Market Momentum Builds with First Ky Yearling Sale in the Books

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Hip 400 | Fasig-Tipton

by Jessica Martini, Brian DiDonato & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY–Fasig-Tipton’s two-day Selected Yearlings Showcase concluded Thursday with solid enough trade–especially on flashier offerings–given the global uncertainty leading up to the first major yearling sale in the year of COVID-19.

The auction, necessitated by the cancellation of the July, Saratoga and New York-bred sales, featured 348 transactions for gross receipts of $61,765,000 at an average of $177,486 and median of $120,000. The buy-back rate was 33.7%.

The sale topper came on Wednesday when Robbie Medina, bidding on behalf of Joe Allen, went to $1.5 million to acquire a regally bred Quality Road filly (hip 232) from the Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consignment.

“I would like to thank the 662 people who own horses and entrusted them with us in a sale that had never been done before. That is one of the greatest compliments you could ever expect, when they entrust something of value to you,” said Fasig-Tipton president and CEO Boyd Browning, Jr. “We demonstrated viability in the marketplace. It is not easy. We all know nothing is easy right now. It’s selective. You’ve heard me say a thousand times over the last 30 years it is selective. But, there is viability and there is hope. I have to take my hat off to my team. If anyone could have imagined six months ago, no Gulfstream Sale, no July Yearling Sale, no Saratoga Sale, no New York-bred Sale and we would be sitting here tonight having sold $60 million worth of horses over the last two days, I would have called BS on it. There were a lot of days people would say, ‘What are we going to do?’ I’d say, ‘Hell, I don’t know.’ We tried to do the right thing every day and we make a decision, we put our heart and soul into it and try to do the best we can.”

Browning, never one to hide his emotions, continued, “This spring, we lost a valuable member of our team, Dennis Lynch. Take COVID, sales cancellations and losing one of your key people, key friends in one year. I am pretty confident Dennis is up there right now mixing a couple of stiff drinks, one for him and one for Billy [Graves]. Dennis said, ‘Hey Billy, our people did a pretty good job.’ And Billy looked at him and said, ‘Yeah, but we taught them everything we knew. They had to do a pretty good job.’ And that is the truth. It is a cumulative effect of people that are here today and people that are no longer with us. We have a great team and their commitment to this industry is remarkable. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the buyers. No one knows what is going to happen tomorrow or a month from now or next year, but people came and supported the industry and bid enthusiastically. They participated in an uncertain time and helped move everybody forward. The resiliency in our industry has been on display again in the past few days. It says something about how special our game is. It has been a very gratifying experience. It’s been a challenge. You think of all the obstacles everybody has had to overcome.”

Wednesday’s session kicked off with a section of New York-breds, but Thursday’s session was all open horses, yielding somewhat higher numbers. The session two average was $196,585 and median was $150,000 on $34,599,000 in gross receipts from 176 sold. The RNA rate was 33.1%.

Thursday’s topper was a $1.25-million American Pharoah colt (hip 400) consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of Bayne and Christina Welker and purchased by Speedway Stables.

A Curlin half-sister to GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner and GI Kentucky Derby fourth Honor A. P. (Honor Code) RNA’d for $1.4 million.

With travel restrictions in place, foreign buyers were notably absent from the results sheets on both days.

“There was an overwhelming amount of horses bought by domestic buyers,” Browning said. “There was an effort made by Fasig, Keeneland, the Breeders’ Cup and the NTRA and Senator McConnell’s office to grant some waivers and we were able to do that. Once we got those waivers in place, there was a quarantine requirement in virtually all of Europe and Japan. It is unrealistic to expect broad participation internationally this year.”

Yearling sales season continues with the two-week Keeneland September sale starting Sunday. Fasig-Tipton will hold the Midlantic Fall Yearlings sale in Maryland Oct. 5 and 6, and action will return to its Newtown Paddocks in Lexington Oct. 26 and 29.

Watch our video with Browning below.

Speedway Stable Fends Off Coolmore for ‘Pharoah’ Colt

A son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was the first to set off fireworks at Fasig-Tipton Thursday, igniting a spirited round of bidding between a trio of powerhouse connections in Donato Lanni, Coolmore and Marette Farrell, acting on behalf of Speedway Stables. Lanni was the first to throw in the towel, leaving Coolmore and Farrell to duke it out and it was Farrell left to sign the winning $1.25-million ticket on behalf of Speedway’s K.C. Weiner and Peter Fluor.

