Malibu Moon Filly Sets New York Sale Record

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Hip 592 | Fasig-Tipton

By Jessica Martini

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The two-day Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale couldn’t match up to its record-setting 2018 renewal, but when the dust settled Monday evening at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion, the auction had seen its fourth straight record-priced yearling. The record bid came from Larry Best, who said he had only seen the filly two hours before he spent $775,000 to acquire the daughter of Malibu Moon from the Winter Quarter Farm consignment.

In all, 186 yearlings sold during the 2019 New York sale for a total of $16,200,000. The average was $87,097-down 18.9% from last year’s record figure of $107,512. The median of $60,000 was down 21.1% from last year’s highwater mark of $76,000.

“It was another strong edition of the New York-bred sale in 2019,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “Virtually every buyer I ran into today was complaining that they couldn’t get anything bought or that they were having to pay significantly more money then they wanted to for the horses they were bidding on.”

With 266 yearlings offered, 80 failed to sell for a buy-back rate of 30.1%. It was 34.6% a year ago.

“The RNA rate showed a pretty significant improvement this year compared to last year which probably led to a decrease in the average price and the median,” Browning said. “All in all, we were coming off an unbelievable jump last year compared to 2017.”

While 74 yearlings brought six figures in 2018, that number fell to 59 in 2019, but the top 20 lots were all purchased by unique buying interests.

“The buyer base continues to be very, very good for this sale and continues to improve,” Browning said. “I thought it was a very strong marketplace, similar to last year. The New York program has matured and, in my mind, is the finest state-bred program in the country.”

Malibu Moon Filly Sets New York Record

Larry Best admitted that he wasn’t planning on shopping the New York-Bred Sale, but when he found himself at the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds Monday, he decided he couldn’t go home without a certain filly by Malibu Moon. Best went to a sale-record $775,000 to acquire the yearling from the Winter Quarter Farm consignment.

“I’ve never shopped the New York sale before,” Best said after signing the ticket on hip 592. “I didn’t even intend to shop today. But I had nothing to do this afternoon, so I came over and looked at some horses and that one caught my eye. It’s a beautiful day. I had other business to do this morning, got done early and felt like I’d come over and look. And here we are.”

The bay filly is the second foal out of Savvy Sassy (Street Sense), a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Southdale (Street Cry {Ire}).

“I love Malibu Moon as a broodmare sire,” Best explained of the yearling’s appeal. “So I look at it from a breeding standpoint, long-term. If she wins some races, that would be really special, but I don’t see very many Malibu Moon fillies that I just fall in love with. This was one that is very athletic, she has a shot at the track, but after racing, I’ll use her as a broodmare. There is a consistency of quality in the filly.”

“That said, it’s a crapshoot,” he added with a laugh.

A colt by Pioneerof the Nile was the previous high-priced yearling at the New York sale, bringing a final bid of $600,000 a year ago. That figure eclipsed the 2017 record price of $500,000 for a son of Cairo Prince.

Of the investment, Best added, “She’s just a beautiful physical and then you look at the pedigree. If you are willing to be patient in the breeding side and you look five or six years out, I should get a good return if I breed her to the right sires. Which I will. I think it was a safe bet. Did I pay more than I wanted to, yes, I was going to be happy around $600,000, but quality costs money.”

The first person to congratulate Best on the purchase was trainer Christophe Clement, who co-bred the yearling along with Richard Leahy’s Oak Bluff Farm.

“Somebody wonderful with a great racing program bought the filly and that’s Mr. Best,” Clement said. “I wish him the best of luck with her. As you know, he has been very successful at different auctions for the last two years and I just hope the filly wins many great races for him.”

Clement, who said he generally owns between two to five mares in partnership, credited the sales success to the whole team behind the yearling.

“The filly belonged to a partnership of Dick Leahy of Oak Bluff Stable and myself and I trained the mare and we made all the decisions together,” Clement said. “The partner is just as good a partner as you can find. He is a very smart man. He believed in the New York-bred program and he has two good advisors in Doug Koch at Berkshire Stud and Don Robinson of Winter Quarter Farm. It’s a great team, which is why it all works out. I am delighted.”

Robinson purchased Savvy Sassy for $150,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Racing for Leahy’s Waterville Lake Stable partnership, the mare won twice in six starts. Leahy’s bloodstock agent John Donaldson signed the ticket at $80,000 to acquire the filly while in foal to Bayern at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. Her Bayern colt, now named Bourbon Bay, sold for $205,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York sale and RNA’d for $240,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale.

