Flat Horse Can Jump

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I go to a lot of meetings these days. I guess it’s adulthood, when life becomes an array of community causes and conference calls, charities and challenges. I figure when you critique and criticize – especially in print – then it’s your duty to serve. Right? Please, say right.

The National Steeplechase Foundation has organized the inaugural owners symposium and steeplechase sale April 12. Held at Shawan Downs, near Hunt Valley, Maryland, the sale should consist of 15 to 20 horses, steeplechase prospects. The sale has two basic goals, pique the interest of potential steeplechase owners and offer a marketplace for potential steeplechase horses. The horses should be jumping over something, a log or two is fine. It might work, it might not work, but it’s a proactive move to try to ignite interest in the sport. I hope it works.

OK. Shameless sales pitch. Send a horse. Give the horse a month, six weeks and hopefully your horse can go to the sale with a chance at a new career. If your horse doesn’t sell, think of it as a freshening, at the least, he’ll get off the track for a month or so, learn a new skill and can return to you in April for spring grass racing. If your horse sells, you’ll get fair value for your horse and your horse will get a chance.

I asked about a horse this week, thinking I would pinhook him for the sale. I valued the horse at $40,000. Instead, he ran for a $15,000 claiming tag and got claimed. Funny game – in one mile, a horse’s value can be cut in half or more. I understand the claiming game, but for me, it’s like watching an old friend walk out the driveway and disappear into the valley.

Back to the sales pitch. If you have a horse who you think would work, give it a try. Preferably a 3, 4 or 5-year-old with distance pedigree, athletic and sound. Race record is a plus but not a requirement. Send the horse now, give him (or her) some time to settle, learn to jump and see what happens in April. Email me at [email protected] and we’ll figure out the details.

It can be done.

I did it with Good Night Shirt. Purchased as an unraced 3-year-old from Suzanne Moscarelli, he won two Eclipse Awards and made $1 million over jumps and lives the good life in Jack Fisher’s field in Monkton, Md.

I did it with Bubble Economy. Purchased from Klaravich Stable and trainer Rick Violette while toiling through an unproductive seven-race flat career, he raced over jumps until he was 13, banking over $450,000 and is now living the good life with his former assistant Mary McGlothlin in Butler, Md. He teaches the youngsters how to jump. He would know, he made 49 starts over fences, mostly over timber where they jump big fences and go long distances, that’s roughly 150 miles of steeplechasing.

I did it with Eagle Poise. Purchased as a jump prospect, we freshened him up and decided to see if he still wanted to run on the flat. He wanted it like I want a raise, winning the Grade 3 Valedictory and finishing second, beaten a nose, in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano. He’s outside my window as I type, bounding in the snow like he thinks he’s going to the sale in April.

He won’t, but yours could.

Read more about the sale and symposium.