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Bradley Hoping For More Of The Same

The team: Eddie Woods, Angela Mellerick, and Peter Bradley
The team: Eddie Woods, Angela Mellerick, and Peter Bradley

Pete Bradley faces a daunting task in the coming weeks. As the bloodstock agent journeys cross-country to hit the four major 2-year-old sales in the coming month, he will be looking to duplicate the outstanding success his yearly pinhooking venture enjoyed last year with a new group of 19 juveniles. The trek gets underway next Monday when Bradley and partners send two horses through the sales ring at the Barretts March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale in Pomona, California.

“It was a career year,” Bradley admitted of 2012. “We had some exceptional horses, but it is very difficult to do that year in and year out. If that was not a once in a lifetime, it is at least a highwater mark that we have to try to beat once again.”

Bradley’s big spring began in Pomona a year ago, when he and consignor Eddie Woods sold a son of Indygo Shiner, purchased for $37,000 the previous July at Fasig- Tipton, for $330,000. That same night, they sold a colt by Lawyer Ron, also a $37,000 FTKJUL yearling, for $175,000.

The headlines kept coming at OBS March, when Bradley and company sold a Leroidesanimaux (Brz) colt, a $70,000 FTKOCT yearling purchase, for $490,000. A pair of high-priced youngsters cemented the career year at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale, with a Hard Spun colt, acquired for $200,000 at Fasig-Tipton in October, fetching $870,000; and a Street Boss colt, bought for $77,000 in July, selling for $825,000. Asked if he expects to surpass last year’s accomplishment this season, Bradley chuckled, “Heck, no.”

The success did not change how Bradley and Woods approached last summer’s yearling sale. “We did have a bit more money to spend, so we bought a couple more high-end horses, but for the most part we stuck with those kind of horses in the $50,000-$100,000 range, that was what we were shooting for,” Bradley explained. Still, facing a competitive yearling market, it was tough to buy the right horses and Bradley admitted he came away with money left in his pockets.

“It is always tough to buy nice horses, but we were not able to spend the money that we had available for horses,” the bloodstock agent said. “It is better to not buy a horse than to buy the wrong horse, that’s for sure.”

The partnership’s most expensive yearling purchase last year was the $280,000 it paid for a son of Tapit out of Muir Station (Street Cry {Ire}) at Fasig-Tipton in July. The yearling was the complete package, making him worth the extra gamble, according to Bradley. “Really pinhooking is all about margins,” Bradley explained. “You have to buy the horses right. That horse, in particular, while he was high-priced, is by a sire who was very hot and has gotten hotter, out of a good female family–that is a stallion’s pedigree. Those kind, you know that, if he does

everything right, there is upside to a horse like that. So again we still think we have a horse that, if he does what he is supposed to do, there will be a margin in buying him at that price. You couldn’t buy a horse for that price who is a physical, but not the pedigree or the stallion power, and expect the margin to be there even if he goes down there in :10 flat, if he is by a moderate kind of sire.”

Bradley’s first Barretts offering next Monday will be a colt by Any Given Saturday (hip 90). Out of Rahy Connection (Rahy), a half-sister to Grade I winner Link River (Gone West), the juvenile was purchased for $32,000 at the Keeneland September sale. “He is a very nice horse,” Bradley said of the chestnut. “He’s matured quite a bit. I think Any Given Saturday is a bit underrated; he gets plenty of racehorses out there. This colt is athletic. He’s got speed and a good mind.”

Next up will be a Harlan’s Holiday filly (hip 111) out of stakes winner Sophie’s Trophy (Valid Wager). The bay was a $52,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling purchase. “She is a very uncomplicated filly,” Bradley said. “She has good substance and balance to her and a good stride. She is just a very solid, nice kind of filly.”

Asked what type of 2-year-olds he ships to California for the Barretts sale, Bradley laughed, “The ones Eddie tells me to send out there.” He added, “Being the first sale of the year, we certainly want them to be mature, somewhat precocious types. And I think, again, you kind of look for sire lines that work in certain areas. And I think both of those horses have had obviously enough runners by both of those sires, that they are horses that the California buyers will take a look at. It is, at this point in time, not a sale that we take our most expensive horses to. That’s not to say you can’t sell a horse for a lot of money out there, but we take horses out there that we think are in the $100,000-$200,000 range and we think those kind sell very well in that market.”

Bradley has been putting together pinhooking ventures for the past 20 years. He currently has about 12 investors and, for the most part, he has a regular cast of characters. “There is probably a core group of five to seven people who have invested almost throughout the whole

time and then there is a group of people who have been doing it with me for the past two or three years. It is a pretty stable group. We do get in some new people from time to time, but over the last four years, it has been a pretty stable group.”

While he might not think another year like 2012 is in the offing, Bradley is optimistic going into the 2013 juvenile sales season.”The first and foremost thing we look to do is to sell all our horses every year,” he explained. “And historically, we’ve done that. I think that we’ve got a bunch of saleable horses this year. We’ve got 10 horses we think are superior kinds of horses and, the good news is, we don’t have a lot in the group that are throwaways either. I think the most important thing to know is that we’ve got horses who are very sellable and usable. And then the market will take care of what it thinks they are worth.”

The undertack preview for Monday’s Barretts March sale gets underway Friday morning at 10 a.m.

-Jessica Martini (TDN)

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