Curlin Colt Tops Fasig July

$475,000 Curlin Topper | Fasig-Tipton

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

The yearling sale season opened Tuesday with Fasig-Tipton's July Sale of Selected Yearlings and the auction, which was topped by a $475,000 son of Curlin, continued the recent trend of a polarized market with high demand for top offerings and lesser demand for those who fall below that level.

“We've kicked off the first yearling sale of 2016 and I think the results are frankly pretty indicative of the trends that we've seen in sales throughout 2016 and they are the same trends that we saw emerging in 2014 and 2015,” commented Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “The buyers are selective. And that is no surprise. There is tremendous competition on horses that they perceive are the 'better' offerings and there is certainly less competition than you'd hope on the horses they perceive to be not highly desirable. There is probably a smaller population bidding on the horses that aren't perceived as highly desirable right now than there were a year or two ago.”

A total of 183 yearlings sold for $15,756,500. The average of $86,101 dropped 11.8% from a year ago, while the median fell 22.1% to $60,000. Of the 347 lots catalogued, 293 went through the ring with 110 failing to meet their reserves for a buy-back rate of 37.5%.

“There is selectivity and there is discipline in bidding,” Browning continued. “Buyers have discipline. They pick a number and they may bid once or twice beyond that number, but then they stop. And I think that is applying to virtually every buying group in the world–no longer do they bid with unbridled enthusiasm or without restraint.”

A colt by Curlin (hip 222) was the auction's top seller, bringing a final bid of $475,000 from Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds. The yearling was consigned by St George Sales.

“It's tricky,” consignor Archie St George said of the market. “It seems like it's all or nothing. A horse like him is easy to sell–everyone wants him. He's a good horse by a proven sire. He's got a good pedigree. But there is not a lot of depth [in the market]. There is a little bit more supply than demand and everyone wants the same product, a good horse.”

John Sikura, whose Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency consigned one of four yearlings to make over $300,000 Tuesday, agreed.

“The horse business today is they love your horse or they ignore your horse,” Sikura said. “You hope to have the horses they love and that's the reality of the market today. We're very fortunate that we had a very good horse today and he sold well. That's how you make up for it, the ones that get passed over, you have to get extra for the ones they really like.”

Still buyers found plenty of competition for those coveted lots.

“The sale seems to be pretty strong,” Randy Hartley said after signing for the sale-topper. “I think coming here, I was expecting it maybe not to be as strong, but it seems, for the good physicals you are going to have to pay. We landed on that colt and everybody in our team loved him and we just went for it.”

Three Chimneys' Jacob West agreed buyers were all landing on the same offerings.

“I know there are a lot of RNAs, but I think, as buyers in general, we've just become more selective and we all know what we want,” West said. “I don't think it's necessarily that there isn't money here, it's just that people have honed in on what they want and we all like the same thing. We gravitate towards what we like. There are no gaps in the market, in my opinion, we just know what we like.”

Coming in the wake of a difficult juvenile sale season, end-users may have come into the July sale hoping to face less competition from 2-year-old pinhookers.

“We are coming here looking to buy the real stuff and hopefully finding a little value for our money as well,” said Aron Wellman, who signed the ticket on three yearlings in the name of his Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “From a buying perspective, I think the 2-year-old sales were a little light this year, so those guys were hurting a little. For end-users like Eclipse, there is certainly opportunity hopefully for us to capitalize on.”


Ocala horsemen Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo teamed up with racing newcomer Mike Hall of Breeze Easy to secure a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin for a sale-topping $475,000. Catalogued as Hip 222, the colt was consigned to the sale by St George Sales on behalf of breeder Myron Miller of Miller Racing.

“We bought him in a little partnership that we put together,” Hartley offered while standing outside of the pavilion just after DeRenzo signed the ticket. “We are just trying to focus on buying quality horses and Curlin has just been phenomenal. We came here and we found him. He's our lucky number 222, which was our first million dollar horse, so we just kind of wanted to go for it.”

