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Updated: 11 hours 47 min ago

Satisfactory Start to Sales Year at Goffs

Wed, 2019-02-06 14:52

KILDARE, Ireland – The second and final session of the Goffs February Sale followed a similar script to the opening day, but it still saw some significant transactions take place. The first 40 or so lots offered in the morning were 2-year-olds, some broken, others not, and while it represents an unusual stage of a flat horse’s lifecycle to be offered–it hovers between yearling sale stage and breeze-up stage–the section still produced one of the more high-profile sales of the whole auction when an unnamed Lawman (Fr) filly sold for €110,000.

While not many were rejoicing over the level of business being conducted, the sale still held its own and taking into account the reduced catalogue proceedings were more or less in line with last year. The aggregate of €3,976,150 was achieved by selling 264 of the 386 offered lots yielding a 68% clearance rate, while both the average of €15,061 and the median of €7,850 showed minor gains on last year.

At the close of business Goffs CEO Henry Beeby said, “Goffs February starts each year as the preferred option for many breeders at this time of year, as it combines the largest selection of weanlings with an eclectic mix of mares and fillies with breeding potential. Yesterday’s weanlings enjoyed a vibrant trade with strong competition for the best from a huge group of pinhookers who did battle for the youngsters they feel will be the most obvious candidates for the first-choice yearling sales later in the year.

Consequently, the knock-on effect is a trade that remains unforgiving for those that did not fall into that category; such is the way the market is operating at present as we clearly saw at all sales and locations through the autumn. Today’s breeding stock and mixed session has performed well with statistics that reflect the first choice nature of the sale and so we have enjoyed top prices in several categories on both days for the sales taking place at this time of year. We have been delighted to welcome a truly international group of buyers from as far afield as Uzbekistan whilst the home team has also been very active.”

He continued, “Of course the catalogue was smaller by over 150 lots when compared to last year, which in turn was 120 less than in 2017, so it was unlikely were going to match the turnover. However, all the other figures show growth so we have started the year with positivity and have much to look forward to in the coming months. For now we extend our thanks to each vendor and every purchaser for their support as we are nothing without them.”

Session-topping lot 298 certainly got every chance to achieve her maximum price in the ring and after a marathon game of bidding tennis between Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan and Tom Biggs of Blandford Bloodstock, it was the former who emerged victorious after a bid of €110,000. The Lawman (Fr) filly was offered by Baroda & Colbinstown to dissolve a partnership and boasts a regal back pedigree, being out of La Divina (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), a full-sister to champions Islington (Ire) and Greek Dance (Ire). Michael O’Callaghan has built up a quality squad to go to war with this year and he reported, “I’ve bought her to race for an existing client, she is a lovely filly and has a great pedigree. She has been in pre-training with David Myerscough so she has plenty of ground work done.”

O’Callaghan signed for the filly under Moran Stud Farm, a name which also cropped up later on as the buyer of lot 380 Myopic (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}). The winning half-sister to stakes winner Twitch (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}) was offered in foal to Kodiac (GB) and was hammered down for €95,000.

The consigning team of David Cox and David Myerscough offered another attractive proposition in lot 318 Vrai (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), and they were duly rewarded when the 3-year-old filly was snapped up by Mick Flanagan for €75,000. The half-sister to Lilbourne Lad (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) has shown consistent form in both France and England, placing three times and her appeal was heightened by the future prospects of her year younger half-sister by Gleneagles (Ire) who sold for 300,000gns as a yearling last year.

“She is a lovely moving filly with a great pedigree and she will most likely be covered by New Bay (GB),” reported Flanagan afterwards.

The €75,000 mark was also reached when BBA Ireland’s Eamonn Reilly signed for lot 333 Stellar Mass (Ire), the multiple stakes winning 6-year-old entire offered by Jim Bolger’s Glebe House Stables.

Goffs Scandinavia agent Filip Zwicky had his heart set on acquiring one mare in particular in the catalogue and his conviction was rewarded when lot 389, First Spirit (First Defence) was knocked down to him for €80,000. Zwicky, standing alongside a Danish client who had flown in on the day especially to see the mare, was pushed for much of the way by Matt Houldsworth, but when Zwicky countered Houldsworth’s €72,000 bid with an €8,000 rise, it was a tactic that ultimately sealed the deal for Zwicky.