“K.C. Weiner and Peter Fluor are two of the best owners a person could possibly have,” said Farrell, who was shocked to find out she had outbid the Coolmore team. “They are game. They are very successful in their own business world and they apply all of those principles to our little horse world. They have done very well so far. They love being part of the game. They love working with Bob Baffert.”

Consigned by Denali Stud, Hip 400 was bred by Fasig’s Bayne and Christina Welker, who purchased the MSW mare Swingit (Victory Gallop) for $50,000 in foal to Bodemeister at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. Already the dam of MGISP millionaire Neolithic (Harlan’s Holiday) at that time, her second foal for the Welkers was new ‘TDN Rising Star’ Travel Column (Frosted), who was purchased by Larry Best for $850,000 at last term’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale.

“We just thought he was an absolutely stunning horse,” Farrell said. “We were the underbidder on his half-sister last year, who was the ‘TDN Rising Star.’ We had seen this horse on the farm and knew how much his connections thought of him and Bob Baffert, who is going to train him, loved him. I was on the phone with K.C. Weiner, who coached me through this. We are thrilled to get him. We think he is a really special horse and it looks like the mare has already produced a couple of very good horses. He fits what Speedway wants and what Bob Baffert is looking for.”

Baffert and Speedway have enjoyed a successful partnership over the years, campaigning the likes of Grade I winners Collected (City Zip), Roadster (Quality Road) and Noted and Quoted (The Factor). —@CDeBernardisTDN

Watch our interview with Marette Farrell below.

Welkers Strike Again

When Bayne and Chris Welker sold a filly by Frosted for a personal high at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, Chris admitted she had one thought in mind.

“When the filly sold for $850,000 last year, all I thought to myself was, ‘What is the colt going to be worth?’ I tried to keep it in check for a year plus a month because that always creeps into your head.”

By American Pharoah, the colt proved worth the wait when selling for $1.25 million to bloodstock agent Marette Farrell bidding on behalf of Speedway Stables Thursday at Fasig-Tipton.

The yearling is out of Swingit (Victory Gallop), a 16-year-old mare Welker purchased for $50,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. It was just months later that the mare’s son Neolithic finished third in both the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational and G1 Dubai World Cup. He ended that season with another third-place effort in the GI Woodward S.

“I just wanted something that I could sell out of and then Neolithic came along almost immediately,” Welker said of her purchase in 2016. “So that was just a lot of luck with the mare. She had kind of a spotty produce record, so that kept her in my price range.”

Swingit was in foal to Bodemeister when Welker purchased her. That colt sold for $310,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. But it was the following year at Saratoga that Welker had her best sales result–until Thursday–when Larry Best purchased the daughter of Frosted. Now named Travel Column, the filly timed her racetrack debut perfectly ahead of the Fasig Showcase, coasting to a ‘TDN Rising Star’-earning performance at Churchill Downs on Oaks day last week.

“She was awesome,” Welker said of the filly. “But completely different from him. She was very tough, like you want a filly, and this colt was easy from day one. Easy and classy from day one. She was classy, she was just tough. The difference in a good colt and a good filly, exactly what you want to see.”

The American Pharoah colt had originally been targeted to sell at the canceled Saratoga sale, but the extra time may have helped the yearling.

“It was pretty stressful,” Welker admitted. “He was originally going to go to Saratoga, but the extra time was actually good for him. He is a May foal and he was really immature for a long time. We had to let him mature himself. There is nothing you can do to make him look good against January foals except time. So really the COVID [pandemic] might have been a help to give him that extra month.”

Swingit produced a colt by City of Light this year, but is not in foal this year.

“She is barren this year,” Welker said. “She had a mid-May City of Light who is unbelievable, like she always does. She was barren to Audible. But that’s ok, because we had one shot and we had to short cycle her. It wasn’t the best. It’s all fine though, we’ll just regroup a little and get her in foal early. But she is some mare.”

Asked who the mare might be bred to next year, Welker said, “Don’t know. It doesn’t matter who you breed her to. She is going to have a good foal.” @JessMartiniTDN

SF, Starlight & Madaket Get Into More Mischief

Into Mischief has been very good to SF, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables, providing them with last weekend’s GI Kentucky Derby hero Authentic. The team’s bloodstock agent, Donato Lanni, was back in action for another son of that red hot Spendthrift stallion Thursday, going to $800,000 for Hip 501.

