Vibrant Trade at Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream

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Sale-topping Curlin colt | Fasig-Tipton Photo

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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – The fifth renewal of the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Selected 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale proved to be one for the record books Wednesday, with all-time record average and median for the company's Florida sale and with the auction's highest gross since moving to Gulfstream in 2015. Six horses brought final seven-figure bids, led by a Curlin colt who sold for $3.65 million to Jamie McCalmont and Donato Lanni, as agents for Coolmore's M.V. Magnier and undisclosed partners, after a protracted bidding duel with an unidentified phone bidder. It was the most paid for a North American juvenile since 2006. The juvenile was consigned by Crupi's New Castle Farm.

“I think we saw the marketplace today that we were hoping for in many regards,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “The upper end of the market was obviously fantastic, there was great competition and great depth of buyers and bidders on a large number of horses today. So, overall, we were very pleased with the vibrancy of the market.”

In all, Fasig-Tipton sold 59 juveniles for a total of $29,115,000. The average was $493,475 and the median was $375,000. During the 2018 auction, 61 horses sold for $23,495,000. The average was $385,164 and the median was $295,000.

There were 188 juveniles catalogued for Wednesday's boutique auction, with 100 ultimately going through the ring and 41 of those failing to find buyers.

“It was a 2-year-old in training sale,” Browning said. “So the RNA rate and the scratch rate is a little higher than you would hope for. There are a lot of evaluative tools that go into buying at a 2-year-old sale. That's why the horses that jump through all the hoops bring a significant premium. And right now, the consignors have other alternatives, so they are not forced to sell. We'll see a lot of these horses at later sales and you'll see some of them on the racetrack.”

Eddie Woods admitted consignors were kept busy analyzing what the buyers were looking for.

“When you bring something in they all want, they all want them,” Woods said. “We are scratching horses and not even bringing them up here that are nice horses with nothing wrong with them, but the only ones that shop here are basically the upper echelon. When you are in the gray area of two or three or four scopes, you take a winger.”

Curlin Colt Proves Worth the Wait

Several horses sparked fireworks that moved them into seven-figure range throughout Tuesday's auction at Gulfstream, but a Curlin colt (hip 173) proved to be in a league of his own. The dark bay incited a lengthy bidding war between a pair of relentless prospective buyers, during which the colt stood calmly, displaying the characteristics that added to his value.

At $3.65 million, Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, who was on the phone with an anonymous bidder, waved goodbye and the colt was sold to bloodstock agents Jamie McCalmont and Donato Lanni. McCalmont was representing Coolmore's M.V. Magnier and Lanni was acting on behalf of undisclosed clients, but indicated the horse would be trained by Bob Baffert. Hip 173 is the most expensive 2-year-old sold at a North American public auction since the Coolmore contingent went to $16 million for The Green Monkey (Forestry) at the 2006 renewal of this auction.

“He was such a standout this horse,” McCalmont said. “He has a stallion's pedigree and is by a great stallion. He was the obvious sales topper. Once a horse goes over $2 million, it can go anywhere. It is very exciting to be involved with a horse like this”

He turned to Lanni and said, “Some bloody horse isn't he?”

Lanni added, “I think when he crossed the wire in the breeze show [in :10 flat], everybody was on the phone. All I can tell you is Bob is going to train him. Coolmore owns him and some undisclosed clients that want to stay anonymous. When the horse starts, the names will be on the program.”

Coolmore took home four of the top six horses either acting alone or in partnership. Their new additions include hip 142, a $1.65 million American Pharoah colt; hip 119, a $1.3-million Curlin filly; and hip 15, a $1-million Into Mischief colt.

Hip 173 is a son of Achieving (Bernardini), who is a half-sister to GISW Streaming (Smart Strike) and stakes winners Treasuring (Smart Strike) and Cascading (A. P. Indy). Achieving is also responsible for GSW and G1SP Arabian Hope (Distorted Humor) and stakes winner Counterforce (Smart Strike). The colt's third dam is GSW & GISP blue hen Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister), who produced the likes of GI Belmont S. winners Jazil and Rags to Riches.

Consigned by Crupi's New Castle Farm, the sales topper was bred by John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings and Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stables. Sikura typically sells his homebreds as yearlings, but said he felt the colt wasn't at his best in September, so he and Viola agreed to wheel him back here.

“We entered him in the September sale and he was on the grounds,” Sikura explained. “There was interest, but he just didn't show himself enough. It wasn't going to be his best day, so we scratched him and sent him down to Crupi. He did a wonderful job with the horse. He blossomed, grew leg and lengthened. He has a world-class pedigree and is by a great sire. His work was fantastic and he did all the things that these guys look for.”

