By Jessica Martini
Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training returned for its second engagement in the Gulfstream Park paddock Wednesday evening with lively bidding and strong demand for top offerings. Four horses sold for seven figures to four different entities, with a colt by super sire Tapit (hip 131) leading the way when selling for a sale-topping $1.8 million. David Ingordo, bidding on behalf of a partnership between Woodford Racing and Bob LaPenta, signed the ticket on the colt, who was consigned by Al Davis’s Old South Farm.
“I think we saw a continuation of the trend that we’ve seen in recent months and recent years in the Thoroughbred industry,” said Fasig-Tipton’s President Boyd Browning, Jr. “There was tremendous demand for what were perceived to be the quality offerings tonight and less demand than you would have hoped for for those horses who might not have worked as well or worked as fast or may have had a veterinary issue. The buying public is very demanding, but they are also very willing to pay for the horses they deem desirable.”
In all, 66 horses sold for $21,590,000. The average was $327,121 and the median was $250,000. The complexion of this year’s catalogue was altered from 2015, when a large contingent of Adena Springs horses sold after galloping, so direct comparisons between the two sales are inexact. But a year ago, the Florida sale featured only one seven-figure offering, while 14 horses brought $500,000 or more. There were 11 to reach that mark Wednesday. Twenty seven sold for $300,000 or more Wednesday, while 24 hit that mark a year ago.
From a 2016 catalogue of 154 juveniles, 96 went through the sales ring and 30 failed to meet their reserves.
“It’s very similar to our expectations,” Browning continued. “You saw a lot of strength at the top of the market by a bunch of different people. We don’t live in a world with one or two groups buying at the top end. There are a lot of people who are willing to give you $500,000 or more for a good horse. At a sale like this, there are not a lot of people willing to give you less than $100,000 for a horse.”
Ciaran Dunne, whose Wavertree Stables consigned one of the million-dollar juveniles agreed.
“It’s been hit or miss,” Dunne said. “We brought 17 here and I think we’ll end up selling eight or nine. It’s business as usual.”
The juvenile sale saw renewed energy with its return to South Florida a year ago, and Browning sees the sale’s new location at Gulfstream as a key to its success.
“There was an element of fun and an element of electricity here tonight,” Browning said. “You can bring a rich man or a rich woman to this environment and they can have a great experience and have the opportunity to buy a great horse. And that is an important element of what we as an industry should be trying to do and should be trying to provide.”
Last year’s champion juvenile Nyquist (Uncle Mo) is among a stellar group of graduates of the 2015 Florida sale. Those results helped lay a foundation for what Browning hopes will be the sale’s long-term engagement at Gulfstream.
“I think uncertainty in any marketplace or business is never good, so by producing a successful sale in the ring last year and by producing successful results on the racetrack last year, that provided a higher level of confidence for the 2016 sale,” Browning explained. “I sure hope that we’ll have a higher level of confidence in 2017 based on our results in the 2016 sales ring and at the racetrack. Hopefully we’ll continue to build confidence.”
Tapit Colt Tops Fasig Florida
The last time hip 131 went through the sales ring, the colt by leading sire Tapit failed to sell with a final bid of $1.2 million at the 2015 Keeneland September sale. After a sparkling work in :10 1/5 Monday, the gray had no such trouble Wednesday at Gulfstream, bringing a sale-topping bid of $1.8 million from David Ingordo. Ingordo purchased the youngster on behalf of a partnership between Lane’s End’s Woodford Racing and Bob LaPenta, and did his bidding sitting alongside LaPenta’s racing manager John Panagot.
“It’s a very rare offering when you have a horse that is that good-looking with that much pedigree that comes to a 2-year-old sale,” Ingordo said after signing the ticket. “When they perform like that, that’s the kind that we have to buy for our down-the-road project, which is to have a stallion.”
Ingordo admitted there was a marked difference from the colt at Keeneland last fall to this spring.
“I saw him at the sale last year, but he’s changed a lot,” Ingordo said. “He’s improved. He grew, filled out and became more of a man. The breeze was awesome. We wouldn’t have given $1 million whatever if we didn’t like him.”
Of the price, Ingordo said, “It’s what you pay for a good horse today.”
Chad Brown will train the juvenile, who is out of Bethan (Giant’s Causeway), a half-sister to Grade I-winning sire Hard Spun (Danzig).
