Market Holds Steady at Fasig-Tipton Opener


Hip 111 | Fasig-Tipton photo

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York – The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale of Selected Yearlings kicked off Monday evening with figures that were in line with at last year’s renewal.

A total of 73 horses sold for a gross of $21,215,000, compared to 2015 which saw 70 head sell for $21,745,000 during its opening session. Average was down 6.45% from $310,643 last year to $290,616 this year while median was up 6.67% from $225,000 to $240,000. The RNA rate which stood at 29.8% this year with 31 horses being led from the ring unsold as opposed to last year’s buy-back rate of 17.6% when 15 yearlings failed to sell.

“I thought overall tonight we saw a similar marketplace to what we saw last year and what we saw throughout the 2-year-old sales in 2016 thus far,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “The average is down slightly, the median is up slightly and the RNA rate is up from what it was last year. It’s probably not unexpected. It was remarkably low the first night last year, so it is not out of line this year, but it is always a little higher than we would have liked.”

A colt by Pioneerof the Nile colt (Hip 111), who is a half-brother to GSW Ocean Knight (Curlin), topped the session when selling for $950,000 to a powerhouse partnership between Stonestreet Stables and Coolmore.

“You wish you had a million dollar horse,” Browning remarked. “We will see what happens tomorrow night. Hopefully there will be a few of those. There is restraint at the top of the market. You see the trend of some of the major buyers partnering up, which would naturally tend to result in a little less competition at the very, very top and might provide a little restraint in those bid.”

Three horses reached seven figures during last year’s sale, but no horse hit the million dollar mark during Monday’s sesison.

“I think we are seeing a market that has slightly increased selectivity,” Browning commented. “People are watching what they spend and they have limits. They might bid a time or two beyond what they were going to go, but they don’t bid with great enthusiasm or without restraint. The buyers thought it was pretty difficult to buy what they want and the sellers thought it was not easy selling tonight. It’s a pretty fair marketplace. It’s no walk in the park or picnic for buyers or sellers, but it’s a reasonable marketplace.”

The Saratoga Sale continues Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavillion.

A New Pioneer for Stonestreet, Coolmore

Stonestreet Stable’s John Moynihan, standing alongside Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier, signed the ticket at a session-topping $950,000 to acquire a colt by Pioneerof the Nile (Hip 111) late in Monday’s first session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. Stonestreet campaigns the yearling’s half-brother Ocean Knight (Curlin), who won last year’s GIII Sam F. Davis S.

“He is a pretty horse by a great stallion and we own his brother,” Moynihan ticked off the yearling’s appeal. “We thought a lot of his mother, we still do. He was one of our favorite horses here, so we took a shot.”

Of the final price tag, Moynihan added, “It was a little high, but the good ones bring a lot of money.”

The Coolmore/Stonestreet partnership was recently represented by first-out Saratoga winner Fact Finding (The Factor), who won for Todd Pletcher Aug. 6.

The yearling, consigned by Gainesway, was bred by Pavla and Erik Nygaard’s Thor-Bred Stables, which purchased his dam Ocean Goddess (Stormy Atlantic) for $270,000 at the 2007 OBS March sale. The mare’s first foal, Ocean Knight was purchased by Stonestreet for $320,000 at that same auction in 2012.

Monday’s result was the biggest sale so far Thor-Bred Stables and Pavla Nygaard admitted the experience was one to remember for many reasons.

“I think it will take me some time to process the whole thing, but it was absolutely amazing,” she said. “It was a culmination of a lot of things which are not easy in this industry. The mare was at first accepted for Pioneerof the Nile, but then we were told no and I had to fight to get her in there. And then, when the mare was in foal, at some point, the vet said it doesn’t look like the foal is going to make it. So there were a lot of things that we did to help her and I was going through a lot of doubts, but when the foal was born, the vet said, ‘This is the healthiest foal on the farm.’”

The couple originally thought to take advantage of American Pharoah’s rise to prominence by selling the colt as a weanling last year.

“At the time, I thought he was a beautiful colt, but he just didn’t look ready,” Nygaard recalled. “I thought he would be that much better as a yearling.”

Nygaard also gave credit to Gainesway’s Brian Graves for getting the colt ready for his star turn Monday in Saratoga.

“Brian stepped up to the plate and said, ‘How about [Gainesway] buys a piece of him and then we take him to the yearling sales together.’ So that’s what we did. Brian and the team at Gainesway did a tremendous job getting him ready.”

Ocean Goddess produced a colt by Medaglia d’Oro this year and was bred back to Curlin.

The yearling is bred similarly to American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and Justin Zayat, whose family campaigned last year’s Triple Crown hero, was among the underbidders on Monday’s session topper. @JessMartiniTDN

Songbird Half Sells Twice as Nice

Hip 61, a Ghostzapper half-sister to undefeated champion Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro), brought twice the price her Eclipse-winning sibling did at this sale two years ago when selling to PTK LLC’s Tom Haughey for $800,000 midway through Monday’s opening session.

