Captain Bodgit's sale a winner to many


February 09, 1997|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

HALLANDALE, Fla. -- The sale of Captain Bodgit, a Kentucky Derby contender trained by Gary Capuano, left all parties smiling -- well, just about all parties.

Phyllis Susini, a Maryland resident who buys and sells racehorses -- usually mediocre ones -- sold the 3-year-old colt last week for $500,000. It was the only racehorse she owned. She declined to reveal her age or what she paid for him last spring in a private sale. But clearly, this is Susini's greatest racing bonanza.

Team Valor, a Pasadena, Calif., corporation that assembles partnerships to buy horses, obtained the Kentucky Derby prospect it coveted.

And Capuano, a 33-year-old Bowie-based trainer, gets to continue training the best horse he's ever handled -- the one he hopes will take him to Louisville, Ky., on May 3 for his first Kentucky Derby.

The only party left with no smile is Frank Douglas, the colt's Maryland jockey. Barry Irwin, a co-owner of Team Valor, said he wants a nationally known jockey aboard his new horse.

"We bought him because we think he can be a Triple Crown horse," Irwin said.

Irwin, who with partner Jeff Siegel has bought 165 horses in the past 11 years, said he became interested in Captain Bodgit after his victory Nov. 2 in the $100,000 1 1/8 -mile Laurel Futurity.

"I saw the race on tape, and I was just awe-struck," Irwin said.

He was impressed with how Captain Bodgit handled the distance, how he ran the final eighth of a mile in 12 seconds flat -- "which is unbelievable" -- and how he earned sky-high speed figures.

Irwin said he decided to leave Captain Bodgit in Capuano's barn at Hialeah Park because, with the Kentucky Derby less than three months away, any change would be disruptive and potentially damaging to the horse.

"Plus," Irwin said, "he knows the horse, and I'm impressed with how he's training him."

Capuano's response: "It's an honor to be able to still train him after a sale like that."

Susini, who lived in Laurel until moving recently to Carroll County, spends her winters in Florida and likes to buy horses here. She usually never owns more than one or two at a time. The horse she owned before Captain Bodgit, the stakes-winner My Manuscript, broke his leg while training at Bowie and had to be euthanized. She nearly gave up.

"I said to myself, this is enough," said Susini, also a bookkeeper and accountant. "This has happened to the best horse I ever had. I'm going to get out of the horse business."

But she spotted Captain Bodgit a couple of months later, and the bug bit again. "In my whole life I've never experienced a horse like him," she said. "He's got a great way of going. He does everything so easy. He's just fantastic."

"When a guy wants to buy a horse, and the price is right, you got to take it. I'll still root for Captain. I still want him to do good. Someday I might have another horse these fellows might want to buy."

Cigar's datebook

Ashford Stud, Cigar's new Kentucky home, has released a list of mares booked for the Maryland-bred, two-time Horse of the Year. Breeding season begins this week. Cigar, retired last fall, will be making his first try at it.

Among the mares slated for Cigar are Yanks Music (last year's champion 3-year-old filly), Ingot Way (dam of Skip Away), Trolley Song (dam of Unbridled's Song), Eliza (1992 champion 2-year-old filly), Tinnitus (dam of Groovy), Estrapade (1986 champion turf mare) and All Along (1983 Horse of the Year).

Also, Lemon Souffle (1993 champion 2-year-old filly in Europe), Committed (1984 champion sprinter in Europe), Diferente (dam LTC of Different), La Griffe (dam of Blushing John), Campagnarde (Argentine champion), Lyric Fantasy (1992 champion 2-year-old filly in Europe), Madeleine's Dream (winner of the French Guineas), Zalataia (dam of Fraise) and Garimpeiro (dam of Geri).

All Along will be the second Horse of the Year bred to a Horse of the Year. Lady's Secret was bred twice to Seattle Slew.

The book on Cigar

A book of photographs, "Cigar: Images Etched in Time," by Eclipse Award-winning photographer Michael J. Marten, will be published this summer by Daily Racing Form Press. The 152-page volume will cost about $50.

Sales figures jump

At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic's winter mixed sale last weekend at Timonium, 201 horses sold for $2,262,000, a 250 percent increase over last's year's sale.

Mason Grasty, vice president and general manager of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic, said the sale was "a very good one." But comparing it to last year's, he said, "is like comparing apples to oranges."

This year, he said, the sale simply featured better horses, especially ones sold by Chanceland Farm from the estate of Austin G.E. Taylor. In fact, Grasty said, Chanceland, the Howard County farm of Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss, brought in more money this year than last year's entire sale.

The topper was Masake, a 9-year-old mare by Master Willie in foal to Belong to Me. She was sold by Chanceland for $130,000 to Gerry O'Meara, a bloodstock agent from Kentucky.

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