No Slowing Down at Fasig-Tipton October Sale

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Hip 1107, pictured with Tom Zwiesler, Alex Medina, Sergio Garcia, and Octavio Ortega  | Fadig-Tipton

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LEXINGTON, KY – The Fasig-Tipton October Yearlings Sale, with a session still to come, soared past its record gross with another day of break-neck bidding Wednesday at Newtown Paddocks. By the close of business Wednesday, 856 yearlings had sold at the October sale for a total of $39,511,600, bettering the previous record gross of $38,258,900 which was set in 2019.

“Obviously, it was a continuation of the euphoria/excitement and enthusiasm throughout the day,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said of the October sale's third session. “It's beyond what we could have hoped for. There were a couple strings throughout the day where for three hours it seemed like every horse got sold. We ended up with an RNA rate of less than 13%. And I promise you by noon tomorrow, a big chunk of that 13% will be sold because they will be in there fighting for them in the morning.”

The October sale looks set for more records as it reaches its final session Thursday. The three-day average of $46,158–up 31.7% from the corresponding 2020 figure–is ahead of the record average of $37,955 that was set in 2019. The median of $21,000 is up 40% from a year ago and well ahead of the sale record of $18,500 set in 2014.

Bloodstock agent Jacob West twice tied the highest price for an October colt, going to $750,000 for a colt by Empire Maker (hip 513) Tuesday and again for a son of Gun Runner (hip 870) early in Wednesday's session–both on behalf of Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stable–before smashing that colt record and equaling the highest bid in October history when acquiring a son of Street Sense (hip 1107) for $925,000 for the partnership of St. Elias and

Mike Repole. The price matched the auction's record set in 1999 for a filly by Storm Cat.

The sale-topper was bred by Sam-Son Farm as the historic Canadian operation began to reach the conclusion of its ongoing dispersal.

“Honestly the sale topper is a little bittersweet,” Browning admitted. “You hate to see a 50-year operation like Sam-Son make a business decision and make changes as the family dynamic has changed. They've had a wonderful program and they brought some wonderful horses here to October and some wonderful horses to Saratoga. It was a great tribute to [Sam-Son Farm Manager] Dave Whitford and [Racing Manager] Tom Zwiesler, and to the Samuel family to set the record here in October.”

The only hiccup in the October sale came when the internet bidding went down briefly late in the afternoon, but the sales company didn't know of any missed bids, according to Browning. “We tried to be as reactive as possible,” Browning said of his team's efforts to notify bidders of the issue as quickly as possible.

The Fasig-Tipton October sale concludes with a final session Thursday beginning at 10 a.m.

“It's been a great three days so far and we hope to finish up strong tomorrow,” Browning said.

Street Sense Colt Ties October Record

Jacob West, who had already tied the sale's top price for a colt twice, tied the Fasig-Tipton October sale's overall top price when bidding $925,000 to secure a colt by Street Sense (hip 1107) on behalf of Mike Repole and Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stable Wednesday. The colt was bred and consigned by Sam-Son Farm.

“It's that stupid saying that everybody always says, 'He checked all the boxes,' but this horse really did,” West said. “He has a stallion's pedigree and he's by a horse that can get a two-turn dirt horse. That's how we looked at it. He's bred to get the distance and he looks like a horse who will get the distance. We are lucky to get him.”

Bidding on behalf of St. Elias Stable, West bid a co-record $750,000 to acquire a colt by Empire Maker (hip 513) Tuesday and he matched that figure when securing a colt by Gun Runner (hip 870) early in Wednesday's third session of the auction.

His $925,000 bid matched the highest price ever for an October yearling, equaling the figure set by a filly by Storm Cat in 1999.

“I had a pretty good idea that he was going to be around there based on what the other horses we bought had brought earlier in the sale,” West said of the sale-topping bid. “And with the interest I saw at the barn. Every time I was over there looking at him, one of the big players had him out and was looking at him. So I had a pretty good idea that he was going to be that way. We were lucky enough that we had two incredible owners who got involved.”

West also gave credit to the team behind the partnership's selections.

