by Doug McCoy
Anthony Pecoraro has saddled 1100 winners in a career that has spanned 30 years. Shrewd placement of stock and solid horsemanship have played a big part in the Pecoraro stable’s successes. But perhaps the key factor that has allowed the trainer to race and prosper for three decades has been his keen eye for talent and potential in the horses he purchases and claims.
Whether it be looking over a possible claim or evaluating a young yearling or two-year-old, Pecoraro has shown a knack for spotting potential in the body language and makeup of thoroughbreds.
This week the trainer was busy, spending Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Eastern Fall Yearlings sale in Timonium, then returning to Delaware where he sent out two horses, including a winner, on Wednesday and three more, including another winner, on Thursday.
In Timonium, Pecoraro purchased three yearlings for a combined total of just $10,500: a Mizzen Mast filly for $4,500, a Cowboy Cal filly for $5,000, and a Gators N Bears colt for $1,000.
That group of horses helps demonstrate Pecoraro’s approach to the sales ring. While the Mizzen Mast filly and Gators N Bears colt both look to have promising turf pedigrees, and Cowboy Cal was a very fast colt who won five graded stakes, Pecoraro admits he concentrates more on conformation and body language than on bloodlines when trying to find young talent to purchase.
“I just prefer to spend more time watching young horses, getting a feel of how they move and travel more than digging up stats and studying pedigrees,” the trainer revealed. “I would like to think I’ve learned down through the years how to get a feel for a horse’s make up by observing them. It’s certainly not an area where you’re always right, and they (the purchases) don’t always turn out to be good ones. But making enough of the right choices is what keeps you in the game.”
Pecoraro, who will be heading to Ocala for another sale in two weeks, raised his win total for the Delaware Park meeting to 19 victories from 74 starters, an impressive 26 per cent winning percentage.
When the Delaware meeting concludes on October 22, the horseman will ship 20 head to Florida, where he’ll split his stable between Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs this winter. One of his better runners is Cuppy Cake, a grass filly who came into her own this past winter at Tampa, winning three races at the meeting, including a win via disqualification in the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf Stakes for Florida-breds.
“I’m going to send her to Calder, there’s a race for her down there,” Pecoraro. “She’s developed into a pretty useful type.”
Florida in the winter will be a nice place for Pecoraro and his charges to be. But like many horsemen, he is worried about what he’ll find when he returns to Delaware Park in the spring.
“I think racing here will make it in some shape or form but there’s no question we’re in a squeeze play between Pennsylvania and Maryland,” Pecoraro said. “There are a lot of horsemen who call this area home and I’m hopeful they won’t have to take up roots. I think we can still have meetings here in the future, but how many days we’ll be able to run is a good question.”