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Hay, Oats and Water: Buying A Dream

By Sheila Williams

With the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association’s Two-Year-old in Training Sale in the books and the yearling sale just around the corner, I began to think about the best filly ever sold at a Canterbury auction.

The year was 1991, Ladbroke Racing and the Tyner Brothers owned our racetrack. Attendance had plummeted and purses were ham sandwiches.

Ladbroke did, however, host the first Two-Year-Old in Training sale, which everyone was excited about.

The sales topper that year was a filly consigned by Deon and Kathy Kissoon of Kissoon Thoroughbreds. Given a Hindi name in the catalog, the filly by It’s Freezing, out of the Bold Reason mare Reason with Me, was the talk of the backstretch.

Horsemen and women were trying to justify bidding on this filly for their owners at a time when the future of Minnesota racing hinged on “telephone” wagering. The legal battle for telephone wagering would take the track’s owners and the horsemen and women to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Trainer Joey Ruhsam liked the filly. Now, the knock on Joey Ruhsam’s training by some folks was that she never ran a horse. Unlike so many trainers, Joey would run a horse when they were ready to run–and not before. I can vouch for this because she was my trainer, and no better horsewoman has graced the backside of Canterbury Park or any other racetrack

She convinced one of her owners, Philip (Skip) Maas to buy this filly.

With Minnesota racing’s future hanging in the balance, let’s just say the bidding was less than enthusiastic. Most of those in the audience were gum chewers.

The bidding was slow. Eventually, Mr. Maas sitting straight in his chair, polo shirt and slacks neatly pressed, leaned over to hear the bid spotter say, “Listen. There is a $30,000 reserve on this filly. If you want her, that’s what it is going to cost.”

Mr. Maas told me this week that he fully intended to buy the filly on Ruhsam’s advice. He told the bid spotter to get a few people to bid her up. “I just thought it would be more fun if it looked like we were having an auction,” said Maas.

Up she went. To $30,000.

Renamed Luv Me Luv Me Not, the filly graced Ruhsam’s shed row, made her first start at Canterbury, and was handed to Glen Wismer in Kentucky.

Given, the audience reading this, I don’t need to tell you that Luv Me Luv Me Not went on the next year to win the 1992 Kentucky Oaks.


Luv Me Luv Me Not was retired and gave Mr. Maas and his family four foals. The first by Wild Again; the second by Gone West; the third by Rahy, and her fourth by Dynaformer.

I would love to say they were all as good as their dam. Not all. Her filly sired by Rahy was premature. Her bones and joints could not hold her up. She didn’t make it. Indeed, Luv Me Luv Me Not died after foaling her Dynaformer colt. She ruptured an artery and bled to death.

Breeders are the most optimistic people on earth. Given their dedication, a good breeder is rewarded. This is the case with Mr. Maas and his inheritance from his Luv Me Luv Me Not.

Her daughter Goodbye My Love broke her maiden at Keeneland, and an allowance race at Arlington International. In turn, she was bred to Johar and has a two-year-old filly named Maybe Baby. She worked her first half mile at Arlington early this week.

Put her in your “horses to watch” list.

“Luv Me Luv Me Not was our first attempt at the breeding aspect of the sport,” Maas said. “I love it. There is a lot of learning and it is quite a challenge.”

If you and your checkbook are going to the upcoming sale this month, use Mr. Maas’ experience from it. Even if she can’t run in Minnesota, maybe she can run in Kentucky.