The unraced half-sister to Group 1 winner Announce (GB) (Selkirk) was offered by Grenane House Stud in foal to Zoffany (Ire) and the agent said, “She was the one we wanted and I thought she was the most beautiful mare with the head of a queen.” Zwicky continued, “I have bought her for JC Organisation, who are new to breeding, but who invested in some nice yearlings last year. She will go to York Stud in Denmark and the progeny will be retained to race in Scandinavia to hopefully raise the profile of racing in the region.”

Mares from the draft of the Aga Khan Studs are often most sought after not only for their deep current pedigrees but also for what the pedigrees may unearth in the future. Lot 343 Shareva (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) is a prime example and she was purchased by Tally-Ho Stud for €62,000, with Tony O’Callaghan getting the better of Hugo Merry for the 4-year-old. Shareva was placed five times for Dermot Weld and, as a daughter of Group 3 winner Shareen (Ire) (Bahri) and a half-sister to two stakes winners in Shamreen (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Shahroze (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), her breeding credentials are obvious. In addition to this, the dam has a 2-year-old filly by Iffraaj (GB) and a yearling filly by Sea The Stars (Ire) coming through the ranks and is currently in foal to Frankel (GB). According to Roger O’Callaghan Shareva will be sent straight to the breeding shed at Tally-Ho with a date with rookie stallion Kessaar (Ire) on the immediate agenda.

Sean Flannery was a key member of the Goffs Bloodstock team until he decided on a major lifestyle change last year and returned to college to study medicine. But he hasn’t turned his back completely on the bloodstock business as he teamed up with his father Gerry Flannery to buy lot 373. Elshabakiya (Ire) (Diktat) was offered by Godolphin in foal to Dark Angel (Ire) and while the Flannerys had to fork out €62,000 to buy the 11-year-old, who was a black type performer in her racing days. Given the stallion will stand this year for €85,000 it seemed to represent good value.

“It’s obviously an attractive cover so she will go back home [to Esker Lodge Stud] and hopefully we will be back here in November with the foal,” reported Sean Flannery. “We haven’t decided who we will cover the mare with this year, but we will discuss it over the next while.” Of his current life as a trainee doctor in the University of Limerick Flannery said, “It’s certainly different, but I’m loving it. It’s my first time back here in Goffs since I started, as I missed the November Sale probably for the first time since I was about 10 years old. I actually have an exam tomorrow, so I’m glad we got this one so I can head off now and do some study.”

Following on from his major purchase of a Sea The Stars (Ire) colt on Tuesday, Avaz Ismoilov was busy again on Wednesday stockpiling bloodstock and he signed for 18 lots in total during the session, the majority of them fillies at the other end of the market compared to Tuesday’s main acquisition. Speaking to the TDN through an interpreter, Ismoilov indicated all the cheaper lots would make their way to Uzbekistan to boost that country’s breeding industry. Ismoilov purchased the former Ballydoyle trained James Cook (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}–Red Evie {Ire}, by intikhab) for 42,000gns in Newmarket last year and the plan is to acquire up to 100 fillies to support that young stallion’s career in Uzbekistan.

“Doctor Danzig” is No Dilettante

Wed, 2019-02-06 12:04

The Scottish soccer manager Bill Shankly famously rebuked people who treated his sport as a matter of life and death. “I can assure you it is much, much more important than that,” he said.

In our own walk of sporting life, perhaps nobody is better qualified to introduce due perspective than Dr. David Richardson. Through a long and distinguished medical career, crowned by chairmanship of the American College of Surgeons, the University of Louisville professor has almost daily been reminded how relatively trivial are the challenges of the other environment that has always engaged his intellect. And yet he by no means disparages the right of Thoroughbreds to consume our attention and dreams.

“I did big surgery,” he says. “The first liver transplants in Kentucky, for example. I ran a trauma program for years. Major surgery is extraordinarily high stakes, high risk, high reward–and a lot of pressure. But while I’ve never had to do horses for business, I’m very sympathetic with people who do. If you’ve paid a big stud fee, or bought a high-priced mare, and are counting on that to make your nut for the year, I would think that’s a very intense thing. Great when it works, terrible when it doesn’t. It’s not like life and death. But it’s certainly a lot of pressure.”

That said, somehow you know that had he instead made the Turf his profession–and there must be hundreds of people who owe their lives to the fact that he did not–then he would have proved no less adept, under that pressure, than with a scalpel in his hand. How many bloodstock professionals, after all, could headline a curriculum vitae as impressively as can this “amateur” prospector?