“There are some new partners in this deal this year,” said Lanni. “SF, Sol Kumin and Starlight are all great guys. This year we spent a month looking at horses at the farms, myself, Tom Ryan and Caroline [Walsh]. He was a horse we saw at Indian Creek and we quite liked him. He is a very athletic horse. He looked like Practical Joke (Into Mischief), an early, fast horse. Those are the kinds of horses we try to buy.”

As for his thoughts on Into Mischief, Lanni said, “I am happy he got a Classic winner this year and I am happy for B. Wayne Hughes and his team. He is finally a Classic producer and B. Wayne deserved that. He has done so much for the business.”

Mike Ryan purchased Hip 501’s dam Blind Copy (Distorted Humor) for Bob Edwards of e Five Racing and Fifth Avenue Bloodstock for $180,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. This colt was her first foal and she was subsequently sold to Fred Hertrich for $105,000 in foal to More Than Ready at last term’s Keeneland November Sale. A daughter of SW & GSP Lucky Copy (Unbridled’s Song), Blind Copy is a full-sister to SW Lucky Folie.

“He is a horse that we have always been really, really high on,” said consignor Indian Creek’s Sarah Sutherland. “We had hoped to go to Saratoga with him, but obviously that didn’t pan out. So, Mr. Edwards said to bring him to this sale and give it a shot, try to support Fasig. It worked out beautifully. He is going to a great home.”

The horsewoman continued, “He has a great mind. He showed himself the same every single time someone came to look at him. I think that is one of his biggest assets. For a big horse, he is very light on his feet and covers a huge amount of ground. He is bred on the same cross as Practical Joke, so we hope he can run like him.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Watch our video with Sarah Sutherland below.

‘Avengers’ Strike For More Into Mischiefs

On Wednesday it was Spendthrift Farm and MyRacehorse–later additions to the ownership group of Saturday’s GI Kentucky Derby winner Authentic (Into Mischief)–who took home a pricey Into Mischief colt, and on Thursday it was Authentic’s original owners’ turn to grab two sons of the Spendthrift Farm stalwart. Acting on behalf of the powerful partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, et al–nicknamed “The Avengers” by their trainer Bob Baffert–agent Donato Lanni went to $560,000 to secure hip 433. The son of SW/MGSP Twice the Lady (Quiet American) and half to August maiden special weight-winning 2-year-old Run Casper Run (Ghostzapper) was consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Agent XIII on behalf of WinStar Farm.

“He’s an Into Mischief–we got lucky with him last weekend,” Lanni stated plainly. “He’s got everything we’re looking for. We’re happy with the price and happy that we’re here shopping.”

Lanni later landed another son of Into Mischief, hip 501, for $800,000.

When asked to describe him physically, Baffert’s go-to agent said, “This horse is going to change so much from now to next year when we go to the races with him. Hopefully, he stays the way we want him to stay… He’s just got to put the tack on now.”

WinStar general manager David Hanley offered: “He’s a really nice horse, bred to go two turns. He’s got plenty size, and plenty of Into Mischief kind of muscle tone–strength. He’s a very nice horse. We’re happy with the price.”

WinStar paid $350,000 for Twice the Lady at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

While the Avengers were quiet during the first session, they sprung into action on Thursday, acquiring seven colts for a combined $2,820,000, including five youngsters in the span of some 20 hips.

In addition to hips 433 and 501, the stallion-making group also bought:

Hip 342, a $180,000 son of Union Rags out of a half-sister to MGISW Paradise Woods (Union Rags) from Vinery Sales, agent for Spendthrift Farm

Hip 439, by Twirling Candy and bred and consigned by KatieRich Farms. The May 19 foal cost $150,000 and is a grandson of GSP Daisyago (Affirmed), who produced GSP Victory Nor Defeat (Unbridled’s Song)

Hip 445, a $420,000 Uncle Mo out of GSW Walk Close (Tapit), making him a half to last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Anneau d’Or (Medaglia d’Oro). He was consigned by James M. Herbener, Agent II.

Hip 447, a Maclean’s Music from the family of Starlight’s GII Fountain of Youth S. hero Itsaknockout (Lemon Drop Kid). The Denali Stud consignee cost $400,000.

Hip 450, a $300,000 New York-bred son of More Than Ready sold by Indian Creek.

