Fasig Midlantic Sale Tuesday


Rick & Dixie Abbott | Lydia Williams


TIMONIUM, Md – The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale, which boasts a powerhouse trio of Grade I-winning graduates on its catalogue cover, will be held Tuesday in Timonium.

“We have the buyers here and hopefully we have the horses that fit their criteria and we hope they battle it out Tuesday,” Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sales Director Paget Bennett said from the sales grounds Monday morning.

The Midlantic sale comes on the heels of a stronger-than-expected renewal of the marathon Keeneland September Yearling sale and Bennett admitted she was hoping buyers who couldn't get their orders filled last month will be active in Timonium.

“We were hearing that people weren't able to get horses bought at earlier sales, so they still need to go to more sales,” she said. “And we had sellers that kept their horses here to get a lot of those people to this sale and from what I'm seeing, it looks like it worked.”

The Midlantic sale has been represented by an impressive troika on the racetrack this year. Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss) was a $30,000 purchase by Chuck Zacney at the 2014 renewal of the auction. The filly went on to capture this year's GI Kentucky Oaks. Stellar Wind (Curlin), last year's Eclipse champion sophomore filly, was an $86,000 purchase in 2013. She has now beaten the mighty Beholder (Henny Hughes) twice in a row, most recently in Saturday's GI Zenyatta S., while Bradester (Lion Heart), a $20,000 purchase in 2011, won this year's GI Stephen Foster H.

The success of local horses like Cathryn Sophia, added to the resurgence of the Maryland breeding industry, are the sale's best advertisement, according to Bennett.

“Cathryn Sophia is Maryland-bred, raised and sold–that's huge,” Bennett said. “And she was purchased by a regional buyer in Chuck Zacney. You can't get a better feel-good story than that.”

Of the 368 yearlings catalogued for the one-day sale, a full 157 are bred in Maryland, a state which has seen increases in both the size of its foal crops and its purses in recent years, as well as healthy owners and breeders incentive programs. The foundation of the state's racing industry has also been solidified by a commitment from The Stronach Group to improve facilities and the racing program at Laurel Park.

“Maryland has really done well and has really taken off again,” Bennett said. “I think people are excited about racing in Maryland.”

Consignor Bill Reightler agreed the state of Maryland's breeding and racing industry would be good for business in Timonium.

“We are undergoing a bit of a renaissance in Maryland racing right now,” Reightler said. “And there is a demand for Maryland-breds and the ones that we have have been well received and sought after. The Maryland-breds, with how good the owner and breeder bonuses are now, are the story of this sale.”

In addition to the success of its graduates on the racetrack, yearlings who came out of the Timonium sale in 2015 made headlines at the juvenile auctions in 2016. Cary Frommer purchased a colt by Uncle Mo for $90,000 from the Candyland consignment and resold the youngster for $1 million at this year's Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale. Candyland offers a half-brother by Into Mischief to that juvenile as hip 314, while Darby Dan offers the catalogue's only yearling by Uncle Mo in hip 187.

David Scanlon purchased a son of Friesan Fire a year ago for $35,000 and the youngster attracted a final bid of $825,000 at the Midlantic May sale.

Scanlon was one of a battalion of pinhookers shopping at the sales barn Monday.

“This year I have noticed more pinhookers here–because as you know there have been a few horses who have done very well,” chuckled Reightler, who consigned the $35,000 Friesan Fire in 2015.

Stuart Morris's name has been missing from the Timonium catalogue for a few years, but the consignor admitted he found plenty of reasons to return this year.

“I was a regular at this sale, but this is my first time back in probably two or three years,” Morris admitted Monday. “When the market got tough, the regional markets were all impacted, here more than anywhere else to be honest with you. But with what Kevin Plank at Sagamore, David Hayden and Chanceland, and all the other great Maryland breeders who are doing such a great job and the great program they have put together with the state government to reinforce the program, combined with all the energy The Stronach Group has put in to reinvigorate the region, and with Cathryn Sophia and Stellar Wind coming out of this sale and the big pinhooks last year, I felt like it was the time to come back.”

Morris was happy with what he was seeing at the barns ahead of Tuesday's auction.

“So far, I've had very good traffic,” he said. “There is a very good crowd here and a diverse buyer base.”

At last year's Midlantic sale, 274 yearlings grossed $5,228,800 for an average of $19,083 and a median of $10,000. The sale was topped by a $200,000 daughter of Malibu Moon out of Aspenglow (Lion Hearted). A Malibu Moon half-sister to that dam sells as hip 357 and the pedigree received a timely update when half-sister Silver Cub (City Zip)'s juvenile filly Noted and Quoted (The Factor) won Saturday's GI Chandelier S.

Bidding at the Timonium Sales Pavilion begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Timonium Finale for Charlton

Rick and Dixie Abbott's Charlton, a staple on the Midlantic sales scene for the last four decades, will offer its final consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale Tuesday in Timonium. For the Abbotts, it's the endgame to a retirement plan which began some five years ago when they decided to put their 160-acre farm in eastern Pennsylvania on the market. The property has now been sold and will be used as therapeutic riding center.

“It's emotional in terms of leaving the farm more than it is in retiring from the business,” admitted Rick Abbott. “We've been on the farm for almost 40 years and raised our children there and had a wonderful life. So that's emotional. But I'm ready to retire.”

The Abbotts first began in the horse business by training show hunters in the 1970s and transitioned to Thoroughbreds sales where they presented their first Timonium consignment in 1973. Along the way, Rick Abbott served on a number of boards, including the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association, the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Breeder's Cup and Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. In 1996, he was appointed to the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. He cites his 13 years on the commission as one of the highlights of his time in the industry.

Since starting in the sales business some 40 years ago, Abbott pinpoints the emergence of the large consignor as the biggest change in the industry.

“When we started out, the agents that were doing what we do were relatively small and sold small consignments,” he explained. “Now the growth of the sort of mega-consignor has been a big change.”

The Abbotts, who took pride in attending every foaling at their farm, plan on taking advantage of their free time to travel.

“We are probably going to travel some this winter,” Rick Abbott confirmed. “With foaling mares, you never get to go away from about the middle of January to the first of May. So I think that will be something that we'll be looking forward to–just being able to take off and go south. We are just going to enjoy life.”

Asked how he hoped Charlton would be remembered, Abbott said, “We were honest and told the truth and presented our horses to the best of their abilities.”

Charlton, which topped the 2012 Eastern Fall Yearlings sale with a $300,000 daughter of Malibu Moon, will offer 14 yearlings in its final Timonium consignment.

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