Out of Franscat (Stormin Fever), the Florida-bred is a half-brother to stakes winners Swinger's Party (Medaglia d'Oro) and Hubba Shake (Street Sense), as well as graded stakes-placed Powhatan County (Fusaichi Pegasus).

“He just has the whole everything,” Hartley said. “His knees are low to the ground. He's got the walk, he's got the mind. Really, he's the whole package, so if he can stand up to that as a 2-year-old, we will be perfect.”

As for the price, it was about what Hartley and his partners were expecting, especially after watching how the sale was trending.

“We knew he was going to be three plus. The last few hips that we tried to purchase were up and beyond where wanted to be, so we felt like we were going to have to stretch on him some,” Hartley commented. “The sale is getting pretty strong here at the end and he's got the whole package, so we will see what happens in Miami next February [at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale]. We are going to try to pinhook him, but if it doesn't pan out we have have other plans for him as well. But, the goal is to make him a $2-million horse as a 2-year-old, so we will see.”

Those plans include racing the chestnut themselves if the resale is unsuccessful.

“[Breeze Easy] will race him if he doesn't sell and we will probably stay in. Partner are partners,” Hartley remarked. “These [Breeze Easy] guys are having fun. They are new people in the game and they want to play. They are trying to get top horses, so we are just trying to get them to that level and we felt this colt was the kind of colt we needed to get for them. They are trying to play at all levels. They have horses at Parx and at Saratoga, so it really doesn't matter to them. They just want to have fun.”

Breeze Easy also made headlines during the juvenile sales season when Hall signed the ticket on the OBS April sale-topper, a $1.2-million colt by Broken Vow.

– @CdeBernardisTDN

St George Returns to the Curlin Well

Before striking out on his own with St George Sales in 2011, Archie St George worked at Eaton Sales Agency, moving up the ranks to Eaton Farm Yearling Manager and eventually becoming a partner. Among the horses sold during his time at Eaton was four-time Eclipse winner Curlin and it was a son of that Hall of Famer that brought St George great success Tuesday afternoon when Hip 222 sold to Hartley and DeRenzo Thoroughbreds and Breeze Easy for a sale-topping $475,000.

“I knew he would bring money, but it's hard to expect a horse to sell for that much,” St George remarked. “I knew we were bringing in a nice horse. I don't have to say enough about the stallion. You come in and you hope. Everything fell into place. We got lucky that two people wanted him.”

The Irishman had been targeting the July sale for the hulking chestnut, who he felt always looked like an early type.

“He looked like a precocious horse and realistically we could have taken him to any sale,” the consignor said. “He was good enough to go to Saratoga. We always thought he was an early horse and that we would take him here or to Fasig-Tipton [Saratoga]. I remember seeing him down at the farm and it didn't take a lot of imagination when you saw him then.”

The colt was bred by St George's client Myron Miller of Miller Racing, whose father Robert Miller owns the Ocala-based Farnsworth Stables LLC. The family has campaigned the likes of Grade I winners Gozzip Girl (Dynaformer), Jessica Is Back (Put It Back) and Ask the Moon (Malibu Moon). Miller also sold Grade III winner Best Behavior (Into Mischief) for $250,000 during Monday's Horse of Racing Age sale.

“The colt was bred by Myron Miller, who races fillies with [trainer] Marty Wolfson,” St George said. “The reason he sold him is because he sells colts. He's a nice colt and he felt it was a good opportunity to sell. He's had a lot of good horses. He's had numerous Grade I winners with Marty Wolfson over the years. He also sold Best Behavior [Monday]. He's a shrewd buyer.” – @CdeBernardisTDN

Tapit Colt Stands Out

Ashview Farm's Gray Lyster admitted part of the justification for entering hip 263 in the Fasig July sale was to allow the son of Tapit, bred by Ashview and Colts Neck Stables, to stand out, and the yearling duly delivered when selling Tuesday to bloodstock agent Gatewood Bell for $450,000.

