Tom Cooke began his relationship with the Hans family in the 1980s when he claimed a horse from them. Since then, he has enjoyed successes with the family, a trend he hopes to continue with trotting mare Martiniontherocks.
Cooke purchased the 5-year-old Martiniontherocks, a Breeders Crown champion at age 2, for $82,000 at Monday's Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands. Martiniontherocks will be turned over to trainer Richard Hans, who rose to prominence in 2012 as the conditioner of pacing-sired trotter Googoo Gaagaa.
Another mare, this one a pacer, was the day's sales topper. Idyllic, who was Canada's top 2-year-old filly pacer in 2010, was purchased as a broodmare for $140,000 by Wade Morris, who is the farm manager at Steiner Stock Farm in Lima, Ohio.
As a 2-year-old, Idyllic won the She's A Great Lady and Three Diamonds stakes. A year later, the daughter of sire American Ideal captured the Jugette and Nadia Lobell on her way to $1.29 million in lifetime earnings.
Idyllic was among six horses to sell for at least $100,000. The others were 4-year-old trotting mare Kristins Victory ($110,000), 4-year-old male trotter Modern Family ($110,000), 4-year-old gelded pacer Mr Dennis ($110,000), 4-year-old male pacer Time To Roll ($105,000) and 6-year-old male pacer Whackamole Hanover ($100,000).
Cooke's first choice in the sale was Idyllic, but he was happy to get Martiniontherocks, who is a half-sister to multiple stakes-winner Weingartner and whose second dam, Anamosa Hanover, won the 1987 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old filly trotter.
"I've loved the horse forever,” Cooke said. "I came to buy Idyllic, but (her price) was a little over my head. The next one I came for was Martiniontherocks; I was willing to go to $100,000. We'll look at her. The plan would be to race her. I'd like to race her in '13 and breed her in '14.
"We love her breeding; we love the background. Now that we've got Googoo Gaagaa, our claim to fame, I felt an obligation to go the trotting route.”
Martiniontherocks has hit the board in 15 of 30 career starts, with earnings of $460,082, of which $409,938 was earned as a freshman. In addition to the Breeders Crown, she won a Champlain Stakes division and Peaceful Way elimination at 2.
Cooke's previous successes included Nuclear Breeze, who was trained by Richard Hans' father, Roger. Cooke and Roger Hans also own Cam's Rocket, the pacing stallion that is the sire of Googoo Gaagaa. Last year, Googoo Gaagaa won nine of 14 races and earned $624,700 in addition to becoming history's fastest trotter on a five-eighths-mile track (winning the Beal Memorial in 1:50.4 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs).
"I met Roger by claiming one of his horses and I asked him to train for me a year later when the horse wasn't doing very well,” Cooke said. "It's a good relationship. We've had some good success; a lot of it with homebreds. It's exciting. We've done very well.” (HRC)