For as a young medic Richardson knew Woody Stephens as “Uncle” (albeit the trainer was actually his father’s cousin) and did a good deal of scouting on his behalf. In fairness, Henryk de Kwiatkowski wanted a Northern Dancer yearling, and at Saratoga in 1978 there was only one in the sale. Richardson had been to see Northern Dancer in Maryland and was struck by this colt’s resemblance to his sire, but demurred when Stephens–having seen the going rate at Keeneland that July–suggested they’d need a couple of million for him.

“He had splints a child could see,” he recalls. “You’d have to be pretty game to pay a lot of money for a horse like that. So they opened the bidding by asking for $1 million, $2 million, you know how they do. And then they backed down and said: ‘Okay we’ll do it the hard way: $100,000.’ And Henryk bid two, and somebody bid three, and Henryk bid and they put him in at four. And he waved: ‘No, no: 310!’ The guy looked at him and laughed and said: ‘Okay, we’ll do it that way if you want.’ And nobody else ever bid.”

One Sunday the following year Stephens rang Richardson and asked whether he could get a bet down. “This horse we bought last year, the Northern Dancer colt?” Stephens said. “This is the best 2-year-old I’ve had since Never Bend.”

“Okay, so what’s his name?”

“What’s that town they started the war over? In Poland.”

“Danzig?”

“Yeah, that’s it! Danzig.”

Richardson asked what he had done with the horse. Stephens liked to blitz a youngster one time, in :46 or so.

“Nothing,” replied Stephens. “Halves in :48. But I’m just telling you. I know this is a great horse.”

And he had a little angle to work the odds. He would put up a kid rider, Joe Brocklebank.

“If he falls off, I’ll shoot him,” laughed Stephens. “But if he just stays on, we’ll win. We’re going to the bank with Brocklebank!”

Brocklebank is nowadays a bloodstock agent and when Richardson sees him at the sales he always exclaims that same phrase. Because it was true: Richardson acquired a share in Danzig, one that would redeem many a misadventure with other horses.

Not that Danzig was a flash in the pan. When James Mills cashed in Devil’s Bag, he asked Richardson to help him find a colt with the proceeds. Of a shortlist of four yearlings, one turned out to be Gone West; another, Alysheba.

“Some people knocked Gone West because he toed out pretty good on the right fore,” Richardson remembers. “But I loved the horse, and Woody loved him, so we bought him for $1.9 million for Mr. Mills. Then we bid a little on Alysheba, too, because we had enough money for two. But Woody didn’t like the broodmare sire, Lt. Stevens, so he stopped. Not a bad shortlist, though!”

So the scholarly young man from rural Eastern Kentucky proved able to parlay his brains into a pastime that had fascinated him since boyhood, when he would leave friends at the Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati to bluff his way, underage, into the adjacent River Downs racetrack. He bought his first Thoroughbred in 1975, at 30; and had his first stakes winner in 1978. “I enjoy all aspects of it,” he says with a shrug. “I like to bet; I like to breed horses; I love to race horses. Even in claiming races I still get a kick out of winning.”

So while he has never relied on the Turf for his living, nor has he ever been a mere dilettante. And while he renounces any claim to knowing more than the next guy, he is prepared to credit himself for the hard yards. “That’s the one thing I will say,” he concedes. “I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours working things out. I’ve looked at thousands of yearlings. I’ve looked at broodmares, November and January, snow knee-deep or better, freezing my butt off. So to me that’s part of paying your dues, and trying to become better versed, and staying up with the game. Because if you really do that carefully, you see how sometimes horses that win races aren’t the prettiest things, or the best conformed.”

Even for so cerebral a man, the grail we all seek in a horse can be no more articulated than learned from a manual. One of his racing partners, past president of the national Hereford cattle breeders’ association, persuaded Richardson to buy a couple of bulls, a few cows.

“And it’s interesting: when he sees a group of 10, 15 yearlings or weanlings, he’ll pick out the best one or two,” Richardson says. “And when I’ve gone to his place and he’s put me in a field of bull calves and said: ‘Pick out some by such-and-such [a bull sire].’ And it’s got that I’m pretty good at doing that.