Consignor Al Davis of Old South Farm was nearly speechless after the $1.8-million Tapit colt headed back to the barn. But the veteran horseman was equally unsurprised that the grey youngster, bred by Sienna Farms, wound up at the head of the Florida Sale market.
“I think that was obvious,” Davis said. “He was the horse, the one everybody wanted. I was happy with everything. I’ve only had him 60 days. He handled everything well.”
Sienna Farms acquired Bethan for $250,000 in 2011, when she was in foal to Smart Strike. The resulting colt brought $85,000 as a weanling before being resold for $335,000 as a yearling. The mare has an unraced 3-year-old named Sendyoutothemoon (Malibu Moon) and produced a More Than Ready filly in 2015.
Cool Million for Curlin Colt
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, who campaigns last year’s GI Kentucky Derby runner Mubtaahij, stuck his toe in the water with a couple of high-priced purchases at American juvenile sales in 2015 and he continued to grow his U.S. racing stable with the $1-million purchase of a colt by Curlin during Wednesday’s Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.
“Donato [Lanni] found him amongst all of them and really liked him,” the sheikh’s racing manager Tim Stakemire said after signing the ticket on hip 56. “He went through the vet well and I thought he was a great-moving horse with a nice head and he breezed up well. And he’s by Curlin. We are very happy to have him.”
The handsome chestnut is out of On a Roll (A.P. Indy), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winners Ender’s Sister and Ender’s Shadow and the dam of stakes-placed Free Money (Street Sense). The juvenile, who was purchased for $430,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale, worked a furlong Monday in :10 2/5.
Among the sheikh’s 2015 purchases was an $800,000 Quality Road filly out of last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training sale and a $575,000 Scat Daddy colt at OBS June.
“We want to get a few over here and get a breeding program going and be involved in American racing,” Stakemire explained. “At the moment we probably only have three or four, but we’re starting.”
Of the colt’s final price tag, Stakemire smiled, “I thought he would be a lot.”
Bob Baffert is expected to train the colt.
The juvenile was bred by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr., Susan Keller, Victoria Oliver and G. Watts Humphrey, III. Humphrey, Jr. purchased On a Roll for $425,000 as a Keeneland September yearling in 2007.
The Curlin colt was consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables. Dunne picked the colt out as a yearling at Keeneland.
“We do a lot of business with Shawnee Farm and we’d seen the horse during the summer and loved him then, but didn’t think he was a horse that we could afford and we just barely did,” Dunne said. “He was as good then as he is now. He just showed it on the racetrack and that made the difference. We’re glad he’s gone to Baffert.” —@JessMartiniTDN
Uncle Mo Colt Jump Starts Fasig Florida
The Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale got off to a fast start when hip 5, a colt from the second crop of Uncle Mo, took his spot in front of the auctioneers’ stand in the Gulfstream Park parade ring. Bidding quickly surged past the $500,000 barrier and at the end it was bloodstock agent John Moynihan with the winning $1-million salvo. Moynihan was standing alongside Barbara Banke of Stonestreet and Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier, and confirmed that the seven-figure youngster would be campaigned in partnership by those two entitites.
“He was a beautiful horse and he was a standout here all week,” Moynihan said. “He trained every day and breezed fantastic. He’s a great, big horse and looks like he’ll run far.”
A son of stakes winner Five Star Dream (Two Punch), hip 5 was acquired as a yearling for $90,000 by agent Cary Frommer at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Yearling Sale. He stamped himself as a juvenile to watch at this venue with an impressive breeze in
“We’re excited,” Moynihan continued. “For as big as he is, he’s amazingly fast, amazingly athletic–he covers so much ground when he runs, and he does it fast. That’s the recipe for a good horse.”
Uncle Mo, the unbeaten winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile during his Eclipse Award-winning season in 2010, had an excellent beginning with his first 2-year-olds, breaking the progeny earnings record for a freshman sire. The Coolmore America stallion has already been represented by undefeated champion Nyquist, as well as Grade I winner Gomo and additional graded winners Mo Tom and Uncle Vinny.
“What [Uncle Mo] has done as a stallion with his first crop is nothing short of phenomenal,” Moynihan added. “He gets runners–he gets fillies, he gets colts, sprinters, distance horses. It looks like he’s off to a great start. That’s what made us have so much confidence in buying this horse today. This horse looks like a really special horse.”