“It's a team effort,” he said. “Monique Delk, Eddie Rosen, John Sparkman and Rory Babich and the two most important people on that team are Mike and Vinnie. But it's a team approach. And he jumped through a lot of hoops. Hopefully it works out.”

In partnership with Repole or alone, West has signed the ticket on nine yearlings for St. Elias Stable for a total of $3,650,000.

Hip 1107 is out of Dance With Doves (A.P. Indy) and is a half-brother to graded placed Dance Again (Awesome Again). He comes from a line of Sam-Son Farm champions. His second dam is Dancethruthedawn (Mr. Prospector) and his third dam is Dance Smartly (Danzig).

Sam-Son Farm's Tom Zwiesler admitted it was bittersweet watching as the dispersal of the historic Canadian operation started to wind down. Just two hips after the sale topper, Sam-Son sent its final yearling through the sales ring.

“It was a great sale,” Zwiesler said. “It's a little melancholy. Our last yearling just went through. But we are very happy. It's a testament to the Samuel-Balaz family that have bred these horses. And of course you have people stepping up to the plate and spending this money on these horses. That's wonderful to see. St Elias and Repole stepped up and bought two of our best. We wish them all the luck in the world.”

The Repole/St. Elias partnership purchased a filly by Uncle Mo (hip 469) from the Sam-Son consignment for $450,000 Tuesday.

Asked how hip 1107 ended up in the October catalogue, Zwiesler said, “I wanted to just take fillies to Saratoga, which we did and that plan worked out. And the logistics at Keeneland worked out that we would have probably been in a later book. Fasig was very good and Peter Penny has been wonderful to us and a big help. So we chose this one and it certainly paid off. I just feel like if you bring the horse, they are going to find you. It's nothing we do. It's how the horse is brought up. And this sale is turning into a much nicer sale and I think a lot of people like to keep their babies a little bit longer. Which I did in this case. I thought he'd be a standout later on.”

Eight Sam-Son yearlings sold at the October sale for $2,067,000.

“We still have nine mares [to sell] in November and we also have 25 still in the racing stable that they are going to see through and race,” Zwiesler said.

One of those Sam-Son mares slated to sell at the upcoming Keeneland November sale is Dance with Doves, who is catalogued as hip 818 and will sell in foal to Lookin at Lucky.

Gun Runner Colt Another Score for Stokes

Beryl “Sonny” Stokes, Jr., who has steadily racked up an impressive list of pinhooking successes over the last few years, scored another home run Wednesday at Fasig-Tipton when a son of Gun Runner, purchased for $80,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale, sold for $750,000 to Vinnie Viola's St Elias Stables.

“He had my shape–I am an athlete guy, I want that shape,” Hoby Kight, who selected the colt last fall for Stokes, said. “And then it was a bubble year for Gun Runner–there was the bargain. If it wasn't the bubble year, I don't think we would have gotten him for that. Everybody bought them as weanlings and everybody wanted them as yearlings, but until they race, you don't know. And then they turned out like they did and you've got one and you've got a really shapely one.”

Stokes, who led his family's seafood company for 55 years, started pinhooking as a hobby after he retired almost a decade ago. His first big success came with a colt by Goldencents who was purchased for $115,000 and resold for $400,000 at the 2018 OBS March sale. A Pioneerof the Nile colt purchased by Kight on Stokes's behalf for $175,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale returned the following spring to sell for

$1.2 million at the OBS March sale.

Kight, in the back walking ring at Newtown Paddocks, had Stokes on the phone during the bidding Wednesday.

“I had him on the phone because his computer went down right before he went in,” Kight explained. “So he was listening. He got real quiet after he got to $500,000 and he's an older guy, so I got a little worried. I said, 'Sonny are you ok?' And he said, 'Yeh. I'm here. I'm here. I'm all right.'”

Hip 870 is out of Archstone (Arch) and is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Proctor's Ledge (Ghostzapper). He was consigned by Reiley McDonald's Eaton Sales, which had success for Stokes with another Gun Runner colt at last year's October sale when selling a $170,000 weanling purchase for $235,000.

