Opening session of F-T NY-bred yearling sale sees strong results, upturn in average

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Fasig-Tipton photo

By Sarah Mace

When the first session of the annual two-day Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale concluded on Saturday at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs, horse trading was off to a strong start. The average yearling price was 18.7% higher than the first session of last year’s record-breaking renewal of the sale, and the median held steady. A grand total of 13 horses brought $200,000 and up and the colt and filly toppers each brought over $400,000.

Earlier in the day, across the street, New York-breds captured the two most important stakes races on the Saratoga card: Sue’s Fortune won the Grade 2 Adirondack for juvenile fillies and Voodoo Song scored a gritty victory in the Grade 1 Fourstardave. Then, halfway across the country, Fourstar Crook was a fast-closing runner-up in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington. As has been the case in recent years, New York-bred performances on the racetrack are the best advertisement for the program when horses hit the sales ring.

In all 80 horses changed hands Saturday for total sales of $8,326,000, up from $8,155,000 for 93 yearlings in the comparable session a year ago. Accordingly, the average increased 18.7% to $104,075 over last year’s $87,688 for the opening session. The median held steady from 2017 at $75,000.

One cause for pause was a sharp upturn in buybacks, up to 41.2% (80 of 136 sold) from just 24.4% in a session-to-session comparison. As Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr.  said, “The buy-back rate was higher than we’d like,” He explained as follows.

“There are probably a combination of factors there,” Browning said. “It is still a selective marketplace and we are going to continue to see that selectivity all year long. And this sale has traditionally had a higher than you would hope for buy-back rate because the owners and breeders of those horses have significant alternatives. It’s very important, if they don’t get what they think is a fair price, to control the destiny of that horse with regards to its racing career. That tends to result in a little bit higher RNA rate in most years.”

Francis Vanlongendonck (Fasig-Tipton photo)

The top-selling yearling of the session was a filly whose connections should sound familiar. At the select yearling sale earlier in the week a colt by American Pharoah bred by Mrs. Joanne Nielsen and consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield  brought $1,000,000. The same breeder-consignor team brought a filly by the same sire to the New York-bred sale and she, too, was a hit.

Catalogued as Hip 329, the bay daughter of the Triple Crown hero was snapped up by Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo as a pinhooking prospect for $450,000.

“She is just a beautiful filly,” Hartley said. “She had all the presence and all the class. She is going to pinhook. We feel like it is going to be a thinner market of those in the 2-year-old sales and we want to try to have some.”

The filly is out of Visions of Annette, an unplaced Kentucky-bred daughter of Distorted Humor bought by Joanne Nielsen from the 2013 Keeneland November sale for $150,000. Visions of Annette is a half-sister to stakes winners Saucey Evening and Petition the Lady. Another half-sister Jewel of the Night is the dam of Grade 1 winner and millionaire Evening Jewel.

The sale filly’s second dam is a sister to multiple Grade 1 winner General Challenge, who earned $2.8 million. Visions of Annette has a juvenile filly by Ghostzapper named Magic Fairy who has not yet started, and this season foaled a filly by Frosted on March 10. She has been bred back to the same sire.

Fasig-Tipton photo

The top colt of the night was Hip 384, a bay individual by Ghostzapper out of accomplished New York-bred race mare and AnJes Farm homebred Clear Pasaj. Foaled on March 20 of last year, the Ghostzapper yearling is her dam’s second foal. Her juvenile filly by First Samurai named Street Chamber was retained her breeders and is in training downstate. Clear Pasaj foaled a Distorted Humor colt this year and has been bred to Kitten’s Joy.

Bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins, who signed the ticket on behalf of Tracy Farmer, said, “He’s a very nice colt. We all loved him. Mark Casse loved him, so that’s where he will go. There was a lot of interest in the horse, so it was clear we were going to have to give it a go and we prevailed in the end.”

Collins continued with a pitch for the New York breeding program. “This sale has clearly shown in the last few years that it can produce a horse who can go all the way. And consequently, it gives the buyers confidence. The pedigrees are here, and the individuals are here to back it up. Why wouldn’t you give it a go? Everybody wants to run at Saratoga and, if you have a New York-bred at Saratoga, you’ve got a chance [to run in a race] that is a little bit softer for very similar money to running in open races. That has got to be appealing. Obviously, we hope horses at this kind of money go to the top level. But you do have a fall back as well that gives you more confidence. The New York program is very appealing.”

The transaction represented a career benchmark for Tom Gallo whose Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency consigned the colt on behalf of long-time client Donald Schupak of AnJes Farm. Gallo purchased the colt’s second dam Saintly Scholar by Danzig for Schupak and managed Clear Pasaj’s racing career for the AnJes Farm homebred who won two stakes and earned over $350,000. Gallo explained, “I used to have a giant consignment. Then I got down to just selling my babies and clients that I manage. So, I manage [Schupak]’s broodmare band.”

Gallo, a four-decade veteran of the horse business in New York also had this striking observation: “I topped the sale here back in 1986 or 87 with a $40,000 sale. So, we’ve come full circle here to sell one for $400,000.”

The next two top-selling New York-breds in the session brought over $300,000.

Jumpsucker Stable LLC put up $310,000 for Hip 356, an Uncle Mo colt bred by John Meriwether’s Waterville Lake Stables Ltd LLC, and consigned by Winter Quarter Farm. Out of Andraste, the colt is a half-brother to successful New York-bred turf sprinter Epping Forest. Andraste is also a half-sister two stakes winners and two stakes performers, led by multiple Grade 1 winner Vicar and stakes winner Sheepscot, a multiple stakes producer.

Hip 321, a Malibu Moon filly with a distinguished pedigree who was bred by Gallagher’s Stud and consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud, was purchased by Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm for $300,000. The youngster’s family is stellar through three generations. Her third dam Felicita is the dam of $2.4-million earner and broodmare of the year Take Charge Lady, who produced Will Take Charge, a $3.9-million earner, and champion 3-year-old colt, and sire Take Charge Indy. Second dam Eventail (Lear Fan) was a multiple stakes winner, graded-placed stakes runner and multiple stakes producer. Her best runner was graded winner Straight Story. The filly’s dam, multiple winner Tulipmania by Empire Maker, has already produced three winners. She has a Giant’s Causeway weanling and was bred in the spring to Twirling Candy.

The Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling auction resumes with its second and concluding session on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.


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