Keeneland's Before the Hammer: Zipessa Headlines St. George Consignment

Zipessa winning the First Lady at Keeneland | Coady photo

by Joe Bianca

Archie St. George of St. George Sales doesn't hide that he is thrilled to offer GISW Zipessa (City Zip) at this year's Keeneland November Sale. Through numerous seasons of watching her on the racetrack and a year spent observing her on the farm, St. George is well acquainted with her class and said he is excited to see what she brings at the storied auction. Zipessa, a hard-knocking turf distaffer known for her versatile running style, wrapped up her career at the end of 2017 with two graded stakes wins to her name and earnings of $783,550. A fitting headliner to the burgeoning consignor's November roster, Zipessa will be offered in foal to Medaglia d'Oro as Hip 245.

The Mike Stidham trainee, who was a debut winner at six furlongs and a Grade I performer at 1 1/4 miles, earned a career-high when winning Keeneland's First Lady S. at a mile last October. Based at St. George Farm, the daughter of City Zip was sold privately in late 2017. She visited Medaglia d'Oro in mid-March and caps off Book 1 at Keeneland Nov. 5.

“She's been pretty straightforward and living like a normal horse at the farm for the last year,” St. George said.

Of course, Zipessa is just the most well-known name in a deep consignment for St. George at the massive sale, as the outfit helmed by Archie St. George and his wife Michelle have consigned 39 hips in total–18 weanlings, 17 broodmares and four racing or broodmare prospects–for the 12-day auction.

Their other Book 1 presence will be with hip 72, a weanling filly by Speightstown who is a half-sister to Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union), the MGSW/GISP dam of GISW New Year's Day (Street Cry {Ire}) and four-time graded stakes winner Mohaymen (Tapit).

“We have a very solid consignment,” St. George said. “We have foals by horses like Candy Ride (Arg), Into Mischief, Violence, Speightstown, Liam's Map, Honor Code, younger horses spread across mares that are in foal to More Than Ready, Street Sense, Kitten's Joy. Across the board, I think we've got a solid consignment that should meet a lot of buyers' demands, and I imagine Zipessa will be in the top percentage of mares put through the ring at Keeneland. We have mares in foal to the right stallions, by the right stallions.”

Archie and Michelle set up St. George Sales in 2011 after Archie spent 10 years building experience at Eaton Sales.

“Myself and Michelle run the day-to-day and everything dealing with the clients,” Archie said. “With me traveling to look at horses, my wife plays a huge part in the running of the sales, and we're both very hands-on with what we do.”

The St. Georges have between six to 10 employees depending on the time of the year and some freelancers who come in to just do sales work, and they collaborate with between five and 10 farms per year to form their consignments.

“We've been fortunate to have people right with us from the get-go,” he said. “Some are yearling sellers, some are weanling sellers, and we've also been fortunate to pick up some very good clients along the way. We have a core of good clients and plenty of horses that we sell based here at our farm at Paris Pike, which keeps us busy.”

Archie St. George grew up in Kilkenny, Ireland as a fifth-generation horseman and grew up immersed in the equine business. He came to America on a temporary basis that quickly turned into a permanent stay.

“I grew up with horses, my parents bred and had horses, so I was never going to do anything else,” he said. “I rode at a young age, and when I came over here, I was only meant to spend two years here. That was 15 years ago. I had a great foundation at Eaton, where I saw everything from $1,000 horses to $5-million horses.”

As for KEENOV, St. George sees a typically diverse array of prospects, starting with blockbuster broodmares and extending to weanlings from exciting freshman sires that should keep the action at high intensity throughout the sale.

“It looks like a solid catalogue,” he said. “I haven't gone into huge depth with it, but there looks to be a wide variety of horses from all levels, from your Lady Elis, Zipessas, Dream Trees, to some good foals and weanlings in there. There are halves to some very good horses by young, exciting stallions coming up with their first foals with high expectations for some of them. It should meet plenty of demand.”


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