“Our reason for putting him in this sale was simplistic,” McDonald said. “We held one over by Gun Runner last year for the same guy and we thought, well it worked last year, so let's give it a go again this year. Also, it's kind of getting to a point that we thought it would be good to separate a Gun Runner out. It worked to a T.”

Of Wednesday's result, McDonald said, “We knew he was going to sell well, but you never know, at this sale, past $300,000 where you are going to land. He is a beautiful colt, the best mover I saw of the entire sale.”

Fahey Strikes for Justify Colt

John Fahey, bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client, went to $450,000 to acquire a colt by Justify (hip 893) from the Hunter Valley Farm consignment Wednesday at Fasig-Tipton.

“He's been in the game awhile,” Fahey said of the client. “He's going to go to Florida to be broke and the plan is to race.”

The bay colt is out of Back to Love (Street Cry {Ire}), a half-sister to graded winner Necessary Evil (Harlan's Holiday).

“He's by Justify, a Triple Crown winner, he's a Canadian-bred, and he looks like a nice horse,” Fahey said of the yearling's appeal.

Of the Justifys Fahey has seen, he said, “They are strong, athletic, good-looking horses.”

The result was a pinhooking score for partners Colt Pike and Craig Wheeler, who purchased the colt for $150,000 after he RNA'd at this year's Keeneland January sale.

“I had good notes on him and I thought he looked very racey and balanced and he was put together well,” Pike said of his early impressions of the yearling. “He was a little bit of a later foal, so I was thinking maybe he'd fly under the radar. But I didn't vet him because all of the Justifys, if they looked good, they were bringing a lot of money. I saw he RNA'd, so I hustled back there. They wanted $150,000 for him, I thought that was fair and it just went from there.”

Pike admitted he was surprised he was able to purchase the youngster.

“I walked back to the barn and was thinking, 'What am I missing here? This horse is pretty nice and $150,000 is the stud fee.' But they said he was good to go, so I said, 'Deal, I'll take him.'”

The yearling continued to improve heading into the October sale.

“He's gotten real racey. Some of the other Justifys colts have been bigger horses and I think he was a little bit more refined and racey, so I think some people kind of hopped on him because of that,” Pike said. “I'm very happy with that result, he exceeded expectations. I couldn't be more happy with the job that the people that prepped him did and Hunter Valley did a wonderful job. I've had a couple of horses with them before and they just knocked it out of the park.”

Pike is already looking forward to next year's yearling sales.

“I've actually already bought a few [weanlings] in New York, so we are getting loaded up and ready,” he said.

A Bolt for Petersen

Michael Lund Petersen added a colt by Bolt d'Oro to his racing stable when bloodstock agent Donato Lanni went to $300,000 to acquire a yearling by the first-crop sire from Wayne and Cathy Sweezey's Timber Town consignment Wednesday.

“He was a cool dude,” Lanni said after signing the ticket on hip 1063. “I loved him. They came out and they just had a chain over his nose. He was just so cool. I sent Bob [Baffert] a video of the horse last night and he just loved him. So I got the green light.”

The yearling is out of Colby Cakes (Scat Daddy), a half-sister to stakes winner and graded placed Lucky Copy (Unbridled's Song). He was bred by Timber Town Stable and Wood Duck Stable.

Bradshaw on the Board With Justify Colt

Randy Bradshaw made his first purchase of the Fasig-Tipton October sale early in Wednesday's third session when going to $250,000 to acquire a son of Justify (hip 810) from the Baccari Bloodstock consignment.

“He is a May foal, but he's quite well-developed,” Bradshaw said of the yearling. “I liked that part of it. And I knew a little bit about the family, the Bernardini half-sister [the unraced Believein] doesn't show in there because she got hurt, but she was a terrifically fast filly. He looks like a speedy colt and, if everything goes well, we'll probably try to get him to Miami or maybe the OBS sale in March.”

Hip 810 is out of Aguilera (Unbridled's Song), a half-sister to Japanese Group 1 winner Mr Melody (Scat Daddy). He is a half-brother to stakes winner and graded placed Bluegrass Singer (Bluegrass Cat).

