Oppenheim: Fasig July Yearlings

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Into Mischief | Joy Gilbert Photo

By Bill Oppenheim

Next Monday, July 10, kicks off the Northern Hemisphere summer sale season. The first yearling sale will actually get underway at the Northern Horse Park in Hokkaido, Japan, where 247 yearlings, including 24 by Deep Impact (Jpn) and nine by King Kamehameha (Jpn), are catalogued for Monday, followed by 281 foals scheduled for Tuesday. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, the fifth edition of Fasig-Tipton’s July Horses of Racing Age sale is scheduled for Monday, followed by 296 yearlings for Tuesday’s Fasig July Yearling Sale. Fasig’s July HORA sale has ranged in gross from a high of $8.4-million in 2014 to a low of just under $4-million in 2015; last year’s edition saw 72 HORA sell for a gross just over $5-million, and an average of $70,118.

Like the 2-year-old sales which have dominated the Northern Hemisphere auction market the past four months, last year’s Fasig July Yearling Sale suffered significant drops from the market high in 2015. Two years ago 205 yearlings sold for a total of $20,005,000, a jump of 31% from 2014, and averaged $97,585. This was only 3% higher than the 2014 average of $94,154, but there were 25% more yearlings catalogued in 2015 (332 vs 265) and 26% more sold (205 vs 162).

Last year, however, was not so rosy: with 5% more catalogued, 11% fewer sold (183 vs 205). The clearance rate from the catalogue fell by a full 9%, from 61.7% to 52.7%; the gross fell by 21%, to $15,756,500; and the average dropped by 12%, to $86,101. Now the yearling catalogue is down by 15%, to 296 yearlings catalogued for next Tuesday’s sale. If the sale can return to its 2015 clearance rate and average, we could see around 180 sell, similar to last year, and gross $17-$18 million.

A total of 118 stallions are represented between Fasig July and the Saratoga sale August 7-8, with 223 catalogued for that sale, 12% fewer than the 252 catalogued last year (See accompanying table for complete list. Note that averages in parentheses are first-crop weanling averages for sires with first yearlings in 2017). Combined, the two sales are cataloguing 519 yearlings, 80 fewer (13%) than the 599 catalogued between the two sales last year. Of the 118 sires, about a quarter (29) stood for $35,000 or more in 2015. Those 29 stallions are responsible for just 39 (13%) of the yearlings in Fasig July, but 139 (62%) of the Saratoga yearlings. Of course, that stands to reason as the July sale would hope to average $100,000, while Saratoga averages plus or minus $300,000. Just 12 sires have 10 or more yearlings catalogued between the two sales (six with 3-year-olds and up, three each with first 2-year-olds and first yearlings); of the six with 3-year-olds and up, two of them–Gainesway’s three-time Leading Sire Tapit (10 at Saratoga), and Coolmore Ashford’s Scat Daddy (12 at Saratoga), from his last crop, have none at all at Fasig July. WinStar’s More Than Ready has one in July and nine at Saratoga, and Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Curlin has three in July and eight at Saratoga.

There is a greater distribution of sires at Fasig July: 17 sires have five or more yearlings catalogued for next Tuesday, and we can divide them into three groups: six sires with oldest 3-year-olds and up; six sires with their first 2-year-olds (often a group that is not well represented, so it can be taken as a positive that so many sires with first 2-year-olds have five or more catalogued); and five sires with their first yearlings. Of the proven sires, Spendthrift’s Into Mischief has the most, with 10, while Ashford’s Uncle Mo has nine catalogued from this, his fourth crop. Into Mischief, last year’s Leading North American Sire of 2-Year-Olds and still the leading North American sire by 2014 crop earnings (click here), including 84 winners and 19 Black-Type Horses, has seven more catalogued at Saratoga (17 total), while Uncle Mo, now sire of 28 Black-Type Winners (14 GSW) and 44 Black-Type Horses (28 GSH) with his first foals just 4-year-olds (click here–NA 3rd crop sires, cumulative), has 16 catalogued at Saratoga (25 total). Other sires with 3-year-olds and up with five or more catalogued at Fasig-Tipton are: Ashford’s Munnings (1st 5-year-olds, 5 catalogued); Lane’s End’s Twirling Candy (number two 3rd-crop sire to Uncle Mo, 6 catalogued); and two sires with their first 3-year-olds, Darby Dan’s Shackleford (6) and Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Maclean’s Music (5), sire of GI Preakness S. winner Cloud Computing.

