Day At The Track

Herb Liverman buys Maven for $750,000

05:25 AM 10 Nov 2014 NZDT
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Harness Racing
Herb Liverman signs sales slip for Maven as Jimmy Takter looks on
Ellen Harvey photo

Harrisburg, PA---No sooner had pedigree reader Bob Heyden introduced Saturday's (Nov. 8) equine celebrity in the Standardbred Horse Sale with, “Here comes Maven,” did auctioneer Dan Green start rattling off numbers.

“Three, four, I’m looking for five,” he said, moving in $100,000 increments.
The first flash of the board was $500,000 and it jumped a few quick flashes from there before stalling at $750,000, when Green called for a brief respite at $750,000.

That’s just the first heat,” he said.

But there were no more bids and the hammer fell at $750,000 to Herb Liverman, standing in a hall adjacent to the sales area with trainer Jimmy Takter at his side. 

The price was enough to make the world champion Maven 4, 1:51.4h ($1,594,496), Dan Patch and O'Brien Award Older Mare Trotter of the Year, the highest-priced trotting mare to sell at public auction. Mystical Sunshine previously held that mark at $525,000, selling in 2007.

“That was probably my last bid and probably a hundred more than I thought,” said Liverman after signing the sales slip. “I own [2013 Horse of the Year] Bee A Magician 3, 1:51 ($2,607,870) and I wanted them to not race against each other, so we’re probably going to race her against colts.” 

Asked if she might make her next start in the stable of Jimmy Takter, Liverman said, “That’s not set in stone, but I want Bee A Magician to be in one race and Maven in another. I hate to look ahead with horses, you know. I once bid a million and didn’t get a horse at auction, Cameron Hall, remember that?

"I don’t have a partner; I bought her myself.” 

Cameron Hall sold for $1.1 million as a 2-year-old in 2001.

Asked if he might race in the Open Trot at the Breeders Crown this month, Liverman said, “I have to talk to Jimmy, but I don’t want to race her against Bee A Magician.”

The moment was, for seller Bill Donovan, “Bittersweet. She brought some victories that most people only dream of.  She was a storybook, but every book has an ending and I guess it ended today. I actually bought a filly out of her three-quarter sister, bought her at $55,000 last year and didn’t make the races. Even though I’m getting out of the commercial breeding business, I’m still keeping a few mares so that I can raise them and race them myself, so that filly is one I will keep.” 

To view mobile phone video of Maven being sold, click here

Boccone Dolce sold for $250,000 to Diamond Creek Farm from the Northwood Bloodstock Agency consignment for owners Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm and Donald Robinson. The 2-year-old filly has a mark of 1:56.4 and is a granddaughter of Pizza Dolce 3, 1:52.4 ($668,824).

Final numbers are not in yet, but sales figures appear to be up.

“Racehorses are selling like crazy,” said Paul F. “Pete” Spears, CEO of the Standardbred Sales Company.  “There seems to be a 33 percent or even 50 percent premium over what I’ve seen in recent years.  It used to be you could use a horse’s yearly earnings as a gauge, but they’re selling far in excess of that.” 

Asked what he thought might be the reason for the inflated prices, Spears said, “Supply and demand.” 

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