Fasig Saves Best for last at Action-Packed July Sale

Tuesday's topper Hip 302 | Fasig Tipton


By Christie DeBernardis & Jessica Martini

   LEXINGTON, KY–Yearling sale season started with a bang Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton's July Selected Yearling Sale. The auction house saved the best for last with the final horse through the ring, a son of Curlin (Hip 302), topping the day on a $600,000 bid from the Green family's DJ Stable. Last year's leading freshman sire Gun Runner accounted for the day's second-highest seller, a $430,000 colt (Hip 153) sold to de Meric Sales. Both colts came from the Gainesway consignment, which was responsible for four of the top 10. Antony Beck's operation sold a total of nine youngsters for $2.335 million.

The sale kicked off with the freshman sire showcase, which proved popular as always. This year's new class of sires was led by MGISW Omaha Beach, whose daughter (Hip 90) brought $400,000 from Solis and Litt. Other popular first-crop stallions included Audible, Vino Rosso and Mitole, who all had yearling sell for over $200,000.

“We got excited about it when we're seeing them on the farms,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said of the freshman sires. “Vino Rosso was a tremendous racehorse. We saw him put his head down in the [GI Breeders' Cup] Classic and refuse to lose. Omaha Beach was a horse who had tremendous talent with an amazing pedigree.”

“I think there was great anticipation for horses like that, but it's also really rewarding and I think it shows you the strength of the marketplace when you see Flameaways sell really, really well and you see horses like Copper Bullet and Maximus Mischief sell really well on modest stud fees. So it shows you that the marketplace is really looking for quality, and they respect the really strong individuals, which is kind of the trademark of our July sale.”

A total of 189 yearlings sold Tuesday for a gross of $21,763,500. The average was the second highest of the sale's history at $115,151 with the highest being $115,954 in 2006. It was a record median at $90,000, tying that 2006 sale. There were 59 horses who failed to meet their reserves.

In 2021, 208 youngsters brought $21,608,500 with an average of $103,887 and median of $80,000. There were 69 RNAs.

“It was a terrific start to the 2022 yearling season,” Browning said. “We're very happy with the activity across the board today. Average was up about 12% medians up 12%, certainly a respectable RNA rate for the first yearling sales for the year and I think there's a sense of relief. You know, despite what we tell everybody on the pre-sale prognostications and how great it's going to be and how optimistic we are, there's always a little uncertainty. We've certainly seen some changes in the financial marketplace in the last six months. Overall, we were confident. We've seen plenty of interest and we saw the 2-year-old folks had a really good sales season.”

Gainesway's Brian Graves was equally pleased with what he saw in the market Tuesday.

“The market is alive and well,” he said. “You know, there were some hesitations, but it looks like it's the same as last year. I haven't seen the final numbers, but the appetite to buy horses is the same at least whether it's up or down a little bit. I don't know. I'm just happy that people want to trade.”

Donato Lanni said there was a horse for everyone, which was represented in a deep a diverse buying bench. Each of the top 10 lots were purchased by individual buyers and were a mix of end users and pinhookers.

“The good ones are standing out and separating themselves,” Lanni said. “It's a very good sale. There are a lot of people here. There are horses here for just about everybody.”

Fasig-Tipton moves to Saratoga next for the highly anticipated Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale Aug. 8-9.


Late Fireworks for Curlin Colt

The final horse through the ring at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton July sale brought the day's biggest fireworks when selling for $600,000 to the Green family's D J Stable. By Curlin, the colt (hip 302) is out of Four Sugars (Lookin at Lucky) and is a half-brother to multiple Grade I-placed Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}).

“When you come to a sale like this, you want to try to take a shot at a stallion prospect, which obviously he is, being a half to Gronkowski and by Curlin,” Jon Green, who did his bidding in the balcony alongside bloodstock agent Kim Valerio, said. “It's just the kind of family we look for. We just wanted to take a full swing at a horse like this because they don't come along all that often. We've been doing this a long time and I can honestly say you don't have a horse who checks all the boxes like this colt.”

It wasn't the first member of the family the Greens have bid on. “We were outbid on the half-sister, the Nyquist filly, a little while ago,” Green said.

The sale-topper was consigned by Gainesway on behalf of his breeder, Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm, which purchased Four Sugars, carrying that Nyquist filly for $375,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton November sale. The filly sold for $200,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“We knew that we had a chance to top the sale,” admitted Gainesway's Brian Graves. “We brought him here to try to be one of the best colts in the sale. You know how that sometimes works out, sometimes it doesn't. But it worked out in this case. So, yeah, it's a good one when it goes as planned.”

Of plans for the yearling, Green said, “He'll go to Gainesway and rest and relax there for a couple of weeks and then we will send our first yearling group down to Mark Casse in Ocala and he will break them down there. We just have to think of a good stallion name for him now.”

DJ Stable purchased four yearlings at the July sale, going to $200,000 for a colt by Bolt d'Oro (hip 206); $100,000 for a filly by Mucho Macho Man (hip 292); and $50,000 for a colt by Preservationist (hip 227).

“We bought a couple of other horses, but this horse was always on the radar,” Green said. “He was the last horse in the sale and we were going to stay until the bitter end. That was literally our last bid, so I am glad we did get him. Anytime you raise your hand for a four-legged animal at this level, it's always nerve-wracking, but I feel like if he fufills his potential, he's going to be a stallion. And that's why we do this, to try to race the great ones on the First Saturday in May.” @JessMartiniTDN


Gun Runner Colt in High Demand at Fasig

It was no surprise to see a fury of bidding when the only offering by last year's leading freshman sire Gun Runner entered the ring. When the dust settled it was de Meric Sales' Tristan de Meric left holding the winning $430,000 ticket on Hip 153.

“He is for a pinhooking group,” de Meric said. “We love the horse. He was our pick of the sale. We knew we'd have to stretch on him. I'm just happy to have the horse.”

Bred by Fern Circle Stable and consigned by Gainesway, Hip 153 is out of SW Perfect Wife. Fern Circle retained his full-sister Runaway Wife, who finished second in last weekend's GIII Indiana Oaks for trainer Ken McPeek.

“The sire speaks for himself,” de Meric said. “It is unbelievable what he has done with his first crop. We think the horse is a top individual, beat mover in the sale. Hopefully, he goes the right way for us.”

The de Merics were quite busy Tuesday, acquiring a total of four yearlings. Their other purchases were:

Hip 133, Into Mischief colt, $260,000

Hip 185, Into Mischief colt, $235,000

Hip 47, Audible filly, $70,000



Arrogate Filly Headed to Her Sire's Former Stomping Grounds

A filly from the final crop of the late champion Arrogate (Hip 247) will walk a shedrow familiar to her sire next year when she is ready to join Bob Baffert's barn after being purchased by bloodstock agent Donato Lanni for $400,000. He was acting on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“I love the sire,” said Lanni, smiling ear-to-ear as he signed the ticket outside of the pressbox. “We have been looking for a really good Arrogate. I am happy that we found a nice Arrogate at this sale. She was really a good representation of Arrogate. She's nice.”

Consigned by Wynnstay Sales, Hip 247 was also bred by Tim and Nancy Hamlin's operation in partnership with Donna Moore and Jim Richardson. Out of Attempt to Name (Consolidator), she is a half-sister to MSW Gray Attempt (Unbridled's Song).

“The sibling was on the Derby trail for a while,” Tim Hamlin said. “When Arrogate came to be, they called and said, 'We would love to have your mare to breed to Arrogate.' So, we did and this is the result.”

He continued, “Everybody loved her on the farm. You didn't even know she was there really. She was just always class. She kept herself out of trouble and did everything right always.”

Hip 247 is from the third and final crop of four-time Grade I winner Arrogate, who died in June 2020 at age seven after a sudden illness. His top runners this year include GI Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath and 'TDN Rising Star' Artorius. —@CDeBernardisTDN


Omaha Beach Filly to LNJ Foxwoods

A filly by Omaha Beach (hip 90) attracted the highest bid for a first-crop sire when selling for $410,000 to bloodstock agents Jason Litt and Alex Solis, acting on behalf of the Roth family's LNJ Foxwoods, at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday.

“Omaha Beach was a great racehorse. I wasn't looking exactly for one, but we were looking for a really good filly in the sale,” Solis said. “I thought she was one of the top fillies in the sale. The mare could run, a graded stakes winner, who had speed and was an early type. That's kind of what everyone is drawn to lately.”

Consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds on behalf of her breeder, Spendthrift Farm, hip 90 is the second foal out of GIII Beaumont S. winner Gas Station Sushi (Into Mischief). Spendthrift purchased the mare for $675,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Gas Station Sushi's first foal, a colt by Lord Nelson, sold for $200,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale and was acquired for $80,000 at this year's OBS March sale. Now named Wasabi Boy, he has opened his career with two runner-up efforts at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park.

“It was a filly we would have been very happy to keep,” Spendthrift's Ned Toffey said. “She is really a nice filly, but we wanted to showcase the stallion, so we brought her out here so breeders could see what Omaha is capable of doing.”

Of Tuesday's result, Toffey said, “That was probably a little bit beyond what we were thinking coming out here, but she was placed here because we felt like she could be a standout in the sale. And it looks like that was borne out.”

Spendthrift hit a homerun last year with first-crop sire Bolt d'Oro and the operation's first-crop sires look to be carrying on from those results with a strong showing at the July sale.

Omaha Beach had five yearlings sell Tuesday for an average of $236,000, while sprint champion Mitole had five sell for an average of $108,400 and GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso had 11 sell for an average of $135,455.

“I am really pleased with how all of our first-year stallions have done so far,” Toffey said. “Vino has three horses over $200,000, one of which we bought and we were happy to get for that. Mitole's gotten off to a great start, he had a $250,000 filly and we also sold a $140,000 filly, hip 2. You always worry about being that early in the sale, but that was a fair price for her, we thought. So we are really, really happy with how the first-year horses are doing.” @JessMartiniTDN


Lanni In Action for Glassmans

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, bidding on behalf of Karl and Cathi Glassman, went to $400,000 to acquire a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 193) from the St George Sales consignment Tuesday in Lexington.

“I like the sire and he looked like a good Uncle Mo,” Lanni said of the yearling's appeal. We were looking for a two-turn looking Uncle Mo. That's what the clients wanted.”

Bred by T. F. VanMeter, hip 193 is out of multiple stakes winner Super Saks (Sky Mesa).

Of immediate plans for the yearling, Lanni said, “He will go to Barry Eisaman [in Ocala] and will hang out there for a bit.” @JessMartiniTDN


Legion Reputation Continues to Grow

The burgeoning Legion Bloodstock, formed just last year by partners Travis Durr, Evan Ciannello, Kristian Villante and Kyle Zorn and already represented by eight 2-year-old winners, hit a homerun in the sales ring Tuesday when selling a colt by Bolt d'Oro (hip 214) for $240,000 to Lynnhaven Racing. The bay had been purchased by Villante for $20,000 as a short yearling at this year's Keeneland January sale.

“We have a weanling-to-yearling pinhooking partnership with Legion,” Villante explained. “We bought him for that and pieced him out to partners that always support us through the pinhooking. They each bought a leg of him.”

The colt, consigned by Stuart Morris, is out of Ultimate Prize (Smart Strike), a half-sister to stakes winner Goin to the Window (Tapit).

