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The real news at today’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February mixed sale was not that a handful of mares broke six figures and that the sale provided a lively market for horses and horsemen. Instead, the scoop at the beautifully refurbished Newtown Paddocks is that Travers Manley bought a mare.

Travers is a young man attending the University of Kentucky and an avid fan of racing and breeding. While an intern at Keeneland, Travers contacted me on Facebook, and we began a correspondence about breeding and bloodlines that led to a meeting at the Keeneland sales.

His goal was simple: to buy a mare in foal and live through the wonderful process of breeding, raising, registering, prepping, and selling a yearling.

With a limited budget, as is fitting for a fellow in college, Travers worked the Keeneland January sale but came up empty. The nicer mares were outside his budget, except for older mares and barren mares. And he wanted to have the immediate excitement and potential reward of a foal.

Disappointed but not deterred, Travers went on the next option: Fasig in February.

Not only is Travers an immensely personable and engaging young man and horse owner, but he is also a hard worker. In preparation for the Fasig-Tipton auction, Travers spent days thumbing through his catalog and then hours looking at mares over the weekend. He looked at all the mares he thought might fall within his budget, watched them walk, checked their height, inspected their conformation, and asked questions of their consignors. In short, he made quite a pest of himself.

But we need a lot more pests like Travers.

His unceasing energy and delight in learning about horses and breeding are the light of our future in the horse business. Can you imagine what the sale today would have been like if 200 young people like Travers had been out scouring the grounds for prospects and trying to buy mares and yearlings? The bid spotters would have gone hoarse from the activity!

And sure enough, late in the sale, Travers scored on Hip 270 260, a 7-year-old chestnut daughter of Menifee named Sky. She is descended from a wonderful Sam-Son Farm family and earned a bit more than $100,000 on the track. And at her side is a 2010 foal by the Unbridled’s Song stallion Even the Score.

Travers Manley, bloodstock entrepreneur, will sleep soundly tonight.

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