Stonestreet and Coolmore teamed up 12 months ago to secure a $900,000 son of Bernardini at this venue. Named Zulu and trained by Todd Pletcher, that colt captured his first two starts before finishing second in the GII Fountain of Youth S. last Saturday. Moynihan indicated that a trainer for the Uncle Mo colt would be decided at a later date.
“Barbara will get together with Mr. [Michael] Tabor and figure all of that out,” he said. –Marie Kizenko
Pinhooking Score for Frommer
Cary Frommer had never had a juvenile work in :10 flat before the colt she purchased with Barry Berkelhammer at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic last October for just $90,000 accomplished the co-bullet feat at Monday’s under-tack show. The South Carolina-based consignor had never had a $1-million sale before either, but that changed Wednesday when the son of last year’s leading freshman sire Uncle Mo colt brought a final seven-figure bid from Stonestreet and Coolmore at Gulfstream Park.
Asked for her reaction to the high-level mark, Frommer said, “I started crying. It was just unbelievably exciting.”
Frommer purchased the colt at Timonium last fall in partnership with Barry Berkelhammer.
“He was big and leggy and had good bone,” Frommer recalled. “He stood out in the group of yearlings that were there and Uncle Mo had already started showing his stuff. I actually went to the sale to buy him and that’s that. Of all the horses in the sale, he was the one I picked out. So I went there to buy him. I was determined to get him.”
Of the transformation from Midlantic yearling to $1-milliin juvenile, Frommer added, “He went from a big, gawkey baby to a bigger, still kind of gawkey baby. He still has a lot of maturing to do. He is not nearly finished.”
“I wasn’t at the sale,” Berkelhammer admitted after the seven-figure sale. “Cary picked him out. I have to give her all the credit. She called me and needed a partner and I went in on him with her. She did send him to me after she broke him and I finished him off.”
The colt’s performance during the under-tack show was no surprise to either partner.
“He is just the real McCoy,” Berkelhammer said. “I told Cary he was very special. She has sold some nice horses over the years, but I told her this is the best horse she’s ever had in her barn.”
Of the bullet time, Berkelhammer added, “To be honest with you, I wasn’t even concerned about the time. I knew he was fast. I wasn’t debating :10 or :10 1/5, I knew that he was going to look marvelous doing what he does. He had done it every time. I wasn’t nervous about the work. I was more nervous leading him up to the sale. Because he’s got a mind on him that his rock solid.” —@JessMartiniTDN
Pioneerof the Nile Colt Joins $1M Parade
Hip 94, a son of Pioneerof the Nile–Faith in Me (Mr. Greeley), recorded one of the smoothest drills during Monday’s breeze show when he was timed in :10 1/5, and the nearly black colt also caught the eye as he awaited his turn to sell. In the end, bloodstock agent Jamie McCalmont prevailed with a $1-million offer on behalf of M.V. Magnier.
“He looked pretty great out here, didn’t he,” McCalmont said of hip 94. “He’s a beautiful horse. He will definitely stay in America, no doubt about that. He was as nice a colt as there was in the sale, so I wasn’t shocked that he made that amount of money.”
A trainer has not yet been determined for the juvenile.
Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker), himself a runner-up in the 2009 GI Kentucky Derby, has seen his stud fee rise to $125,000 after American Pharoah’s spectacular exploits last season.
“American Pharoah has got such an amazing book of mares, and if this horse can be half as good as him, maybe we’ll be all right,” McCalmont added.
From the extended family of Grade I winners Chaposa Springs (Kris S.) and You and I (Kris S.), hip 94 was purchased as a yearling for $230,000 by Hartley/De Renzo, who also consigned the colt Wednesday. The colt’s dam Faith in Me has a yearling filly by Uncle Mo. –M Kizenko
More Is the Spirit
Trainer Bob Baffert snapped up a $650,000 son of Eskendereya (Giant’s Causeway) at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale a year ago. With that colt now one of Baffert’s leading Classic contenders as Mor Spirit, the Triple Crown-winning conditioner restocked his barn with at least two of the choicest offerings at the Florida Sale. Baffert did the bidding himself on hip 103, a colt from the first crop of 2012 GI Belmont S. hero Union Rags (Dixie Union), and got the job done at $975,000. The bay will be campaigned by the Baoma Corp. of Charles Chu, who also owns the promising 3-year-old ‘TDN Rising Star’ Drefong (Gio Ponti).
