Medaglia d'Oro Dominates As Record-Setting FTSAUG Sale Concludes

Hip 196 | Fasig-Tipton photo


SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale was dominated during its first session Monday by the young gun stallion American Pharoah, but it was the established sire Medaglia d'Oro who took center stage with three seven-figure yearlings as the sale concluded Tuesday night with an all-time record gross. The auction also produced its second-highest average and a record-tying median.

“[The record gross] doesn't happen without the trust and confidence of the best breeders, the best pinhookers, the best consignors in the world,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. said at the close of business Tuesday. “The quality of horses that we had on the sales grounds this week was fantastic. You all heard the same rave reviews that we heard and it truly was a tremendous group of horses. I fully expect to see future catalogue covers stacked with outstanding graduates from this sale. But again, it doesn't happen without the support and trust and confidence of the men and women who own those horses, and raise those horses and consign those horses.”

The Saratoga sale, which had two million-dollar transactions in 2017, had five this year, led by a $1.35-million son of Medaglia d'Oro (hip 196) who was purchased by the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds, Robert Masiello, Chris Larsen and Siena Farm. A filly by the Darley stallion (hip 204) sold for $1.3 million to Phoenix Thoroughbreds, while Lael Stables secured a second filly (hip 143) for $1 million.

During Monday's opening session, a filly by American Pharoah (hip 26) sold to Larry Best's OXO Equine for $1.2 million and a colt by the Triple Crown winner (hip 62) sold to Coolmore's M V Magnier for $1 million.

In all, 170 yearlings sold during the two-day auction for a total of $62,794,000. That bettered the previous record gross of $62,412,000 set in 2001. The average was $369,376–up 8.7% from 2017 and second highest in sale history behind the 2001 figure of $385,259. The $300,000 median tied the figure set in 2017.

Buyers were largely in agreement that the offerings at the 2018 Saratoga sale were among the best many had seen in years.

“The market is very strong,” said the China Horse Club's Mick Wallace. “It's very healthy. Everybody knows you have to bring a nice horse up here. You have to bring a horse that vets well and is a good physical type because the market is selective and there are thousands of them to come. The vendors are very smart people and Fasig has done a good job. This is my fifth year here and I think this is the best bunch of horses I've seen here.”

Bloodstock agent David Ingordo agreed.

“It's been very competitive,” Ingordo said of the market in Saratoga. “Fasig-Tipton did an amazing job of putting together a great catalogue. I think the individuals were the best I've seen in the last 10 years in a select catalogue. They did an amazing job.”

The auction was held just months after the passing of Bill Graves and Browning paid emotional tribute to Fasig-Tipton's longtime vice president.

“We were obviously missing, in person, a key person on our team,” Browning said. “But I think he was with us throughout the selection process and putting the catalogue together. We barely established a record, a couple of thousand dollars is what the gross exceeded the previous record by. I don't know if you believe in divine intervention or not, but I'm not going to ask any questions.”

Medaglia d'Oro Dominates Saratoga Finale

Medaglia d'Oro, who has enjoyed a stellar year in the sales ring in 2018, produced a tour-de force-performance in Saratoga Tuesday night. The Darley stallion was represented by the session's top three prices–all seven-figure yearlings–including the auction's $1.35-million topper.

“It's very difficult to have a million-dollar horse, it's even harder to have three million-dollar horses in a night,” said Darley's Dan Pride. “It's reflective of the diversity of the stallion. He gets them by any gender, colts, fillies, distance, surface. And they look the part when they show up at the sale. It's been a thrill to have him at the farm. Sheikh Mohammed wants the best stallions on the roster and certainly he fits the bill.”

Medaglia d'Oro dominated the 2-year-olds in training sales this spring; he had the $1.2 million co-topper (hip 9) at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale and topped the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale with another $1.2-million colt (hip 565). He was on the top of the leader board again at OBS April when a filly (hip 1197) sold for $1.1 million. His 6-year-old daughter Mrs McDougal (hip 781A) started the year off with a bang when topping the Keeneland January sale at $1.6 million.

Of the outstanding results, Pride said, “You never know how it's going to line up, but once we went through the sales and looked at all the horses, we saw the combination of pedigree and physical, especially the two-turn Classic types. He's fortunate to throw the physicals and these all had pedigrees to back that up.”

