stallion. There are possibilities.”

Tait applies that same cyclical theory to the current focus on breeding sprinters in Australia. While the breed Down Under has become almost completely speed-focused, and successful and recognized for it on an international level, he says there is no reason to think that won’t someday change.

“It will evolve,” Tait said. “Sir Tristram and Zabeel dominated Australian staying races. That’s been taken over by European horses, but who is to say some locally bred horses won’t be in vogue in 20 years’ time? You look at Pierro, who is from the Zabeel sireline, and he’s had the Derby winner and the Oaks winner in his first crop. Who knows. He might be the influence on stamina. I don’t think we need to beat ourselves up about it [breeding fewer horses with stamina]. People will always find a way to try to have the best horses, and if people are willing to invest large sums of money on horses in Europe to win those races, the best of luck to them.”

Tait’s international experience and reputation should stand him in good stead with Twin Hills, but he is respectful of the challenge of gaining market share in a competitive industry.

“The one thing I probably underestimated was starting a business on Apr. 7 of last year and getting ourselves into the market,” he said. “You have to build a brand, and a brand takes a long time to build. The time it will take to build that brand is not a short period of time.”

The Australian racing and bloodstock industries are largely considered the envy of other global racing jurisdictions, and Tait pointed to a strong purse structure, a good culture for ownership and public enthusiasm for racing as reasons for the current optimistic outlook.

“The general state of the economy is always the most influential driver of the Thoroughbred industry, and the Australian economy is going well, as is the world economy,” he said. “At a more micro level, the development of racing, particularly in New South Wales, and the increased returns to participants that have come into place the last five to 10 years have been hugely positive. If you have a horse that wins in Sydney on a Saturday you’re winning a meaningful amount of money relative to the costs. When you’re winning A$100,000 minimum for a Saturday race, that’s a multiple of what it costs to have a horse in training for a year. In the comparable jurisdictions, that equation is not as good.”

“I think there is a broader interest in racing [in Australia] than there are in other places and that then manifests itself in wagering, ownership, and then the breadth of ownership because of the culture of syndication. That makes for a very healthy industry. What we don’t have is the mega-wealth that you get in Europe and America. Luckily, some of that wealth finds its way to Australia by way of overseas investors that are interested in the business here, but we don’t have that depth of wealth that exists in America and Europe, and that’s an advantage they have there.”

Tait said that while there are opportunities to take elements of the industries in other jurisdictions and try to implement them elsewhere, it is important to recognize that for the most part these involve deeply ingrained cultures, and change isn’t likely to be easy or immediate.

“You can always take the best ideas, but it takes time to implement things,” he said. “You have to have the right people leading it and you have to have people with a willingness to change, which doesn’t come easy; people don’t like change. There are things we could do better in Australia, there are things that could be done better in America or Europe or wherever, but the people who are influential are doing the best job they can. I use the term ‘a culture of syndication’; a culture by definition takes a long time to develop. So to say we want to emulate in Europe and America what happens in Australia with regards to syndicates, that’s not an easy thing to achieve in a short period of time.”

“I felt living in America at times that people within the industry would talk the industry down, which I found frustrating,” he said. “You look at the Kentucky Derby, and there is no other race in the world where you have a combination of the race for the industry and the race for the public. The Golden Slipper is the most important race for the industry here, but the Melbourne Cup is the most important race for the public. The Kentucky Derby is an incredible event, and if you have a sporting event that you can get 170,000 people to, which they do at the Kentucky Derby, things are going quite well.”

Twin Hills Stud will debut as a consignor at Thursday’s Chairman’s Sale, selling the well-related Shantha’s Girl (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) in foal to American Pharoah, and Tait said selling at public auction will be part of the business plan going forward.

“We’re only selling a small number of horses at the sales this year, and we’ll have yearlings next year,” he said. “We have some nice yearlings on the farm that we’re looking forward to offering. Like anyone in the business we’re trying to build up a good clientele who enjoy working with us to try and achieve what their goals are, so if people are wanting to sell commercially we’re delighted to do that for them.”