Hip 531, a $470,000 Sam-Son Farm-bred and consigned son of Empire Maker out of MSW Checkered Past (Smart Strike) from a potent family. —@BDiDonatoTDN

Violence Colt to Allen

Robbie Medina continued adding yearlings to Joe Allen’s racing stable when he signed the ticket at $550,000 to acquire a colt by Violence (hip 480) from the Gainesway consignment Thursday at Fasig-Tipton. The chestnut colt is out of Antics (Unbridled) and is a half-brother to sprint champion Covfefe (Into Mischief).

“He’s a beautiful colt and half-brother to a champion,” Medina said of the yearling’s appeal. “Helen Alexander bred him and she breeds a great horse. He’s everything you would want in a new horse.”

Medina, longtime assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey and now general manager at Guinness McFadden’s Blackwood Stables, made the Showcase’s highest bid when going to $1.5 million to acquire a colt by Quality Road for Allen during Wednesday’s first session of the two-day auction.

“Reeve McGaughey and I are helping look for Joe here,” Medina said. “Reeve is Shug’s son and I worked for Shug for 25 years, so it’s pretty easy to deal with. I love looking at horses and bidding on them. The colt will go to Blackwood until the first of December and then to Florida.”

Also Thursday, Medina signed for a filly by Speightstown (hip 448) for $450,000.

In addition to Allen, Medina has also been buying for Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm.

“I have bought a couple for Coach Parcells,” he said. “I’ve bought horses for Coach the last couple of years.”

Alexander said she was happy with Thursday’s sale, especially in light of the uncertain market conditions.

“It’s hard to have outsized expectations right now in this kind of marketplace,” Alexander said. “Without having a lot of the principals here who can sometimes egg on their agents, there is less momentum. The nice horses are selling well, though. That’s always the case.”

Covfefe was purchased by LNJ Foxwoods for $250,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale. The filly won last year’s GI Test S. and GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint and was named Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly and female sprinter.

The 22-year-old Antics has a 2-year-old filly named Caper (Nyquist) which has been retained by Alexander and has been working at Saratoga. The Violence yearling may be the mare’s final foal.

“Of course there is sentiment involved in selling,” Alexander said. “Right now, he is her last foal. She has missed the last couple of years and she is kind of at an age that I am considering retiring her. But I have a really nice 2-year-old filly out of her by Nyquist that is in training and getting close to running. I am excited about her. If this [yearling] was a filly, she would not have been here. I can guarantee you that.” @JessMartiniTDN

Partners Regroup with Gun Runner Filly

Trainer Jeremiah Englehart, bidding on behalf of a partnership headed by Richard Nicolai’s Fortune Farm and It’s All About the Girls Stable, went to $500,000 to acquire a filly from the first crop of champion Gun Runner (hip 570) Thursday in Lexington. Consigned by Gainesway, the filly is out of graded placed Divine Dawn (Divine Park), a full-sister to graded winner Divine Miss Grey. The yearling was bred by Oussama Aboughazale’s International Equities Holdings, which purchased the mare in foal to Nyquist for $285,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

“The first time that Travis [Durr] and I saw her, she just gave us the impression that she was a nice filly,” Englehart said. “She was later in the sale, so we had some other horses that we were looking at. But it worked out that we were able to buy her. I was a little nervous that she might go a little higher. We’re really excited to get a group of people together, Fortune Farm, It’s all About the Girls, Bob Hahn and Eric Johnson and other partners that were involved in a real special filly before and it’s kind of cool to be able to keep them together and have something to look forward to next year.”

In addition to hip 570, Gun Runner was also represented by a colt (hip 430) who sold for $420,000 to Centennial Farms, as well as a $400,000 colt (hip 486) sold to Joe Hardoon, agent, and a $400,000 colt (hip 366) purchased by Maverick Racing. During the two-day showcase, seven yearlings by Gun Runners sold for an average of $331,429.

“I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far from Gun Runner,” Englehart said. “He was one of my favorite racehorses, just watching him. I liked how he developed from early on his career to later on, he ended up being much better as a 4 and 5-year-old then he was as a 3-year-old. I’d like to see my horses develop like that, too. They don’t have to all be first-time out winners. It’s nice to see them develop over a whole career.”

Several of the partners on the Gun Runner filly were also owners in the filly Samborella (Outwork), who looked to be sailing to an easy victory in the Seeking the Ante S. at Saratoga last week only to take some bad steps as she crossed the wire. The filly had to be euthanized later that afternoon.

