Saratoga Sale a Record Setter

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Joint sales-topping hip 186 | Fasig-Tipton photo

By Christie DeBernardis & Jessica Martini

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale proved to be one for the ages as the auction concluded its two-day run with a record median and the second highest gross and average in history. The auction produced its second seven-figure sale Tuesday when a colt by 2013 GI Kentucky Derby winner Orb brought a final bid of $1 million from Kerri Radcliffe.

“We had a tremendously successful 2017 Selected Yearling Sale at Saratoga,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “We had high expectations coming into the sale and we exceeded those expectations.”

For the two sessions, 156 yearlings grossed $52,995,000. The average of $339,712 was up 16.3%, while the sales record median of $300,000 marked a 26.3% increase over last year’s figure. The buy-back rate was 19.6%.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, but I can’t recall as close a relationship at an upper-end horse sale of the average and the median as we’ve seen over the last two nights,” Browning said. “There has been remarkable depth in the buying pool. From $200,000 to $750,000 there was enormous competition. Horses were exceeding their reserves by two, three, four times in many instances and you’d see it happen consecutively over and over. I think that demonstrates a really healthy marketplace. It also demonstrates that the consignors are realistic in setting their reserves and the buyers are willing to be competitive and they have a real appetite for quality horses.”

Gainesway was the sale’s leading consignor, selling four of the top 10-priced lots, including Tuesday’s session-topping son of Orb (hip 186).

“The market as a whole at this sale has been fantastic,” said Gainesway’s Brian Graves. “It’s got a lot of electricity to it.”

Including the seven-figure Orb colt, Radcliffe purchased six yearlings for a total of $3.95 million.

“It’s strong. It’s smoking. It’s on fire,” Radcliffe exclaimed of the market at Saratoga.

The China Horse Club was active as both buyers and sellers during the Saratoga sale and the operation’s Mick Wallace agreed it was a highly competitive marketplace.

“I think it is really strong,” Wallace said. “We have struggled to buy a few, so that is always an indication that the market is good. RNAs are low and the indicators were up yesterday. It’s got a nice solid feel about it without being silly. Nice horses are making money and I think the market is at a nice equilibrium at the moment.”

The 2017 sale’s two seven-figure offerings matched the number from 2016. Twelve yearlings sold for $700,000 or more this year, while that figure was eight in 2016.

Radcliffe Makes Her Presence Known at Saratoga

Kerri Radcliffe, bloodstock manager for the newly formed Phoenix Thoroughbreds, has been making quite a splash on the sales scene all year and her first trip to Saratoga was no different. The agent struck early on in Tuesday’s session, going to $800,000 for a filly from the final crop of Scat Daddy (Hip 132) and ignited fireworks later in the evening when snatching up an Orb colt (Hip 186) for a co-sales topping $1 million. In total, Radcliffe purchased six yearlings for $3.95 million.

“This is my first time in Saratoga and I love it,” an elated Radcliffe said after signing the $1 million ticket on the Orb colt. “As bloodstock manager for Phoenix Thoroughbreds [which is the first regulated Thoroughbred investment fund], this is just so exciting to buy the elite Thoroughbreds at all of these sales. As I said before, not only in America, but in Europe. We are going to be expanding from racing into the stallions, into the breeding, everything in racing. Hopefully these racehorses do it on the track.”

By 2013 GI Kentucky Derby hero and freshman sire Orb, hip 186 is the first foal out of Grade III winner and GISP Flashy American (Flashy Bull), herself a daughter of MSP Inn Between (Quiet American). This is also the family of MGSW I’m Already Sexy.

“This was actually my favorite colt in the sale, so I’m really delighted to get him,” Radcliffe said. “The stallion has really come out and again he is from a great barn in Gainesway.”

A partnership that includes Gainesway, Brian Graves, Kidder-Cole and Betz Thoroughbred purchased Flashy American for $395,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton February sale, then sold the Orb colt to bloodstock agent Davant Latham for $310,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. Flashy American also went through the ring at that auction carrying a Tapit foal and summoned $950,000 from Bridlewood Farm.

“He was a really lovely horse that I was the co-breeder of,” Graves said. “It was a really special moment for me. We just wish him all the luck in the world. He certainly looks like a graded stakes horse.”

As for the colt’s young sire, Graves said, “He’s a stallion who is in high demand. He looks like he can be the real thing.”

Radcliffe indicated that the colt would stay in the U.S. and join Bob Baffert’s barn in California. The Hall of Famer also conditions “TDN Rising Star” Diamondsandpearls (Congrats), who Radcliffe purchased for a sale-topping $1.7 million at the OBS March sale.

