Nicolai Hoping Saratoga Sale Topper Just the Start of October Success

Hip 251 | Fasig-Tipton

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Richard Nicolai, who sold the record-setting sale topper at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Mixed Sale Tuesday, hopes the month ends on another high note in the winner's circle at Keeneland where Secret Money (Good Samaritan) goes postward in the Oct. 27 GIII Valley View S..

Nicolai knew he was sending a good horse through the ring when the weanling son of Good Magic was offered at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday, but the breeder admitted he was surprised when the colt brought a sale-record $230,000 from C F Farm.

“I thought he would sell well,” Nicolai said of the weanling, who was consigned by Vinery Sales. “I had a $175,000 reserve on him–not believing that I could hit the $175,000 reserve. But I figured, if I got the $175,000, I would let him go. If I didn't, I would sell him as a yearling. He was perfect in every way. But I was very, very surprised to see him bring $230,000. I thought he was a really good colt–good looker, good mover. His family was OK, it wasn't jumping off the page. It kind of surprised me when he went that high.”

The result provided a quick return on investment for Nicolai, who purchased the sale-topper's dam Popstar (Medaglia d'Oro), with the colt in utero, for $29,000 at the Keeneland January sale earlier this year.

“She is a beautiful mare,” Nicolai said of the 10-year-old Popstar. “She had a Catholic Boy 2-year-old this year and I thought I could get lucky if she hit. And I got lucky because the Catholic Boy 2-year-old finished second in a stakes race.”

Lady d'Oro (Catholic Boy) followed a maiden-breaking victory at Monmouth with a runner-up effort in the July 29 Colleen S. That result, plus the hot streak of Good Magic, prompted Nicolai to offer the weanling Tuesday.

“He was so good looking and all of the people that I consult with said, 'Good Magic is hot right now. You are going to get a premium for him. Take the money,'” Nicolai said. “I am investing a lot of money on other broodmares, so it was good to get a little bit of revenue stream.”

Popstar is currently in foal to Central Banker.

“I brought her back and I had to breed her to a New York stallion to make this colt New York eligible, so I bred her to Central Banker,” Nicolai said. “Next year we are going to send her to Kentucky.”

Nicolai's Fortune Farm bred and campaigned Sue's Fortune (Jump Start), winner of the 2018 GII Adirondack S. He sold that mare for $300,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale, but at the same auction purchased Pantsonfire (Ire) (Sir Percy {GB}) for $70,000. That mare's Gun Runner filly sold for $290,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearlings Sale in August.

“I have about 15 broodmares,” Nicolai said. “And I have another 10 or 15 that I am partners on with Taylor Made. The plan is to keep improving, not more, just better quality. I have done a little of that in the last couple of years. Yesterday, I bought three mares out of that sale. It's a step forward for me–they were young mares and there is a chance to build a family.”

Nicolai is also working on building up his broodmare band from scratch.

“I went out and bought a bunch of fillies as yearlings,” he said. “I have half a dozen yearlings right now this year that I am breaking–all well-bred fillies.”

Heading Nicolai's racing stable at the moment is the 3-year-old filly Secret Money, who he co-owns with Robert Hahn and Matthew Hand. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the bay was third in the July 21 GIII Lake George S. at Saratoga before a one-length victory in the $1-million GIII Music City S. at Kentucky Downs last time out.

“She is doing really well,” Nicolai said of the filly. “She's training  well and we are really looking forward to her.”

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