Big prices for little horses.
That's how the trade magazines characterized the explosion in the thoroughbred weanling market at the recently concluded Keeneland (Ky.) sales, where prices for foals, just weaned from their mothers, jumped 25.9 percent from a year ago.
Local breeders Carolyn and Ron Green from Westminster cashed in on the bonanza, selling a 9-month-old Maryland-bred filly for $280,000.
Making that kind of score is almost the equivalent of winning a Grade I stakes and is the biggest payday the Greens have experienced in 25 years in the horse business.
Ron Green purchased Rainbow's Edge, the dam of the $280,000 weanling, for $15,000 two years ago at Keeneland.
"She had produced two graded-stakes horses, including one colt that had sold as a yearling for $1 million. But she was 18 years old and was getting some age on her," Carolyn Green said, explaining why they were able to purchase Rainbow's Edge for such a low price.
The Greens spent $25,000 and bred the mare to Storm Cat, who stands at Overbrook Farm in Kentucky and is the country's leading sire of 2-year-olds this year.
"But we had no idea she'd bring that kind of money." she said.
Demand for weanlings is attributed to interest from pinhookers -- people who buy the young horses and then resell them as yearlings -- or from buyers interested in purchasing future racing prospects.
Carolyn Green said that B. Wayne Hughes of Glendale, Calif., bought the horse and she was told that he plans to race the filly.
Plans for Maryland-bred day
The Maryland Horse Breeders' Association is planning on grouping four stakes races, restricted to state-bred horses, on one card at Pimlico Race Course on April 23 and calling it the Maryland Spring Breeders Challenge.
The four stakes include the $50,000 Star De Naskra Stakes, a sprint for 3-year-olds; the $75,000 Caesar's Wish Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; the $100,000 Jennings Handicap for older horses; and the $100,000 Geisha Handicap for older fillies and mares.
The feature that day is the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, open to 3-year-olds bred anywhere. But the race will carry a $50,000 purse supplement available to Maryland-breds that finish in the money.
Laurel stewards suspended leading Maryland jockey Edgar Prado yesterday for seven days after he allowed his mount, Pucker, to drift out and impede Khufu near the wire of Tuesday's second race.
Steward Jean Chalk said Prado's suspension will start this weekend.