Yesterday, we mentioned we’d share the story about how the group located Crown the Cat. Here is a firsthand account from Jeff.
Kevin Lay deserves the credit for finding Crown the Cat. He and I began discussing this project early in the winter and Kevin set out to find a horse that would work for the group. We wanted a horse that was already in training and would be ready to run opening weekend. We also did not want to acquire the horse too early and pay for training for six weeks while we waited for this meet to begin. When Andrew came on board later in the winter he too joined in the discussion and the debates that unfolded.
Kevin found Crown the Cat at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans and made an offer in March. The price was the same $7,500 we ended up paying but at the time we were concerned that we would have to pay too much in training expenses before the horse made it back to Canterbury, so we continued the search and put her out of mind.
Nearly every horse is for sale if the right price is offered. Finding a price that makes sense at the purse levels offered at Canterbury kept us in the range of $7,500 or less.
Along the way we looked at Hawthorne and Fonner as places where we could claim a horse. Passing on horses was the best decision we could have made. We explored reclaiming King of Rhythm, a horse that ran for last year’s group. We also looked at Marina Nolan, a Minnesota-bred that was running for $2,500 and another bottom level Fonner horse. Anything at that level typically has an underlying issue, so we decided to pass.
A horse we looked at seriously was A P Dreamer. He ran here last year and won three races. He is a one-run closer that must go a route of ground. (Coincidentally, he is entered for Friday night at Canterbury in Race #1). He was lightly raced last summer, probably because that specific race was not offered very often. That horse had been in training at Fair Grounds over the winter and returned at Hawthorne this spring. He first ran for $7,500 and was then entered again for $5,000. We did not have all the necessary pieces in place to claim A P Dreamer, and it seemed we might get in the same position where he would be lucky to get in once a month, so we passed again.
Crown the Cat resurfaced at Indiana Downs where she ran second in a route race in April. Kevin contacted the trainer again and the price was still $7,500. Having the option to look at a horse before buying it, as opposed to claiming it and hoping for the best, is an advantage. We did not want to gamble with your money (not that owning any horse isn’t a gamble already) so this seemed like the correct approach.
We knew the maiden claimers would be weak here early in the meet and we knew we had a filly that had been training well and was sitting on a big effort. This was the tactic trainer Tammy Domenosky used for the group horse in 2009 and it figured to work again in 2011.
There are many ways to go about finding a horse. Claiming and private purchases can get you in the game immediately. Buying a yearling requires waiting a year to run. Remember, the meter is always running and the only way to pay the bills is by winning.
You have been fortunate enough to win a race in your first try. Don’t take that for granted please. When this meet ends there will be many owners wishing they could have done the same.
Now we have to hope that your filly stays sound and happy and that the races we need to get her entered in attract others as well.