Thoroughbred ‘Moneyball” Unearths a Gem at 2012 FT Timonium Sale


How about a $13k purchase at Fasig Tipton Timonium’s 2yo in Training Sale (2012) going on to earn more than 99.5% of starters in 2013? Is that a colt you would be interested in?

Probably not – as he only worked in 10.3 and looked ‘ordinary’ to most experts on auction day. Here’s his catalog page, showing a set of 3 siblings who could only pass muster at lower-end circuits:

Our now 3yo bargain purchase is today known as Battier, and as luck would have it a Thoroedge client was able to gather some valuable HR/GPS data on him after 5 months of training leading up to the Timonium sale several months ago.

As hip 284, he sold for $13,000 and currently has a stakes win at Aqueduct and $137,200 in earnings, here are the details:

I started to look for photos and breeze videos of this colt from the sale, but caught myself and realized how little those subjective measures truly tell a prospective buyer. We do know he worked the eighth mile in 10.3, which isn’t terribly fast either.

Discerning buyers found many reasons to eliminate this colt from their short lists, but Battier lives on as perhaps the first example of how the concepts brought about in the book/movie ‘Moneyball’ will influence the auction process for years to come (if I have anything to say about it). Here is a primer:

During a routine gallop leading up to the sale, Battier displayed a superior HR response while travelling at a 15sec/furlong pace, as well as a stellar HR recovery. Now sample size is pretty small thus far, but the database will continue to grow over the next several years.

Here is a similar verified HR/GPS standout who just went through the ring in Ocala and was purchased for $110k (scroll to Hip 454):

The vet for one of my clients didn’t like the walk, so they passed – I hope they didn’t miss out on another Battier-type value, or maybe I do…..regardless, we’ll all keep an eye on this one over the coming months.


About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on April 26, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good nigth. I´m writting from Argentina. Can you explain me about definition “Furlong”? Thank you very much. Escuse me by not understand or don´t understand this term.

    • Hello Martin! Thanks for writing, I spent a week in Argentina a while back; worked at La Providencia and went racing at both Palermo and San Isidro – had the best time.

      A furlong to us is 200m to you, or an eighth of a mile.

  2. Hi Bill,
    Great blog…
    So is there anywhere where normal people can get access to this pre-race HR data?
    kind regards

    • Thanks Amin-

      Not yet, but soon. I think I’ll have some early data on a few to make public this coming season, and hopefully the numbers will increase each year. I do intend on creating an EQB-like paid service in the future, but will likely give away the data in order to hopefully gain some traction with buyers/pinhookers.

  3. Luke Murrell

    Hi Mate
    I understand you can do heart rate tests at the sales but how have you got access to them whilst working/breezing ??
    Could this be a good reference point in buying “trial ” horses or unraced stock privately ? Or wouldn’t it demand that they be at a certain fitness level

    • Hi Luke-

      Yes, you have to enjoy special access. The data certainly improves in most with training, so that must be factored in. Down in Florida for the breeze up sales, nearly all are started roughly in the same month and go through about the same pre-breeze training regimen. So that helps.

    • To give you an idea of my benchmarks here in the states: I like to see a horse go a 15sec/f pace keeping his HR at or below 85% of its maximum value. Of course, he has to be moving quite quickly to produce a maximum value as well, the younger they are the easier it is to get that data point.

      For example: you have a 2yo who will gallop a 17sec/f pace for a mile with a working HR of just 175bpm. The final 2F of that work he is allowed to speed up to a 12sec/f pace, where his HR spikes up to 230bpm. After passing the wire, the clock starts on HR recovery. Our ideal candidate will drop that HR to 120bpm or less within 2min, and drop closer to 80bpm within 5 min. If he/she can do all this AND not be in extensive training yet, that is even better!

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