Who’s Aaron Shorter? He’s an owner-breeder-trainer from Sullivan, Indiana, based at present at Prairie Meadows racetrack with a four-head string owned mostly by him and his father. “I have one outside horse,” he said. As far as I’ve known Aaron, he’s almost had terrific luck on several occasions, but just, freakishly, missed, by that much.
In 2003, Aaron worked at my Lazy Q Ranch consignment at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky December mixed sale showing horses; I also included a 3-year-old broodmare prospect of his in the consignment, a Touch Gold filly named Come Forth as Gold. Aaron and his dad had bought the mare as a yearling for $5,200 and were looking to sell her that December to get her off the books, but she didn’t bring the reserve, $3,000. Desperate not to take her back, Aaron asked me to sell her privately on the sales grounds, so I made a call to a small breeder in Louisville, made a pitch, and asked him to buy her for the $3,000 to help Aaron. He did.
She wasn’t a bad filly, and if Aaron had kept her she might have repaid him in spades at the sales. She did for the breeder who bought her for $3,000. Her first foal, a Kafwain colt, was purchased by Darley for $85,000 as a weanling; her second foal, a Chapel Royal colt, sold for $95,000 as a weanling and $110,000 as a yearling. Not bad for a $3,000 mare with inexpensive stud fees.
The next time Aaron came close to a score has ties to the present. In 2007, he and his dad purchased a Cactus Ridge colt at the Keeneland September sale for $2,000. Named Antelope Ridge, that colt won his third start at 2, in 2008, at Mountaineer for Aaron’s then-trainer Wilson Vittur, by 13-plus lengths. He acted and looked the part, and right away Aaron started fielding offers, including one from California for $135,000 and others in the $150,000 range. None of the offers had the heft behind the one mine did, at $125,000, on behalf of a client of Jack Werk’s. Unfortunately, Aaron had so many people saying so many things to him and making so many promises that he passed on my offer to chase another, higher one. Needless to say, it didn’t work out, and neither did the colt, who got hurt shortly thereafter. Aaron still owns the now-4-year-old colt, by the way, and he’s now training him at Prairie Meadows, where he won an allowance on July 10.
On the same day at Churchill Downs the gentleman who’d made the $125,000 offer for Antelope Ridge had a third of a highly touted 2-year-old making his debut. Named The Freak, this chestnut son of Perfect Soul–represented by his first Graded stakes winner yesterday when Perfect Shirl won the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga–was a talking horse whom Aaron said everyone had heard about “from Maine to Spain.”
The Freak was bet down heavily off a double-digit morning line that day, but the race winner was the Sunday Break colt Maybesomaybenot, a homebred for owners Arthellor and Carolyn Scisney, who won by six lengths from The Freak, in second. Of course, Maybesomaybenot came back this past Sunday (July 25th) at Saratoga to win the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes.
The Scisneys also had bred and sold Antelope Ridge to Aaron from the same mare, making Antelope Ridge a half-brother to the new Graded stakes winner. More importantly for Aaron, the Scisneys had given Aaron their dam, free, a few years ago when Antelope Ridge was racing. “I got to be friends with them after I purchased Antelope Ridge,” Aaron said, “and they said they wanted to cut back their mares. They were going to keep one, but they said, ‘If you want this mare, come and get her. We’d rather you take her than sell her.’ So I went over there and got the mare. They are great people, so humble and genuine.”
So, Aaron now has yet another chance to make some money. The mare, a daughter of Olympio named Majestic Mommy, is in foal to the Silver Deputy stakes winner Will He Shine, a half-sister to Cuvee from the immediate family of Olympio. The mating is interesting because the three-quarter siblings Christmas Star (filly) and Olympio (colt) are 2×2 (which means their dam Carols Christmas is 3×3). The mare has a Da Stoops colt by her side.
Pedigree-wise, this is not a major black-type family, but the mare is young (10) and is the dam of a good Grade 2-winning 2-year-old colt. Aaron had the mare moved from Indiana to Gerry O’Meara’s place in Lexington, Kentucky, where she can be viewed. He’s had an offer for $80,000, but no movement on it since.
He wants to sell and cash out, and this time around Aaron’s motivated. He’s accepting the first legitimate offer he gets.