Lively Bidding As Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Returns

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Session-topping hip 73 | Fasig-Tipton photo

By Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

The 100th anniversary of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale, delayed a year due to the global pandemic, kicked off with a lively session of trade at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion Monday evening.

“It was a very solid opening session of the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “It was certainly a very healthy market. It was very similar and reminiscent of the 2019 marketplace. Overall, we are off to a very good start.”

A colt by Uncle Mo brought the session's top price when selling for $1.6 million to Jacob West, bidding on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low. The yearling was consigned by Stone Farm for breeder Bobby Flay. The seven-figure colt was one of 13 yearlings to sell for $500,000 or more during the session and was at the head of a deep buying bench. The session's top 10 lots were purchased by 10 different buyers, sold by seven different consignors and were by seven different stallions.

“There was a very diverse buying group,” Browning said. “What is probably the most encouraging sign tonight is the wide bench of buyers and bidders throughout the evening. Solid would be the best description. It provides a lot of confidence for tomorrow night and moving forward throughout the yearling sales season.”

The first crop of Triple Crown winner Justify accounted for two of the top 10 lots, while freshman sire Gun Runner, off to a fast start on the racetrack with two graded stakes winners over the weekend, also had two yearlings in the top 10.

The boutique Saratoga sale annually offers the creme of the American yearling crop and Monday's results show that top market remains competitive.

“Quality sells and this is a quality sale,” said bloodstock agent Jacob West. “Fasig-Tipton did an incredible job getting these horses here and you can see they are getting good prices.”

During Monday's opening session, 70 horses were reported as sold for gross receipts of $25,280,000. The average was $361,143, while the median price was $300,000. During the first day of trade at the 2019 sale, 61 horses sold for $22,775,000, for an average of $373,361 and a median of $315,000.

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale concludes Tuesday with a session beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“There are lots of good horses to sell tomorrow,” Browning said. “I am confident and pleased, but we still have another night's work to do.”

Dame Dorothy Continues to Reward Flay

Dame Dorothy (Bernardini) has been the horse of a lifetime for celebrity chef Bobby Flay in more ways than one. Named after his late mother, the bay won five stakes, including the GI Humana Distaff, and has been just as successful in the breeding shed. Her latest achievement for Flay came at Fasig Monday when her yearling colt by Uncle Mo (Hip 73) summoned $1.6 million from bloodstock agent Jacob West, who was acting on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low.

“She is named after my mom who passed away three years ago,” Flay said. “Dame Dorothy was my best racehorse ever and it seems she is passing on her talent to her progeny. Jacob has been an amazing supporter. I am thrilled. I know he is going to be in great hands.”

Flay has enjoyed plenty of success at Saratoga. At the most recent renewal two years ago, a Curlin colt out of his GSW America (A.P. Indy) was the co-topper at this sale, bringing

$1.5-million. That colt is now known as First Captain and captured his first three starts, including the GIII Dwyer S.

“This is my Super Bowl,” Flay said. “I want to sell a horse here every year. Two years ago, we sold First Captain here out of America and he has done really well. It is one of those things where if you have patience and you breed at the highest level, in terms of the best families and sires, it can really pay off. I always say the blood shows up at some point and these mares have proven to do that.”

The Lows also campaign Dame Dorothy's first foal, GSW Spice is Nice (Curlin), who was a $1.05-million Keeneland September purchase. The mare's second foal, the unraced 2-year-old colt Principe d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro) was purchased by Juddmonte, Bridlewood and Winchell Thoroughbreds for $650,000 at KEESEP and is currently in training with Todd Pletcher. Flay offered Dame Dorothy with the Uncle Mo colt in utero at Keeneland November in 2019, but elected to take her home after bidding reached $3.15 million. Hip 73 will eventually join his siblings in the barn of the new Hall of Famer, who trained both the sire and the dam.

“I thought he was obviously a standout,” said West. “We own Spice is Nice. We love her. We love the family. I had seen this horse about six months ago out at Stone [Farm], so the second we saw he was in the catalogue we turned down the page on him. He is a May foal so he has a lot more growing to do, but we hope he fills out into his frame. We love his sister and think she has a bright future. We are hopeful that we just bought a good one.”

As for the price, West said, “We knew we would have to go to war for him. He is by Uncle Mo, who is an incredible stallion, and out of a Grade I-winning mare on the dirt, who was quite fast and is a proven producer with Spice is Nice. Todd has the 2-year-old Medaglia out of the mare and he likes him. The mare is throwing runners, so we are happy to get him. Hopefully we will see him up here winning a big Grade I race. I am going to tell Bobby he needs to name a restaurant after the Lows now.” @CDeBernardisTDN

West Point Wins Out on Well-Related Tapit Filly

West Point was quite active throughout Monday's opening session, but really made their presence felt when acquiring a Tapit filly out of SP Checkupfroomzneckup (Dixie Union) (Hip 61) for $990,000. West Point partnered on the filly with Scarlet Oak Racing and John Ballantyne's NBS Stable.

