By Christie DeBernardis
There are just two mares being offered in foal to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale and what many are calling the “Pharoah Factor” could give them a boost in the sales ring.
Mares in foal to the Triple Crown winner sold for an average of $410,416 in 2017, topped by $1.25 million KEENOV buy Life Well Lived (Tiznow). His first crop of weanlings averaged $467,307 at last year’s November sales with a half-sister to Bodemeister topping the list at $1 million. American Pharoah’s yearlings have been equally well received already with a half-brother to MG1SW Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) bringing $1 million just a few weeks ago at Keeneland January.
Touch and Smile (Ghostzapper) was originally the only mare being offered at Fasig-Tipton in foal to American Pharoah prior to the addition of the supplemental hips. Campaigned by Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners and trainer Wesley Ward, Hip 494 retired with a record of 10-3-2-3 and $76,240 in earnings. The stakes-placed mare put in her final workout May 22 and was bred to the three-time Eclipse winner June 14.
“We were trying to pick off a stake with her,” said Ward, who is a partner on the mare. “She was more of a Polytrack horse than anything else. She had been in training a long time because unfortunately she missed in the race we had pointing for at Turfway and was just placed. She was a little bit over the edge, where she may have needed a break and it was at a bad time with what to do next [so we retired her]. I talked to Sol about it and he thought it would be a good idea to go to the greatest horse of modern times. Unfortunately, she got a very late cover date, but she is in foal to a great horse and we will see what happens.”
When asked why they chose the February sale over January or November for the 5-year-old mare, who will be consigned by St. George Sales, Ward said, “We could go late because she was bred so late as well. She can stand out because of American Pharoah and originally was the only [mare in foal to American Pharoah] in the sale. She is a nice looking mare and hopefully with the Pharoah factor, it will be a nice foal. We will see what happens.”
Darby Dan Farm will consign a late addition to the sale in Conquestadory (Speightstown), who is also in foal to American Pharoah with a May 19 cover. Bred by Eugene Melnyk, the 7-year-old is a daughter of Christie Village (Deputy Minister), a half-sister to MGISW and blue hen mare Take Charge Lady (Dehere), who is the dam of champion Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) and GI Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy).
Global Thoroughbreds signed the $85,000 ticket for the unraced mare, who sold in foal to Candy Ride (Arg) as part of the Conquest Stables dispersal at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. They partnered with Three Rivers Farm and bred her back to American Pharoah after she delivered her Candy Ride colt, which was her third foal by that Lane’s End sire.
“She is from the family of Take Charge Lady and is a very balanced nice-looking filly,” said Dr. Gustavo Vautier, who is an advisor for Three Rivers Farm. “They have a baby by Candy Ride and we bred her back to American Pharoah. I advised my client to go and sell now because of how the market is.”
Like Ward, Darby Dan’s Director of Sales Hunter Houlihan said he thinks the “Pharoah Factor” will give Hip 533 an edge.
“I think she should be very well received given her pedigree and the American Pharoah factor,” Houlihan said. “I saw an ad in the TDN just the other day where Coolmore was touting a pretty stout foal average just from that first group of American Pharoah babies. The mare’s female family is one you struggle to get into and families like that are only on offer so often. When they are, people realize they have to pay a premium.”
The Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale will run Feb. 5-6 with sessions starting at 10a.m.