“But a lot of it is just plain luck. I laugh when you hear an agent buying a horse because ‘it ticks all the boxes.’ Every year at Saratoga there are maiden claiming fields with one horse that cost a million bucks, another that cost $750,000, and then the winner cost $22,000, and the second $9,000. And I wonder if they ticked all the boxes, too! But that’s what makes it fun.”

Especially since he has never been able to spend in his own cause the way he could for Mills or de Kwiatkowski. As he says, anybody can buy a horse for a million. What is really rewarding, then, is to turn up a runner like Northern Emerald, the Green Dancer filly he found for $55,000 who won the GI Flower Bowl S.

“There are so many intangibles,” Richardson stresses. “People do heart scans. But if you think about cardiac physiology, how complex it is… They talk about heart size but the real question is how does it squeeze? What’s called the ejection fraction. How fast can it pump blood? How efficiently, in terms of oxygen use? So it’s not just heart, but lungs. So people try to assess that, too, on a treadmill. But that’s still not like running a race at distance. But even if you could get the cardiovascular bit right, then how about the legs? And the mind? You can gauge some of those things, sometimes–but it’s very hard to say how the whole package will stand up to raceday pressures.”

Never mind all the environmental variables to be thrown into the equation: the right race coming up, the pace falling right. Richardson accepts that data can be validly measured across the horse population, but deplores the credulity that allows faux science to pronounce definitively on an individual. You’re far better off, he feels, just heeding those instincts you develop through experience.

Take Mrs. Revere, the Grade I-placed, 12-time winner he raced in the 1980s with Dr. Hiram Polk, honoured by a Grade II turf stake at Churchill in November. As a yearling she was entered for the old September Sale–in the days when the big money at Keeneland was paid in July–and one Sunday they went out to Hermitage Farm to see how she was doing.

“We just watched her for the best part of an hour,” Richardson recalls. “Probably 20 fillies round a feed tub. And she’s probably the smallest one there. But when she walked up, the others got out of the way. Round the water trough, the same thing. And then we watched her run across the field. No question, despite her size, she was the alpha female. So we just said: ‘Let’s take her out of the sale. We probably won’t get a lot for her anyway.'”

Sadly, Mrs. Revere only managed one foal before succumbing to a lymphoma. But that foal was Maria Balastiere (Majestic Light)–so named for Paul Revere’s daughter, who married the first American consul to Singapore–and she won the GIII Regret S. at Churchill.

“When Mrs. Revere died we were all set to breed her to Danzig,” says Richardson. “It just breaks your heart. But Maria had 10 winners from 11 foals, and I still have the sixth generation of that family now. Those are the kind of things that, to me, make it really fun.”

Richardson keeps around 15 mares, nowadays including several in Louisiana. After his young stock is broken, some will stay down there–not just to profit from breeders’ awards, but to enhance their owner’s enjoyment of Cajun people, culture and cuisine. But those of adequate promise will be given a chance with Richardson’s cherished old friend Bill Mott.

“The thing about Bill is that he genuinely cares about the horse,” Richardson explains. “He doesn’t push them. He may never win the [Kentucky] Derby, but he’s certainly a good enough horseman. The horse that was second in the Hopeful [Mucho (Blame)], I can see him being a Classic type this year. Bill thinks like a horse. His father was a vet. He grew up on a ranch. Had his first winner when he was 15. He puts the horse first, he’s patient, he gets the most out of what he has. And of course I’ve known him 30-plus years now, it’s always fun if you have one good enough to be with him.”

Richardson notes how Stephens, similarly, was breaking horses when as young as 12. “He had no education to speak of, he could read, but not particularly well, but he was very quick, very clever, very bright,” he says. “He was such an interesting man. Later on I took care of him as a patient and we became very close.”

Though now retired from clinical surgery, Richardson retains many senior roles at the university hospital. And it is astonishing, sitting in the lobby to the sales pavilion at Keeneland, to see every third or fourth person stop and hail him, their faces suddenly breaking into a smile. “Hey Doc!” Time and again, you see not just respect but affection. Often he inquires after the health of some relative in whose case he has taken a benign interest. Sometimes, inevitably, to no avail. One gentleman shakes his head. “He passed on Sunday. But thank you for everything you did.”

Is that something you can ever get used to? Even after all these years?

“If you do, then you’re in trouble,” Richardson replies. “I always tell the students in residence that a little bit of you will die with every patient you lose. You’ve got to be concerned but not consumed. But if you can help someone get through a hard situation, to me that’s what life’s about. This was a case of a bad cancer. But I consider it a blessing in my life that I was able to get to know this man a bit.