“It’s pretty much the same group,” Englehart said of the partnership group. “It’s the ultimate highs and lows in the game in a minute and 15 seconds. You go from thinking you have a really nice filly to having her take a bad step. But there are other horses in the barn that are counting on us every day. So we just have to get up the next day and get back at it.” @JessMartiniTDN

Ruis Buys Out Black on Kingman Filly

Mick Ruis partnered up with Christian Black on a mare named Amber Romance (Ire) (Bahamian Bounty {GB}), who Black picked out at Tattersalls March for 200,000 guineas with a Kingman (GB) filly in utero. Ruis liked the resulting filly so much, he decided he had to have her and bought out his partner for $500,000 Thursday.

“I was in partnership with Christian Black,” Ruis explained, adding that the filly would likely be sent to his daughter Shelbe Ruis in California. “He bought the mare when he went to Europe. I just bought out the partnership and will race her. She is beautiful. We have a Hard Spun weanling also. It is pretty rare that we are able to get this family in the first place.”

Amber Romance is a half-sister to Group 1 winners Free Eagle (High Chaparral {Ire}) and Search for a Song (Galileo {Ire}); and MGSWs Custom Cut (Notnowcato) and Sapphire (Medicean).

Hip 473, who is a Pennsylvania-bred, was consigned by Mike Recio’s South Point Sales Agency. Recio and Black teamed up Wednesday to sell a $510,000 son of Nyquist (Hip 297) bred by Black’s Blackstone Farm.

“We went to Tatts in December,” Recio said. “It was our first venture over there and it was more of a fact-finding mission. But, Christian found two very nice mares and I ended up buying a race filly who has done okay for Richard Baltas.”

He continued, “We hadn’t had a great day of finding things, but then we turned the corner and saw this mare with a great pedigree and so much class. Her feet weren’t great, but we figured we could take care of them and manage her. She came over here and had a fantastic filly. Mick supported her with Bolt d’Oro. It is a fantastic family and is getting better and better. It was a really good opportunity all the way around.”

@CDeBernardisTDN

Albaughs, West Point Team Up to Take Home ‘Giant’ Colt

Albaugh Family Stables and West Point Thoroughbreds joined forces Thursday to land a Giant’s Causeway colt to be trained by Dale Romans. The $500,000 purchase was consigned by Wynnstay Sales, Agent I as hip 618. He is a half to hard-knocking MGSW and GISP Isotherm (Lonhro {Aus}) and GISP Gio Game (Gio Ponti).

“We partnered with them for the first time two years ago–they’re great partners, and they’re really a pleasure to work with. And they’re lucky!” said West Point’s Terry Finley, who stood along Albaugh bloodstock advisor Barry Berkelhammer during the bidding process.

Finley noted Dennis Albaugh and Jason Loutsch’s past success with sons of Giant’s Causeway, including GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up and freshman sire sensation Not This Time and MGISW Brody’s Cause, who sired Saturday’s GIII Iroquois S. winner Sittin on Go. Sittin on Go is campaigned by the Albaughs and Romans and was bred by Wynnstay.

“Interestingly, when I first started out, I remember Mariah’s Storm as she walked up to the ring to be sold [for $2.6 million at the 1996 Keeneland November sale] and Giant’s Causeway was in her belly,” Finley recalled. “That’s a lot of years between those two.”

As for hip 618’s appeal, Finley said, “He’s just the kind of horse that Dale has done well with. The Albaughs are obviously trying to get to the Derby. They had some tough luck this year, but I love to be around guys and partners who can put a bad situation in the past and can look forward. They’ve got some great young horses–they won the two [graded juvenile] stakes on Derby week… This is exactly the kind of horse that we try not to buy ourselves and instead try to partner up with people. We’re just glad they gave us a shot to participate.”

Team Albaugh also annexed the GIII Pocahontas S. last Thursday with ‘TDN Rising Star’ Girl Daddy (Uncle Mo). West Point made six additional purchases by itself for $647,000 total.

“I thought the New York-breds were solid–obviously, I don’t think the sellers were that happy, but overall I thought people got square deals,” Finley said of trade overall. “There’s still plenty of money–the world’s not in a depression. The equity markets are still very strong. So, I would surmise that Keeneland’s going to be tough to buy. You just have to be disciplined and do your homework just like everybody, and try to pick the best spots possible.”

Hip 618 was bred by Allen Poindexter, who paid just $8,000 for MSP dam Game for More (More Than Ready) in foal to Bwana Charlie at the Fasig-Tipton Heiligbrodt Dispersal back in 2011.

