By Jessica Martini
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Preferred Yearlings Sale, which opened just hours after a pair of New York-breds captured graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course and a third nearly won a Grade I at Arlington Park, produced a session-record average and a pair of offerings over the $400,000 mark.
“There was continued strength at the top end of the market tonight,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “The average, over $100,000, will be a record for any night of the New York-bred sale. There continues to be significant demand for what are perceived to be the higher quality offerings and lots of competition.”
Early in Saturday’s opening session of the sale, Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo purchased the day’s highest-priced offering, going to $450,000 to secure a filly by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. The yearling was sold by Summerfield on behalf of breeder Joanne Nielsen, who sold a $1-million American Pharoah colt during Monday’s session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Sale. Lincoln Collins, bidding on behalf of Tracy Farmer, acquired the day’s second-highest-priced offering when purchasing a son of Ghostzapper for $400,000 from Thomas Gallo’s consignment.
Thirteen horses topped the $200,000 mark Saturday, up from six in last year’s opener.
In all, 80 yearlings sold for $8,326,000. The average was $104,075–up 18.7% from last year’s opening session and 16.8% above the 2017 record-setting cumulative average of $89,088.
The buy-back rate was a hefty 41.2%, but Browning said that figure has been traditionally higher at the New York sale.
“The buy-back rate was higher than we’d like,” Browning admitted. “There are probably a combination of factors there. It is still a selective marketplace and we are going to continue to see that selectivity all year long. And this sale has traditionally had a higher than you would hope for buy-back rate because the owners and breeders of those horses have significant alternatives. It’s very important, if they don’t get what they think is a fair price, to control the destiny of that horse with regards to its racing career. That tends to result in a little bit higher RNA rate in most years.”
The start of the sale could not have come on a better race day for New York-breds. Following on from a one-two finish by Empire-breds in the GI Whitney S. last weekend, Voodoo Song (English Channel) put on a determined display to take the GI Fourstardave S. at Saratoga Saturday and Sue’s Fortune (Jump Start) came home first in the GII Adirondack S. At Arlington Park, Fourstar Crook (Freud) came up just a half-length short when second in the GI Beverly D. S.
“The New York-breds truly do compete at the highest levels and they consistently demonstrate that ability,” Browning said.
The Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale concludes Sunday with a session beginning at 6:30 p.m.
American Pharoah Filly to Hartley/DeRenzo
Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo, standing alongside Breeze Easy’s Sam Ross, signed the ticket at $450,000 to secure a yearling filly by American Pharoah as the skies opened up out back of the sales pavilion in Saratoga Saturday evening. The transaction completed a powerful one-two punch for New York breeder Joanne Nielsen’s Sunnyfield Farm. During Monday’s session of the Fasig-Tipton Select Sale, Nielsen sold a colt by the Triple Crown winner to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $1 million. Both yearlings were consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield.
“She is just a beautiful filly,” Hartley said of the yearling (hip 329). “She had all the presence and all the class.”
The two horsemen purchased a colt by American Pharoah for $525,000 during the select sale and Hartley admitted he is high on the young sire.
“We are such big American Pharoah fans right now,” he said. “His babies are looking fantastic. We have several foals that we bred on the farm that we love; a couple yearlings, a couple weanlings and we are breeding probably five back because we think they are so nice.”
The session-topping filly will likely return to the sales ring at the juvenile auctions next spring.
“She is going to pinhook,” Hartley confirmed. “We feel like it is going to be a thinner market of those in the 2-year-old sales and we want to try to have some.”
From what he has seen, Hartley believes American Pharoah’s offspring will develop quickly.
“They just have that look to them,” he said. “The one we bought in the last sale is very muscular like this filly and I think they are going to be able to do anything. I think there is a lot of potential for that stallion to be something fantastic.”
Hip 329 is out of Visions of Annette (Distorted Humor) and from the family of General Challenge and Evening Jewel. Nielsen, who is a New York Thoroughbred Breeders Board Member, purchased the mare in foal to Giant’s Causeway for $150,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. The mare’s filly by Ghostzapper sold for $150,000 at last year’s New York sale.