“If you think about it, what an honour it is that people let you do these things to them. Stop their heart [during open heart surgery], hope you can get it going again. I think the hardest thing, especially for young people, is to be confident without being cocky. Boy, you get arrogant, that’s the kiss of death. But you got to be confident. You’re gonna take someone’s liver out, you sure better think you know how to sew one back in.”

Possibly this is not the place to expand on Richardson’s insights into the moral and social challenges facing his profession in the 21st Century. But some are too important, in our walk of life no less than any other, to be ignored. As people live longer, for instance, will society authorize expensive treatments to improve the comfort of a centenarian with dementia? A few years ago Richardson himself faced a health crisis and–after consulting his daughter and brother, themselves also physicians–resolved not to accept dialysis if his kidneys failed. Luck was on his side: he was able to recover and tend his wife in her own last days; and happily, moreover, has since been blessed to find love again.

“All these judgements are very difficult,” he says of the daily dilemmas of his calling. “I think if you’re a compassionate person it never gets easy. And if it does, then I worry about you. But it’s not just a cliche: if you do something out of love, then you never do the wrong thing. Because nobody can see the future. So nobody can ever really know for sure the right thing to do. You never know how long somebody’s going to live, what their quality of life is going to be, how an operation’s going to go. But so long as you’re trying to do it right, and you’re thinking about the patient and their family, then you don’t make a mistake. Think about how many times in our lives we are backed into doing what we’re sure is the wrong thing, and then it has worked out fine–better even than it would have been otherwise.”

And perhaps that is where Richardson’s great affinity with the Turf comes in. We have all experienced exactly those kind of inadvertent twists of fortune, for better or worse, when trying to piece together the Thoroughbred puzzle.

“It’s a tough business, but it’s a great sport,” Richardson said. “Horses are such wonderful creatures. I take a lot of people out to the track–we do it every year with the surgical residents–and the joy people have when they experience racing, even as novices, is amazing to see. So I hope we never lose that.”

As he told his fiancee, taking her racing for the first time: “This’ll be a test…I’m pretty much all-in on this stuff!”

And while he accepts that there are challenges, sometimes he feels we are too down on our own sport. “The concussion problem in NFL isn’t going to go away,” he says. “Better helmets aren’t going to fix that, the way the brain rattles around inside the skull. So that’s going to be a huge problem. Baseball’s too long, too boring. No matter what sport, you go through ebbs and flows and cycles. And I think sometimes we get a little too pessimistic. Sure there are things we need to work on. Aftercare’s a huge issue. The value of that real estate, at Santa Anita and Gulfstream. Other forms of gaming. But you go to the great tracks, on the great days, there are still very few things that beat what we do.”

 

Updated Funeral Arrangements for McKathan

Wed, 2019-02-06 10:20

For those unable to attend the funeral arrangements for J.B. McKathan Saturday in Ocala, the funeral home will be live-streaming them on www.robertsfunerals.com.

The family will be receiving friends at the visitation Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1-4 p.m. at Roberts of Ocala Downtown Chapel at 606 SW 2nd Avenue in Ocala. Pastor Bob Miller of Ocala Farm Ministry will be officiating the funeral service which will begin at 4 p.m. immediately following the visitation. McKathan will be laid to rest the following Saturday, Feb. 16, at Pleasant Home Cemetery in Andalusia, Alabama. The family has requested that memorial donations may be made to the Ocala Farm Ministry, 489 NW 110th Ave., Ocala, FL 34482; or Old Friends Farm, 1841 Paynes Depot Road, Georgetown, KY 40324.

For further details or to post a message of tribute, click here.

362 Sophomores Nominated to 2019 Triple Crown

Wed, 2019-02-06 10:03

Led by the newly crowned 2-year-old champions–both male and female–a total of 362 horses from all over the world have been nominated to the 2019 Triple Crown. Each was made eligible to the series–consisting of the $3-million GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 4, the $1.5-million GI Preakness S. at Pimlico Racecourse May 18 and the $1.5-million GI Belmont S. at the New York oval June 8–with a $600 early nomination fee. Horses not nominated to the series originally may be supplemented for $6,000 through Apr. 1. A comparable 360 horses were nominated at the first stage in 2018.

Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) clinched the Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old male with a determined defeat of Knicks Go (Paynter) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile beneath the Twin Spires last November and is being prepared for a seasonal debut in California. He is one of 17 nominees from the powerhouse barn of dual Triple Crown-winning conditioner Bob Baffert. The Hall of Famer looks loaded for another run at glory, as his other trainees include GI Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity hero Improbable (City Zip) and recent GIII Robert B. Lewis S. hero Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man). The three aforementioned Baffert runners are among 18 ‘TDN Rising Stars’ nominated to the Triple Crown.

Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) is one of four fillies nominated to this year’s Triple Crown, having closed out her 2018 campaign with a powerful, front-running victory in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The gray is trained by John Servis, who sent out Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality) to wins in the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before the Pennsylvania-bred was upended in the Belmont.

Trainer Kenny McPeek has a half-dozen of his runners nominated, including the overachieving duo of Signalman (General Quarters), third in the Juvenile ahead of a tally in Churchill’s GII Kentucky Jockey Club S.; and Harvey Wallbanger (Congrats), who tossed his hat into the ring with a 29-1 upset of the GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. Feb. 2, defeating TDN Rising Star‘ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief) into third.

Other horses of note include impressive GIII Lecomte S. winner War of Words (War Front); comebacking TDN Rising Star‘ Instagrand (Into Mischief); Gray Attempt (Graydar), a latest winner of Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones S.; GI Champagne S. runner-up Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}); Gunmetal Gray (Exchange Rate), victorious in the GIII Sham S. last month and second to Mucho Gusto in the Lewis; Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), the GI Hopeful S. hero who kicked of 2019 with a score in the Jerome S. at Aqueduct; and reformed claimer Tax (Arch), who served notice that he could be a 3-year-old of significance in last weekend’s GIII Withers S. Notable for their absence on the list at the first stage are Champagne winner and ‘Rising Star’ Complexity (Maclean’s Music), as well as Call Paul (Friesan Fire), who resumed with a game success in the GIII Swale S. Feb. 2.

A total of 20 entries were received from overseas–11 from Europe, five from Dubai and four from Japan. Coolmore has engaged seven horses, including the Ontario-bred GSW duo ofTDN Rising Star Sergei Prokofiev (Scat Daddy) and Van Beethoven (Scat Daddy).

Steve Asmussen led all trainers with 27, while Todd Pletcher and champion trainer Chad Brown joined Baffert with 17 nominees. Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm led among owners with 13 entries and tied with Chuck Fipke and Godolphin as the breeder of six nominees.

Among sires, Tapit leads the list for the third straight year with 19 nominees, followed by Into Mischief with 15 and Curlin with 13. Cairo Prince and Uncle Mo are the other stallions into double digits with 11.

Breeding Stock Sales Season Finishes Strong at Fasig-Tipton

Tue, 2019-02-05 17:36

LEXINGTON, Ky–

The second of two sessions of Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale featured strong trade heading into the opening of the breeding season later this month.

The two-day sale saw gross receipts of $9,659,400 at an average of $29,539 and median of $15,000. Last year’s average was $28,673 with a $10,500 median. The buyback rate this year was 20.4%, compared to 22.7% 12 months ago.

For Tuesday’s session, $4,982,200 changed hands at an average of $27,526 and median of $13,000. The RNA rate was a paltry 11.3%.

“It was a competitive marketplace from start to finish,” said Fasig-Tipton President and Chief Executive Officer Boyd Browning, Jr. “The first horse in the ring yesterday sold very well and the last horse in the ring today sold very well. It’s kind of amazing to be standing in the back walking ring when the last horses are going through sale in February and people are asking, ‘Can you bring some more in here?’ The most common complaint I had from consignors was that they wished they had more horses because it was a very solid and strong marketplace throughout.”

Tuesday’s session topper–a supplemental offering and the last hip through the ring–was $285,000 racing or broodmare prospect La Manta Gris (Lemon Drop Kid) (hip 531), who was consigned by Lane’s End and signed for by agent David Ingordo.

The day’s top short yearling was a $75,000 Palace colt (hip 334) consigned by Endeavor Farm. Bill Williams purchased the New York-bred.

The overall sale topper came Monday when graded stakes-winning broodmare prospect Cheekaboo (Unusual Heat) garnered a $300,000 winning bid from K R Japan. She was consigned as hip 57 by Small Batch Sales on behalf of Ciaglia Racing.

