Tattersalls Graduates on a Tear at Saratoga

Sifting Sands became the seventh Tattersalls October yearling purchase to win a stakes at the current Saratoga meet | Sarah Andrew

A win by Sifting Sands (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) last Sunday in Saratoga in the Better Talk Now S. continued a pattern that has been hard to miss this year. He became the seventh horse sold at a Tattersalls October Yearling sale to win a stakes race at the meet. One, Technical Analysis (Ire) (Kingman {GB}), has won two graded stakes, the GII Lake Placid S. and the GIII Lake George S. Only one of the winners, State of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), is based in Europe. Five are trained by Chad Brown. Jorge Abreu trains the other, Star Devine (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), the winner of the Galway S.

“It's been a fairly spectacular run of success and this is something that has been in the making for a while,” said Tattersalls Marketing Director Jimmy George. The influx of horses coming to the U.S. after being bought at European sales began in earnest in 2017 when Brown and his bloodstock advisor Mike Ryan started shopping at Tattersalls. Their purchases included Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), the winner of the 2018 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the 2020 GI Just a Game S. and two other graded races. At the same sale, they found Digital Age (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), the winner of the 2020 GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic S., and Demarchelier (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), a Grade III winner now standing at stud at Claiborne.

“We've seen this success building since the first year that Mike Ryan came over with Peter Brant and Chad Brown and was buying for Mr. Brant and Seth Klarman,” George said. “Their first visit was in 2017 and, to the best of my recollection, they bought 12 yearlings. They got two Grade I winners out of that. They got off to a dream start with their first visit to Tattersalls and, more specifically, the October yearling sale.” Brown has been represented at every Tattersalls sale since and has continued to find stakes- quality horses. The list includes Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}), a winner of two Grade I races this year and the leading contender for the male turf championship.

Finding that buying proven race horses in Europe had gotten to be too expensive, Brown reasoned that a better way to stock his stable with European grass horses was to buy them as yearlings. “There are a number of factors at play,” George said. “It stands to reason that if you are focused on buying turf horses, which these buyers are because they want success on the grass, then the Tattersalls October sale is a perfect place to go looking. Book 1 of that sale is established as basically the premier sale in the world for turf horses.” Brown, Klarman and Brant have been able to buy horses at Tattersalls without spending an exorbitant amount of money. Technical Analysis and Newspaperofrecord both cost 200,000 guineas; Domestic Spending went for 300,000 guineas; Digital Age cost 325,000 guineas.

Jimmy George | Tattersalls

“Interestingly, these guys have very shrewdly focused on a market where they can find unbelievable value for the money they have been spending,” George said. “The average price paid at the sale is between 200,000 and 250,000 guineas and their success is coming in that area, anything from about the high one hundreds up to 350,000 guineas. They have focused on a particular section of the market. They've identified a sector that really works for them.” George also believes that, when it comes to European sales being able to offer quality horses, this is an unprecedented time. “Producing the best turf horses in the world, that's what we are good at,” he said. “Between Ireland, France and Britain, we have a depth of quality when it comes to stallions that is unmatched over the last 40-50 years. Galileo, Dubawi, Frankel, Sea the Stars, Kingman, Lope de Vega, Dark Angel, Siyouni. These are stallions that would be at the very top in any normal year and they've all come around at the same time. These are phenomenal stallions.”

Newspaperofrecord | Horsephotos

It didn't take long for others to follow Brown's lead. In 2019, Ben McElroy, representing Stonestreet Stables, paid 190,000 guineas for Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}). Campanelle is based in the U.S. with Wesley Ward, but has done most of her running in Europe, where she has won the 2020 G1 Commonwealth Cup and the 2021 G1 Darley Prix Morny. That same year, Aunt Pearl (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) was bought at Tattersalls for 280,000 guineas, with BSW Euro Venture/Liz Crow listed as the agents. Trained by Brad Cox, Aunt Pearl went on to win the 2021 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Along with Newspaperofrecord, two of the last three running of the Juvenile Fillies Turf have been won by U.S. based horses purchased at Tattersalls.

The 2019 sale also saw Todd Pletcher's first foray into the market. He returned home from Tattersalls with two yearlings. George said it's too early to tell how many Americans will come over this year to buy, but he was optimistic that the list will continue to grow. He noted that there are 43 Kingman yearlings in Book 1, which should appeal to the Brown team, which has purchased nine Kingmans since first coming over. “In the wake of the success enjoyed by Seth Klarman, Peter Brant and Chad Brown, we've seen greater focus from U.S. buyers,” George said. “You had Ben McElroy buying Campanelle for Barbara Banke and Liz Crow and her team buying Aunt Pearl. That demonstrates that what these horses have accomplished has not gone unnoticed. It's not just deeds. It's words. Success breeds more success.”

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