Medaglia d'Oro's 2018 graded stakes winners include Elate, Gyllen, Bolt d'Oro and Enticed. His daughter Wonder Gadot was second in the GI Kentucky Oaks before defeating the boys in the Queen's Plate and Prince of Wales S. @JessMartiniTDN

Medaglia d'Oro Colt Attracts a Crowd

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale found its topper Tuesday evening when Robert Masiello, Chris Larsen, Siena Farms and West Point Thoroughbreds teamed up to acquire a colt by Medaglia d'Oro for $1.35 million.

Masiello, a longtime partner in West Point partnerships, has increasingly gone out on his own, but knew he would need some heavy back-up to acquire hip 196, a son of stakes winner Coco's Wildcat (Wildcat Heir), from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment.

“We knew we were going to have to spend a lot of money, that's why it was a pretty big partnership,” Masiello said before ticking off the partners; “Chris Larsen–we are partners on Berned (Bernardini) who won the GIII Molly Pitcher last week–and Anthony Manganaro who owns Siena Farm and won the [GI Kentucky] Derby with Terry [Finley] with Always Dreaming (Bodemeister). It's a great group of people. But we are over the moon happy right now.”

Masiello did his bidding out back of the pavilion alongside West Point's Terry Finley, who he credited with his growth as an owner in the industry.

“Terry has been a mentor to me for a long time,” he said. “He's been so important to me in my development as a horse owner. I started buying the smallest piece of the least expensive horse that West Point syndicated in 2005. And it's grown from there. Terry has been with me every step of the way. It means a lot that he's supported me so much as I've grown as an owner. It's an honor to do business with him. This horse, he might not break his maiden, he might be a superstar. I think he's going to be a superstar, but 10 times out of 10, I want to go to battle with Terry. I love the guy. He's a mentor to me and I'm happy to be part of this.”

As for a trainer for the sale-topper, Masiello said, “We have to talk about it. It's probably going to be one of the trainers that we use a lot. We'll go over that in the next few days.” @JessMartiniTDN

WinStar Wild for Sale Topper

The $1.35-million sale-topping son of Medaglia d'Oro is the first foal out of stakes winner and graded stakes placed Coco's Wildcat (Wildcat Heir). The mare, with the future sale topper in utero, was purchased by WinStar Farm for $750,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

Asked if he envisioned bringing the sale topper to Saratoga when he was signing the ticket on the mare two years ago, WinStar President Elliott Walden said, “You envision it, but it doesn't always work out that way.”

Coco's Wildcat is from the family of graded stakes winners Friel's For Real and Ryan's For Real and champion Songbird is under her fourth dam. The mare won the 2014 Cassidy S. at Gulfstream Park and was third in the 2015 GIII Adena Springs Miss Preakness S.

“She looked fast and very well balanced and athletic,” Walden recalled of the mare's appeal. “She really looked like a runner. We liked the cross with Medaglia and we were excited about her as a mare for the farm. When you buy mares in foal, you just hope they come out–it doesn't happen that often. Most of the time, the first foal is a little small. This colt has just been a star from day one. David Hanley thought he could be the sale topper and he was right.”

Coco's Wildcat produced a filly by Curlin this year and was bred back to Uncle Mo. @JessMartiniTDN

Patience Pays Off for Phoenix

Amer Abdulaziz's Phoenix Thoroughbreds was active, but a bit quieter than usual during Monday's opening session, buying just four horses with the most expensive being $425,000. It turned out they were just waiting on a certain horse, making their presence known Tuesday when going to $1.3 million for a filly by Medaglia d'Oro (hip 204).

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who was seated alongside Abdulaziz and Phoenix's Tom Ludt during the bidding, will train the filly.

When asked what he liked about her, the Hall of Famer said, “Everything. She is a work of art and a beautiful filly. I don't think you are very likely to find another like her. She has a beautiful pedigree and, obviously, the physical to go with it. I think the filly is special in her own right and we are lucky to have her.”

“This is one we definitely wanted, so we kept the money for tonight,” said Abdulaziz, adding that he was prepared to go higher to secure the filly.