He continued, “I don't know much about 2-year-old sales, so I was optimistic, but until it happens, you don't know. Credit goes to Jimmy Crupi and his crew for how well the horse performed and trained and Vinnie Viola for agreeing to stay in and wait to sell him as a 2-year-old. He bought into the mare. It was our best pedigree. I told him if I ever sold a daughter of that mare [second dam Teeming {Storm Cat}], I would do a deal with him. We were partners. This was the first foal of the partnership. It was a great result, so I am thrilled for everybody.”

While Sikura thought highly of the colt all along, the price exceeded his expectations.

“After $2 million, you are just dreaming,” he said. “A good horse gets in the ring, emotion stirs and astute horsemen, if they are brave, I don't think they price buy, they buy the horse they want. It was a great price and is great for Curlin, as well as Barbara Banke, Jim Crupi, Vinnie Viola and all these great people I am lucky enough to do business with. It is all about when success is shared.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Coolmore Wins Out on 'Pharoah' Colt

It was no surprise to see a colt from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah summon $1.65 million and it was even less of a surprise to see that the winning bid came from the Coolmore contingent, who stands the three-time Eclipse winner and has been quite active at the sales for his progeny. Jamie McCalmont signed the ticket on behalf of M.V. Magnier, who was in attendance earlier in the session, but was not in sight when the hammer fell on hip 142.

“He didn't do the fastest time [:10 2/5], but his gallop out was one of the fastest gallop outs. He just kept going at the same pace. He comes from a great place to buy horses with Eddie Woods. Let's hope he can be somewhere close to where his father was.”

Bred in Florida by CESA Farm, hip 142 is out of GSW Spice Island (Tabasco Cat), which makes him a half-sibling to GI Florida Derby winner and GI Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box (Pulpit). The bay was purchased by Woods's pinhooking partnership Quarter Pole Enterprises for $215,000 at Keeneland September.

“Did I think he'd bring that? Not in my wildest dreams,” said Woods, who sold last year's $1.2-million co-topper Instagrand (Into Mischief). “I'm thrilled.”

Woods continued, “He is a Phaorah. They have style, they move, they have class, they are quiet. This horse was beautiful. He has a head on him you'd kill for. He went in :10 2/5, but it is not the work. That is the thing. You see, the :9 4/5 don't win Derbies. They win first time out and might win something going around one turn. The good horses are the ones that gallop on out and are the big, free-moving horses with pedigree.” @CDeBernardisTDN

More Mischief for Best

Larry Best purchased a son of Into Mischief for a co-topping $1.2 million at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale and watched as the youngster became graded stakes-winning 'TDN Rising Star' Instagrand. Best was back in action at Gulfstream Wednesday and came home with another offspring of Into Mischief, this time going to $1.5 million for a daughter of the Spendthrift stallion.

“I was looking for a filly and I settled on this Into Mischief,” Best said, but added, “Instagrand didn't have anything to do with it. It could have been a Quality Road filly, it was just this filly looked the part. She had a strong breeze. And the fact that she was an Into Mischief makes me happy because I think the Into Mischief sire line, those horses have a strong heart.”

Hip 139, out of Specification (Empire Maker), worked a quarter-mile in a co-fastest :20 3/5 during Monday's under-tack preview of the sale.

Best struck again late in Wednesday's auction, going to $700,000 to acquire a colt by Verrazano (hip 181) from the Wavertree Stables consignment. @JessMartiniTDN

Early Pinhooking Success for Gasparelli

Steve Gasparelli's first venture into pinhooking paid off in spades Wednesday at Gulfstream when he and partner Steve Dowell of Paymaster Racing sold a colt by Into Mischief for $1.5 million to Larry Best. The partners had purchased the bay filly for $450,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.

“To be honest, we were pretty sure she was going to bring over a million based on the breeze and her looks and her pedigree,” Gasparelli said. “We were hoping we would get a number like we got. We thought $1 million to $1.5 million was possibly realistic, but until you hit that number you never know.”

Gasparelli watched the action unfold from afar on his computer.

“It's way nerve-racking,” he admitted. “My wife and I and Scott and his wife were all watching the computer. Buying a horse for $450,000 and hoping to pinhook it for big money is a huge gamble, but you can get a huge reward if it turns out.”

Gasparelli credited consignor Tom McCrocklin with picking out the filly last fall.

“Tom McCrocklin did his job,” Gasparelli said. “He picked a really, really nice horse who had the ability that he thought she would. A lot of kudos to him for doing it. He has a great eye for a horse.”

Gasparelli and Dowell also sent a Broken Vow filly through the ring Wednesday, buying her back for $285,000.

“We're taking her home and racing her,” Gasparelli said. “She'll race for me, and Paymaster and Tiger Racing. [Trainer] Mike Puype is very happy. He wants to race her.”