Outwork Filly Jumps to the Top in Saratoga

Trainer Jeremiah Englehart, seated alongside Travis Durr and It’s All About the Girls Racing founder Anna Seitz Ciannello, overcame a host of challengers to secure a filly from the first crop of Grade I winner Outwork (Uncle Mo) for $500,000 during Monday’s second session of the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearling Sale.

“She is a filly that Travis really liked and when I went and saw her, she is a really pretty filly,” Englehart said. “I like the sire and I’m glad that we got her. I’ve been outbid on a lot of them, so I was glad to get this one.”

Of the filly’s new ownership group, Englehart said, “Right now, she’s for Travis and I and It’s All About the Girls.”

The yearling (hip 495), consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of her breeder, WinStar Farm, is out of the unraced Light and Variable (Tiznow). She is a half to group-placed Bye Bye Hong Kong (Street Sense) and to recent Saratoga maiden-winning 2-year-old Our Country (Constitution).

“We’re very happy with that result,” confirmed WinStar CEO Elliott Walden. “Outworks continue to be very well received. They just look so much like Uncle Mos and we hope they run like Uncle Mos.”

The WinStar team had considered putting the New York-bred yearling in last week’s select sale.

“We discussed it,” Walden said. “Obviously, she had a big update with Our Country winning up here. So we felt like she would be a filly who would stand out in this sale. That’s one thing we try to do with our younger sires is put them in a position where people will notice them. Being by a first-year sire, it made a lot of sense to have her here. David Hanley makes those decisions and he’s done a great job with it.”

Outwork has plenty to live up to when his first 2-year-olds hit the track next year. His WinStar stablemates include a host of impressive freshman sires, led by Constitution (Tapit), who already has been represented by a pair of graded winners.

Asked if 2016 GI Wood Memorial winner Outwork would be carrying the flag for the WinStar stallion roster in 2020, Walden said, “I hope so. It would be great. We are really pleased with Constitution and Carpe Diem and Daredevil and Commissioner. So hopefully we have a couple more in the pipeline with Speightster, Tourist and Outwork.”

Twirling Candy Colt to Farmer

Longtime owner Tracy Farmer, who enjoyed a career day on the racetrack when his Sir Winston (Awesome Again) won the

GI Belmont S. in June, added a filly by Twirling Candy to his racing stable Monday in Saratoga when bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins made a final bid of $320,000 for hip 617. The bay filly was consigned by Fort Christopher’s Thoroughbreds as agent for Kingsport Farm, which purchased her in utero for $115,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

“We all liked her-[trainer] Mark Casse liked her, I liked her, we perhaps ill-advisedly passed on a couple earlier today for this one,” Collins said. “Tracy really likes the New York-breds he’s got so far this year and he’s had a great year on the racetrack. So let’s hope she is as good as as much as we like her. She’s a bit plain-headed, but we like that. She is a very honest-looking filly.”

The bay filly is out of multiple Grade I placed Soul Search (A.P. Indy) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Journey Home (War Front).

Collins continued to see polarization in the marketplace during the two-day New York-bred sale.

“It’s like all sales now, it’s feast or famine,” he said of the market. “The nice ones make plenty of money and the horses who fall even a little bit below the bar, there is just nobody to buy them. From the consignors point of view, it is a challenge and to some degree from the buyers point of view, it is a challenge because everybody is concentrating on the same horses. This game has become very professionally orientated in the last few years. I think we are all on the same horses. Occasionally, we’ll get lucky and one will slip through the cracks. But on the whole, to buy the nice ones, you have to step up to the plate.”

WinStar Strikes for Constitution Colt

WinStar Farm is plenty familiar with Constitution and struck Monday in Saratoga to acquire a colt by the farm’s leading freshman sire in partnership with China Horse Club for $275,000.

“He’s a very athletic colt. The Constitutions have that athleticism and class. They are very light on their feet. And this colt seemed to be that way,” said WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden.

Out of Polly Freeze (Super Saver), hip 559 was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of breeders Fred Hertrich and John Fielding. Walden has positive associations with the New York-bred sale and Hertrich-bred yearlings, having secured future multiple Grade I winner Diversify (Bellamy Road) from the sale for $150,000 in 2014.

“The last horse I bought out of this sale was Diversify from Mr. Hertrich, so hopefully we can strike again with a Hertrich and Fielding bred.”