“She is a beautiful filly who vetted really well and has a deep pedigree,” said West Point's Terry Finley. “We are really excited to get her. Those are the kind of horses you need to get out of these sales if you have the resources and the partners. We are finding that people are really interested to get into the business. I think that if a benefit to us all.”

West Point bought a total of three horses Monday for a gross of $1.75 million.

WinStar purchased Checkupfromzneckup for $825,000 in foal to one of their flagship stallions, Speightstown, at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale. The resulting foal was 'TDN Rising Star' filly Carribean Caper, who is a perfect three-for-three in her young career. The mare's 2019 Into Mischief filly, now named Bombdiggity, brought $600,000 from Stonestreet Stables at Keeneland September last year. She produced a colt by Quality Road this season. WinStar bred Hip 61 in partnership with Winchell Thoroughbreds, which campaigned her sire Tapit.

“We thought she was one of our nicest yearlings,” said WinStar's David Hanley. “Last year was our highest-priced filly out of that mare. Carribean Caper is a really good filly. She's three-for-three. This was one of our star fillies. She's really classy.”

The Bandoroffs' Denali Stud consigned the filly.

“She was an incredibly popular filly and very well raised by WinStar,” said Denali's Conrad Bandoroff. “She came into the sale great and showed like a queen from day one to day four. These horses are put through the ringer and they have to perform and she did that. She is a really good-minded filly. She was bought by a great team and a great judge. We are delighted for West Point and the team and wish them the best of luck.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Wilsons Take Home Into Mischief Filly

A filly by super sire Into Mischief (hip 71) will be joining the racing stable of California-based owners Holly and David Wilson after selling for $940,000 Monday in Saratoga. Bloodstock agent Christina Jelm, alongside Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, signed the ticket on the bay yearling.

“I have been hired to buy a few horses for Mr. David Wilson a long-time riding client that I had for years,” explained Stevens. “He has hired me to pick some horses out. This Into Mischief filly reminded me exactly of Beholder. I fell in love with her. And I said we need this filly and we got her.”

Stevens was on the phone with David Wilson during the bidding.

“I had David on the phone. I said, 'Let's go.' And he started saying, 'Go, go, go.' We were going a little higher than what we wanted. We were pretty excited.”

The yearling, who is out of graded stakes placed Curlina (Cuvee), will head to Randy Bradshaw's Ocala base and options for the filly are open.

“I talked to Randy Bradshaw prior to the sale. I said, 'I am looking at hip 71, this Into Mischief filly, would you go look at her? It might be a pinhook, might be anything, but I'm sending her to you.' I have known Randy forever. She is going to Randy and we will see what happens.”

The filly was consigned by Mulholland Springs and Jay and Beth Young. John Mulholland purchased the mare, in foal to Big Brown, for $100,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. That Big Brown colt was multiple graded stakes placed Sine Wave. The mare had an Uncle Mo colt sell for $500,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale and an Into Mischief colt sell for $550,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale before selling for $1 million to Larry Best at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“She is a very powerful made horse, more like a colt than a filly, like all of the very good fillies often do,” said Martha Jane Mulholland. “She is very correct and balanced with good bone. She looks like she has a lot of speed.”

Mulholland is sticking with a formula that has worked with the mare.

“We still have the mare,” Mulholland said. “We have a full-brother on the ground and she is in foal to Into Mischief and she is booked to Into Mischief next year. It works.”

Of Monday's result, Mulholland said, “I never try to evaluate them too high. It's fun to get excited when they exceed your expectations. And she did. We are very thrilled.” @JessMartiniTDN

Gun Runner Colt to WinStar

Gun Runner's quick start on the racetrack continued to pay dividends in the sales ring when WinStar Farm purchased a colt by the freshman sire (hip 76) for $850,000 during Monday's first session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.

“Gun Runner has obviously had a big weekend,” WinStar's Elliott Walden said of the yearling's appeal. “We actually raised Gun Runner a little while for Besilu and we had him at the farm for a little bit. And this colt is out of a Tiznow mare and I saw a lot of similarities to both. So we really liked him.”

The bay colt is the first foal out of Dayfa (Tiznow) who is from the Ned Evans family which also produced Gun Runner. Dayfa is a daughter of Dance Quietly (A.P. Indy), who is a half-sister to Horse of the Year Saint Liam and to Quiet Giant, dam of Gun Runner.

The yearling was bred by Don Alberto Corporation, which purchased Dayfa for $250,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September sale.

Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm was active on both sides of the leger Monday, selling a filly by Tapit (hip 61) for $990,000 and a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 70) for $525,000.

