Records Fall at Midlantic Sale

by Jessica Martini
The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, which produced its first seven-figure transaction during Monday's session, concluded with a sale record average and median Tuesday in Timonium, Maryland. 

“What a great sale–it was great from beginning to end on both days,” Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales director Paget Bennett said at the close of business Tuesday. “We had people here from beginning to end and had money here all day.” 

Through two sessions, 255 juveniles grossed $22,659,000. The average was $88,859–up 49.1% from a year ago when 329 horses sold for $19,601,000 and an average of $59,578. The median was up 45.2% to $45,000. 

“We knew we were going to have a great sale, but to hit the million-dollar horse and to have the strength in numbers that we had with the prices and the buyers and the new buyers who have never purchased here before is huge,” Bennett continued. “It was not just the same people, the usuals, but to have plenty of new names on the summary is great.” 

Tuesday's session was topped by a filly by First Samurai (hip 366). Consigned by Eisaman Equine, the juvenile sold for $475,000 to Texan Tom Durant. The filly was one of four to sell for over $400,000 on the day. A total of 13 horses brought $200,000 or more Tuesday and there were 31 over that mark for the entire sale. Sixteen reached that level a year ago. 

The depth of the Midlantic buying bench impressed consignor Justin Casse. 

“I think this sale demands a lot of respect,” Casse said. “There are people here to buy horses from the $30,000 level all the way to $1 million. It's very similar to what we witnessed at OBS April. Obviously there is a smaller catalogue here, but there is just as much variety. The buyer base is here to support that. I'd say that one of the most refreshing things about this sale when you look at the top 20 horses, you'll see so many names you haven't seen this year. And that's nice, because this is like the traveling circus, we all run into the same people. So it's nice to see new money and new faces popping up and spending on the highest end and on the middle and lower end.”

The 2015 Midlantic catalogue cover was graced by recent graduates and Grade I winners Bayern (Offlee Wild), Dortmund (Big Brown) and Materiality (Afleet Alex). Bennett is already hoping for an equally strong cover in 2016. 

“The sale has continued to grow with every year and I think the 2015 edition will show everyone that you can bring any kind of horse here and expect to be rewarded,” she concluded.

First Samurai Filly to Durant

Trainer Randy Morse, bidding on behalf of Tom Durant, went to $475,000 acquire a filly by First Samurai during Tuesday's session of the Midlantic sale. Hip 366, out of multiple stakes winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Superduper Miss (Robyn Dancer), was consigned by Eisaman Equine. She worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5. 
“I liked everything about her–hopefully she can run as good as she looks,” Morse commented. “I liked the way she breezed and her conformation–I think she is a really nice filly.” 

Durant, who owns car dealerships in Texas, has about 12 horses in training and has campaigned graded stakes winners Sing Baby Sing, Most Feared, Awesome Humor and Lunar Bounty. 

Morse, who said he was underbidder on a couple of juveniles during Monday's first session of the sale, was prepared to bid higher for the First Samurai filly. 

“I thought we would have to pay more actually,” he said. “It's been very competitive–everybody knows what a good horse looks like.” 

Stud El Aguila purchased the filly for $20,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale. 
“A friend of ours bought her at Keeneland,” commented Barry Eisaman. “She came to us from Keeneland. She's grown, she was always a pretty nice filly, but she's grown. I guess the biggest thing is that she developed into a classy, talented athlete.” 

Eisaman added the juvenile's popularity was no surprise. 

“She is a very, very nice filly,” he said. “She has so many qualities that everyone is looking for in a prime racing prospect; great mind, great soundness, great vet work, tremendous speed and class.” 
Of the final price, he added, “Our reserve was much lower than that, but we knew she was extremely popular and we let the market tell us what she was worth.” 

Unbridled's Song Colt for Summit Thoroughbreds 

The New York-based partnership group Summit Thoroughbreds, co-founded by trainer John Kimmel, acquired a colt by Unbridled's Song for $450,000 late in Tuesday's session fo the Midlantic Sale. Hip 439, consigned by Eddie Woods, is the first foal out of 2010 GII Davona Dale S. winner Amen Hallelujah (Montbrook). 