“He was raised at the right place and he has the athletic shape that I love,” Bell explained after signing the ticket in the name of his Cromwell Bloodstock.

Of the colt's final price, Bell added, “I will tell you in two years if that was a good price, but I thought it was fair. They are tough to buy. Maybe it helped that some of the big buyers weren't here, but he made what he was worth.”

The colt is out of stakes placed Ithinkisawapudycat (Bluegrass Cat), a half-sister to Canadian champion Spring in the Air (Spring at Last), and his full-sister Sweet Loretta, a $750,000 Keeneland November weanling in 2014, recently romped home in her debut at Monmouth Park.

Bell will be looking to put a racing partnership together for the yearling.

“I don't know yet, but we'll put something together,” he said of the potential ownership group. “We might gather a partner or two.”

Lyster admitted he had several reasons for entering the Tapit colt in the July sale.

“When we have a Tapit, we like to showcase him a little bit and we thought the July sale was a good place to do that,” Lyster explained. “We wanted to be a big fish in a little pond. When you come to Fasig July, you really have to bring an athlete. And he was an athlete.”

After that clinical assessment, Lyster added with a smile, “My brother and I are trying to go on a big vacation next month and we'll get paid two months earlier than if we had waited to sell in September. So by selling now, we have less work to do for the next two months and we can go on vacation. We're going to Alaska, so this will take a little pressure off our September consignment.” @JessMartiniTDN

McPeek Hoping for Another Golden Ticket

A son of Speightstown (Hip 338) sparked some late fireworks Tuesday when hammering for $350,000 to trainer Ken McPeek, who was buying on behalf of relatively new owner Paul Fireman of Fern Circle Stables.

Consigned by Meg Levy's Bluewater Sales, the chestnut is out of Por Que' Te Quiero (A.P. Indy), a daughter of Grade III winner Sensation (Dixie Union). He was bred in Kentucky by Southern Equine Stables.

“I won the [GI] Travers with Golden Ticket (Speightstown),” McPeek commented after signing the ticket upstairs beside the press box. “This is a bigger horse than Golden Ticket, but I thought it was a similar type package. I've always had luck with the Speightstowns and I think he has a sire's pedigree on him, too. If he runs to his looks then he is going to be a stallion prospect. He's extremely well made.”

The conditioner added, “We'll break him at my farm Magdalena and then we will probably send him to Ocala, Florida some time this winter. He will race typically in Kentucky and New York.”

McPeek also went to $220,000 to acquire Hip 177, a son of More Than Ready, on Fireman's behalf.

Bred by DS Stable and consigned by Gainesway, the dark bay was produced by Cocktail Cruise (Hennessy), whose dam is graded stakes winner Ocean Queen (Zilzal). This is also the family of GSW & GISP Chitu (Henny Hughes).

Fireman just had his first winner this past Friday when the 2-year-old colt Honor Thy Father (To Honor and Serve), who McPeek purchased on his behalf for $250,000 at Keeneland September, romped by 9 3/4 lengths in a one-mile off-the-turfer at Ellis Park.

“He's for a gentleman named Paul Fireman of Fern Circle Stables,” said McPeek. “He's out of Boston and he had his first winner last week. He's getting active. He's pretty new to the game. We bought yearlings last year that are just starting to run. We got some South American horses that we put him into as well. He wants quality. He always wanted to play the game, but never knew who to call. He's got 18 horses, 16 are 2-year-olds and then the two yearlings that we bought today.”

When all was said and done Tuesday, McPeek had signed the ticket on a total of 10 yearlings for various clients. In addition to the Speightstown and More Than Ready colts, the Kentucky horseman also purchased Hip 17, a colt by Mineshaft; Hip 40, a Two Step Salsa colt; Hip 147, a daughter of Morning Line; Hip 172, a colt by Quality Road; Hip 190, a filly by Flat Out; Hip 292, a son of Sky Mesa; Hip 345, a Discreet Cat colt; and Hip 346, a colt by Overanalyze.

