Private Purchases: A lot of business gets done at auctions, but you have to have a constant pulse on what might be buyable privately. The auctions only occur at specific dates on the calendar, and the other 80% of the time the private market is where transactions happen. Through a network of contacts and by researching what is happening on the racing front, top prospects can be found and purchased. Knowing how to appraise a horse privately is key to being successful in the private market – overpaying in a private market won’t lead to success. But finding a few gems throughout the year are key elements to building a quality broodmare portfolio. The dam of Grade One winner Bluegrass Cat was purchased privately before he was even conceived. The dam of Grade One winner Afleet Express was purchased privately also, when Afleet Express was just a two-year-old. Grade One winner Ipi Tombe was also purchased privately in partnership with Team Valor.