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Early this year, Sam Kumin, the seven-year-old son of Thoroughbred owner Sol Kumin, asked his father to list, in order, the races he most wanted to win in 2018.
Kentucky Derby. Check.
Kentucky Oaks. Check.
Breeders’ Cup Classic. Check back on November 3rd.
Though you won’t see his name listed in the past performance lines, Kumin is one of the most successful owners in North America. Racing under myriad stable names, Kumin was part-owner of Triple Crown owner Justify, Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl, and Travers winner Catholic Boy, just to name a few. In fact, through October 15th, Kumin has owned horses who have won 63 stakes, 49 graded stakes including 22 Grade 1s.
With the 35th Breeders’ Cup Classic approaching at Churchill Downs, Kumin could have as many as 15 horses in the two-day event including three - Catholic Boy, Yoshida, and Mind Your Biscuits - in the $6million Classic.
“All of them have a chance to win the Classic which is the race I want to win,” Kumin said.
Kumin has taken North American racing by storm over the last four years. He first got into the ownership business in 2014 when, at the suggestion of a friend, Jay Hanley, he purchased part of four two-year-olds at auction.
One of them became Lady Eli, who in 2016 won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and then became one of the world’s most popular Thoroughbreds after she overcame a bout with the sometime-fatal hoof disease Laminitis to win the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont Park. Despite her eighth-place finish in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, she was voted champion female turf horse in America.
Kumin said “mostly Lady Eli” and another horse he bought at that auction - the Grade 3 stakes winner Tammy the Torpedo - “took us on a crazy journey and that’s when I started getting hooked,” he said.
Race replay: Lady Eli wins the Flower Bowl at Belmont Park in 2016 after overcoming Laminitis.
Today, Kumin says he owns parts of more than 100 horses. The list of stable names he races under include Sheep Pond Partners, Monomoy Stables, Madaket Stables and Head of Plains Partners. Kumin said the partnerships are made of virtually the same people, with an add-on here and a subtraction there. Typically, Kumin’s group owns a minimum of a third of those horses with other partners.
The stable names have some connection to Nantucket, an isolated island located just off Cape Cod where Kumin and his friends/partners, own summer homes.
Kumin, a hedge fund manager who lives in Boston, Massachusetts, started off buying yearlings and two-year-olds. But in late fall 2014 he was part of a group that purchased Slumber for $200,000 at the Keeneland November bloodstock sale. A few months later, Slumber won the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont Park.
“We said ‘Why are not doing more of this? These horses are running a week after you buy them,” Kumin said.
Kumin was introduced to several different bloodstock agents, one being Bradley Weisbord. Through Weisbord, Kumin made several purchases of already-established horses while still maintaining a presence at the yearling and two-year-old sales.
In February, Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners was able to buy 15 percent interest in the colt Justify, who only days earlier had won his debut. Four months later, Justify became North America’s 13th Triple Crown winner, sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in a five-week-period.
That purchase also included 15-percent interest in Audible who would win the Grade 1 Florida Derby and finish third to Justify in the Kentucky Derby. Audible is training for a comeback later this year or in early 2019.
“Winning the Triple Crown was unbelievable,” Kumin said. “It was a crazy ride that was all consuming.”
Race replay: Justify wins the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown.
Though Justify is retired - and Kumin’s group has no financial piece of his breeding career - Kumin’s racing stable has continued to flourish. The day before Justify won the Kentucky Derby, Monomoy Girl, who Kumin’s Monomoy Stables bought as a yearling for $100,000, won the Kentucky Oaks.
Monomoy Girl has won four Grade 1 races this year and was disqualified from first in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx in September. Even that turned out okay for Kumin, whose Madaket Stable owns part of Midnight Bisou the filly who finished second but was placed first in the Cotillion.
“Uncomfortable,” was how Kumin described the time while the stewards adjudicated the objection.
Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou will be among the best chances Kumin has to win a Breeders’ Cup race this year when they run in the Distaff on Saturday November 3rd. Kumin also likes the chances of World Of Trouble, a three-year-old who would be taking on older horses in the Turf Sprint.
Kumin could have as many as 15 horses start in the Breeders’ Cup with 13 different trainers. Catholic Boy and Yoshida won the Travers and Woodward a week apart at Saratoga. Those two are definite to run in the Classic.
Mind Your Biscuits, who has twice finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint - he was elevated to second in the 2016 running due to a medication violation from another horse - could run in the Classic, Dirt Mile or Sprint.
Kumin also has Whitmore, a contender for either the Sprint or Dirt Mile; A Raving Beauty and Santa Monica, both possible for the Filly and Mare Turf, World Of Trouble, a top-flight contender for the Turf Sprint, Mia Mischief (Filly and Mare Sprint), Mind Control (Juvenile), Reflect (Juvenile Fillies), and Liam The Charmer (Turf). Monette (Juvenile Turf Sprint) and Stellar Agent (Juvenile Fillies Turf) are others that could run in if they get into the field.
“We’ll have some shots, you’re looking to get lucky once,” Kumin said. “You get lucky once you leave a very happy person.”