Vinnie Viola

With Strength in Numbers, Repole and Viola Hope to Hit It Out of the Park

Passionate about the sport and determined to win at the highest level, partners Vinnie Viola and Mike Repole have come up with a formula they hope will mean lasting success. It's not just about quality, but quantity. Attack the game with an army of well-bred horses, most of them colts, send them to Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher and sit back and wait for good things to happen. In what amounts to a historic buying spree, Repole and Viola's St. Elias Stable bought 43 yearlings at Keeneland September, paying...

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Record-Setting Fasig October Sale Concludes

LEXINGTON, KY - The Fasig-Tipton October Yearlings Sale, which had already surpassed its previous highest gross with a day to go, concluded Thursday with new high-water marks for average and median and its lowest buy-back rate since 2013. "Day four was another outstanding day for the October sale," said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. "It was a fitting conclusion to a great horse sale. It's been a great week. The numbers have been tremendous all four days across the board. There were dramatic increases in gross, dramatic increases in average and...

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No Slowing Down at Fasig-Tipton October Sale

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...

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October Sale Continues at Record Pace

LEXINGTON, KY - The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale continued its frenetic pace Tuesday and figures remained ahead of record pace at the half-way point of the four-day auction. "It was a great session," Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said Tuesday night. "It was record-breaking in all regards: gross, average and co-highest price ever for a colt. But more important than that was the continued level of activity. There is a great RNA rate overall with people walking in there with reserves that were getting doubled and tripled. It was an...

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Bonanza Keeneland September Sale Concludes

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, launched last week with a Bluegrass band, mimosas, and a boutique Book 1 section, continued its momentum straight through to the end of its 11th session, concluding with a sales record average, median and buy-back rate. The gross, which was over $300,000,000 for three straight years before falling to $248,978,700 during the pre-vaccination pandemic in 2020, rebounded to $352,823,000 by the time the last hip went through the ring Friday evening. It was the auction's sixth highest gross in history. "The hope was that we...

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Gun Runner Colt Takes the Lead at Keeneland Wednesday

A colt by Gun Runner went to the head of the results sheet when selling for $975,000 to Jacob West at Keeneland Wednesday. West was bidding on behalf of the partnership of Mike Repole and Vinnie Viola. Todd Pletcher will train the youngster. The chestnut colt was consigned by Gainesway on behalf of breeder Winchell Thoroughbreds. He is out of the unraced Time to Tap (Tapit), a full-sister to Winchell's champion filly Untapable and a half to Grade I winner Paddy o'Prado (El Prado {Ire}). Time to Tap is also...

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Undefeated Army Mule in Demand with First Yearlings

The first yearlings from GISW Army Mule (Friesan Fire-Crafty Toast, by Crafty Prospector) may have surprised a few people when they proved to be a hot commodity at the first three major yearling sales of the year. Army Mule began his stud career in 2019 at Hill 'n' Dale Farms with a modest $10,000 stud fee after just three career starts, but at this year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, two representatives from his first book of mares brought $400,000-first a colt out of stakes winner Made Me Shiver (Maclean's Music) and...

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Known Agenda Retired to Spendthrift

St. Elias Stables' Known Agenda (Curlin--Byrama {GB}, by Byron {GB}), winner of this year's GI Florida Derby, has been retired from racing and will take up stud duty at Spendthrift Farm in 2022. The chestnut, who will stand for an introductory fee of $10,000 S&N, will be offered through the farm's "Share The Upside" program on a limited basis. He is available for inspection by appointment. "Any time you can add a Florida Derby winner by Curlin with his looks and pedigree, you jump at the opportunity," said Ned Toffey,...

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Repole Keeping His 'Wits' About Him

How badly does New York native Mike Repole want to win the GI Belmont Stakes? Well, if the scene in the winner's circle following the eye-catching unveiling of 'TDN Rising Star' Wit (c, 2, Practical Joke--Numero d'Oro, by Medaglia d'Oro) after a tardy start in the blockbuster card's 11:35 a.m. lidlifter was any indication, NYRA may have to start constructing a larger enclosure. "I had six horses running on Belmont day and had 50 family and friends there," Repole said. "Here he is at 2-5 and eighth after spotting the...

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Cezanne Brings New Honor to Storied Family

While it remains too early to acclaim a masterpiece in the making, even these first, bold brushstrokes have plainly been mixed from an unusually vivid genetic palette. And if Cezanne (Curlin) can complete the canvas the way he has started, with a confident new flourish in the GIII Kona Gold S. last weekend, then he could become an exhibit for one of the principal galleries of the modern breed. Happily it has the most discerning of curators in John Sikura, who has been devotedly cultivating this family--Cezanne's third dam is...

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A Stallion Putting Himself On the Map

You have to hand it to Liam's Map. Besides all his other merits, as a racehorse and now as a stallion, he has an unerring instinct for publicity. As a freshman, in 2019, the son of Unbridled's Song mustered only two stakes winners. Nothing wrong with that, from 46 starters. Champion American Pharoah had four, from 72. But when he struck the target at all, Liam's Map made sure he hit the bull's-eye. Both those stakes scores came in Grade I races, Basin taking the Hopeful and Wicked Whisper the...

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Reviving a Forgotten Classic Agenda

Breeders on both sides of the Atlantic have become so childishly dogmatic about sealing off their respective bloodlines--as dirt or turf, and "never the twain shall meet"--that even a GI Kentucky Derby might not suffice to open some eyes. It is almost as though they have forgotten the mutual transformations achieved by the likes of Nasrullah and Northern Dancer. To those who remain a little more open-minded, however, Known Agenda (Curlin) has already rebuked some lazy assumptions with his breakout score in the GI Florida Derby last Saturday. Plenty thought...

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