In addition, the two original partners teamed up wih Tiger Racing to purchase a colt by Summer Front (hip 179) privately after he RNA'd for $160,000.@JessMartiniTDN

Shah & Coolmore Join Forces for Curlin Filly

A daughter of Curlin (hip 119) proved so popular that she inspired a new partnership between Kaleem Shah and Coolmore, who went to $1.3 million to secure the :10 flat breezer. Bloodstock agent Ben McElroy signed the ticket on behalf of the new partnership with trainer Simon Callaghan standing just behind him.

“I have to give Simon and Ben McElroy all the credit for picking this filly,” said Shah. “The Coolmore gang, especially Mr. Magnier, was kind enough to partner with me, so it will be a true partnership. This is the first time I have ever done a partnership with the Coolmore folks and I am looking forward to it. They are very nice people.”

As for the price, Shah said, “I think we paid a lot more than what we expected to, but we hope we get lucky with the filly. I think we bought two nice fillies in the sale so far, so we are excited.”

The other filly Shah was referring to was hip 12, an $800,000 daughter of Uncle Mo, who breezed in a bullet :9 4/5.

“Ben and Simon liked this filly, so I am hoping she will be a good one like [MGISW] Bellafina (Quality Road),” Shah said. “She brought the same price as Bellafina [did at this auction last year], so we are hoping two times is a charm.”

He added, “We are two-for-two so far [with getting horses purchased]. I don't like to spend this type of money, but typically in 2-year-old sales, you get proven runners. We hope we get lucky with these fillies.”

Bred by Southern Equine Stables and Team Valor International, hip 119 is a daughter of South American MGSW Sarasota (Arg) (Luhuk), who is also the dam of Grade I-winning millionaire Salutos Amigos (Salute the Sarge); GSW Sarah's Secret (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}); and GSP Su Goddess (A Little Warm). A $300,000 in utero purchase at the 2016 Keeneland November sale, hip 119 brought $250,000 at the following year's Fasig-Tipton November sale and hammered for $470,000 to Sand Ridge Stables at last term's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale.

“We expected her to sell well, but you never know,” said consignor Paul Sharp. “That is a different stratosphere. She jumped through all the hoops and deserved to sell well. She is a very nice horse. I really believe in this filly and we have conveyed that to everyone that has come along.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Narvick in Action Again

Emmanuel de Seroux's Narvick International, a major player at the OBS March sale two weeks ago, was again in action Wednesday at Gulfstream, going to $1.2 million to secure a colt by Medaglia d'Oro (hip 175) on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“The owner preferred not be mentioned,” de Seroux said. “But the colt will stay racing in America.”

Of the colt, he added, “He was a very good mover and a very nice type and he's by Medaglia d'Oro. He's got everything going for him.”

Consigned by Bobby Dodd, the dark bay colt was purchased by Brad Grady's Grand Oaks for $310,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale. He is out of After Thought (Fusaichi Pegasus) and is a half-brother to stakes winners Annulment (Broken Vow) and Youngest Daughter (The Factor).

De Seroux purchased 11 juveniles at the OBS March sale, including a $650,000 son of Speighstown on behalf of Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud.

“It's a good market,” de Seroux said of the 2-year-old market this spring. “It's selective. You have to look at a lot of horses to find the ones you like, but it's a very good market.” @JessMartiniTDN

Another Million-Dollar Sale for Venosa

For the second year in a row, Steve Venosa's SGV Thoroughbreds sold a million-dollar colt to Coolmore at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale. Last year, it was a son of Scat Daddy. Wednesday, it was a son of Into Mischief (hip 15) who sold for an even million to the Irish operation's M.V. Magnier. Venosa purchased the bay for $400,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale and signed for the youngster in the name of longtime friend Paul Brodsky.

“Paul Brodsky has been a partner with me from day one and we teamed up with a few other people to buy this horse,” Venosa said. “Normally, we don't pay that much to resell a horse, but we went in there and we felt he was the best horse in the sale and sometimes you've just got to buy them. He came down here and performed and it looked like a lot of other people loved him, too.”

The standout result in the sales ring cost Brodsky a quick dip in the Gulfstream paddock's fountain.

“We made a bet,” Venosa explained. “We said, if the horse brings that price, Paul would jump in the fountain. As soon as the hammer dropped, he took his hat off and stuck his whole head in the fountain.”

With his head still wet from the excursion, Brodsky admitted he had no regrets.

“I didn't hesitate at all,” Brodsky said of living up to his end of the wager.

He continued, “I've been with Steve since he started. We've been good friends for probably almost 30 years. It actually started with $10,000–I told him if he had something left over, if he wanted to throw in some money for a horse, I had $10,000 for him.”

