White Pine Thoroughbreds Sells Far From Their Old Kentucky Home At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

White Pine Thoroughbreds Sells Far From Their Old Kentucky Home At Fasig-Tipton Midlantic

Justin Wojczynski of White Pine Thoroughbreds

When it comes to the 2-year-old auction season, the primary hub of activity for preparation and commerce tends to be Central Florida, with a prominent satellite platoon of consignors nearby in South Carolina.

When trade moves to Timonium, Md., for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales, local horsemen from Maryland and Pennsylvania begin to appear on the consignor list with more frequency, along with some shippers from the Southwest.

For all that Kentucky is known for in the Thoroughbred industry, the commercial 2-year-old market does not occupy a high position on that list. Because of that, the Bluegrass State address of Justin Wojczynski's White Pine Thoroughbreds stands out in the Midlantic May sale catalog.

Wojczynski's consignment is based at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Ky., where his horses train next to veteran runners preparing for their next starts at tracks across the Midwest. He brings a four-horse consignment to this year's Midlantic May sale that has had a closer experience to the racetrack life than most, which Wojczynski sees as a selling point.

“Being based at The Thoroughbred Center gives the horses a good exposure to what their next stage is,” he said. “It's a busy facility, so they're constantly training with other horses that are breezing and jogging. From a pure point of getting a horse used to what their life is going to be, I think The Thoroughbred Center is a very good spot.”

A Michigan native, Wojczynski moved to Kentucky after graduating from school, and apart from stints with South Carolina-based 2-year-old consignor Cary Frommer and Florida-based Wavertree Stables, he has remained there. He's worked for farms including Lane's End and Pin Oak Stud, and for trainer George 'Rusty' Arnold.

In that time, Wojczynski has familiarized himself to the unique ebbs and flows of training a 2-year-old for the sale on a Kentucky schedule, versus the more popular hubs further south where winters are much more temperate. The colder weather, he said, doesn't effect his training schedule as much as it might seem.

“We still have paddocks at the training center,” he said. “They still go outside. We miss very few days. The Thoroughbred Center does a good job of keeping the track open. I can probably count on one hand over the last four or five years the amount of days we've missed training, and missing a day of training here or there because it's cold or snowy or icy, it's just a recovery day.

“I don't think you need to be out there training six days a week all the time,” Wojczynski continued. “It's certainly good to get them out and doing something, whether it's in the field or out on the track training, but a day here and a day there, it's just a refresher day for them.”

The Thoroughbred Center has a pair of dirt training tracks for year-round training – a five-eighths oval and another at seven furlongs – along with a trio of grass gallops. Wojczynski said the dirt surface is on the deeper side and doesn't typically produce blazing-fast times when horses go under the stopwatch, but the kind footing puts his charges in a good position to move on to their next destination.

Support our journalism

If you appreciate our work, you can support us by subscribing to our Patreon stream. Learn more.

Many of the horses prepped by major consignors in the traditional locations do so at venues catered toward them. If they're not doing their work at a private oval, there are often several like-minded horsepeople working toward similar goals, whether that's getting their young charges to a sale or directly to a racetrack trainer to begin their next chapters.

This is another scenario where the unique setup of The Thoroughbred Center works just fine for what Wojczynski is trying to accomplish.

“We just pick our times a little bit,” he said about scheduling his juveniles to train toward the breeze shows amidst the veteran racehorses. “It's a typical training track. We just kind of stagger it a bit if we need to go an eighth of a mile, but there are plenty of babies going an eighth of a mile and quarters, so we just kind of fit in.

“We don't do too many 'prep breezes,' ” he continued. “We just get them going and breaking off a little bit, and one half-speed, three-quarters speed prep breeze is all we really do down there.”

There are currently no Kentucky-based 2-year-old sales, so every auction on the calendar requires significant movement of horses and staff for the White Pine Thoroughbreds operation, compared with the Central Florida operations, where many are a short trailer ride away from the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. property.

However, Wojczynski regains an advantage when it comes time to restock at the yearling sales. The Keeneland parking lot is often filled with RVs during its marathon two-week September Yearling Sale, housing southern-based pinhook buyers for the long haul. The four-day Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale is no short stand, either.

Wojczynski said being able to sleep in his own bed in the midst of a long sale can be a game-changer.

“That's our home game,” he said. “We get to be at home for the yearling sales.”

This year's Midlantic May sale marks Wojczynski's fifth year in operation under the White Pine Thoroughbreds banner. That four-horse platoon at the 2018 sale included Grade 1 winner Concrete Rose.

Getting a horse the caliber of Concrete Rose out of a debut consignment is a fine way to make a first impression, but Wojczynski said the process of getting to know the buyers bench, and getting those buyers to know how he trains his horses takes more time and effort than just one big hit can provide.

“I think it's people getting familiar with you, people understanding how your horses go, what your horses are like, and trying to build a good reputation for the kind of horse that you want to sell and the kind of businessperson that you want to be,” he said. “Obviously, you want to sell good horses consistently, but I think just being honest and hopefully presenting a good product where people have good experiences when they purchase from you and feel good about coming back.”

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More