“This was [Wynnstay’s] Tim Hamlin’s cross–he had thought that this mare and Giant’s Causeway would get the kind of baby who we got,” Poindexter said. “So, I give all the credit to him for doing the mating. We got the physical we wanted.”

As a seller, Poindexter was slightly less bullish on the market: “I think you have to have good horses–it’s still a tough market. Hopefully it’ll improve as we get through with COVID. I think these horses are still bringing 25%-35% less than what they would’ve gotten [normally], but we’re still grateful for what we got given what the country’s going through right now.”

@BDiDonatoTDN

Courtlandt Back in Action

Don Adam’s Courtlandt Farm is perennially active at the top end of the yearling market, and it took home four head this week at Fasig, including a $500,000 Nyquist filly (hip 487) from the Warrendale Sales consignment; and a Medaglia d’Oro filly (hip 560) for the same price out of the Gainesway draft.

“We were thankful to have Mike Cline and David Ingordo do some looking before we arrived, so it kind of made my job a little easier,” said Courtlandt farm manager Ernie Retamoza after bidding alongside retiring Lane’s End manager Cline on hip 487. “We just had to go through some of the better ones and decide the value. I think these are all horses that Mr. Adam is going to love to put in his race program and hopefully be successful with.”

Hip 487 is a half to this year’s GIII Iowa Oaks runner-up Aurelia Garland (Constitution) as well as talented 2015 OBS March topper Diamondsandpearls (Constitution). Her second dam is

GII Alcibiades S. winner Westerly Breeze (Gone West).

Darley resident Nyquist led all first-crop sires last year with a yearling average of $236,318, and those who bought in early have been rewarded–his runners ran one-three in Sunday’s

GI Spinaway S. at Saratoga, one day before a son of his won well in a Spa maiden special weight. Another son of Nyquist annexed Woodbine’s Soaring Free S. a few weeks ago.

“For a first-year sire like that who has done what he’s done over the summer, it sure makes you pay attention to a filly like this,” Retamoza said. “We just loved her–she was a great physical; met all the criteria, so we were happy to have her.”

The Medaglia d’Oro filly is out of a Bernardini half-sister to GISW Heavenly Love (Malibu Moon) and GSW Forever Darling (Congrats).

Courtlandt also bought a $280,000 Distorted Humor colt (hip 264) on Wednesday and a $190,000 Twirling Candy filly (hip 348) early in the day Thursday.

“I think it’s solid,” Retamoza said of the market. “Average horses are not doing well here, but the right horses are selling the way they should. We’ve had to stretch a couple of times for horses we’ve bought. It’s not unexpected, and I think it’s good for everyone.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

McCormack Gets His ‘Share’ Early Thursday

Agent John McCormack appeared equal parts elated and surprised after landing the well-related hip 350 early Thursday for $400,000. From the first crop of brilliant and undefeated Mastery (Candy Ride {Arg}), the Sam-Son Farm-bred and consigned filly is out of 2010 GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Turf upsetter Shared Account (Pleasantly Perfect), making her a half to last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner andTDN Rising StarSharing (Speightstown), whose exploits this term include a second-place finish in Royal Ascot’s G1 Coronation S. and a clear-cut success in last week’s GII Edgewood S. at Churchill Downs.

“I loved her and I’m very surprised I bought her,” said McCormack, noting that the purchase was made on behalf of an existing client and that she would remain Stateside, at least for the moment. “I thought she was an absolute standout here. I loved the class of her; I loved the shape of her; I loved the big ears on her. She was just so elegant. We don’t know what Mastery can do–that’s the unknown–but the mare has done it, [given that hip 350] is out of a Breeders’ Cup winner and a half to a Breeders’ Cup winner. But, she has the physical. For me, I loved everything about her.”

Hip 350 is also a half to stakes winner Riley’s Choice (Distorted Humor). Her dam is a half to GSW Colonial Flag (Pleasant Tap) and hails from a deep family jam-packed with graded performers. The Samuel family’s legendary Sam-Son Farm purchased Shared Account for $550,000 while she was carrying hip 350 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale.

“I just loved her class, and Sam-Son Farm–there’s nothing they don’t know about the horse business,” McCormack said. “They’re great breeders up in Canada, and everywhere. It’s lovely to buy from Sam-Son.”

While Wednesday’s first yearling session of the season started off a bit slowly, it picked up steam as the higher-dollar horses began to sell and McCormack said he expected that momentum to continue into Keeneland September.