Out of SP Dawn Raid (Vindication), hip 204 is a half-sister to three-time Grade I winner Exaggerator (Curlin), who now stands at WinStar. Winner of the 2016 GI Preakness S., the bay colt finished second in the GI Kentucky Derby in addition to his other two top-level wins that season. Dawn Raid is a half-sister to Canadian champion Embur's Song (Unbridled's Song).

“She had the residual value, she had the pedigree and she had the looks,” said Hunter Simms of Warrendale Sales, who consigned the filly on behalf of breeder Joseph B. Murphy. “She was very well received. We thought she'd bring around a million, so we are very happy with anything above there. They don't come around that often looking like that. The sire had a great year. She is bred on the same cross [over a Vindication mare] as [Queen's Plate winner and GI Kentucky Oaks runner-up] Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d'Oro).” @CDeBernardisTDN

Jacksons Win Out on Popular Medaglia d'Oro Filly

Hip 143, a Medaglia d'Oro filly from the family of the stallion's MGISW Elate, was one of the buzz horses on the sales grounds leading up to Tuesday evening's session and she lived up to the hype, creating quite a stir in the ring before hammering to Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stables for a cool $1 million.

“I thought she was awful nice,” Roy Jackson said after signing the ticket seated alongside his wife and trainer Arnaud Delacour, who will condition the filly. “We thought she would be expensive. We liked the pedigree and liked her physically. She sort of struck us all the way around.”

“We are always stretching,” Jackson said with a chuckle when asked his thoughts on the price. “You always hope you can buy a little cheaper. We always try to buy a few fillies each year to turn into broodmares and she fits the bill.”

Hip 143 is the first foal out of Veracity (Distorted Humor), who was purchased by breeder Fifth Avenue Bloodstock for $460,000 at the 2016 Keeneland Jauary sale. Out of Claiborne's MGSW and MGISP Yell (A.P. Indy), Veracity is a full-sister to SW Cheery, dam of two-time Grade I-winning 'TDN Rising Star' Elate, who recently romped in the GII Delaware H. This year, the 7-year-old mare produced a full-sister to hip 143, who is bred on the cross over Forty Niner responsible for Medaglia d'Oro's Grade I winners Rachel Alexandra, Songbird and New Money Honey in addition to the aforementioned Elate.

“It was right on our expectations,” said Shack Parrish, whose Indian Creek agency consigned the filly. “We thought somewhere between $750,000 and that. The pedigree is absolutely terrific with the Claiborne side of things. She was a really nice filly, exceptional for a first foal. She had all the activity you could want and everything went well.”

The self-described Bourbon County boy added, “We have 18 coming in for the New York-bred sale. Every horse we will sell here this week, but two, are bred and raised at Indian Creek, so that is a good advertisement for us. I am just the guy at the top, but I want to stress it is the staff that does an exceptional job getting us to this point.” @CDeBernardisTDN

'Pharoah,' the Gift That Keeps On Giving For Summer Wind

Summer Wind Farm owner Jane Lyon purchased American Pharoah's dam Littleprincessemma for $2.1 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale, a decision that proved quite shrewd about seven months later when the aforementioned colt became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. The three-time Eclipse winner provided Lyon with a big sales score from a sellers perspective Tuesday when a filly she bred from his first crop (hip 225) sold to Mark Casse, bidding on behalf of John Oxley, for $875,000. Charlotte Weber of Live Oak was the underbidder.

“We are very big fans of American Pharoah,” said Lyon, owner/breeder of the Triple Crown winner's juvenile half-sister Chasing Yesterday (Tapit), who earned 'TDN Rising Star' status after an impressive debut win at Del Mar July 28. “We also love the mare Funny Feeling and her family, so we are very happy. We hope that whomever has purchased her will have all the success in the world.”

Casse was equally as thrilled with his new purchase, saying, “Mr. Oxley bought her. We just loved her. More importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Oxley loved her. I loved her pedigree, it was an outstanding pedigree. American Pharoahs are unbelievable. We are happy to get her. We've been waiting on this one for a while.”

Privately purchased after RNAing for $900,000 carrying a foal by Medaglia d'Oro at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November Sale, Funny Feeling (Distorted Humor) is a full-sister to GISW and young Spendthrift sire Jimmy Creed. Their dam, GISW Hookedonthefeelin (Citidancer), is also responsible three-time Grade I winner Pussycat Doll (Real Quiet). The first foal Funny Feeling produced for Lyon's operation is GSP 'TDN Rising Star' Gato del Oro (Medaglia d'Oro). Her 2-year-old Tapit, American Soleil, colt sold to Yoshizawa Stable for $550,000 at last term's Keeneland September sale.