“I think the market is very strong,” Walden said. “We sold a Tapit filly very well and an Uncle Mo colt nicely. So I think it's a good, solid market.”

Walden continued, “We brought some really nice horses up here to sell and it's rewarding when they sell well. David [Hanley] and Donnie Preston do a great job getting these horses ready and they presented themselves well. And we have a couple more to sell as well.” @JessMartiniTDN

Hudsons Aim High with Justify Colt

The Hudson family's Hoolie Racing Stable, which had almost immediate success when winning the 2017 GIII Schuylerville S. with Dream It Is (Shackleford) with its first crop of yearling purchases, made a splash Monday at Saratoga when purchasing a colt by Triple Crown winner Justify for $825,000. The yearling (hip 45) was consigned by Sequel New York, as agent for breeders Chester and Mary Broman.

David Hudson, bidding out back alongside bloodstock agent Travis Durr, signed the ticket on behalf of his father Greg and brother Andrew.

“I'm not sure yet,” Hudson said when asked the plans for the yearling. “My brother Andrew runs all of our racing operations. Travis helped us pick him out. He's a really nice-looking New York-bred colt. We are going to give it a shot and see what happens.”

Of the yearling's final price, Hudson admitted, “He's just a good-looking horse that we really liked, so we definitely spent more than we usually would. We will try it and see. We may learn a valuable lesson. An expensive lesson.”

Hip 45 is the second foal out of the Bromans' GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint winner Bar of Gold (Medaglia d'Oro). The mare's first foal, Coinage (Tapit), was a $450,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by DJ Stable last year. The colt broke his maiden at Belmont in June and was third in the recent Rick Violette S.

“I trained Bar of Gold, I trained his grandmother. I have been blessed to have Mr. Broman's horses for a long time,” said Sequel's Becky Thomas. “Mr. Broman is a New Yorker through and through. We have several horses in the Keeneland sale. This horse I thought was special and I knew that Mr. Broman would have the opportunity to see him here.”

The $825,000 yearling was the highlight of a strong set of results for the first crop of Justify. The Triple Crown winner was also represented by a $625,000 filly (hip 90); a $470,000 colt (hip 81); and a $350,000 filly (hip 83). @JessMartiniTDN

Blue Devil Racing Strikes for Uncle Mo Filly

Marc Holliday's Blue Devil Racing made quite a splash at Saratoga Monday, going to $700,000 to acquire a filly by Uncle Mo (Hip 82). Trainer Carlos Martin signed the ticket on his client's behalf.

“Uncle Mo has been a fantastic sire,” Martin said. “We saw a couple of fillies that we liked, but we got outrun early in the sale. We went back and reloaded, had a couple of Macallans and we came back a little stronger this time. We thought we would have her around the $500,000 range, but someone made a real run at us. I am so happy.”

Hip 82 is out of the unraced Dreaming of You (Pioneerof the Nile), who was purchased by breeder Phoenix Thoroughbreds for $500,000 at Keeneland November in 2019 with this filly in utero. The bay, currently named Dreaming of Mo, is the mare's first foal and she has since produced a Justify colt. Dreaming of You is a half-sister to MGSW Justwhistledixie (Dixie Union), who has produced the likes of GISW New Year's Day (Street Cry {Ire}), MGSW Mohaymen (Tapit), GSW & GISP Enforceable (Tapit) and GSW Kingly (Tapit).

“She ticked all the boxes,” said Martin. “Justwhistledixie is under the second dam and it doesn't get better than her. Hopefully she can make her ticket as a racehorse. She is a collector's piece. You always want to try to get those horses, but they are hard to get.”

Blue Devil Racing also purchased Hip 29, an Into Mischief filly, for $325,000 post-sale Monday through agent David Hayden.

“We wanted to buy some quality fillies tonight,” Martin said. “We bought another one, Hip 29, and we are going to send that one to Joseph O'Brien because we want to start having horses in Europe. I said, 'Mark, I've been your trainer for the last 10 years. You need to by me a nice filly.' He said he would, so I am really pleased.”

Saratoga has a special place in the hearts of Martin and Holliday as Blue Devil homebred and Martin trainee Come Dancing (Malibu Moon) won both the GI Ballerina S. and GII Honorable Miss H. at this oval. Come Dancing has since retired to the Blue Devil broodmare band.

“We had some luck with Come Dancing and Mark started getting more and more into the commercial breeding,” Martin said. “Saratoga has always been a special place.”

He continued, “We want 10-15 mares. We are going to add and subtract every year. We will probably keep the fillies, sell the colts. We have a couple fillies on the list tomorrow too. As long as Mark has a couple whiskeys upstairs, we will be good.”

Hip 82 was offered by Denali Stud, who was one of the leading consignors Monday with seven yearlings grossing $4 million with an average of $571,429.