“This one is going to stay here and go to Bob [Baffert]…if he will have him,” Radcliffe said with a laugh. “Bob Baffert is a fabulous trainer and his results stand up against anything. I just always said if I ever had horses trained in America, I wanted Bob Baffert to train them.”

An impressive debut winner at Santa Anita July 2, Diamondsandpearls was a disappointing fourth in the GII Sorrento S. Saturday.

“Unfortunately, she didn’t run well,” Radcliffe said of the juvenile’s Sorrento effort. “Bob said she didn’t handle the track at all. He told me not to worry, that she will come to win a Grade I and will be there at the Breeders’ Cup. I believe what Bob says!”

Radcliffe made her presence known about 50 hips before buying the Orb colt, stretching to $800,000 for a Scat Daddy filly.

“I had a figure in my mind and I knew it was going to take that and a couple of kicks more to buy her,” Radcliffe said. “Number one [attraction], the stallion, Scat Daddy. He has been brilliant in Europe. She is a great, strong, scopey filly. She will suit Europe. She is going to my husband [Jeremy Noseda]. I want to be able to ride her!”

Eaton Sales purchased Hip 132’s SP dam Auction (Ire) (Mr. Greeley) for 230,000gns with this foal in utero at the 2015 Tattersalls December Sale. Bred in Kentucky by Samac and consigned here by Hunter Valley Farm, the dark bay’s second dam is Italian highweight Exhibit One (Silver Hawk).

“She is a gorgeous mare, but the biggest attraction to us was her sire,” Hunter Valley’s Fergus Galvin said. “It is just phenomenal how popular he has become. It’s a shame he is no longer with us. We have a long affiliation with Scat Daddy. Hunter Valley sold Scat Daddy himself as a yearling.”

Galvin continued, “She’s a filly that could sell anywhere. We just landed on Saratoga. She has an international appeal to many, many buyers. The price certainly vindicated our confidence in her.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

War Front Colt to Godolphin

Tuesday’s final session of the Saratoga sale saved its second best offering for second last as a colt by War Front sold for $995,000 to Godolphin.

“He’ll go to Europe,” Godolphin’s David Loder said of the colt who is a full-brother to Grade I winner Avenge and a half to multiple stakes winner Lira (Giant’s Causeway). “He is a beautiful-moving horse and we’ve had a bit of luck with War Front. We think he’s a good sire and we thought this was a very nice horse. Sheikh Mohammed was very keen to have him.”

The yearling was Godolphin’s second purchase of the auction. The American wing of the operation purchased a filly by Tiznow (hip 52) for $500,000 Monday.

Bred by Tada Nobutaka, hip 226 was consigned by Antony Beck’s Gainesway, the auction’s leading consignor.

“It’s called the Antony Beck show,” Loder laughed after making the winning bid.

Strong Mandate Filly Leads the Fairer Sex

A well-related yearling from the first crop of Grade I winner Strong Mandate (Tiznow) (hip 198) was the top-priced filly during Tuesday’s final session of the Saratoga sale when attracting a final bid of $825,000 from Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.

The dark bay filly is out of Graeme Six (Graeme Hall) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winners Cali Star (Street Cry {Ire}) and Delightful Joy (Tapit), as well as to recent impressive stakes winner Seymourdini (Bernardini).

“I just thought she was magnificent and what a mare,” said trainer Mark Casse, who sat next to Weber during the bidding. “When you see a mare who produces stakes winner after stakes winner and top-class horses–Mrs. Weber and I talked about it and that’s the kind of mares that later on she wants in her broodmare band.”

Casse compared Graeme Six to Weber’s broodmare Win Approval (With Approval), who produced champion Miesque’s Approval (Miesque’s Son), Grade I winner World Approval (Northern Afleet) and multiple graded stakes winner Za Approval (Ghostzapper).

“Mrs. Weber is fortunate because she has one of the greatest mares of all time in Win Approval,” Casse said. “That is almost what this mare looks like. She just throws one after another. I thought she was beautiful. I’m excited for Mrs. Weber and she can go in the broodmare band when it’s over.”

The yearling was consigned by Chris Baccari, who purchased her for $270,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

“She had an extreme physical,” Baccari said of the filly’s appeal as a weanling. “When I walked up to look at her, I was thinking, ‘Well how much is she going to cost?’ She was a very special horse from the first time I looked at her. I knew her mother really well because I bought her off the track. It’s hard to find horses that have a good enough female pedigree and a strong physical at the same time. They are hard to find.”