“I think we might start seeing a little more expansion in terms of supply and demand maybe getting a bit more in line,” Browning noted. “There seems to be a little more broadening of the band in terms of pedigree and physical conformation on some of the mares. There seem to be more people re-entering or willing to buy broodmares who may not have been doing so three or four years ago, and not just at the top end but in the $20,000 to $50,000 level, which is encouraging and provides some stability.”

The 13 priciest lots of the sale were purchased by different entities.

“There was no market maker [this year],” Browning said. “We’ve seen it occasionally in past years that someone will come in that has a new stallion and they’re trying to buy 30 or 40 and that kind of pushed everything… It does show you some strength and broadening of the market that there wasn’t an individual market maker, just a lot of people bidding on horses throughout the two days.”

Fasig-Tipton’s next sale will be the boutique Gulfstream Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds Mar. 27.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store with regards to the quality of the catalog we have for the Gulfstream sale,” said Browning. “It’s in the oven–it’s at the printers–and it will be a really, really strong catalog both in terms of pedigrees and physical conformation… People want a good horse. A lot of people want to have a weekend horse that can take them to the levels that they aspire to. Fortunately, we’ve had a track record at Gulfstream of selling those kind of horses and I promise you there’s a bunch in the catalog this year.”

For more information, visit www.fasigtipton.com.

Ingordo on Both Sides of Topper Transaction

Prominent agent David Ingordo picked up a familiar face as the last hip through the ring at Fasig-Tipton’s Winter Mixed Sale. He’d already purchased La Manta Gris (Lemon Drop Kid) on behalf of former professional baseball player and current Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli when she sold for $130,000 as an OBS March 2-year-old in 2016, and he was left holding the ticket Tuesday once she was hammered down for $285,000.

The twice stakes-placed earner of $211,000 was consigned as hip 531 by Lane’s End, for which Ingordo works.

“Rocco Baldelli is a pretty good friend of mine and I bought her as a 2-year-old for Rocco,” Ingordo noted. “Because of business obligations, he had to sell her. I thought she’d be a nice addition to our broodmare band at the farm. We’re not sure who we’ll breed her to, but I’m sure it’ll be Quality Road or City of Light or somebody like that.”

La Manta Gris, who covered a furlong in :10 1/5 in Ocala, is out of a full-sister to MGISW Honey Ryder (Lasting Approval) and a half to the dams of HSWs Hit It Rich (Smart Strike) and Dominus (Smart Strike).

“She had one of those tiny vet issues everyone talks about that scare a lot of people, but it didn’t scare us,” Ingordo said of the purchase back in 2016. “[Trainer] Rusty Arnold did a great job with her, and her pedigree speaks for itself. It’s a rare pedigree… I don’t know yet if she’ll be resold or we’ll just keep her.”

Gainesway ‘Delighted’ to Send New Buy to Tapit

Gainesway Farm came out on top of one of the more spirited bidding battles of the day Tuesday to secure the well-related three-time winner She’s Delightful (Mission Impazible) for $200,000. The grey racing or broodmare prospect was consigned to the sale by James M. Herbener, Jr., Agent V as hip 330.

Out of GSW Chimichurri (Elusive Quality), She’s Delightful was a $40,000 OBSMAR 2-year-old buy by Our Sugar Bear Stable. Turned over to Bruce Brown, the New York-bred was a maiden $50,000 winner and two-time allowance winner en route to nearly $133,000 in earnings.

While she was repaying her owners’ investments on the track, a daughter of her half-sister Loving Vindication (Vindication) was improving her page significantly. That filly, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d’Oro), was MGSW/GISP at two in 2017 en route to a Sovereign Award. She’s also a shoe-in for at least one more Sovereign Award for her 2018 campaign, and possibly Horse of the Year honors, after annexing last year’s Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales S. after completing the exacta in the GI Kentucky Oaks. Loving Vindication is a finalist for Canada’s outstanding broodmare.

“Look at the family; it’s such a fantastic family with that champion [Wonder Gadot] under the first dam,” said Gainesway’s general manager Neil Howard. “The plans are to breed her to Tapit, so we’re excited about it.”

That mating will produce a foal bred on the same Tapit–Unbridled’s Song cross as two-time Eclipse winner Unique Bella and GSW West Coast Belle.

“It’s completely polarized to all the good horses,” Howard said of the market at Fasig as a whole. “Everybody wants the same thing, but it’s the market we’re in… [Quality] is where you need to be right now, and that’s what we saw in this mare. She’s a lovely filly, and in fact we thought she was probably the best physical in the sale. So, being able to get her and breed her to Tapit, we’re excited.”