It was another strong Gulfstream sale for SGV. In addition to the $1-million colt, the consignment sold a filly by Bayern (hip 51) for $500,000, also to Coolmore. The dark bay filly is out of stakes placed Hot Roots (Indian Charlie), a half-sister to 'TDN Rising Star' and last year's GI Del Mar Debutante runner-up Mother Mother (Pioneerof the Nile). SGV purchased the filly for $210,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale.

“We called her Big Mamma,” Venosa said of the juvenile. “It was funny because everytime we were up in the stands, everybody wanted to know when Big Mamma was training. She is a lovely filly. We loved her when we bought her, she had a nice update in the family, and there aren't many like her. Horses like her, that's the reason you come to the barn in the morning.”

Also Wednesday, SGV sold a colt by City Zip (hip 172) for $430,000 to Solis/Litt. The colt was a $120,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.

Always quick to credit his entire team for SGV's success, Venosa said, “We are blessed. For us to be able to do what we do, we're just blessed.” @JessMartiniTDN

Into Mischief Colt Brings a Cool Million

It did not take long for things to heat up in the Gulfstream paddock as hip 15, a colt by Into Mischief, was the first to bring seven figures, selling to Coolmore's M.V. Magnier for $1 million.

“He was a lovely horse and he breezed very well [:10 flat],” said Magnier. “Steve [Venosa] was very high on the horse. Let's hope he works out. We have had a lot of luck with Into Mischief in the past. Practical Joke has covered a lot of mares and been very popular. Let's hope this fella can be as good as him.”

As for the price, Magnier said, “Plenty of people here had a high opinion of the horse. It is a lot of money, but he deserved to make it.”

Venosa, whose SGV Thoroughbreds consigned the juvenile, signed the $400,000 ticket on the bay colt at Fasig-Tipton October on behalf of longtime friend Paul Brodsky. Venosa sold a $1 -million son of Scat Daddy to Coolmore at last year's renewal of this sale.

Out of MSW & GSP Cor Cor (Smoke Glacken), Hip 15 was bred by Stonestreet Stables and hails from the family of MGSW Meafara (Meadowlake). @CDeBernardisTDN

Sky Kingdom Colt to Rockingham Ranch

Consignor Ciaran Dunne had been touting his colt from the first crop of graded winner Sky Kingdom (hip 155) all spring and the juvenile rewarded the Irishman's faith in him, first with a flashy furlong work in a co-bullet :9 4/5 during Monday's under-tack preview and then when selling for $875,000 during Wednesday's Gulfstream sale. The speedy youngster was purchased by Rockingham Ranch's Gary Hartunian, who did his bidding standing behind Dunne in the middle of the Gulfstream paddock.

“Ciaran told me he was the nicest horse he had,” Hartunian said of the colt's appeal. “He vetted clean and Ciaran said he could go two turns. I'm looking for a two-turn horse.”

Of the youngster's final price, Hartunian said, “I didn't want to lose him over $100,000 or $150,000, so I just kept bidding.”

But the California owner admitted he was about at his limit.

“I wasn't going to go a dime higher,” he said.

Hip 155, bred by Westrock Stables, is out of Truelladeville (Yes It's True). The colt was purchased by Dunne for $115,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale.

Also Wednesday, Hartunian purchased a filly by Cairo Prince (hip 141) for $150,000.

Hartunian has three horses running Saturday in Dubai, but admitted he was sitting this trip out while son-in-law Brian Trump watches champions Roy H (More Than Ready), Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) and X Y Jet (Kantharos) go postward in Meydan.

“We drew badly, we drew the one hole on Roy and Stormy. X Y Jet drew the three, so it's going to be tough. You never know how they'll come out of the plane. We should be good, but it's a lot of traveling.” @JessMartiniTDN

Bradshaw Has No One to Blame

Randy Bradshaw hit a pinhooking home run late in Wednesday's Gulfstream sale, selling a colt by Blame for $700,000 to Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock. Out of Ascending Angel, hip 183 was purchased by Bradshaw for $65,000 at last year's Keeneland September Sale. The youngster was bred by Ed and Sharon Hudon's Sierra Farm, an operation Bradshaw was very familiar with.

“One of my best clients, a guy out in California named Ed Hudon, had him in the sale,” Bradshaw recalled. “Ed died the day before this colt went through the ring. But I really loved the family–he has Stage Colony and all of those in the family.”

Of the yearling, Bradshaw said, “He was a big, strong colt, a little bigger than what I usually like, but I'll tell you what he's been a stone cold racehorse from day one. We called him The Beast around the barn. He went to a great home and I hope they have a lot of fun with him. He's a good one.” @JessMartiniTDN

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