Ghostzapper Colt to Farmer
Bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins, bidding on behalf of longtime owner Tracy Farmer, signed the ticket at $400,000 to acquire a colt by Ghostzapper during Saturday’s first session of the Fasig-Tipton New York sale. The yearling, who was consigned by Thomas Gallo on behalf of breeder Donald Schupak, will be trained by Mark Casse.
“He’s a very nice colt,” Collins said. “We all loved him. Mark Casse loved him, so that’s where he will go. There was a lot of interest in the horse, so it was clear we were going to have to give it a go and we prevailed in the end.”
In addition to hip 384, Collins also purchased a colt by Empire Maker (hip 313) for $225,000 and a filly by Constitution (hip 394) for $210,000 on behalf of Farmer Saturday. During the select sale, Farmer purchased a Sky Mesa filly (hip 57) for $220,000.
“We’re just looking for good racehorses,” Collins said. “Mr. Farmer is game and has been in the business a long time. We’ve worked together for a long time and now Mark is on the scene, so hopefully we’ll buy a good one.”
Collins agreed the quality of recent graduates of the New York-bred sale and the strength of the state’s breeding incentives made buying out of the auction appealing.
“This sale has clearly shown in the last few years that it can produce a horse who can go all the way,” he said. “And consequently it gives the buyers confidence. The pedigrees are here and the individuals are here to back it up. Why wouldn’t you give it a go? Everybody wants to run at Saratoga and, if you have a New York-bred at Saratoga, you’ve got a chance [to run in a race] that is a little bit softer for very similar money to running in open races. That has got to be appealing. Obviously, we hope horses at this kind of money go to the top level. But you do have a fall back as well that gives you more confidence. The New York program is very appealing.”
The transaction was a highwater mark for Thomas Gallo, who has been consigning horses for 43 years.
“I had my first consignment in 1981 down in Maryland,” Gallo said. “I used to have a giant consignment. Then I got down to just selling my babies and clients that I manage. So I manage [Schupak]’s broodmare band.”
Gallo purchased the yearling’s second dam Saintly Scholar (Danzig) on behalf of Schupak. The mare’s daughter Clear Pasaj was a two-time stakes winner in the colors of Schupak’s Anjes Farm. The breeder kept Clear Pasaj’s first foal, a 2-year-old filly named Street Chamber (First Samurai), currently in training at Belmont Park.
Gallo put the recent explosion of the New York sale in perspective.
“I topped the sale here back in 1986 or 87 with a $40,000 sale,” Gallo recalled. “So we’ve come full circle here to sell one for $400,000.”
Malibu Moon Filly to White Birch
Gallagher’s Stud helped get the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Sale off to strong start Saturday, selling a filly by Malibu Moon for $300,000 to Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm. Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, who signed the ticket on hip 321, accepted congratulations on the purchase from Mallory Mort and reminded the Gallagher’s Stud manager he had purchased multiple graded stakes winner Straight Story from the farm at the 2007 Keeneland September sale.
“Mike bought Straight Story from us years ago and he was a very good horse,” Mort explained. “This is the same family and they are very closely related.”
The yearling, who was consigned by Denali Stud, is out of Tulipmania (Empire Maker). That daughter of Eventail (Lear Fan), a Gallagher Stud homebred and graded stakes placed, is half-sister to Straight Story. Tulipmania’s 2-yest-old son Market Bubble (Fed Biz), himself a $185,000 graduate of this sale and $375,000 OBSMAR purchase, was an impressive first-out winner on the Belmont turf June 30.
Marlene Brody’s Gallagher’s Stud has been breeding New York-breds for four decades. After watching her Malibu Moon filly sell Saturday, Brody admitted the explosion in the state’s breeding industry has been gratifying.
“We bought our first horses in ’78,” Brody recalled Saturday evening. “[The growth of the industry] is very exciting because it started very small. New York-breds were sort of looked down upon. But now, after the [New York-bred Diversify’s win in the GI] Whitney and a New York-bred [Fourstar Crook] came in second in the Beverly D. today, everyone can see we breed a very good horse. I take a lot of pleasure in that.”