Jim Avritt Sr. is a fortunate man.
A small time Standardbred breeder, Avritt has been blessed with broodmares who have continuously thrown solid babies, offspring that have kept the bills paid and the improvements coming on his 125-acre, Lebanon-based farm.
What Avritt says he has yet to experience in harness racing though is an individual like his homebred Precocious Beauty, who will compete in one of the three divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers at The Red Mile Friday night.
Which is why when Avritt's phone started ringing in August with high-dollar offers for the 16-hand bay beauty, delivering rejection wasn't as difficult as one might think.
"I'm 72 years old and I've never had one to be able to race at this level before," Avritt said.
The facile power Precocious Beauty has demonstrated in her five wins from seven career starts has already made her The One to fear amongst her divisional foes.
On August 17 in what was her fourth career start, the daughter of Art Major singed Mohawk Racetrack when she captured her division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes in a stakes-record 1:50.2, just one-fifth second off the world record for a 2-year-old filly pacer on a mile track.
The next day, Avritt says he had an offer for $500,000 for the filly on the other end of his line. The ease of her stride and her athleticism are things Avritt and trainer Gregg McNair believe may be limitless.
"She's probably the nicest looking filly I've raised in over 50 years," Avritt said Thursday. "When we took her up to Mohawk and she came home the last quarter in :27 and won for fun ... I thought at that point, I've got a pretty damn nice filly. And then next day a guy called and offered me a half million dollars for her and I thought, 'She's even nicer than I thought.'"
Precocious Beauty is the continuation of a female line that has been a gold mine for Avritt. Her dam, Precious Beauty, produced champion Sportswriter, the 2009 Dan Patch and O'Brien awards winner as the top 2-year-old colt pacer in the U.S. and Canada.
Precious Beauty herself is out Dominique Semalu, whom Avritt purchased as a 3-year-old back in 1995 at a sale in Harrisburg, Pa.
"I think I gave around $18,000 and I was lucky to be in the right place at right time," Avritt said. "I sold the first foal out of her for $65,000, the next one for $70,000 the next for $95,000, the next for $105,000 and the next one for $130,000. She's paid for the farm and paid for a lot of other mares.
"But there is no reason to sell a filly like (Precocious Beauty). If ever I'm going to keep one, this is going to be the one."
Grand Circuit meet
When: Friday-Sunday this weekend and Thursday-Sunday next weekend | Post times: Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.; Oct. 3-6, 1 p.m.
Admission: $2 | More information: TheRedMile.com
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.