“It started off a bit slow with the New York-breds and people were sort of on their back haunches a little bit,” he said of Wednesday’s trade. “But it picked up as the day went on, and I think nice horses are starting to show themselves and with better pedigrees. The money’s coming for them. Put it this way, I’m glad I bought her today, rather than waiting for Keeneland, because I think that momentum is going to continue as we move forward. But she was a filly who fit everywhere. I can’t believe I bought her, because I just loved her.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Lord Nelson Proves Worth the Wait

Three-time Grade I winner Lord Nelson (Pulpit) has been a bit of a passion project for the team at Spendthrift. He developed laminitis shortly after retiring to B. Wayne Hughes’ stallion barn, forcing him to miss his first breeding season. The chestnut fought his way back and was represented by his first yearlings at Fasig Thursday, topped by a $325,000 colt.

“Lord Nelson has been a special project from day one having developed laminitis right after his racing career,” Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey said. “At one point, it was touch and go on whether or not he was going to make it. We had to skip his first breeding season all together. The horse is so tough, so smart and such a kind horse. He is a big part of why he was able to even make it. He is such a good-looking horse and so talented.”

Consigned by Four Star Sales on behalf of Spendthrift Farm, Hip 624 was purchased by John Fort, who also bought Lord Nelson as a yearling at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale. Spendthrift privately purchased Lord Nelson at the conclusion of his sophomore season and he won all four of his starts carrying the operations purple-and-orange silks, including his trio of Grade I sprint victories.

Spendthrift purchased Hip 624’s GSP dam Goldrush Girl (Political Force) for $210,000 in foal to More Than Ready at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale. She hails from the family of Grade I winners Daredevil and Albertus Maximus.

“What we are seeing at this sale is what we thought we had all along, so it is nice to see him getting to this point,” said Toffey. “We bred some very nice mares of our own to him and have been very happy with how they have been received, how they sold and who bought them. They are getting into the right hands and we are really happy about it.”

A total of 11 yearlings by Lord Nelson changed hands during the two-day Fasig-Tipton sale for a total of $1.475 million and an average of $134,091.

Spendthrift’s flagship stallion Into Mischief has been having a sensational sale, fresh off his first Classic victory with Authentic in last weekend’s GI Kentucky Derby. Seventeen of his offspring sold for $6.745 million throughout the two sessions, averaging $396,765.

“Into Mischief is just such an amazing horse,” said Toffey. “He is so consistent. He just does everything right. He gets really commercial, good-looking horses. He gets really talented horses and now he has shown that he can get a sprinter as well as a stayer. That was sort of the last box he had to tick off. Goldencents has done so well. He has demonstrated that he can be a sire of sires as well as a Classic sire. I don’t think there is anything else you can ask a stallion to do.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Krikorian Takes Curlin Filly Home

Late in Thursday’s second session of the Fasig-Tipton Showcase, it looked like the auction might have its third seven-figure yearling, but hip 648, a Curlin half-sister to GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A. P. (Honor Code), was led out unsold at $1.4 million. Breeder George Krikorian watched the bidding from inside a nearly empty pavilion, even taking a video of the yearling in the sales ring.

“She was close to selling, but we were hoping to get a little bit more for her,” Krikorian said. “She is such a special horse and she’s so well-bred. With a racing career and a few foals, she will easily exceed what we were willing to sell her for here today.”

Krikorian purchased Hollywood Story (Wild Rush) for $130,000 as a yearling at the 2002 Fasig-Tipton July sale and she went on to win the 2003 GI Hollywood Starlet and 2006 GI Vanity International S. in his colors.

As a broodmare, Hollywood Story has produced a $1.35-million Keeneland September yearling, as well as foals who sold as yearlings for $650,000, $550,000, and $875,000.

CRK Stable purchased Honor A.P. for $850,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale. In addition to the Santa Anita Derby, the sophomore was second in the GII San Felipe S. and Shared Belief S. and was fourth in last week’s GI Kentucky Derby.

Hollywood Story was also represented on the racetrack by multiple graded stakes placed Hollywood Star (Malibu Moon).

The 19-year-old mare produced a filly by Tapit this year and was bred back to Triple Crown winner Justify.