Twenty different sires with their first 2-year-olds have yearlings catalogued to one or both sales, though only six are represented at Saratoga. Claiborne’s Orb (16) has the highest combined representation, with six at Fasig July and 10 at Saratoga. Ashford’s Shanghai Bobby has the highest number at July (9), and has another four at Saratoga. Sepndthrift’s Flat Out has eight at July, none at Saratoga. Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Violence also has six at Fasig, plus three more at Saratoga; Ashford’s Declaration of War has five at Fasig (five more at Saratoga), as does Taylor Made’s Graydar. WinStar’s Paynter has six catalogued between the two sales (four July, two Saratoga), and Darley’s Animal Kingdom has five (two and three).

Animal Kingdom and Shanghai Bobby were among six freshman sires which had the 1-2-3 finishers in two separate 2-year-old filly stakes over the weekend. On Friday night at Churchill Downs, trainer Kenny McPeek completed a 2-year-old stakes double when Sunny Skies (Animal Kingdom) won the Churchill Downs Debutante S., with Upset Brewing (Justin Philip, Castleton Lyons) second, and Waki Patriot (Awesome Patriot, Spendthrift) third. Then, at Santa Anita on Sunday, Lane’s End’s Morning Line had the impressive eight-length winner of the Landaluce S., Surrender Now, with Gorgeous Ginny (Take Charge Indy, now S. Korea) second and Spirit of Shanghai (Shanghai Bobby) third.

Click here to see the TDN North American first-crop sire list, which already looks pretty interesting; we note the current leader is none of the above, but is WinStar’s Overanalyze, a son of Dixie Union (like Union Rags), a dual Grade II winner at two and winner of the 2013 GI Arkansas Derby at three for Repole Stable. He’s had three winners of well-endowed maiden races in New York, including two at long odds-on for Repole Stable. Another one to keep an eye on.

A total of 21 sires with their first yearlings are represented in one or both sales, of which seven have six or more catalogued between the two. Three Chimneys’ Will Take Charge is the North American F2016 (first foals 2016) commercial leader, with the highest entering stud fee ($30,000) and the highest weanling average ($122,200). Champion 3-Year-Old Male of 2013 when he won the GI Travers S. and was beaten a dirty nose by Mucho Macho Man in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, Will Take Charge has four catalogued at Fasig, but is sure to be the dominant first-crop sire at Saratoga, where he has 10 of the 20 catalogued by first-crop sires (four others have two each, two have one each). WinStar’s Fed Biz, whose first-crop weanlings averaged $61,500, nearly five times his opening $12,500 stud fee, has 10 catalogued at Fasig (plus two at Saratoga), to lead first-crop sires by number catalogued at July. Airdrie’s Cairo Prince, the other first-crop market darling, whose weanlings averaged $75,483–over 7.5 times his opening $10,000 fee–has nine in July, plus two at Saratoga. Three Chimneys’ Strong Mandate has six at Fasig (plus two at Saratoga). The 2013 GI Santa Anita Derby one-two are well represented at Fasig: Spendthrift’s winner Goldencents, who put his sire Into Mischief on the map, has six at Fasig, while the race’s second, Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Flashback, has seven–neither is represented at Saratoga. Ashford’s Verrazano also has six catalogued between the two sales, four at Fasig and two at Saratoga. Let the games begin!

Run Away And Hide: We named him the 2017 ‘best value sire on the planet’ at Darby Dan, at $5,000 this year, and look at this: he had the winners of both of the two 2-year-old colt stakes at Churchill and Santa Anita over the weekend, both odds-on. Trainer McPeek kicked off his closing-night Churchill Downs 2-year-old stakes double in the GIII Bashford Manor with the $12,000 yearling Ten City, at 1-2; and trainer Simon Callaghan saddled the $325,000 Baretts 2-Year-Old buy Run Away to win Monday’s Santa Anita Juvenile, at 3-5. Run Away And Hide is now #4 on the North American Leading Sires of 2-Year-Olds list (click here), behind the unbelievable Scat Daddy, California Chrome’s also sadly deceased sire, Lucky Pulpit, and Claiborne’s second-crop sire Algorithms, who in the last couple of months is beginning to look like a pretty interesting reasonably priced sire for precocity and sprinters. New Mid-Year 2017 APEX Ratings, due out in the next couple of weeks, will tell us more.

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