Baccari also enjoyed a strong pinhooking result during Monday’s opening session of the auction. He sold a son of Uncle Mo (hip 81) for $650,000. That colt was a $250,000 purchase as a weanling last fall at Keeneland.

“My banker will be happy with me,” Baccari laughed. “It seems like a very solid sale. You just have to come with a really nice horse.” @JessMartiniTDN

Best Stays Busy

Larry Best, whose OXO Equine was a major presence at the juvenile sales this spring and topped the first yearling sale of the season with the purchase of a $1-million daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, struck early in Tuesday’s second session of the Saratoga Sale. He first went to $700,000 to secure a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 114) from the Taylor Made Sales consignment and moments later went to $750,000 for a son of Animal Kingdom (hip 129) from the Gainesway consignment.

“The Uncle Mo is a beautiful colt,” Best said of the yearling who is out of Zetta Z (Bernardini). “I love Uncle Mo–I have a filly, so now I have a colt, too.”

Hip 129, from the second North American crop of GI Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, is out of Art Teacher (Master Command).

“I like Animal Kingdom and it’s early, but this particular individual appears to have great strength and conformation and he was worth a bet. Animal Kingdom is an up and comer, he has some recent wins and this horse looked familiar to the ones that have been winning.”

In addition to his two purchases Tuesday, Best also purchased a colt by Into Mischief (hip 47) during Monday’s first session of the Saratoga sale for $320,000.

Best only started buying racehorses at last year’s Keeneland September sale and his fledgling stable was recently represented by its first runner when Beyond Ambition (Tapit), a $1.1-million purchase at the OBS March sale, finished fourth in her July 15 debut at Los Alamitos.

“That was kind of a practice run,” Best said of OXO Equine’s first starter. “I’m not quite there yet. We’ve had a difficult time in training her–she has only one gear right now–so she is turned out for a little bit.” @JessMartiniTDN

Katie Taylor Following in Dad’s Footsteps

Katie Taylor, daughter of Taylor Made Farm’s Frank Taylor, is following in her father’s footsteps, taking a strong role in the family business through Taylor Made’s Bloodstock Investments. The Investments group was represented by four weanling-to-yearling pinhooking prospects at the Saratoga sale, led by hip 114, a $725,000 Uncle Mo colt purchased by Larry Best.

“We actually bought it for Bloodstock Investments packages, but we had two different clients that wanted to buy in on selected different horses,” Taylor said. “One was MMG Investments and the other was Springdale Farm. We bought him at Keeneland and brought him to the farm and he has done everything right since. Bloodstock Investments owns 50% of him [with MMG and Springdale in at 25% each]. It’s been really great because he’s just been a horse that’s grown and changed a lot.”

Bred by CASA Farms I, the April foal is out of the unraced Bernardini mare Zetta Z. He traces his lineage back to GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Unbridled Elaine, who produced GSWs Etched, Emotionless and Out of Bounds. Taylor purchased the colt for $180,000 at Keeneland November.

“We were hesitant about putting him in this sale because he is an Apr. 27 foal, so we weren’t sure he would mature enough, but Boyd Browning and all of the other Fasig guys loved him,” Taylor said. “I actually had another one of our Uncle Mos entered in here and they just kept trying to talk me into it, so I ended up switching them out. I’m just really grateful that they talked me into it.”

Taylor continued, “He was here to sell. He had a really conservative reserve. We knew he had the right people on him and they just took it. I’m really pleased. You never know what you are going to get up here, but he is a fantastic individual, just absolute perfection physically. We were hoping for something, but this is beyond even what we were hoping for.”

Bloodstock Investments did not have to wait long to see another return on investment. Just five hips later, a filly from the first crop of champion Will Take Charge (hip 119) summoned $260,000 from trainer Gary Contessa. A $130,000 KEENOV buy, bred by Rosilyn Polan, the flashy chestnut is out of MSP Anchorage (Tapit) and hails from the family of MGSW sire Broken Vow.

“She was owned in the exact same ownership as 114,” Taylor said. “We liked the Will Take Charges right off the bat when we started looking in November. We tried on a couple of them, but she had the best walk of any of them on the grounds and she still does. She’s complete class. My daughter is six and she would go out to the barn and brush her everyday and walk her. My cousin Josh is 14 and he just took her to the ring.”

Taylor added, “Not only is she quick and forward looking, but out of the mare’s first four foals, the first three won their first starts as 2-year-olds. For Will Take Charge, she may very well be the first winner. She’s very, very smart. I’m very proud of them. They never missed a beat.”