“That filly is a big, strong filly,” Denali's Conrad Bandoroff said. “She looks like the kind who could take you to the First Friday in May. I knew Carlos was in love with the filly. He had some strong competition and I am thrilled for him that they got her.”

He continued, “We've been very fortunate. We had some nice horses tonight and had a pretty memorable night. You bring something in that is perceived quality and there is a lot of competition for it.”  @CDeBernardisTDN

South Point Comes Out Running at Saratoga

The South Point Sales team did their absent leader Mike Recio, who is battling sepsis in Kentucky's Central Baptist Hospital, proud early in Monday's opening session, selling a colt from the second-crop of Gun Runner (Hip 24) to Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable for $550,000. He was the highest-priced yearling ever sold by South Point Sales.

“It is really special being up here in Saratoga,” said South Point's Sale Coordinator Justina Severni. “I hope we did Mike proud up here. I think we did, especially with that one. He was owned and bred by a longtime client, Blackstone Farm, so we just want to thank them for believing in us and trusting us to sell him well.”

Blackstone Farm acquired the Pennsylvania-bred colt's dam Wembley (Bernardini) for $65,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale carrying her first foal by Hard Spun. She is a daughter of GISW Game Face (Menifee) and a half-sister to GSP Coliseum (Tapit). Blackstone Farm was also represented by a $625,000 Justify filly (Hip 90), who was purchased by MyRacehorse.

“It is difficult to expect $550,000 for a yearling, but he has been straightforward since he was a foal,” said Blackstone Farm's Christian Black. “He has always been lovely and never gave us any problems. When you go out in the field he catches your eye.”

Bloodstock agent Michael Hernon signed the ticket on the Jacksons' behalf. It was his first time acting as agent for the longtime owners.

“Several weeks ago I was asked to do an appraisal by Roy and Gretchen Jackson and then they said, 'Hey, if you see something you like up at Saratoga, let us know.' So, that is how it came about,” Hernon said. “They liked the horse a lot and he passed the vet very well. He has a strong pedigree and looks the part so now all he has to do is run fast.”

Hernon continued, “He has a lot of bone and substance. He is a very correct, well-made and good moving horse. He was very consistent in his showing. The stallion speaks for himself. He is the leading freshman sire and looks like he could be a very serious stallion. This horse strongly resembles him. He is very positive mentally. He is a very good prospect.”

Gun Runner got a major boost over the weekend when Pappacap captured the GII Best Pal S. at Del Mar Saturday and Wicked Halo scored a decisive victory in the GII Adirondack S. across the street from the sales pavilion Sunday.

Click here to donate to a GoFundMe to benefit the Recio family. @CDeBernardisTDN

The Schvagen Continues to Reward Arnold

Buck Pond Farm's Doug Arnold purchased a yearling by Matty G for a bargain $2,900 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale and, while he had very modest success with the filly on the racetrack, The Schvagen has more than rewarded the breeder as a broodmare. The dam of Fancy Dress Party (Munnings) was represented in the Fasig Saratoga sales ring Monday by a full-sister (hip 8) to that graded stakes winner who sold for $450,000 to Frank Brothers and Jason Litt and Alex Solis.     “I loved the pedigree,” Arnold said of the mare's appeal in 2004. “It's the family of Mia Farrow and Blushing Groom deep down. I bought her from Darby Dan and the horse had an OCD in an ankle and they didn't think she'd be able to run. So I didn't pay much money for her. I called Wayne Sweezey the next day and I said, 'Wayne, we have a problem.' And he said, 'What's that?' I said, 'That filly doesn't vet, she's got an OCD and I want to turn her back. But I was just kidding. I loved her.”

The Schvagen won twice in four starts and earned $26,730. Her second foal was Panamanian stakes placed Neyra's Dancer (State City).

“I knew if she could produce a stakes horse by State City, we'd be in good shape,” Arnold said.

The Schvagen also produced stakes winner Will Munnings (Munnings).

“I love the people at Ashford and I love Munnings. I always loved that La Troienne family which he is from,” Arnold said.

Hip 8 reminded Arnold of her full-sister, Fancy Dress Party.

“She was very similiar,” he said. “She was a little bit smaller, but she hit the ground nicely. She looks like an athlete, like she will be ready a little earlier than Fancy Dress Party.”

Solis and Litt purchased Fancy Dress Party for $280,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale and, racing for the Roth family's LNJ Foxwoods, the flashy dark bay won the 2019 GIII Beaumont S.

As for The Schvagen, Arnold said, “I still have the mare. We bred her back to Munnings, but didn't get her in foal. She has a Justify colt by her side. I am hoping we can continue on. The dilemma for breeders is that this is a filly that I would have loved to keep. But you can't. But as the mare gets older, you want to keep something out of her. But you don't want to keep just a horse that is no account.”

Arnold said he plans to breed the mare back to Munnings next year. @JessMartiniTDN

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