“I’m very happy to take her home,” Krikorian said of the yearling. “We haven’t thought about a plan for her yet, but we’ll just move forward with her career. And we’ll look forward to racing her. We hope she stays healthy.” @JessMartiniTDN

Lanni Eyes Classic Double in Queen’s Plate

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, part of the team which picked Authentic (Into Mischief) out at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, stood in the winner’s circle when that colt won the GI Kentucky Derby last week. But the Montreal native could win a more personally meaningful Classic when Clayton (Bodemeister) lines up for the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine Saturday. While he helped purchase Authentic for the partnership of SF Bloodstock and Starlight West, Clayton was a horse the agent purchased in his own name for $50,000 at the same sale.

“He looked like a cool horse,” Lanni said of Clayton while taking a quick break from another buying spree for SF, Starlight and Madaket Racing, at the Fasig Showcase Thursday. “I was looking for a Canadian-bred to take up there and have some fun with my friends and family. I have a lot of family and friends up there and it was something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Clayton started showing promise early in his training with Barry Eisaman in Ocala and opened his career with a 7 1/2-length debut win at Woodbine last November. He earned a spot in the Queen’s Plate with a half-length tally in the Aug. 15 Plate Trial S.

“We took our time with him and then when he won first time out back in October, we knew he was a runner,” Lanni said. “I ended up turning some money down for the horse because he’s a horse I share with my family and friends. [Trainer] Kevin Attard has done a great job with him-he’s one of the most underrated trainers in North America.”

Among the partners on Clayton are eight friends from Lanni’s school days in Montreal, all first-time owners, and his father Giuseppe, who owned harness horses when Lanni was growing up and helped nurture his son’s love of the sport.

Lanni purchased Clayton with the hope of spending days at the races with friends and family, but those plans have been squashed by the pandemic. While Lanni will be home in Kentucky for the Queen’s Plate, his colt’s co-owners will be at the track for what will be an emotional day as the elder Lanni battles health issues.

“I’m so happy I get to share this with him and it’s nice that he gets to go,” Lanni said of his father. “He got me involved in racing. I gave him a piece of the horse, so he gets to feel like it’s his horse, too. It is helping him keep going. Horses do that for people.”

Lanni continued, “Being Canadian, the Queen’s Plate is so special. It’s such an historic race. I never thought I’d be in a position to have a horse like this.”

Lanni worked at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms for over two decades and one of the horses Clayton will face in the Queen’s Plate is Curlin’s Voyage (Curlin), a filly co-owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale.

“He is going to run against one of my good friends, John Sikura, who I worked for for 20 some years and it’s ironic we both have horses running in the Queen’s Plate,” Lanni said. “I will be the first guy to congratulate him if he wins and I’m sure he’ll be the first guy to congratulate me. We both wish each other the best of luck.”

Of a possible Classic double, Lanni said, “I don’t think about it. It’s just part of the job. We try to find them and then the chips fall where they fall. You’ve got to get lucky. If you look what happened in the Derby, how many scratched, you just don’t know what’s going to happen until they put them in the gate. You just have to consider yourself very lucky, very fortunate and very blessed to be there.” @JessMartiniTDN

What They’re Saying

“It is hit or miss. I think Fasig did a great job with the catalogue and picking out physicals. They always do. The New York-breds were tough. There is nothing like Saratoga. That was a little rough. I did get all three [New York-breds sold], but I think I would have gotten two to three times more up there under the lights. It is kind of hard to compare a Freud with a Kingman in the same shedrow or the [$510,000] Nyquist colt with a very good Mucho Macho Man New York-bred. I don’t know what the right venue would have been or if maybe they should have mixed them in the catalogue or put them at the back to let the sale get some momentum. The sale got strong yesterday and was pretty good today for the right ones. It is a mix of July, Saratoga and New York-breds, so it is pretty hard to gauge. The top end is going to be electric and I think as you get later in the sale, you have to have a good physical and vet or you are going to struggle a little bit.” –Mike Recio, South Point Sales

“I think the perceived good horses are making a ton of money, the same as normal. But, I think, as time goes on, there is going to be a point where it falls off the cliff, sadly. The good ones each day will sell well, but the under-the-radar horses may not have the people they hope for, so that is where I’m going to be.”

Agent Marette Farrell

“The horses that we like have sold well. It seems like the higher-end market is still there, but you can definitely tell people are being a little cautious because 2020 has just been a very strange year. There is a lot of uncertainty still and we don’t know how it will be next year. But it gives you a little hope that the sales are still looking pretty strong.” –Trainer Jeremiah Englehart

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