To purchase a racehorse, most Thoroughbred enthusiasts attend the sales at Keeneland or Fasig-Tipton in Lexington, Ky., or even some of the larger sales in Ocala, Fla. You wouldn’t think of having the opportunity to purchase a racehorse at a car auction, but where else can you buy some real horsepower?
On Feb. 14, Peter Vitulli was looking for something with four wheels and an engine, but ended up walking away from an auction held by Richard Maltz on Long Island, N.Y., with a purchase that had four hooves and a tail. When Maltz announced he had a surprise addition to the auction, the attendees (150 in total) erupted in laughter when the 5-year-old bay Thoroughbred mare, Sheza Heartbreaker, appeared on the auction block.
Heartbreaker’s previous owner lost the mare (who he described as his "best mare") to Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year. Vitulli had previously owned racehorses, so he knew there was something special in front of him. Aggressive bidding between Vitulli and three other men started at $8,000, and ended with Vitualli taking the wheel--err, the reins--with a final price of $16,000. (No report if she was the highest bid of the day.)
Vitulli had a veterinarian check out the mare, who has a bad ankle but was deemed solid enough to do well on the track after some rest. He vowed to take care of the mare but believes we’ll start seeing her in winner’s circle photos very soon. (Her previous record has seen her finish third or better in 18 of her 28 career starts, earning more than $102,000 since starting her racing career in 2011.)
"They're animals and they need a lot of love," Vitulli told the New York Post. "If they’re happy, they're going to run."
A happy ending for Sheza Heartbreaker! We hope to hear more on her from our sister site, BloodHorse.com, very soon!