“We're getting to the end of the Unbridled's Songs,” Kimmel said of the late sire. “[The juvenile] is a horse that, to me, had a lot of physical presence and he was a good mover on the racetrack. He checked all the boxes.” 
Bred by SF Bloodstock, the colt was a $280,000 Keeneland September yearling. Amen Hallelujah, in foal to Distorted Humor, sold for $950,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. 

The colt will be freshened now, but Kimmel is looking forward to him joining his shedrow this summer. 

“We're not thinking of him as an early summer horse, but he is going to go back to Eddie Woods–he had a little sensitivity in a shin,” Kimmel explained. “We'll look to have him back in late Saratoga meet. He's a nice prospect, there is a lot of action in the family. To me he looks a lot like his daddy and for that kind of money, I think we have a horse who has a lot of potential to be a nice 3-year-old.”

Silver Train Makes Gold for Ryans 

The husband-and-wife team of Crystal and Marcus Ryan, which consigns as Mason Springs, celebrated its biggest sales success to date when selling hip 468, a colt by Silver Train, for $125,000 to the bid of trainer Gary Contessa. 

“We work for Darley in the mornings and we ride out for Tim Jones down in Aiken in the pre-training and then we do our own horses on the farm at home,” explained Marcus Ryan. 

The couple, married for three years now, have pinhooked one horse a year for the last four years. They were able to purchase the Silver Train colt for $7,500 at last year's Midlantic Fall sale. 

“We bought him outside the ring and through some friends who put us in the right direction,” Ryan explained. “I was looking at another horse, but he went for too much money and Crystal told me I had to come down and look at this horse. She is 100% a great judge of horses.” 

Crystal Ryan acknowledged she had big hopes leading the colt into the ring Tuesday, but the final price exceeded her expectations.

“We were thinking around $50-60,000,” she said. 

“We knew we had something special, but being by Silver Train we weren't sure what would happen.” 

Asked if this was the couple's biggest success, Crystal Ryan said, “By far. This is all of the rest of them put together.” 
Crystal Ryan is a Michigan native who had been riding reining horses before transitioning to Thoroughbreds. Marcus Ryan is a transplanted Irishman who had been involved in steeplechasing. 

“The morning we bought our first horse is the day we got engaged,” Marcus Ryan recalled. 

“A friend of ours told me, you know it's serious when you buy a yearling together, the ring is definitely coming,” Crystal Ryan laughed. “That just seals it. Marcus proposed to me here in Timonium.” 

Bluegrass Cat Colt Shines in Timonium 

Hip 400 was led out unsold at $160,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale at Gulfstream Park in March, but the Bluegrass Cat colt had flourished in the interim and sold in Timonium Tuesday for $450,000. Taylor Made's Jacob West, sitting alongside pedigree consultant Eddie Rosen, made the winning bid on behalf of an undisclosed client. Todd Pletcher, who conditioned the juvenile's Grade I-winning sire, will train the colt. 

“[Taylor Made] actually sold him as a yearling and it's well documented in our system that we loved him,” commented West. “We just had to give a little bit more for him now.” 

Out of Unbridled Melody (Unbridled's Song), the colt is a full-brother to stakes winner Michael With Us and a half to Grade I-placed Tourist (Tiznow). After working a furlong in :10 1/5 at Gulfstream in March, he worked a co-bullet in :10 flat in Timonium last week. 

“I think in Florida, he was a victim of being around a lot of horses that were stallion prospects,” West said. “And everybody was looking for the athlete and the pedigree. But here, you've got to get the athlete. It's a testament to this sale–and there is no knock on the stallions–but it's a testament to the sale when the top three horses over the past two years that have come out of this sale have been by Offlee Wild, Afleet Alex and Big Brown. You've got to buy the athlete at this point in time.” 

Bidding for the same clients earlier in Tuesday's session, West signed the ticket at $360,000 for hip 342, a filly by Tale of the Cat. 

“Those were our two stars of the sale and we landed the final punches and got them home,” West said. 

The Bluegrass Cat colt was consigned by Raul Reyes's Kings Equine, which purchased him for $90,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale. 

“We expected him to sell well and he sold well,” Reyes commented. “He looked better here. He wasn't doing as well in Florida–his coat didn't look that good. But he shined here.”

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