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Ouch! That hurts.

Which probably understates the complete reality of Saturday night’s MTA Yearling Sale, which grossed less than half of last year’s total.

MTA executive secretary Kay King couldn’t do much better in her assessment. “The results are fairly dismal,” she said.

Given the dismal state of the nation’s economy and the impact it has had on every facet of the marketplace, a downturn was anticipated in the sales ring on Saturday night. The actual results were worse than many expectations.

Sixty-six of the 74 horses consigned went through the ring and only 30 of them sold for a gross of $189,400.

Forty-eight horses sold at the 2007 sale for a gross of $434,600. The figure was $405,800 in 2006 and $278,500 in 2005.

King said that since proceeds have been down across the nation, even at premier sales, the MTA auction was “pretty much in line with others. That’s fairly typical across the market,” she said.

The sales topper on Saturday was a filly by Sweetsouthernsaint out of Cee Knows that was consigned by B&D Thoroughbreds of Blooming Prairie. The buyer was Wayne Simon of Tolstoy, S.D. for a price of $26,000

Clearly the economy was part of the reason for Saturday’s results. “For a lot of people, owning a racehorse is a luxury item” King said. “When gas is $4 a gallon, the paycheck doesn’t go quite as far.”

There is also the very nature of this particular business, which relies on numerous factors. “People familiar with the business know that it goes in cycles,” King said. “It has its highs and lows.”


A.J. Bakes was none the worse for the wear after proving herself outside of sprint company with a commanding win in the Minnesota Oaks on Saturday. She was a bit tired from her convincing romp and was lying down more than usual in the stall, but otherwise looked to be in good shape.

“She looks good to go,” said trainer Todd Hoffrogge, who did a masterful job of preparing this sprinter for a mile and 70 yards. “She came back from the race in good shape.”

Next up?

Hoffrogge is eying either a sprint or the Distaff Classic in the Festival of Champions Aug. 17. “After the Oaks, I’m a little more confident in her ability to go long,” Hoffrogge said. “We’ll play a little chess game. I’ll visit with the owners and (jockey) Scott Stevens and we’ll talk it over.”


For two months last year, Tony Didier wondered if the colt named for his beloved Chicago Cubs would pull through.

Cubfanbudman was being attended to by veterinarians in Lexington, Ky., where he was hospitalized for 60 days in November and December for a severe case of colitis. The colt, then two years old, also underwent surgery on his colon. “It was touch and go there for several days,” said trainer Bruce Riecken.

The hospital bill was more than $20,000, but Didier thought it was well worth the effort and the agony when Cubfanbudman came through with a big win in the $60,000 Minnesota Derby on Saturday.

Didier, who lives in David City, Neb., owns two grocery stores, one in David City, the other in Schuyler. He got into racing in 1984 when he asked Herb Riecken to buy a horse for him and currently has 10 with the younger Riecken.

Cubfanbudman, named for the expression used by Cubs announcer Harry Carey, returned from Saturday’s race in good shape.

“It took a little out of him, but he acted like it was no big deal,” Didier said. “He cleaned up his feed right after.”

What Cubfanbudman will do next is undecided. Riecken said that one possibility is a Derby at Assiniboia Downs in late August.


Okey Dokey Irish had a habit of weaving like a car darting in and out of traffic. That is better suited to the asphalt autos than the dirt track quarter horses. Trainer Ralph Haglund straightened Okey Dokey out, Helen King kept him straight and the three-year-old colt won his first race of the year on Sunday, the $20,900 North Central Quarter Horse Racing Association Derby.

Okey Dokey covered the distance, 350 yards, in 17.886 seconds, finishing just in front of Wheely Quick and Paella Sunday.

Okey Dokey’s last start was on Jun 29 in the Canterbury Derby and he ran sixth.”He had a little problem running in a straight line. Now that he can, this is what happens,” said Haglund.

A 7-1 choice, Okey Dokey Irish is owned by Tom Pouliot of Loretto, Mn., and is his only horse in training with Haglund, although racing isn’t new to him.

His mother and father, Vernon and Betty, owned a horse named Razzle Dazzlum that won 13 straight races in 1980, the most of any quarter horse in the nation.
The Pouliots bought that horse at the Anoka County Fair for their son.

“Actually they bought that horse for me to barrel race with when I was 15 or 16, Tom said. “It won the Iowa Derby and I didn’t see it after that. In those days, you had to go to Oklahoma and places like that to race quarter horses.”

Pouliot has a weanling at home in Loretto that will be into training in time and he’s getting into breeding, which will get some help from Sunday’s big win. “I can use that money for that,” he said.