“We've had a good sale,” McPeek remarked. “I like this market. I think they do a great job and bring a lot of good runners through this sale.” – @CdeBernardisTDN

Partnership Breaks out for Violence Colt

Robert LaPenta, Bridlewood Farm and Three Chimneys joined forces to secure a colt from the first crop of Grade I winner Violence (Medaglia d'Oro) for $335,000 during Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton July Sale. Three Chimneys Jacob West, standing alongside Bridlewood manager George Isaacs at the back of the sales pavilion, signed the ticket on hip 224, who was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency and was bred by SF Bloodstock.

“All I wrote in my catalogue was A+,” West said of the yearling's appeal.

The dark bay colt is out of graded stakes winner Frolic's Dream (Smoke Glacken). His 2-year-old half-sister Bode's Dream (Bodemeister) recently won the Astoria S. and his 3-year-old half-brother Wyeth (Candy Ride {Arg}) broke his maiden at Belmont Park in June.

“Obviously, he had pedigree updates, being a half to Bode's Dream and then the 3-year-old with Chad Brown and Woodford Racing,” West continued. “He has the family, we just hope he's brave and can run.”

The purchase marked the first time the three owners have collaborated in the auction ring.

“This is a new gig that I threw together at the last minute,” West said of the partnership. “We all liked him and I made a few phone calls. Bridlewood and Mr. LaPenta have a very good relationship and we have a very good relationship with Bridlewood. So we all gelled. And it made sense.”

Violence, who won the 2012 GI CashCall Futurity and GII Nashua S., stands at Hill 'n' Dale for $15,000. In addition to hip 224, the stallion was also represented Tuesday by hip 61, a filly who sold for $235,000 to Eclipse Thoroughbreds.

“They are big, handsome, strong horses,” Hill 'n' Dale's John Sikura said of the progeny of Violence. “I think they have the length and bone that he has. They have very big frames and they look like they'll be versatile.”

Of the Hill 'n' Dale consigned colt, Sikura added, “The horse we sold had 12 scopes and was judged by serious people as a really athletic, good horse. He was completely correct and moved well, had an update in the pedigree, and his dam could run. All the components that make a horse sell well, he possessed.” @JessMartiniTDN

Determination Pays Off for Frommer

Cary Frommer failed to land Hip 71 in the ring when the son of More Than Ready was led out unsold on a bid of $240,000 from a competitor. However, the 2-year-old consignor would not be denied and still took the bay home after privately purchasing him for her original final bid of $235,000 shortly after he left the ring.

At the time the deal was made, about half way through Tuesday's session, the RNA rate stood at 42.7% with eight private purchases, Frommer's being the most expensive.

“They weren't very willing to negotiate, but we were able to get it worked out,” she remarked, while seated alongside partner Barry Berkelhammer back in the pavilion. “I haven't bought any others back at the barn. We've been buying out of the ring. With that one, that was as far as my partner Barry Berkelhammer and I could go and luckily it got done afterwards.”

Consigned by Allied Bloodstock and bred by Gunpowder Farm, Hip 71 is out of SW Tensas Punch (War Front), who sold for $325,000 with this foal in utero at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. The colt's dam is a full-sister to G3 Killavullan S. runner-up Royal Navy Ship and he also hails from the family of GISW young sire Liaison (Indian Charlie).

“We liked everything about him,” Frommer remarked. “We just thought he was the right horse to buy. He has some things happening in the family that might turn out very good for us. He's a big, nice, smooth colt with an emphasis on smooth.”

Frommer later went to $250,000 to acquire Hip 217, a filly by hot young sire Uncle Mo. Bred by Machmer Hall, she sold for $50,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale and her dam Flowers Atthefinish (Grand Reward) brought $65,000 at that same sale while carrying another Uncle Mo. Consigned to this sale by Gerry Dilger's Dromoland Farm, the bay filly is a full-sister to SP Mighty Mo, who is entered in Delaware Park's GIII Kent S. Saturday.