Chris Baccari's Baccari Bloodstock purchased Aguilera for $240,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The yearling was bred by Seclusive Farm and Chester and Anne Prince.

Bradshaw said he felt this colt from the first crop of Triple Crown winner Justify would be well-suited to his pinhooking program.

“Some of [the Justifys] are very big,” he explained. “Some of them are almost 17 hands, a lot of them are huge with the Scat Daddy sire. But I thought he looked a little more typey and, for what we do, trying to sell one early, he looked like the type. He looks quick.”

Bradshaw doubled up on Baccari Bloodstock offerings later in the session when going once again to $250,000 to acquire a colt by Into Mischief (hip 925). The bay, out of the unraced Bella Gattino (Tapit), was bred by Jumping Jack Racing and Seclusive Farm and RNA'd for $195,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July sale.

Of his October shopping, Bradshaw said, “We tried on a couple yesterday and we have a couple more coming up today that we're going to try to buy. It's always competitive for a nice horse. That's always the hard part. If a good horse comes in here and vets clean, you're going to have to pay for them.”

Mattmiller Looking for More Black Type

Maddie Mattmiller has been an active bidder at the yearling sales this fall, shopping on behalf of husband Jake Ballis's Black Type Thoroughbreds partnership and the agent made a pair of quick purchases Wednesday at Fasig-Tipton. She went to $150,000 to acquire a colt by Goldencents (hip 816) from Bill Murphy's consignment and came right back to secure a filly by Uncle Mo (hip 825) for $170,000 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment.

“We are really just focused on a good physical,” Mattmiller said of her approach to buying for Black Type. “Pedigree helps. We bought a colt who has a pedigree that, were he to be a Grade I winner, he would be a stallion. That always helps when spending six figures on a colt. You kind of have to do that. Fillies on the other hand, we aren't as hard on them as far as pedigree, as long as we get the athlete. We have had success with fillies with pedigrees and without. So we focus on the athlete and physical.”

Mattmiller signed for four yearlings at the Keeneland September sale last month, going to $255,000 for a filly by

Mo Town (hip 1014) and $250,000 for a daughter of Army Mule (hip 3158).

“Keeneland was tough, very tough,” Mattmiller admitted. “I don't think we could have afforded these [October] horses at Keeneland. This sale has been a little easier–in our price range–to come in and pick exactly what we wanted. At Keeneland we struck out a few times.”

She continued, “It's hard for us to come in and spend $300,000 or $400,000 on a yearling when we can find value at the 2-year-old sales. For yearlings, we like to stay in that $100,000-$200,000 budget. Obviously we spent a little more in September, but the market told us that we had to.”

In just three years, Black Type Thoroughbreds has been represented by Up in Smoke (The Big Beast), third in last year's GI Test S., as well as this year's GI Ashland S. runner-up Pass the Champagne (Flatter).

“Black Type started about two years ago when my husband Jake had a bunch of buddies that had had horses in the past and he kind of revisited them and they showed some interest to get back into horses,” Mattmiller said of the origins of the partnership. “So he put his buddies together and they bought the filly Up in Smoke and had success with her. And these guys told all their friends. And it just seems to have built from there. Jake has a good group together now which we are having a ton of fun with.”

There could be much more fun in the group's future as they head to Del Mar with GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies contender Hidden Connection (Connect). Black Type bought into the filly following her 7 1/2-length debut win for Hidden Brook Farm at Colonial Downs in August. She returned to take the

GIII Pocahontas S. by 9 1/4 lengths, which earned her an automatic berth on championship weekend.

“To have been able to buy into a filly who had just broken her maiden and sell these people on the idea that we are pointing to this race that gets us points to go to the Breeders' Cup and then, not only to win that race, but to do it the way she did it,” Mattmiller said with a huge smile. “They are all over the moon–the Breeders' Cup, Del Mar, I mean it's worked like it was written, which is rare. Every time I come home, Jake is pulling his hair out trying to figure out how he's going to find all of these tickets.”

Asked if she was done shopping for yearlings this year, Mattmiller said, “I am going to say we are done. Jake is going to kill me if I don't.”

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