$1,700 horse paying dividends at Del Mar's summer meet

Press Release
August 02, 2018 09:42am

When Mike Moran was informed by his longtime friend, bloodstock agent Nick Hines, that he had just purchased a horse for him at the 2016 Keeneland September sale for $1,700, the veteran of more than 20 years of racehorse ownership had a question.

“I asked him ‘Does this horse have polio?’” Moran said recently.

Many longtime racing followers were unaware that the gavel could fall on any thoroughbred for that low a price at one of the most prestigious sales in the country. So Moran’s concern about the animal’s health, even in jest, was understandable.

But there was the now 3-year-old California-bred Hoss Cartwright going wire to wire in a 2 ½-length score under Rafael Bejarano on July 25 to break his maiden in his second start, the first being a runner-up in June at Golden Gate Fields, to increase his career earnings to $20,000, or nearly 12 times the purchase price.

There was no reserve (minimum price) on the horse by breeder Joe LaCombe, on the horse that Hines picked out and the big-personality former trainer turned TVG analyst known as “Sarge,” said he was surprised when the bidding stopped when it  did.”

“(Hoss Cartwright) had scope and presence and a wonderful disposition,” Hines recalled. “He wasn’t perfect in terms of conformation, but I thought he had potential to grow out of the few things that might have been a concern.”

The name, Moran said, was inspired from the dam-side pedigree. Carson’s Dane is a Carson City mare. Carson City in frontier times was the general location of the TV series “Bonanza” about rancher Ben Cartwright and his sons, among them big, easy-going and lovable “Hoss,” played by Dan Blocker.

“I can’t tell you how many people have called or come up to me and said that’s a great name,” Moran said.

 Cartwright is trained by Andy Mathis, who confesses to be as surprised as anyone about the $1,700 bargain.

“I was surprised when I first saw the price,” Mathis said. “You see Keeneland, you think (Bob) Baffert and horses going for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But he’s a good looking horse and he can run a little bit,” Mathis said. “We’re not sure what’s next. We’d obviously like to run him back here. But we’re just going to take our time and pick a spot where, hopefully, he can win.”


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