Hertrich purchased Polly Freeze, in foal to Wicked Strong, for $75,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. Her Wicked Strong filly, Text Dont Call, who was a $30,000 Keeneland January yearling and a $40,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May juvenile, was second in a Del Mar maiden special weight Sunday.

“That’s about what we thought the market was. There were a lot of people who liked the colt,” Hertrich said. “It helped that his little brother went and ran pretty well yesterday. And Constitution is as hot as any horse on the freshman sire list. It kind of all lined up and he vetted well. Great connections bought him, so we’re excited about that.”

The colt wasn’t Hertrich’s only success in Saratoga with a yearling by a WinStar stallion out of mares he purchased in 2016. Hip 487, a colt by Carpe Diem, sold for $130,000 Monday. He is out of Lady in Shades (Congrats), who Hertrich purchased for $24,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

“I like breeding mares at WinStar,” Hertrich said. “They do such a great job. They are a great entity in the industry at all ends. And they support their stallions.”

Hunter Valley Has the New York Vibe

Hunter Valley Farm, which annually pinhooks a handful of yearlings to the New York-Bred Sale, enjoyed another standout two days in the auction ring.

“Last year wasn’t so pretty, but I knew coming up this year that this was probably the best group of horses that we’ve brought up here,” Hunter Valley’s Adrian Regan said. “They were lovely individuals and the guys at home did a great job prepping them. Fergus [Galvin], who came up here in October, did a great job picking them out.”

Hunter Valley brought five yearlings to the New York sale as part of its Atlantic Bloodstock pinhooking partnership. The farm kicked off the sale with hip 309, a colt by Freud purchased for $58,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton New York Mixed Sale, who brought $150,000 Sunday. Hip 406, a colt by Lemon Drop Kid who was purchased for $45,000 as a weanling, sold for $110,000; Hip 437, a colt by Outwork purchased for $45,000 last fall, sold for $165,000; and hip 506, a colt by Laoban purchased for $65,000 last year, sold for $170,000.

The Hunter Valley consignment sold 10 horses at the New York sale for a total of $971,000.

“Five of them were ours and the rest of them were for clients,” Regan said. “And the clients horses for the most part did very well.

He continued, “I am probably a little biased as to how the market was this year because it was so good to us. But I am not hearing many complaints. I am hearing the nice individuals are selling really well. There is a good demand for horses at the moment. Which is great. We have the big one here in a little while, so it would give you a bit of optimism going into it-cautious optimism.”

Regan said the plan for this year’s New York Mixed Sale will remain the same.

“We’ll do the same again,” he said. “I always stay at home because we have so much going on, so Fergus will come up and shop it, we’ll talk about it in the evenings and in the mornings make a plan. And start praying from there on.”

Sales Success for Mallory

Mallory Mort, longtime manager of Gallagher’s Stud, enjoyed sales success in his own name Monday in Saratoga, selling a colt by Speightster for $210,000 to Brick City Thoroughbreds. The yearling is the third foal out of the unraced Sheet Humor (Distorted Humor), who Mort purchased for $15,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

“She was a $300,000 RNA as a yearling and I thought she might be able to produce some nice yearlings for me,” Mort said of the mare’s appeal four years ago. “I bought her from Denali-Robert Masterson bred her. I bought her in foal to Midnight Lute, who was still pretty cold at the time, so I thought I got her bought at a nice price. She was very young.”

The mare’s Midnight Lute colt RNA’d for $45,000 at the 2017 New York sale, but her second foal, a filly by Central Banker, sold for $35,000 a year ago.

“We had a little bit of bad luck with the Midnight Lute colt, he was a nice-looking colt, but he had a splint. And Midnight Lute hadn’t come back yet. And then, we bred her to Central Banker to make the Midnight Lute a New York-bred. She was a beautiful filly and we sold here for $35,000, which was ok.”

Of the decision to send the mare to first-crop sire Speightster, Mort said, “I saw Speightster at WinStar and he was in my price range and I liked the nick and it worked out well.”

Mort expected big things from the yearling, but admitted he exceeded expectations.

“We loved him at home, but sometimes you can get a little barn blind until they get in among everybody else,” he said. “Once we saw who was looking at him and how many looks he was getting and how many vets he got, we were pretty confident we’d be ok. We weren’t quite expecting this.”

Sheet Humor is the only mare Mort currently owns.

“I bred her to Competitive Edge this year and I was going to sell her in the November sale, but she slipped. So she is barren right now. We’ll breed her back and maybe we’ll sell her next year. Or maybe we’ll just keep her.”

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