“I didn’t think I’d have to go that high,” Baffert said with a smile. “We all want to get them cheap. We don’t want to pay a lot of money for them. But it’s hard to buy a good horse. Everybody wants the top end.”
Bred in Kentucky by John H., Melissa and Laura Mulholland, the son of Touched (Touch Gold) sold as a weanling at Fasig-Tipton November for $150,000 to Colt Creek. Touched had previously produced Indian Firewater (Indian Charlie), hero of the 2011 GII San Fernando S. under Baffert’s tutelage.
“I did have his half-brother, Indian Firewater, and he’s by Union Rags, so he should get some stretch out of him,” Baffert added. “He looks very sound and fast, and if they look [like that], you have to buy them.”
Hip 103 was prepared for this auction by Wavertree Stables’ Ciaran Dunne on behalf of owner Joe Minor, and earned much attention following his :10 1/5 breeze during the under-tack show.
“There wasn’t much not to like about him,” Minor said. “We appreciate Mr. Baffert doing it. We appreciate Mr. Dunne doing it. And Justin Casse picked him out, so we’re grateful to him, too.”
Touched’s Street Sense weanling sold for $75,000 in November. The Mulhollands acquired the mare for $27,000 in 2005, and retained her after she RNA’d for $225,000 while in foal to Bernardini in 2011. –Marie Kizenko
Tapizar Juvenile in Demand
Twelve months ago at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale, bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill signed a $400,000 ticket for an Uncle Mo colt out of Seeking Gabrielle. That colt was named Nyquist by owner J. Paul Reddam and put together a perfect Eclipse Award-winning campaign in 2015. O’Neill was back at it Wednesday night at Gulfstream, purchasing hip 60, a $300,000 Uncle Mo filly; and hip 117, an $800,000 daughter of freshman sire Tapizar that wound up as the highest-priced filly of the evening.
“We didn’t think we’d have to go that high, although we knew that a lot of the big players were on her,” said O’Neill, who was standing alongside Reddam near the horse path. “But she was our favorite filly in the sale. She’s just a gorgeous filly, an absolutely beautiful filly. We loved the way she breezed and she galloped out really good. We’re really excited.”
O’Neill admitted to missing out on the first of the seven-figure juveniles Wednesday evening.
“We tried really hard to buy hip 5, the Uncle Mo, and that one and this filly were the two we wanted the most,” he said. “So we got one of the two, and hopefully the right one.”
Offered by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, the Tapizar filly is the first foal from stakes winner Yawkey Way (Grand Slam). The juvenile sold as a weanling for $120,000 to Roma Farm and was the third-highest priced baby overall that year for Tapizar, a son of Tapit who won the 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and now stands alongside his sire at Gainesway.
“Why can’t he be this year’s Uncle Mo?” O’Neill mused. “So that’s what we’re hoping. You never know, but the Tapizars we’ve seen look really, really nice.”
After producing the Tapizar filly, Yawkey Way was bred to Violence (Medaglia d’Oro) and sold for $200,000 to Sabana Farm at Keeneland November, and later foaled a colt. –M Kizenko
Timely Update for Candy Ride Colt
Consignor Bill Harrigan, who estimates he will pinhook about eight horses a year, enjoyed a timely update ahead of the Florida sale when Danzing Candy (Twirling Candy) joined the Triple Crown trail after a ‘TDN Rising Star’ earning performance at Santa Anita last month. Harrigan purchased that colt’s half-brother by Candy Ride (Arg) for $50,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. The youngster returned to the sales ring at Gulfstream Wednesday as hip 98 and sold for $620,000 to Godolphin USA’s Jimmy Bell.
“I liked his demeanor and his presence and his athletic walk,” Harrigan said of what attracted him to the colt, who is out of Talkin and Singing (Songandaprayer), last fall.
While Harrigan said the colt has “done very well since September,” he admitted it was the exploits of Danzing Candy which made a difference Wednesday.
“I was the lucky guy who bought a horse, by Candy Ride now–one of the best stallions–but I was the lucky guy with the huge update and a very nice half-brother.” —@JessMartiniTDN