This was the only yearling Summer Wind had on offer in Saratoga and they did equally well with their lone offering at Fasig-Tipton's July Sale, topping the auction with a $520,000 Flatter colt. (Click here to read a TDN Weekend feature on Summer Wind).

When asked his thoughts on the yearling market, given what he's seen thus far, Summer Wind manager Bobby Spalding said, “I think it is very fair. I think if you have the right horse and they vet, it is very important. The American Pharoahs are obviously selling well and she is a filly we would have been happy to keep to race.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Flay Strikes Early For Familiar Family

Bobby Flay made his presence known early in Tuesday's session, going to $875,000 for a Tapit filly (Hip 137) out of SW and GSP Twirl (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

“I am not surprised at the price, but it could have been more,” Flay said as his advisor James Delahooke signed the ticket. “There is a lot of intrinsic value in her pedigree.”

Hip 137 hails from the family of Flay's Cover Song (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), a graded stakes winner he purchased for $1.6 million at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Her dam is Twirl's full-sister, Irish Highweight and MG1SW Misty For Me (Ire), who also produced English Highweight and MG1SW U S Navy Flag (War Front) and MG1SW Roly Poly (War Front). Twirl is also a full-sister to GSW & MG1SP Ballydoyle (Ire).

“We are already in the family,” Flay said. “I own Cover Song, who is a daughter of Misty for Me. It is probably the hottest family in maybe the world right now. A Tapit filly out of Galileo mare hits me right down the middle. That is the kind of bloodstock I am trying to acquire.”

Consigned by Gerry Dilger's Dromoland Farm, Hip 137 was bred by Vinnie Viola's St Elias Stables, who still own Twirl after she RNA'd for $3.1 million carrying a foal by Curlin at last year's Keeneland November Sale. @CDeBernardisTDN

Honor Code Colt to CRK Stable

A yearling from the first crop of champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Honor Code will be heading to the Southern California barn of trainer John Shirreffs after bloodstock agent David Ingordo acquired the youngster for $850,000 Tuesday in Saratoga on behalf of Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable. Bred by George Krikorian, hip 241 is out of multiple Grade I winner Hollywood Story (Wild Rush) who Shirreffs trained to win the 2003 GI Starlet S. and 2006 GI Vanity International in Krikorian's colors. The yearling, who was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, is a half to stakes winner Miss Hollywood (Malibu Moon) and multiple graded stakes placed Hollywood Star (Malibu Moon).

“It's a family horse,” Ingordo said of the yearling. “My dad, John Shirreffs, trained the mother and I am obviously involved with Honor Code. I was telling [Lee Searing] that the yearling has an uncanny resemblance to what Honor Code looked like as a yearling.”

Shirreffs also trains the unraced half-sister Hollywood Girl (Giant's Causeway), who was purchased by Mayberry Farm for $875,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“She's an outstanding filly,” Ingordo said of the 2-year-old. “It gave us a lot of confidence to come back and buy this one. I thought, as an individual, he was as good as any colt besides a Medaglia d'Oro here.”

Winner of the GI Metropolitan H. and GI Whitney H. in 2015, Honor Code (A.P. Indy) was crowned that year's Eclipse champion older horse. He stands at Lane's End for $40,000.

“They are all well balanced horses,” Ingordo, who serves as bloodstock manager at Lane's End, said of the Honor Codes he has seen. “They have beautiful dispositions with great heads on them. They vet really well, all of their throats are good. All of them look like racehorses, they look like they want to do it.”

Honor Code had seven yearlings sell from nine through the ring at the two-day Saratoga sale for an average of $387,143. In addition to hip 241, the sire was represented by a filly (hip 217) from Anderson Farms who sold to Cheyenne Stables for $460,000. @JessMartiniTDN

China Horse Club & WinStar Continue Their Fruitful Partnership

The China Horse Club and WinStar Farm have enjoyed a very successful business relationship, especially this year, partnering on the likes of undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy), GI Florida Derby winner Audible (Into Mischief) and

GII Tampa Bay Derby victor Quip (Distorted Humor). The two powerhouse operations teamed up again near the end of Tuesday's session, going to $850,000 for a Hard Spun half-brother to GISW Collected (City Zip).