Frommer experienced a lot of success with the progeny of 2015's leading freshman sire Uncle Mo during the recent juvenile sales season. She sold a colt by the Eclipse winner for $1.3-million at the OBS March sale and sold another son of the Ashford Stud resident for $1-million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.

When asked how her recent success has affected her yearling purchases thus far, Frommer said, “It's made me understand, as we all do now, that you have to buy the right horses in the beginning and that's where he fits in. We think he's the right horse.” – @CDeBernardisTDN

Mo Success for Dromoland

Pinhooker Gerry Dilger of Dromoland Farm, who pinhooked GI Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (Uncle Mo) as a yearling in 2014, secured a filly by 2015's leading freshman sire for $50,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale. The Irishman was able to cash in on the popularity of the Coolmore stallion Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton when re-selling the filly for $250,000 to juvenile pinhooker Cary Frommer.

“With Uncle Mo, you can't go wrong,” Dilger explained when asked about the decision to purchase hip 217 last fall. “She's been a really nice filly from day one. She was a late April foal and she came right at the right time and there is still a lot more improvement in her.” @JessMartiniTDN

Creative Causes a Stir at Fasig

Airdrie Stud's Creative Cause (Giant's Causeway), who has gotten off to a fast start with his first crop of 2-year-olds on the racetrack this year, was represented by his first stakes winner when Theonewewaited captured the Landaluce S. last weekend and bidders responded to that success in the sales ring at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday. The stallion, who stands for $15,000, had four yearlings sell for an average of $141,250. Hip 247 led the way when selling for $235,000 to Ruis Racing LLC.

“He's ringing a lot of bells right now,” Airdrie Stud's Brereton Jones said of Creative Cause. “I'm really not surprised [by the success]. We started with him. We bred his first crop and, as we watched that crop grow up, we kept telling each other, 'Hey this is something pretty special.'”

Creative Cause won the 2011 GI Norfolk S. and missed by just a nose to subsequent GI Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another (Flower Alley) when second in the 2012 GI Santa Anita Derby. At this spring's juvenile sales, the stallion had 11 of 14 2-year-olds sell for an average of $124,000.

Asked what the stallion's progeny have in common, Jones said, “The athleticism that they have and the desire that they have to compete.” @JessMartiniTDN

Eclipse Supports First-Crop Sires

Eclipse Thoroughbreds' Aron Wellman took home one of the higher priced yearlings sold during the early part of Tuesday's session when signing the ticket on a $235,000 filly from the first crop of Violence (Hip 61).

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, the dark bay is out of the unraced Pioneerof the Nile Mare Stella's Dream, a half-sister to stakes winner Little Miss Zip (City Zip), who sold to Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds for $115,000 while carrying this foal at the Fasig-Tipton February sale.

“She's a big, beautiful filly,” Wellman commented after signing the ticket near the back of the pavilion. “She's just a very correct individual, smooth walker and is a very light on her feet for such a big filly. She just has a lot of presence about her at all times. We inspected her on several occassions over the past few days and from the first moment we laid eyes on her until she literally just left the ring, she just had an incredible amount of class, intelligence and quality to her.”

As for his attraction to the sire, Wellman said, “Violence was a brilliant horse and unfortunately I don't think we got to see the best of him. He was precocious, a Grade I winner at two. He won sprinting at Saratoga first time out, overcoming a lot of trouble, then stretched his speed out and won the [GI] Cash Call Futurity.”

The purchase of the Violence filly came just a short time after the Eclipse President went to $145,000 to secure Hip 33, a filly by fellow first-crop sire Animal Kingdom.

Bred by Nursery Place, Donaldson and Broadbent, the bay was sold to Bonne Chance Farm for $90,000 as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton November sale and was consigned by Gainesway here. Out of the SP Set'n On Ready (More Than Ready), she hails from the family of English Highweight Lucayan Prince (Fast Play), who was also GISP in America.

