By Christie DeBernardis
After a quiet opening session Monday, the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale picked up quite a bit of steam during its second and final session Tuesday, which was topped by the $510,000 mare Beloveda (Ghostzapper) (Hip 328).
Gainesway Farm, Brian Graves and Michael Hernon purchased the mare for $205,000 at this sale in 2013 and bred her to their flagship stallion Tapit. The resulting colt sold for $420,000 at Keeneland November. Her 2016 foal, a filly by Scat Daddy, summoned $1-million at Keeneland September and her 2019 Quality Road filly brought the same seven-figure sum at last term's KEESEP sale. Gainesway bought out the partnership on Beloveda, who is in foal to Street Sense.
“We have owned her for quite a few years and she has had an impeccable produce record for us,” said Graves, who is General Manager of Gainesway. “She's had two million-dollar yearlings for us and doesn't owe us anything. This was a dissolution of a partnership. She has a good chance with a Quality Road filly who will be a 2-year-old in Bob Baffert's hands, so hopefully we can get an update with that. She is going to Nyquist next.”
Gainesway also went to $310,000 to acquire GSW Lady's Island (Greatness) (Hip 524), who sold as a racing or broodmare prospect.
“The other mare we bought for Tapit,” Graves said. “She is an absolutely gorgeous physical specimen, which is what attracted us to her.”
The second highest-priced offering of the day was stakes winner and GSP Saguaro Row (Union Rags), who brought $500,000 from bloodstock agent Cathering Parks. Hip 675 was part of the supplemental catalogue.
“Obviously, the sale was dominated by the highlights later in the sale, but we had quality horses throughout the sale,” said Fasig-Tipton's President Boyd Browning. “It's the same story over and over, quality sells. The demand for quality offerings is tremendous. Two things that were most encouraging[Tuesday] were the breadth of bidders on the quality offerings–there was activity all over the house on many horses–and it was also nice to see a couple new names on the sheets that have not been traditional buyers at this sale. It's encouraging. We've got to continue to grow and introduce new buyers to the game. Anyone would have to be thrilled to see the increases over a year-to-year basis.”
A total of 218 horses sold Tuesday for $8,550,400 with an average of $39,222 and a median of $11,000. Forty-two head left the ring unsold. During the equivalent session last year, 188 Thoroughbreds summoned $6,407,900 with an average of $34,085 and a median of $10,000. There were 49 RNAs.
Overall, 425 head changed hands for $12,506,700 during the two-day sale. The average was $29,428 with a median of $10,000 and 99 horses failed to meet their reserves. In 2020, 368 horses grossed $9,777,100 with an average of $26,568 and a median of $8,500. There were 122 RNAs.
“I caution that the quality of the catalogue does change from year to year for a mixed sale, so it's virtually impossible to compare those results,” Browning said. “But, clearly there was healthy trade and commerce that took place on these sales grounds. There was enthusiastic bidding and participation. There was also depth to the marketplace which results in a low overall RNA rate. I think it gave sellers confidence that they can bring a horse to the February sale and be rewarded. We all know in the sales word that being a bigger fish in a smaller pond can be a very effective marketing and sales tool. Folks were well rewarded for bringing quality horses to these sales grounds.”
Saguaro Row Was Last, But Not Least
The final horse through the ring at the Fasig February Sale as part of the supplemental catalogue, Saguaro Row (Union Rags) certainly made her presence known, bringing $500,000 from bloodstock agent Catherine Parks. The horsewoman was acting on behalf of a private client, but indicated the 6-year-old mare would return to training.
“He is hoping to put the filly straight back into training, plus she had broodmare potential,” Parks said. “She was a queen and we loved her. She is drop-dead gorgeous and a real professional race filly. She was well taken care of in an excellent program. She was in very good condition.”
Consigned by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services, Hip 675 captured the Pumpkin Pie S. and was second in the GIII Go for Wand H. for owners Newtown Anner Stud Farm and breeder Mark Breen and trainer Michael Stidham. The bay has won five of 16 races so far for earnings of $342,354.
St. Elias Stays Busy at Fasig
Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stables was quite active buying at Fasig Tuesday, acquiring several mares to support their various stallions, such as Grade I winners Liam's Map and Army Mule. Rory Babich and John Sparkman assisted with selecting the St. Elias mares, which were all purchased over the internet. Over the two-day auction, St. Elias scooped up a total of 15 mares for $1.725-million.
“We were very pleased with the selection at Fasig-Tipton,” Sparkman said. “They did a very good job putting the sale together. We have several young stallions we are supporting, particularly Liam's Map, Army Mule and a horse in Florida named Battalion Runner. We were buying some mares to add to their books.”
“They are both quality runners, which is always what we are looking for first,” Sparkman said. “Then, of course, comes their price. They both have very attractive pedigrees, especially for particular stallions like Liam's Map. We haven't made an official decision, but it is a possibility. They fit our program and, like everybody else, we are trying to breed good horses.”