“Australia is in many ways the envy of the world in terms of the way the business operates and there are so many different factors that go into that,” Tait said. “But I think it’s important we’re not too self congratulatory and don’t rest on our laurels and continue to promote what we do and continue to make sure we are a really effective industry.”

Scat Daddy Colt ‘Justifies’ the Hype in Santa Anita Derby

Unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ JUSTIFY (c, 3, Scat Daddy–Stage Magic, by Ghostzapper) passed his first real class test with flying colors, effortlessly wiring the GI Santa Anita Derby to secure his spot in the starting gate on the First Saturday in May. Arguably the most hyped horse on the GI Kentucky Derby trail on the back of a pair of dominant victories at Santa Anita this winter, the $500,000 KEESEP buy was originally being pointed to the GI Arkansas Derby next weekend, but was re-routed to this test after stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ McKinzie (Street Sense) was sidelined. Billed as a two-horse race between Justify and MGISW Bolt d’Oro, the Bob Baffert pupil was given the nod at 4-5 with his chief rival at even-money. Seizing the early advantage, Justify was well within himself as he ticked off early fractions of :23.96 and :47.85 while well clear of Bolt d’Oro. The Ruis runner closed the gap on the backstretch and the stage appeared set for the showdown everyone expected. However, Justify always had his rival’s measure and was still under a hand ride in the stretch, while Bolt d’Oro was asked for everything he had and guided to the inside of the leader by Javier Castellano. Hall of Famer Mike Smith gave Justify two taps of the whip in the final sixteenth and the he coasted home to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:49.72. Bolt d’Oro held second over longshot Core Beliefs (Quality Road). Justify is the 25th Grade I winner for the late Scat Daddy, who was also represented by GII Toyota Blue Grass S. runner-up Flameaway. The winner shares ownership with last Saturday’s GI Florida Derby hero Audible (Into Mischief), who he will face off with in Louisville. Part owners China Horse Club, WinStar and SF Racing are also the connections of today’s impressive GIII Bay Shore S. winner National Flag (Speightstown) and GII Tampa Bay Derby victor Quip (Distorted Humor), who takes Justify’s place in Arkansas. Justify’s breeder John Gunther is also responsible for today’s GII Wood Memorial S. winner Vino Rosso (Curlin). Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0.

O-China Horse Club, WinStar, Head of Plains, Starlight & SF Racing; B-John Gunther (KY); T-Bob Baffert.


What Is The Price Of A Good Horse?

The Australian bloodstock industry is a more commercial one than its counterparts in Europe and America, in the sense that a greater percentage of the better-performed horses in a given crop are put on the market. This is backed by figures produced by Aushorse earlier this year that showed that 67% of Group 1 winners in Australia in 2014, 2015 and 2016 were offered at public auction before their Group 1 win; that percentage was 61% in the U.S. and 46% in Europe.

A large percentage of the fields for some of Australia’s most important races have passed through a sales ring (for instance, 17 of the 20 runners in this year’s G1 Golden Slipper had gone under the hammer), and that gives us an opportunity to look at what segment of the market these top horses are coming from.

The Golden Slipper winner, Estijaab (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}, out of the dual Group 1 winner Response {Aus}, by Charge Forward {Aus}) cost Emirates Park Stud A$1.7-million at Easter last year, and was the second-most expensive filly and fourth most expensive yearling sold at the sale. Naturally, she leads last year’s Easter graduates by earnings and is the lone Group 1 graduate of that Easter crop at this very early stage (just three Group 1s for juveniles have been staged thus far this season). Last year’s Slipper winner, She Will Reign (Aus) (also out of a mare by the Red Ransom stallion Charge Forward), had cost just A$20,000 at Inglis’s Classic sale the year prior, thus giving proof to the theory that top-class winners emanate from all levels of the market.