“She was great looking and well-bred and she is a half to Songbird,” Haughey said outside of the walking ring after signing the ticket alongside his daughter Kaitlin and trainer Dane Kobiskie. “I expected to pay more. I think I got a steal.”

“She’ll go to the farm in South Carolina for a few months,” Kobiskie chimed in. “We will let her take her time and let her grow up up and she will come in late next year [to Florida].”

Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale on behalf of breeder John Antonelli, the dark bay is out of GII Bonnie Miss S. winner Ivanavinalot (West Acre), who made $647,300 on the racetrack. She was one of the buzz horses of the sale thanks to her “TDN Rising Star” half-sister Songbird, whose record speaks for itself with nine wins from nine starts, five of which are Grade Is.

“We are pleased,” said a smiling Antonelli, who maintains a band of six broodmares at his farm in Santa Ynez, California. “Every horse owner wants seven figures for their horse, but that is about where we had her plugged in to be between $700,000 and $900,000. We are very pleased over all. I think she is going to be a runner. She shows that as a yearling in just the little bit of training we do with her to get her prepared for the sale. She shows she can move and I think she can be a very talented filly. Everything remains to be seen though.” (Click here for a TDN feature on Antonelli).

PTK, which stand for Paula, Tom and Kaitlin, currently has 164 horses in training with Kobiskie, who is a former jockey. They were also active earlier in the sale, going to $275,000 to acquire Hip 9, a Speightstown filly out of GSW Dreaming of Liz (El Prado {Ire}). @CDeBernardisTDN

Tapit Colt to China Horse Club

China Horse Club’s first crop of U.S.-based juveniles has gotten off to a quick start at Saratoga this past month and the organization was back in action Monday night at Fasig-Tipton, with the $750,000 purchase of a son of Tapit (hip 27) from the Top Line Sales consignment.

“He’s a lovely colt by a stallion who needs no introduction,” China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace said of the yearling’s appeal. “He handled the week beautifully. We thought he was the pick of the colts, so we are really happy to have him.”

The yearling is out of Fashion Cat (Forest Wildcat) and is a half-brother to graded stakes winner and freshman sire Corfu (Malibu Moon).

China Horse Club, in partnership with WinStar Farm, has unveiled two promising juveniles at the Saratoga meeting. One Liner (Into Mischief) was the group’s first U.S. winner July 23 and was followed the next week by ‘TDN Rising Star’ Theory (Gemologist).

Wallace did his bidding sitting alongside WinStar’s Kenny Troutt, but said a partnership was still up in the air.

“He’s a lovely horse and [a potential partnership] is something that we’ll work out as the days go by,” Wallace said. “He’s going to race in America, but who trains him will be a decision for further down the track. He’ll go home and we will take him through the system and we’ll see where he ends up.”

China Horse Club, which also purchased hip 46, a son of Uncle Mo for $650,000 Monday night, currently has about 30 juveniles in training in the U.S.

“We’ve got some lovely horses and are looking forward to the racing season,” Wallace said. “We followed a system last year, it’s a system we believe in. So we aren’t going to change it this year. We’re confident in that system. It seems to be working at this stage.”

The Tapit yearling was bred by SF Bloodstock, which purchased Fashion Cat, a half-sister to Grade I winner Peace Rules (Jules), with this colt in utero for $400,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. He was purchased by Top Line’s pinhooking partnership for $390,000 at that sale in 2015.

“He was really popular, but with the market trends, $750,000 was well sold,” commented Top Line’s Torie Gladwell of the yearling’s final price tag. “We are extremely happy. He was in our pinhooking partnership, so it was us and six other clients.”

Asked about the youngster’s appeal as a weanling, Gladwell said, “Obviously he’s by Tapit and he was half to a stallion already. He had a good presence to him as a weanling–a big walk–he was really immature then, but we thought he’d get there and he did.” @JessMartiniTDN

Masterson Back in Action at Saratoga

The brilliant Tepin (Bernstein) is one of four Eclipse champions to grace the cover of this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga. The ‘Queen of the Turf’ was purchased by Robert Masterson for $140,000 at the 2012 Saratoga sale. Masterson, along with bloodstock agent Deuce Greathouse, whose late father David helped pick out Tepin four years ago, was back in action Monday night in Saratoga. Masterson signed the ticket at $190,000 to secure hip 12, a daughter of More Than Ready from the Eaton Sales consignment.

“Mr. Masterson always likes buying horses out of this sale,” said Greathouse. “He’s supported it for a long time and we’ve had good luck out of this sale.”

The yearling filly is out of multiple stakes winner D’Wild Ride (D’Wildcat). Greathouse said the new purchase was a different type of filly from her soon-to-be stablemate.

“She is not as big or powerful a filly as Tepin,” Greathouse said. “She is a little lighter framed filly and very racey, so it would be very hard to compare them.” @JessMartiniTDN

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