Article written by Trent Ledbetter of Thoroughbredinsider.com
February 8, 2018
Hoping his nerves were masked under his deep navy blue ELiTE Sales jacket, Bradley Weisbord took one final deep breath of the coffee soaked Kentucky air. Like a yearling going into the sales ring, he was ready to take on the unknown…
His moment had arrived.
The scene at the Summer Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale was much like that of rush hour traffic in New York City, which to a hometown New Yorker is just another day in the city but to an outsider can be bewildering and frenetic. The ELiTE Sales team swiftly followed orders and grooms scrambled to give their horses the illustrious shine that would command the eyes and attention of buyers.
Bradley thrived in the organized chaos.
Despite all of the commotion, Weisbord’s entire focus was on hip number 403 – a beautiful bay filly by the name of Adorable Miss, who was out of a Mineshaft mare and sired by Kitten’s Joy. As the first horse to go through the sales ring as a consignment of ELiTE Sales, she was the pride and joy of the entire team.
In a fleeting moment, Bradley found himself locked in the gaze of Adorable Miss, her life story unfolding in her deep, soft, eye. She was a mare who had been under the tutelage of world renowned trainer Todd Pletcher and was a force to be reckoned with on the turf. Adorable Miss was a horse who could win even when she ran a race three horses wider than anyone else… even when she carried more weight than her competitors… even when all the odds were stacked against her. She was the perfect blend of grace and grit, of fragility and ferocity.
The first of twelve ELiTE Sales horses slated for that day at Fasig-Tipton, Adorable Miss carried a weight greater than her jockey, greater than any expectation on race day; she carried the weight of the future of ELiTE Sales.
The auctioneer glanced at the details of the horse entering the sales ring next: an impressive three year old filly with multiple stakes wins, with looks that were as striking as her record. The crowd of buyers sat nearly motionless, waiting, the sound of rustling paper filling the room as they flipped their books to the next listing.
“Entering the ring is hip number 403, an impressive stakes winning filly…”
The auctioneer’s call echoed throughout the ring, and instantly all eyes were on her – just as they had been when she was crowned victorious on the track. Adorable Miss seemed to relish the moment, her prowess and elegance demanding attention. Her ears pricked as she looked out over the ring. Despite her uncertain future, there was an unwavering confidence in her as the bidding began.
“What an opportunity right here,” the auctioneer noted, “ Who will give me $50,000?”
In a flurry of words in a matter of seconds the bidding shot sky high as affirming yells and knowing nods filled the room.
“$450,000” the auctioneer confirmed as bidding finally slowed for a moment, buyers glancing back at their books to confirm her worth; as rapidly as she made her move at the 1/8th pole, Adorable Miss was proclaiming a name for herself.
At the back of the room, one man was intently watching the bidding go on; the Bluewater Sales agent was here to find a talented filly, and he had his eyes on this one. Bidding began to wane as the price hit $575,000 – and it was not in his favor.
Once more he agreed to the auctioneer’s request for just a little more.
He could not let this one go.
“$585,000!” the auctioneer called out.
With the drop of the hammer, the agent breathed a sigh of relief – he had found his filly.
As the great doors slid open and Adorable Miss exited the ring, Bradley breathed his own sigh of relief – ELiTE Sales had announced their arrival.
When Bradley finally stood before his team to address them at the end of a long day, he simply could not hold back the tears. It was a moment that was a culmination of every step of his journey. ELiTE Sales had finished on top; seven of their horses were included in the top ten priced horses, with five out of the top six with ELiTE’s mark. Adorable Miss brought the second highest price of the day. Overall, they sold eleven out of their twelve horses for a cool $2.9 million dollars.
“That was the proudest moment of my career,” Bradley recalls. “I’m not an emotional guy, but there were tears in my eyes and I’d never had a feeling like that, after that sale”
And although Bradley had always been confident in his team, there were times when doubt – naturally – crept in along the way as he wondered if he was making the right decisions. “Leaving that sale,” he recalls, “there were no doubts.”
“Every year we have about 200 bad days,” Bradley says, “But it’s those bad days that make the great ones worth it. You can never go to sleep in this sport thinking you’ve got it. That’s what drives me.”
Regardless of whether the day is a bad one or a great one – like that memorable day with Adorable Miss or the day they sold the brilliant Tepin for eight million dollars – one thing remains the same: like a yearling going into the sales ring, Bradley Weisbord and his team are always ready to take on the day.
…And THAT is paying off.