'Very Positive' Fasig-Tipton California Sale Topped by $250K Vronsky Colt

Hip 211, the topper by Vronsky | Fasig-Tipton

by Dan Ross & Jill Williams

A $250,000 colt by late California sire Vronsky led Tuesday's one-session Fasig-Tipton California Fall Yearlings and Horses of Racing Age Sale, topping a dozen lots to sell for six figures. While the $5,751,500 gross for 185 head and $15,000 median (-11.76%) declined somewhat from the 2022 edition, average was up slightly from $30,522 in 2022 to $31,089 (+1.86%) this year. The buy-back rate, 25.7% in 2022, rose to 34%.

“Buy-backs may be up a little bit,” said Fasig-Tipton's California representative Mike Machowsky. “But the guys that breed these Cal-breds are happy to race them. The Cal-bred program is a very strong program and, as you see, we get great horses out here. It's solid. We're very happy and things are going the right way.”

Now in its fifth edition, the sale was headed by a new buyer to the California market in West Point Thoroughbreds. The organization, a major yearling purchaser in Kentucky and New York, was making their first purchase at the California sale.

“We're very pleased we had some new people buying before that we haven't had in the past,” said Machowsky.

“Overall the yearling market was very positive,” continued Machowsky. “It was strong all the way through. People are always looking for quality, what kind of fits their program, whatever they need. We had some very nice horses.

“It's resilient, this business. We'll be looking forward to next year and hopefully the Breeders' Cup [at Santa Anita] will add a little confidence. It turned out to be a really good sale in the yearling market. We're moving upward and next year hopefully we can capitalize on it again. We're here to make it work.”

The horses of racing age portion of the sale was led by Hip 357, an 2-year-old daughter of Outwork named Work It who broke her maiden on debut Sept. 15 at Los Alamitos. G. Chris Coleman picked up the Havens Bloodstock Agency-consigned filly for $85,000.

John Sadler, second from right, and the West Point team | Fasig-Tipton

Sadler Picks Up Vronsky Colt for West Point

West Point Thoroughbreds, which sprung for all or part of 14 yearlings at the recently concluded Keeneland September Yearling Sale, including the $3-million Into Mischief topper, added a California-bred Vronsky colt to the stable Tuesday. Out of Seasontoperfection (Poteen), the Jan. 23-foaled colt topped the Fasig-Tipton sale at $250,000.

Consigned by Harris Farms, Inc. and bred by Old English Rancho and Ken Tevelde, the colt is a half to Sept. 16 E.B. Johnston S. winner Kings River Knight (Acclamation). Trainer John Sadler, representing West Point, said the breeders “stayed in for a leg.”

Sadler trains Kings River Knight.

“We have the half-brother,” said Sadler, “who won three or four stakes this year. This horse looks a lot like the brother so we thought he'd be good for the Cal-bred program.”

In addition to Hip 211, West Point also bought a Violence filly out of Tryst (Candy Ride {Arg}) for $32,000. Consigned by McCarthy Bloodstock, agent, Hip 270 is out of a half-sister to GISW A Z Warrior (Bernardini) and additional GSWs/GISPs JoJoWarrior (Pioneerof the Nile) and E Z Warrior (Exploit).

Knapp Springs for Full-Brother to Finneus

California trainer Steve Knapp, whose Bus Buzz (Stay Thirsty) won Del Mar's Real Good Deal S. Aug. 4 after being purchased out of this same sale for $97,000 in 2021, made the $225,000 winning bid for Hip 165–also by Stay Thirsty–on behalf of owner Todd Sheehan. The Apr. 22 colt, already named Rumble King, is by the current second-leading California sire by 2023 progeny earnings.

A son of stakes-winning My Fiona (Ghostzapper), the colt was bred in California by Terry C. Lovingier and consigned by his Lovacres Ranch, where Stay Thirsty also stands. The colt is a full-brother to Golden State Juvenile S. winner and GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity runner-up Finneus, as well as a half to Melair S. winner Fi Fi Pharoah (American Pharoah).

Knapp was bullish on getting the colt. “He's beautiful and the whole family has won nothing but money. The mama's won almost $500,000 and the two babies have both won stakes races, so it's a good family.

“Stay Thirsty has had a lot of nice babies. Of all the ones they've given me, all of them can run. He's great for California. We like to keep them in California and run for the big money at Del Mar.”

Hip 81 | Fasig-Tipton

Wallers Get Back into Family with Improbable Filly

Eric and Sharon Waller bred and raced GII Sorrento S. winner and MGISP Spectator (Jimmy Creed), but had sold her dam, Diva's Tribute (Henny Hughes) when that filly was just a weanling. They got back into the family for $200,000 with Hip 81, an Improbable half-sister to Spectator.

“Not only did we breed Spectator, but we bred [her first two dams], which is where it all started,” said Eric Waller. “[Spectator's] mother was injured in a paddock accident so she never raced, then I bred her to Into Mischief and that foal had a paddock accident so she couldn't race. We ended up selling the mare at Keeneland before Spectator won a graded stakes, so I wanted to get that family back. This filly is the spitting image of Spectator, so I couldn't let her go.”

Waller lives in California and has “raced Cal-breds my whole life.” He indicated the Mar. 29 filly would go to Phil D'Amato, who also trained Spectator. Richard Barton Enterprises bred the Diva's Tribute filly in Kentucky and his California-based operation, Barton Thoroughbreds, agent, consigned.

Flatter Colt to Gasparrelli

A colt from the penultimate crop of Flatter, who died last year at 23, hammered for $200,000 to Steve Gasparrelli's Slugo Racing. Consigned by Lovacres Ranch LLC as Hip 197, the Apr. 26 colt is out of the winning Arch mare Rapid Repair.

“I like the Flatters,” said Gasparrelli. “They did pretty well at Del Mar, maybe a little more on the turf side but they ran good on dirt, too. Bottom line is the Flatters did pretty good at Del Mar and I like him with an Arch mare.”

Gasparrelli indicated the colt would be sent to trainer Mike Puype, who has all of the approximately 30-strong Slugo stable.

“We probably won't run him early. Puype's pretty conservative so we'll see. We'll let the horse tell us.”

Bred in California by Terry C. Lovingier, the $200,000 colt is out of a half-sister to MGSW & GISP Kitten's Point (Kitten's Joy) from the extended family of GISWs Marquetry (Conquistador Cielo) and You (You and I), as well as MGSW & GISP Five Star Day (Carson City).

“I just liked the horse's conformation,” said Gasparrelli. “He is a nice size, not too big, not too small. And he's a Cal-bred. I'm going more for the Cal-bred angle.”

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