“He's been purchased with WinStar, so we will continue our business relationship with them, which has obviously served us well for the last few years,” the China Horse Club's Michael Wallace said of hip 239. “He made just a smidgeon more than what we were expecting when we talked about it two days ago, but last night and the feeling around the sales ground was pretty strong. There aren't many colts like him, so you have to use your judgment and buy the ones you really like.”

Consigned by Runnymede Farm, who bred the colt with Peter Callahan, hip 239 is out of the Johannesburg mare Helena Bay (GB), who is also responsible for last year's GI Pacific Classic winner and GI Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Collected (City Zip).

“What didn't we like about him?” Wallace said. “We had a few looks at him this week and he handled it really well. The boys had a look at him on the farm. He is raised by a good consignor and good breeder. He has a good brain on him and hopefully that stands him in good stead.”

When asked if the colt would go to Bob Baffert, trainer of both Collected and Justify, Wallace said, “We never make any decisions on that sort of thing now. We will get them home and we will break them like we always do. Those decisions will be made sometime later in the year, coming into the new season.”

The China Horse Club and WinStar Farm were also active, individually, on the selling side. WinStar bred Tuesday's $1.35 million topper, a colt by Medaglia d'Oro (Hip 196). The China Horse Club sold just one yearling during Monday's session, a $775,000 Candy Ride (Arg) filly, who is a half-sister to champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile) (hip 93).

“She is the only one we had entered, so we are happy with $775,000,” Wallace said. “It continues our policy of selling everything we breed. It is important for people to know that they can buy off us. The only way we can do that is by putting everything we have in the market and the market can dictate what they make. The last two years we sold 100% of the horses we offered in Australia and America. We are here to sell them.”


Beck, Rosen Team for Tapit Filly

Andrew Rosen teamed up with Gainesway owner Antony Beck to acquire a filly by Gainesway's super sire Tapit for $850,000 early in Tuesday's second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. Bloodstock agent Hugo Merry signed the ticket on the filly (hip 142) on behalf of the two longtime owners. She was consigned by Gainesway on behalf of breeder Allen Poindexter, who campaigned her stakes-placed dam Kid Majic (Lemon Drop Kid).

“We loved the filly,” Merry said. “She wasn't owned by Antony Beck, but they had her on the farm and loved her all along. When I arrived at the sales grounds, I rang Andrew and told him we needed to try to buy this filly.”

Radcliffe Strikes for More Than Ready Colt

Kerri Radcliffe, who signed for last year's co-topper at Saratoga on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, was in action again Tuesday, going to $500,000 to acquire a colt by More Than Ready on behalf of an undisclosed American client.

“Obviously, I love the stallion–it's pretty well known that I love More Than Ready,” Radcliffe said after signing the ticket on hip 154. “He's a lovely, strong, big-walking colt and he looked like he had a great mind. He comes from a great place in Denali. I love buying off of Craig Bandoroff, he's fantastic. I loved the colt and he stays in America.”

Radcliffe has had success buying offspring of More Than Ready, most notably Nemoralia, who was second in the 2015 GI Frizette S. and third in that year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The chestnut yearling, bred by Stud TNT and consigned by Denali, is out of Brazilian group placed Allez Marie (Unbridled's Song). The mare is a daughter of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly (Summer Squall).

While Radcliffe declined to name her client, she said it was an established American owner who is “very genuine and lovely and they understand racing.”

Also Tuesday, Radcliffe signed the ticket at $185,000 to acquire a filly by Constitution (hip 168) on behalf of Arthur Hoyeau.

“I love Saratoga,” she said. “Who doesn't? Fasig-Tipton does a great job in selecting really nice yearlings. It's great to be in Saratoga. It's got the most amazing buzz. I'd say it's probably the best sale I've ever been to in my life. I love it.”

Radcliffe has a busy schedule mapped out over the next several months.

“I'll be in Deauville, followed by Doncaster, followed by Keeneland, followed by Goffs, followed by Tatts. It's a busy schedule, but it's good,” she said. @JessMartiniTDN

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