Guest Column: Redd Foxx Award

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You know what a great business plan would be? Starting one named after an award given to the dumbest person in the family.

That’s exactly what we did. And by “we” I mean me and my mother Margy Alexander. In 2017, we created Redd Foxx LLC, a 2-year-old pinhooking syndicate. As many people of a different generation than myself know, Redd Foxx played Fred G. Sanford on the popular 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son.

Naturally, growing up in the 1990s and 2000s I had very little knowledge of the show except for the fact my grandfather, Pete Alexander, regularly handed out the “Redd Foxx Award.” The award was not really an award at all, but merely a label for stupid. For example, when at 16 I ran my car through two fences into a swimming pool, you better believe I received the highly un-coveted Redd Foxx Award.

The rules stated you had to hold onto the award until someone else in the family exceeded your previous stupidity. An actual fox even sat atop the mantle just waiting for its next victim. Now that is some motivation to not be a moron.

My grandfather passed away in April 2017, nearly a year after his wife of nearly 57 years died abruptly from a brain tumor. My mother spent two years of her life caring for her two parents at their Lancaster, Pa., farm and by the fall of 2017 the farm and everything in it was sold at auction. This was a tough pill to swallow for the entire family. My mom, who had cared for her sick parents, had put aside her previous projects and now the future was a bit unsure.

I’d worked for my mother many different times in my life. First, as a racetrack brat begging to walk hots and graze horses out of her Delaware Park barn where she trained beside my grandfather. She finally gave in and let me walk my first horse when I weighed as much as a feed bag and would soon push me to learn to gallop during my summer vacations from high school.

Eventually I returned to work for her in my freshman year of college doing anything and everything to support my freshman extracurricular activities.

That same year I discovered the traveling circus that is the racetrack and fully exploited the fact that you can ride racehorses anywhere in the world.

That led me to Lexington with an unsure career path while mom held down the fort in Maryland. Things changed a bit in 2017. With the death of both of her parents my mom looked to turn a negative into a positive. Instead of wallowing in the loss she thought of it as a fresh start.

At the time I was gaining experience in buying weanlings and flipping them to sell as yearlings and was relatively successful in the first two years. That success made me think about breaking into the 2-year-old pinhooking scene, which seemed to offer the possibility of greater returns. With my mom’s many years of training racehorses and her newfound free time, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do something together while living in different states so as not to kill each other.

And so Redd Foxx LLC was born.

We found an amazingly generous partner to invest in our venture.

We found a great location in Aiken, S.C., where they would start their early training.

We found a successful consignor to guide us through the whole process in Cary Frommer.

Most importantly, we found a name that represents our experiment perfectly.

My mom handles the horseman side of things in Aiken and I manage the less fun aspect as the syndicate manager from Kentucky.

We are well aware a safer bet would have been to put our life’s savings into a money market account where the risk is low and so is the reward. But anyone who has ever been involved in racing knows there is no such thing as a safe bet.

We could fall on our faces and be the newest recipients of the Redd Foxx Award but at the end of the day, my grandparents wouldn’t have wanted it another way.

Our first shot will be at the OBS March sale with a More Than Ready colt bought out of the Keeneland September yearling sale with the rest pointing towards OBS April sale. Just look for the two blondes washing out, that will be us.

Catlyn Spivey, a former staff writer at The Saratoga Special, joined Vinery Sales in January as a sales and bloodstock consultant. Spivey grew up around the racetrack and worked as director of bloodstock for Equine Analysis. She assisted in the purchase of Horse of the Year Gun Runner, Copper Bullet, Market Rally and Adore during her time with EA. Spivey is engaged to Scott Calder, who works in sales and marketing for Coolmore and was named in late January to lead the sales’ and nominations’ divisions at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand.