Ghostzapper Filly Tops F-T October Opener


Session-topping Hip 96, a filly by Ghostzapper, in the ring | Fasig-Tipton


LEXINGTON, Ky – Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable paid a session-topping $275,000 to secure a filly by Ghostzapper as the four-day Fasig-Tipton October Fall Yearlings Sale kicked off with a solid day of selling on a rainy day in Lexington Monday.

“We saw pretty solid trade with a diverse group of buyers in play,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning, Jr. said at the close of business Monday.

Of the 363 yearlings catalogued for Monday's session, 322 went through the ring and 230 sold for a total of $6,479,500. The average was $28,172 and the median was $10,000. The buy-back rate was 28.6%

During the first session of the three-day 2016 October sale, 246 of 416 yearlings catalogued yearlings sold for $8,306,400. The session average was $33,766 and the median was $12,750. The 2016 three-day average was $33,065 and the median was $10,000.

Twenty two yearlings sold for $100,000 or more Monday. That figure was 21 during last year's opening session.

“I think it's too early to tell much,” Browning said of the comparison figures. “The average is down a little bit, the median is down a little bit from the overall total sale numbers last year. But I would be hesitant to make any dramatic statements about the marketplace, other than to say, if you talk to the consignors and the buyers, it's the same song we've heard over and over. The buyers are saying it was really tough to buy the quality horses and the consignors are saying it was pretty tough to sell the horses who weren't perceived as quality offerings. I think we saw the same kind of balanced marketplace that we've seen throughout 2017 and for the most part 2016 as well.”

Ocala horseman David Scanlon was busy scouring the sales grounds for pinhooking prospects Monday and agreed competition was stiff for the prized offerings.

“There are a lot of horses to go through, but there are some good horses,” Scanlon said. “It's typical of the market we've seen, the good ones are bringing good money and the other side of the market struggles. But there are good horses here, you just have to pick through them and hang in there until you get one.”

The October sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Ghostzapper for Siegel

Samantha Siegel was forced to miss last month's Keeneland September Yearling Sale, so she was trying to make up for lost time when she purchased a filly by Ghostzapper for $275,000 during Monday's opening session of the October sale.

“Unfortunately, I had to miss the Keeneland September sale–I was a vet scratch–but I would like to have a few more horses to fill out my group, so I came here,” Siegel said after signing the ticket on hip 96 in the name of her Jay Em Ess Stable.

The yearling is out of Princesa de Papi (Birdstone), a half-sister to stakes winners Silent Bird (Summer Bird) and A Brilliant Idea (Afleet Alex).

“She's a pretty, well-balanced filly and a New York-bred,” Siegel said. “We know Ghostzapper can get a good filly so, as they say, she ticked off all the boxes.”

Siegel expects to continue shopping at the four-day October sale.

“I have no set number in mind,” she said. “I just would like to get nice horses and we'll see how things fall and see what we get. But, unfortunately, good taste is expensive. It's a tough market for a good horse. Nowadays, you have to pay a decent amount of money for a good horse. You just have to steel yourself to that, pick your number and be prepared to go a little bit above it and be flexible.”

Hip 96 was consigned to the October sale by Tommy Eastham's Legacy Bloodstock on behalf of her breeder, Dr. Jon Davis's Milfer Farm. Davis purchased Princesa de Papi, with this foal in utero, for $70,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“[Milfer Farm] raise a nice horse and they've been kind enough to be with me for a long, long time,” Eastham said. “It's nice to do well for people that have gone through good sales and bad sales and have been your biggest cheerleader through good times and bad. It was a really satisfying sale.”

The yearling had originally been targeted at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred sale, according to Eastham.

“We were actually going to go to Saratoga, but we saw her developing and most of her developing came after June,” he said. “She was kind of plain, but then she kept on developing. So we thought she wasn't ready to sell and we would have a better horse to sell in a few months.”

Of the dark bay filly, Eastham continued, “She's a big-walking horse. She handled this process very well. She had a big nostril and was a typical Ghostzapper with a great mind.”

The consignor admitted the market continues to be competitive and at times unforgiving.

“I've got a barn of 25 and I think half of them are going to do real well,” the consignor said. “Penalties are severe. If you have a little chip that in previous markets was a 20% chip, those chips are now 80, 90 maybe 95% of your total value. The horse business is good, though. There is a lot of interest, a lot of phone calls and lots of volume at the barns. A lot of people that weren't as good didn't survive [the recession of] 2008. Everybody who is in the business now, from consignors to buyers and farms, is pretty good. They know what they're looking at.”

Mathis Restocks on Tapit

While Mathis Stables' stakes-winning filly My Miss Tapit (Tapit) is catalogued in next month's Keeneland November sale, the family operation added another daughter of Gainesway's leading sire to its roster when bloodstock agent Liz Crow purchased hip 131 for $250,000 Monday at the Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“She had one of the better pedigrees in the sale and I thought she had one of the better physicals,” Crow said after signing the ticket on the chestnut filly. “She looked like one of the more athletic fillies I saw on the sales grounds and we're thrilled to have the pedigree page to back it up.”

Out of Raffishing Look (Kingmambo), the chestnut filly is a half-sister to Winning Cause (Giant's Causeway), who was trained by the Mathis's primary trainer Todd Pletcher.

The yearling was bred and consigned to the October sale by Gainesway, which purchased the mare for $400,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. The filly had been entered, but scratched from the Keeneland September sale.

Crow admitted she was pleasantly surprised by the filly's final price tag Monday.

“I was thrilled to get her at that price point,” Crow said. “The market is so strong right now. It just seems like anything that has a pedigree page and a physical is bringing about 20-30% more than I've been willing to pay for it all year. So I thought I was happy to finally get something bought at a price that I was comfortable with.”

A Fein Ghostzapper

Superfine Farms owner Ron Fein purchased a colt by Ghostzapper for $180,000 to top early returns during Monday's first session of the Fasig-Tipton October sale. The dark bay colt (hip 63) is destined for a return trip through the sales ring next spring, according to Fein, who did his bidding out back while standing alongside pinhooker Ciaran Dunne.

“I liked everything about him. First of all he was a Ghostzapper, second of all he had beautiful movement and good size. And Ciaran Dunne liked him, that was important,” Fein explained. “He'll probably go to either Miami [Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale] or [OBS] March.”

The yearling, bred by champion Songbird's breeder John Antonelli in California, was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. Antonelli purchased the colt's dam Piedras Negras (Unbridled) for $95,000 as a 4-year-old in foal to Johannesburg at the 2003 Keeneland November sale. That in utero foal became graded stakes winner La Traviata, who is the dam of Group 1 winners Crusade (Mr. Greeley) and Seventh Heaven (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

Cairo Prince Colt Quick Starter for Brewster

A dark bay colt by hot first-crop sire Cairo Prince was the first horse through the ring during Monday's first session of the October sale, but being first was nothing new to the yearling. His dam Ocarson (Olmodavor) was covered Feb. 18 by Cairo Prince, one of the first mares bred to the Airdrie stallion, and he was his first foal when born Jan. 24, 2016.

“I hope they have an appropriate name for him because he really is used to being first,” laughed breeder Clark Brewster after the New York-bred yearling (hip 1) sold for $100,000 to Harold Lerner/AWC Stables, Webb Carroll Training Center, agent.

The sale was a very successful result for Brewster. The Oklahoma-based attorney purchased Ocarson, with this yearling in utero, for just $1,500 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“I wasn't at the [November] sale, but [bloodstock agent] Patrick Morell was there and I had given him some instructions on buying a half-dozen mares or so for our New York breeding program,” Brewster explained by phone Monday afternoon. “He was shooting me texts and reporting back on the mares that he got bought. She had walked in and he saw that it was an early cover and he bought her for little to nothing. He said, 'I know she wasn't on your list, but I bought her for you.' So I said, 'Fine. I'm happy with that.' So we sent her to foal in New York with a bunch of others and she just had a lovely foal.”

Of the colt's six-figure final price tag, Brewster said, “I really felt that around that price, he would be a racing candidate for me. Obviously, in this game, when you can see a profit, you want to take it. But on the other hand, I would have been fine with keeping him.”

Cairo Prince, who had a colt sell for $900,000 at last month's Keeneland September sale, has had 58 yearlings sell for an average of $166,862.

“We all knew that he was a great racehorse and a really good physical specimen,” Brewster said of the young stallion. “He has every right to be a really good sire.”

Brewster has a broodmare band of 27 head spread from New York, Oklahoma and Kentucky and participates in all facets of the racing game.

“I think my wife and I have had about 280 starts as owners this year,” Brewster said. “We're very active in the racing part of it. We participate in the breeding side and we'll buy a few yearlings, as well, and a few 2-year-olds. So we're active at several different levels of the game and have been for more than 25 years.”

Brewster still has three yearlings to sell through the Hidden Brook consignment this week in Lexington. Hip 386 is a colt by Fed Biz who Brewster purchased in utero for $11,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. At that same sale, he acquired a filly by Afleet Alex (hip 441) in utero and a colt by Awesome Again (hip 1405) in utero, both for $25,000.

Brewster won't be on hand to watch the group sell.

“I don't think I've made a single sale this year,” he admitted. “I'm a trial lawyer, so a lot of my time to go to a sale is dictated by my schedule. We're locked down in hearings and depositions here in Tulsa, Oklahoma today.”

Catalyst Shakes Things Up

Chris Knehr wasn't really expecting to shop for himself at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale, but he struck when the opportunity presented itself to purchase the mare Rupert's Promise (Capote), in foal to Shakin It Up, for $2,500 from the Allied Bloodstock consignment. The investment paid dividends at Fasig-Tipton Monday when Knehr's Catalyst Bloodstock sold the mare's Shakin It Up yearling (hip 195) for $120,000 to Moss Group.

“Honestly, it has a lot to do with Bert [Welker] and Clark [Shepherd] at Allied,” Knehr said of purchasing the mare. “I've known them for a while and they are such good guys. I was in the back ring talking to Clark and trying to buy mares for other clients. I was out of money and I needed a mare and he said, 'I really like this mare and the Old Fashioned out of her is really nice–they are keeping her to race. I think she's a good buy.' So that's why I bought her.”

Knehr ran the purchase past his wife Erin and admitted he wasn't planning on paying too much for the then 11-year-old mare, who is a half-sister to Chilean group-placed Nada Mas Queda (Scat Daddy).

“I called my wife, because we weren't going to buy anything until January, but we were looking for a mare for Sky Kingdom,” Knehr recalled. “She asked me how high I was going to go and I said $2,000. The final bid was $2,500 and when I called her back she said, 'You had better have been the $2,500.' We weren't planning on giving too much for her at the time, but I liked the mare a lot. I liked the way she moved and she's big and pretty and a good-looking mare who I thought had some upside to her.”

Knehr's original plan was to sell the dark bay filly from the first crop of GI Malibu S. winner Shakin It Up at this year's Keeneland January sale.

“I had her in the January sale and had no action on her whatsoever,” Knehr said. “I really liked her a lot, so we scratched her from the sale and held on to her because we thought she was a better filly than what the reception was for her in January.”

He continued, “The market has shifted pretty dramatically in the last six months, but I wasn't expecting what she sold for. I thought she would do well and I had pretty solid reserve on her for my wife and I. She exceeded that.”

Rupert's Promise produced a colt by graded stakes winner Sky Kingdom in 2017 and was bred back to Dialed In.

Of his broodmare band, Knehr said, “I have a small farm–it's only 12 acres–so we only have four right now. I've raced two in partnership, but usually we breed to sell. It's handy, especially because I have the consignment. And we have the farm, so I can prep them and raise them as well.”

“Originally we had a no-mare rule on the farm,” he laughed. “But that since has changed because it's hard to buy weanlings. And mares kind of work for me.”

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