The Bloodstock Investments group started with 16 horses. One yearling was pinhooked right away and one horse in the group is GISW Street Fancy (Street Sense), in whom the group owns a quarter-interest and will sell in November. They were represented by four yearlings at this sale; the remainder will sell in September and October.

“I sold one last night, hip 33, which was a First Samurai and he sold for $400,000,” Taylor said. “He was the same, fantastic. Starlight bought him and we are very happy with him. We also had a Violence (hip 108) that we RNA’d for $270,000. I feel confident that we are going to get him sold and if not, we will take him to [Fasig-Tipton] October. I think we were just a little too late in the night. We aren’t too worried about him. He is a great horse.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Animal Kingdom Colt a Score for Pinhooking Partnership

The Clear Ridge pinhooking partnership led by Gainesway’s Brian Graves enjoyed sales success Tuesday in Saratoga when Larry Best made a final bid of $750,000 to secure a colt by Animal Kingdom. Clear Ridge had purchased the youngster for $110,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

“He was a horse who got vetted a lot and we thought he would sell well, but you never expect that,” Graves said. “We thought he would be in the $300-400,000 range, but two people really wanted him and we got lucky.”

Bred by Tom VanMeter, hip 129 is out of Art Teacher (Master Command), an unraced half-sister to graded stakes winner Indian Firewater (Indian Charlie).

The Clear Ridge partnership purchased approximately 15 weanling pinhooking prospects last fall. It was also represented at Saratoga Tuesday by hip 165, a daughter of Tapit out of multiple graded stakes placed Colonial Flag (Pleasant Tap), a half-sister to Grade I winner Shared Account (Pleasantly Perfect). The bay filly, purchased for $525,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale, sold Tuesday to Kerri Radcliffe for $675,000.

“It’s hard to be disappointed with that, but maybe I’m a little disappointed,” Graves admitted of that transaction. “She was a really special filly by a leading sire. It just shows you how the game works–sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. But we’ll take that result. Overall, we’re elated.” @JessMartiniTDN

Greathouse Over the Moon

The Greathouse family’s Glencrest Farm has a long history of racetrack success with offspring of Malibu Moon. The farm campaigned multiple Grade I winner Devil May Care and multiple graded stakes winner Onlyforyou, both by the Spendthrift stallion, and that success extended to the sales ring Tuesday in Saratoga with a pair of high-price pinhooking scores.

Spendthrift Farm went to $700,000 to secure a colt by Malibu Moon (hip 163). The youngster, out of the unraced Cloud Jumper (Street Cry {Ire}), was consigned by Four Star Sales, on behalf of Glencrest Farm which purchased him for $200,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

Almost 20 hips later, Glencrest was in action again through Four Star Sales when hip 181, a filly by Malibu Moon’s son Orb brought a final bid of $750,000 from bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Litt, bidding on behalf of the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods. The dark bay filly was a $150,000 Keeneland November purchase.

“Malibu Moon has been very good to my family for a long time,” said John Greathouse. “We’ve had a lot of good fillies by that stallion and we’ve been fortunate over the years. [Hip 181] reminded me a lot of them. She was my favorite yearling that we’ve had this year and I’ve been lucky to be around her. The colt was special as well. They both showed up here and did the right thing.”

Hip 181 is out of Fashion Cat (Forest Wildcat) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winning juvenile Corfu (Malibu Moon).

“We thought she was the best physical in the sale and she had a great walk,” Solis said of the filly. “Corfu was a very fast 2-year-old and this is the same cross. We’re big fans of Orb.”

Of the yearlings’ final price tags, Greathouse said, “The colt exceeded expectations by a lot. The filly I thought would get there, but you never know until they get there. I appreciate my staff at Glencrest Farm doing an amazing job with both these horses. It’s a lucky night. It’s a great sale and Fasig-Tipton has done a great job with it.”

Glencrest Farm generally aims to pinhook between 10 and 12 yearlings a season, according to Greathouse. The two Saratoga yearlings were the first of the crop to sell this year.

“We have about eight left,” he said. “All we can do is hope we can keep it rolling.” @JessMartiniTDN

Spendthrift Strikes For Son of Malibu Moon

Spendthrift Farm’s Ned Toffey fended off all comers to secure a colt (hip 163) by the stalwart of their stallion roster, Malibu Moon, for $700,000 Tuesday evening in Saratoga.

“I’m biased,” said Toffey after signing the ticket while seated just three chairs down from Spendthrift owner B. Wayne Hughes. “We obviously love Malibu Moon. We stand him and [his MGISW son] Gormley, so we are fully invested. No matter who he is by, he is just a really, really nice horse. To start off in a regional market for a $3,000 stud fee and do what Malibu Moon has done off of just a maiden win is really pretty remarkable. At the same time, he is as well-bred as horses come and as good looking as horses come. It just shows that a good stallion can come from anywhere and he’s sure been a good one.”