“I have a very close connection to Animal Kingdom from my days at Team Valor, so I was very familiar with him from when we sent him through the sales ring as a yearling,” Wellman remarked. “I've seen a lot of the Animal Kingdom offspring down in Australia and up here and he is certainly throwing a nice individual. That filly in particular really had the shape that he had as a baby and throughout his career, so we are really excited to get that filly. She's a neat package.”

Wellman was not neccessarily targeting freshman sires with his selections, but he did see these two specific stallions as positives when choosing these fillies.

“It just so happens to be that way,” Wellman said of his purchase of two first crop fillies. “This sale in particular can tend to be that way. It used to be a first-crop sire showcase essentially, but I think that this is a really nice crop of first year sires. Obviously, we bought an Animal Kingdom and now a Violence, two of those first crop stallions that have been on our radar. I think there is a lot of quality there.”

The July sale is just the first yearling sale of the season with Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga sale just a month away and the Keeneland September sale to follow shortly after. However, Wellman thinks there is plenty of quality and good opportunities right here.

“I think this is a great opportunity to buy quality horses because people tend to keep their money in their pockets waiting for Saratoga and September,” the 39-year-old said. “But, I think, they definitely bring good horses to this sale and good horses come out of this sale every year. Both of these fillies, I have no doubt if they were up in Saratoga or September, I think would have come in at a bit more money. It's early, but we are not afraid to go ahead and bid one in if they think that the quality is there and it's the right individual.”

– @CdeBernardisTDN

Stormy Lucy Share to Cressfield Stud

Stormy Lucy (Stormy Atlantic), originally led out unsold at $650,000 at Monday's Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age Sale, but later acquired privately by SF Bloodstock for a sale-topping $575,000, gained an additional owner Tuesday when bloodstock agent Paul Moroney acquired a 50% interest in the Grade I winner on behalf of Bruce Neill's Cressfield Stud. The mare will be bred to Frankel (GB) on Southern Hemisphere time.

“We're excited about developing a relationship with Cressfield Stud,” said SF Bloodstock's Tom Ryan. “This mare will be bred to Frankel on Southern Hemisphere time and her second mating will be to Australian champion 2-year-old Capitalist (Aus) at Newgate Stud.

SF Bloodstock is heavily involved with Capitalist and this is the caliber of mare we are looking for to support him.”

Moroney, who was originally one of the underbidders on the 2015 GI Matriarch S. winner, admitted he was shopping specifically for a mare to breed to Frankel.

“The plan was always to go to Frankel,” said Moroney, a longtime New Zealand bloodstock agent currently based in Virginia. “We've been trying to find a mare in the Northern Hemisphere for Cressfield for the last two or three months and have really struggled. We thought this mare really fit the bill. She is a Grade I winner and made 26 graded starts and 34 career starts. It's very hard to find those mares worldwide. She was at the end of our budget, but it's worked out well.”

Of the partnership with SF Bloodstock, Moroney said, “They know Bruce because he is a shareholder in a number of stallions at their farm in Australia, Newgate Stud. It's a partnership that's already in play in Australia and it's now going to become more international. It will open up more opportunities for Cressfield and for SF Bloodstock to do some more business together.”

Stormy Lucy will be shipped to England shortly to be bred to Frankel, according to Moroney. She will head to Australia in January and will be based at Cressfield.

Cressfield sold a pair of yearlings by Frankel bred on Southern Hemisphere time at this year's Inglis Australian Easter sale. The pair brought A$500,000 and A$750,000.

Moroney, who purchased Dance of Life (Fr) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), the top-priced lot at the Arqana Summer sale in June, is set to do a fair bit of travelling himself.

“I've really been concentrating on Australasia and Europe in the last couple of decades, but I'm looking forward to doing some more business over here,” Moroney, who will be attending next month's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, Arqana August sale and Keeneland September sale, as well as bloodstock sales on both sides of the Atlantic this coming fall, said. “This is a great way to start.” @JessMartiniTDN


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