The only other stakes winner so far from last year’s Easter sale also comes from the lower market: China Horse Club’s Irish Bet (Aus) (Smart Missile {Aus}), winner of the Listed Restricted Inglis Nursery on debut in December. Mick Flanagan, who signed the sales ticket on Irish Bet, told the TDN after that win, “Irish Bet was a cheap, good-looking horse and the other cheap one I bought at that sale a few years ago was Vanbrugh [cost A$100,000 and won the G1 Spring Champion S.].”

China Horse Club has spent aggressively on colts at this sale in recent years, and its efforts were rewarded this season with dual Group 1 winner Russian Revolution (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), a A$320,000 purchase, retiring to Newgate Farm as one of the more popular new sires for 2018.

Irish Bet wasn’t a rare buy at the middle to lower end of the market. Flanagan said, “We bought a couple of those cheaper ones last year in New Zealand and Australia. He wasn’t the only one, and we’ve done that in America and Europe a bit as well. We bought eight or nine yearlings in Europe and they didn’t really go more than 300,000, and there were a few in there for less than 100,000 as well.”

Last year’s Easter sale has yielded three stakes-placed horses: the A$100,000 Cristal Eyes (Aus) (All Too Hard {Aus}), bought by Echo Beach Bloodstock and in training at Lindsay Park; Canyonero (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}), a A$130,000 purchase by trainer Mark Newnham; and the Team Hawkes-trained Wild Planet (Aus) (Animal Kingdom {Aus}), a A$280,000 buy. Three of those five black-type 2-year-olds, including Estijaab, were offered by Arrowfield Stud.

Last year’s A$2.5-million top lot, Melik (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), is in training with Peter and Paul Snowden for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and was third in a trial on Feb. 12. Meticulous (Aus), the A$2.4-million son of Medaglia d’Oro split between the likes of Coolmore, Nordic Racing and Breeding, Stonestreet and Aquis, is in the same stable but is yet to trial. The A$1.8-million filly Al Naifa (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) won at second asking on Jan. 21 also in the colours of Sheikh Khalifa for trainer Tony McEvoy.

Looking at the 2016 Easter sale results naturally allows for a clearer picture, and that sale is thus far performing admirably in comparison to 2015, with so far 17 group-winning graduates (equal to 2015) and seven Group 1 winners (one more than 2015). With the exception of the Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), who was passed in at A$250,000, Coolmore Stud offered the two least expensive of those Group 1 winners: Eclipse Thoroughbreds’s VRC Oaks winner Pinot (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) (A$200,000) and the Blue Diamond winner Catchy (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (A$220,000). Three of those seven Group 1 winners are by Fastnet Rock and those also include the New Zealand Group 1 winner Age Of Fire (Aus) (A$400,000) and the G1 Coolmore Stud S. winner Merchant Navy (Aus) (A$350,000), who will eventually stand alongside his sire at Coolmore.

The priciest of those Group 1 winners was Shadwell’s South African Group 1 winner Mustaaqeem (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) at A$1.75-million, and he is the lone black-type winner thus far from the nine seven-figure yearlings sold at the sale. Summer Passage (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), another NZ Group 1 winner, cost A$800,000.

The remaining group-winning graduates of the 2016 Easter sale include one purchased for under A$100,000 and three apiece bought in the brackets of A$100,000 to A$250,000, A$251,000 to A$500,000 and a half-million to A$850,000.

Gai Waterhouse bought the two top-priced lots at Easter 2016. The A$2.3-million Boulder City (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), a half-brother to Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}), is unraced and untrialed, while the A$1.8-million Regal Stage (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), a full-brother to champion sprinter Lankan Rupee (Aus), has trialed once, a third in November. Five of the nine millionaires from the sale are winners and one of those, the listed-placed Siege Of Quebec (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), topped Thursday night’s Chairman’s Sale – Racing Prospects at A$1-million, with Aquis Farm buying into him with trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

Q: Where do go horses come from? A: Everywhere. All the more reason for buyers to do their homework across the board this week at Easter.