Malibu Moon’s GI Kentucky Derby-winning son Orb seems to be on his way to following in his sire’s footsteps. The young sire has already been represented by four winners from his first crop of racing age and has been making his presence known at the sales, including siring the colt who co-topped this auction when hammering for $1 million.

“It certainly helps [Malibu Moon],” Toffey said. “He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities for his sons as stud, but I think Orb has already gained so much respect in the marketplace. He is getting the right kinds of horses at these 2-year-old sales and he’s getting some nice winners. I think that adds credibility to Malibu Moon as a sire of sires and when a horse can do that, the market really responds.”

Hip 163 was bred in Pennsylvania by Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable. Out of the unraced Street Cry (Ire) mare Cloud Jumper, the bay hails from the family of champions Gold Beauty and Dayjur, GSW Buffum and MSW Stormy West. The Greathouse family’s Glencrest Farm purchased Hip 162 for $200,000 at Keeneland November and he was consigned here by Four Star Sales.

“He comes from a great family,” Toffey said. “He is a great-looking horse. We thought he was the best looking horse in the sale and every time we looked at him, we liked him better than the last.”

Toffey also offered on update on the farm’s recently retired four-time Eclipse winner Beholder (Henny Hughes), who is carrying a colt by Uncle Mo.

“She’s doing really well,” he said. “She’s enjoying the broodmare life and doing everything for us the way she did on the racetrack. She got pregnant on one cover and the good folks over at Ashford did a great job of accommodating us.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Hot Score for Chilly Bleak

Jim FitzGerald of Chilly Bleak Farm pinhooks five or six yearlings a season, but he made the most of the limited opportunities when selling a colt by Orb (hip 158) to Fox Hill Farm Tuesday evening for $400,000. FitzGerald had purchased the youngster for $95,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

“I thought he was a big, raw horse and I loved Orb,” FitzGerald said of the gray colt’s appeal. “I thought Orb was going to be a good sire and obviously, he’s come out with good runners. It’s been great to see him do it.”

Hip 158 is out of stakes placed Cherryblossommiss (Langfuhr), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Imperialism.

“He developed very nicely,” Fitzgerald said of the yearling. “He was a very nice foal in January–I paid a lot of money for him. A bargain for me would have been $75,000. So at $95,000, I was at my limit. And I got lucky. The horse developed nicely. He’s a beautiful mover and he’s a fabulous-looking horse. So we were obviously thrilled to get four times what we paid for him.”

FitzGerald continued, “I’m only the small guy–I just do five or six–that’s all I can do. The Gerry Dilgers of the world control that. I just take the crumbs off their tables. I got lucky.” @JessMartiniTDN

China Horse Club Tries Their Hand at Selling

The China Horse Club, led by Teo Ah Khing, usually makes sales headlines as buyers, spending big money on horses of all ages and types, but Tuesday they got a chance to try their hand at selling with Hip 222, a Tapit filly they bred out of GISW Last Full Measure (Empire Maker). Consigned by Bluewater Sales, the gray sold to Aron Wellman’s Eclipse Thoroughbred and Marty Schwartz for $650,000 in Saratoga Tuesday.

“She’s a beautiful filly,” the China Horse Club’s Mick Wallace said. “Champion stallion out of a Grade I-winning mare who is out of a Grade I-winning mare, so a fabulous product on the ground. Strange as it seemed, I think she is a great buy.”

Wallace continued, “We are just really starting [to sell our homebreds]. We’ve got a number of foals on the ground and our mare investments are growing. In the coming years, we will be much larger sellers in the market.”

The China Horse Club purchased Last Full Measure, a daughter of Grade I-winning millionaire Lazy Slusan (Slewvescent), for $1.5 million at the 2014 Keeneland November sale carrying a foal by War Front. The resulting foal is a colt now named End Times, who sold to Cromwell Bloodstock Agency for $600,000 at last term’s Keeneland September sale. Last Full Measure produced a Medaglia d’Oro filly this year.

“The 2-year-old War Front shows great ability,” Wallace said. “The market has spoken. It is a lot of money. I am hoping she proves her ability on the track now for them. We aim to be sellers. We put everything we breed into the ring. We like to put decent, fair reserves on them and give everybody a chance to buy them. We are trying to develop and get everyone to know, we are here to sell horses and get involved in the market. Somebody got a lovely filly at a reasonable price.” @CDeBernardisTDN

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