LEXINGTON, KY (Sept. 10, 2017) – Late Sunday morning, Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert arrived at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale to begin inspecting candidates to join his racing operation, which this year is packed with September Sale graduates that have succeeded at racing’s highest level. They include Grade 1 winners Abel Tasman, Arrogate, Collected, Cupid, Drefong and West Coast; Grade 2 winners American Anthem, Collected, Hoppertunity and Mastery; and Grade 3 winner Pretty N Cool.
“It’s like restocking the pond. This is where it all starts,” said Baffert, when asked to describe the importance of the September Sale.
Baffert struck gold with the first horse he purchased at the September Sale when he spent $30,000 for a son of Slewpy in 1988. Named Thirty Slews, he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at odds of 18-1 four years later to become Baffert’s first Breeders’ Cup winner.
“The only reason that I bought him was because he was the only one that I liked that I could afford,” Baffert said. “If you’re patient and wait, you’ll get your horse.”
Three years ago, Baffert and his team that inspect yearlings at the September Sale took a liking to two gray or roan colts consigned by Clearsky Farms, agent – an Unbridled’s Song colt, who would become champion Arrogate, and a colt by Tapit who was named Mohaymen.
“We loved both of them, but Mohaymen was way too expensive for us,” Baffert said, referring to the $2.2 million co-sale topper who became a multiple Grade 2 winner. He added with a smile, “Arrogate, he’s OK. He’s all right.”