“He was a big, immature framed horse that was kind of backward,” Villante said of his impressions of the colt in January. “As soon as we got him back home, he just started to blossom and fill out. He's always been a beautiful horse and very straightforward. I was surprised to get him for $20,000. I didn't think we would be able to get him for that.”

With freshman sire Bolt d'Oro already proving a success in the sales ring and on the racetrack, the group decided to send his yearling son through the ring at the July sale.

“With Bolt d'Oro being on a tear right now, we figured the market really loves him and he's off to a great start,” Villante said. “We've bought a number of Bolt d'Oros that we like ourselves. Fasig does a great job, so we figured this would be a good spot to bring him and let the market appraise him.”

Among Legion Bloodstock's early success stories is Song Parody (Practical Joke). Purchased for $25,000 at last year's OBS October sale, the filly was a first-out winner for Matt Hand, Dick Nicolai and Bob Hahn and trainer Kelly Breen before selling for $360,000 during Monday's Fasig-Tipton Horses of All Ages Sale.

Of Tuesday's pinhooking score, Villante said, “It was awesome. We are very happy with that. Hopefully, he goes on and proves everyone right.” @JessMartiniTDN


Stoneriggs Hits the Ground Running with First Consignment

Robert Slack's Stoneriggs Farm was making their sales debut at Fasig-Tipton July with a two-horse consignment and they came out of the gate running with their Audible colt (Hip 4) summoning $220,000 from Pete Bradley.

“We are really happy,” said Stoneriggs General Manager Martin Keogh. “We knew coming up here that we had a really nice colt. He definitely exceeded expectations. He was really popular at the barn, had been vetted a lot. He was just a horse that spoke for himself. He did not miss a beat the whole few days here. Every day he came out and just marched up and down.”

When asked his impressions of the first crop of GI Florida Derby winner Audible, Keogh said, “We are big fans of the stallion. When we were looking in November, we short-listed a lot of them, but I kept telling the boss I thought we had a better one at home. He is very typical of his sire, Into Mischief.”

Hip 4 is out of I'm Guilty (Verrazano), a half-sister to GSW Ready To Please (More Than ready), who is the dam of Japanese GSW Nac Venus (Daiwa Major).

Stoneriggs other offering was also by a first season stallion in champion Vino Rosso (Curlin). Their homebred daughter of that GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner brought $45,000 from James Connors. Hip 53 is out of the Hard Spun mare Twisted Adage.

“We have 30 yearlings this year and have 60 mares to foal next year, so we are going to keep building,” Keogh said. “We are going to be a commercial operation. We are going to evaluate all them and decide whether to sell them as foals or keep some for yearling sales. We are going to do a bit of it all.” —@CDeBernardisTDN


Venosa Well-Armed at Fasig-Tipton

Three yearlings by Darby Dan's first-crop stallion Copper Bullet sold during Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton July sale and Steve Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds went home to Ocala with two of them.

“You can never have too many bullets,” the pinhooker quipped after signing the ticket on hip 64 at $160,000.

Consigned by Darby Dan Farm, the colt is out of Amazement (Bernardini), who is also the dam of multiple Grade I winner Colonel Liam (Liam's Map).

Earlier in the session, Venosa paid $80,000 for hip 32, a son of Quite a Secret (Liaison) bred by Outfoxed Farm and consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.

“They look very balanced, very athletic and they look like they are going to be very precocious,” Venosa said of his impression of Copper Bullet's first yearlings.

Copper Bullet (More Than Ready) won the 2017 GII Saratoga Special S. and was second in the 2019 GIII Razorback H. He stands at Darby Dan for $7,500.

Ciaran Dunne's Waves Bloodstock purchased the third Copper Bullet to sell Tuesday, going to $48,000 to acquire hip 11 from Stuart Morris's consignment.

Asked his impression of other first-crop yearlings, Venosa said, “It looks like the Vino Rossos, across the board, seem like they are a consistent bunch. It looks like he is really stamping his babies.” @JessMartiniTDN

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