eqtrainer/flashgordon- thank you very much. I am so lucky to be involved with rehoming so many Tb's.
OP- there is a group on facebook called off track horses for sale and a client just bought two horses from them that are lovely. I just picked one up over the weekend and although he wasn't cheap (mid 4 figures) he was worth it. A big grey 2yr that is an amazing mover with a great attitude. Ran a few races but was just slow. You really have to be ready to move when you find the good ones. They go fast! They are located in doylestown, pa and have connections to the philly tracks.
We have a lot of nice restarted horses at CANTER MA. They all get 2-3 months if not more to just be horses before we start them. I love getting on them and figuring out what they want to do in their next career. After they have had their time off it's pretty easy to figure out what their personality is like and evalute them for soundness. They aren't super cheap but very reasonable for the time and effort that have been put into them.
I agree that I'd never have made the trip without lining up several to look at. If you made the trip to PARX, you could have hit Penn to look at horses without going too much out of your way. There are many eyes around most tracks between COTH & CANTER, maybe you could ask someone close by to check out a horse if another one catches your eye that is far from you.
~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard
If one of mine walked out of the stall that morning lame, I'd have called the potential buyer asap and say sorry but so and so is mysteriously lame, please do not waste your time until we figure out why. Would you like me to call you with an update? Frankly, if the trainer swore the horse would vet sound and either couldn't tell the horse was off at the jog or thought throwing some ace into him would magically cure him, I wouldn't want to deal with that outfit in the first place.
The five year old unraced horse is a big red flag too. We did take a very lightly raced 5 year old maiden this year and break her maiden, but that was as far as she was going to go. She was completely sound, but had the sweet, kind, kid show packer mentality and was a gorgeous big mare who rather be going over jumps, cantering along all day and having her ears scratched, as her lackluster race record shows. No problem; after a solid work ethic under saddle at the race track, she's training to event now.
We often buy a race prospect on a very reduced knowledge of the horse. Be it claiming or private sale, you're mostly eyeballing the horse, watching it move and only if you know the connections may you get to put your hands down their legs. It takes a good keen eye to be able to assess like that, and never does a picture tell you enough. My husband looks at soundness first and foremost; how is the horse put together, and what holes are in him? Health, nutrition, shoeing, fitness, mentality (unhappy horses don't run so well), dental work we can generally improve on. I do the reverse when its time to rehome them. Before someone even comes to see a horse, I want to know what they are looking for because its senseless to show a horse that will not suit a person's goals. I'd highly recommend talking to the network groups for Parx and Penn so you're dealing with trainers with that same mentality.
The Coth poster, NMK, who is a CANTER rep kindly set me up with an on track CANTER rep at Mountaineer. The rep took me around to see several different horses and I ended up taking one home .
Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I did have to change my game plan a bit, with regard to vetting and taking a chance, but I really like this boy and feel comfortable with what I saw and felt soundness-wise. I am very much looking forward to getting him let down and discovering in the spring what I have.
I will try to get some better pictures this weekend than what I was able to get with my phone camera. It was a long day, mostly because of inclement weather and taking my time on the way home, so I didn't fuss too much with him at home.