Things Come Full Circle for Victress

A $47,000 KEESEP yearling the last time she was in Lexington, Victress (Include) returned from Western Canada a graded stakes winner and will be heading back to her breeder Judy Hicks’s Brookstown Farm after Hicks paid $200,000 for her Tuesday. The earner of nearly $210,000, Victress was a stakes winner at Hastings Park at three, four and five, and made the grade last out in October’s GIII Ballerina S. She was consigned to the sale as hip 402 by Brookdale Sales on behalf of owners Rob and Vicky Gilker.

“It was obviously a good sum, but we weren’t surprised–we thought she’d bring somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000,” said Brookdale’s Joe Seitz. “At the end of the day, she is a graded stakes winner, she’s got a good family and she’s beautiful. It’s about what you’d expect to pay for that kind of horse in this type of market.”

Judy Hicks acquired Victress’s second dam Phoenix Sunshine (Encino) as a yearling when a boarding client failed to pay his bill. Phoenix Sunshine went on to earn almost $226,000 for Hicks with several stakes wins. She produced a pair of black-type performers in the shed as well.

“It was nice to see Judy Hicks buy her–I love it when the cycle comes back around,” Seitz said. “It shows that people appreciate the family. Judy has been involved in three generations of that family, so it’s nice to see it all come back around.”

Victress was a home horse for the Gilkers, and was one of four graded winners they’ve been responsible for in Western Canada over the past decade.

“They do everything themselves, so it’s a wonderful story about people who made the horse,” Seitz said. “She gallops the horse, he trains the horse, they do it all hands-on. [Victress] is like a family member to them, and they did a great job with her getting her to where she is now.”

Winning Call Rewards Hernon and Partners Again

Taking Aim (Trappe Shot) (hip 476) became the third mare to reach the $200,000 mark Tuesday when purchased for that sum by Larry and Karen Doyle’s KatieRich Farms.

The half-sister to Tapizar, the 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero and sire of champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl, was consigned by Gainesway.

Gainesway’s Michael Hernon, also a co-breeder of Monomoy Girl, co-owned Taking Aim with Anthony Warrender of Virginia’s Oak Ridge Farm.

“The market’s strong with good demand for the quality broodmare prospect and the good weanling,” said Hernon. “This one was a bit special–half to a Breeders’ Cup winner and the sire of Monomoy Girl, a quality individual, she’ll get great-looking foals, I think. With any luck, maybe [KatieRich President] Mark [Hubley] will let us consign a yearling out of this mare going forward.”

Taking Aim’s dam Winning Call (Deputy Minister) was a $200,000 RNA when consigned by Gainesway at the 2011 Keeneland November sale. Hernon partnered with Warrender and Fred Allor to purchase the mare from Winchell.

“She was an RNA in the ring, and [owner] Ron Winchell leaned on me pretty hard and said, ‘Get this mare sold,'” recalled Hernon. “I tried everybody, and then I got thinking about it and came up with a couple of partners and we rolled the dice and it worked out very well. She’s a Deputy Minister mare, beautiful mare, and we were very fortunate that Tapizar came to fruition and stepped up and won the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and that changed the whole pedigree.”

The Tapit filly Winning Call was carrying when Hernon and partners bought her sold for $350,000 in 2012, and the best score they made out of the mare thus far was the $600,000 sale of a full-brother to Taking Aim at the 2014 Keeneland September Sale. Hernon and Warrender bought Allor out of Taking Aim when she sold for $250,000 at KEENOV ’15. They raced her four times, with a best finish a second going a mile in Aqueduct maiden special weight company in November.

“It’s gratifying, and she’s a lovely filly–it’s hard to see her go, but we’re in the business of selling horses and breeding horses,” Hernon said. “As they say, ‘You never go broke making a profit.’… The filly showed great at the barn and there were a lot of people interested. We put a very conservative reserve on her–she was here to sell.”

Winning Call, now 21-years-old, is currently open. Her most recent produce was a Constitution filly of 2017, who brought $95,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and $115,000 as a Fasig-Tipton October yearling. Hernon said Winning Call could visit young Gainesway resident Anchor Down this breeding season.

Solid Session for Hill ‘n’ Dale

John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency was an active seller at the top of the market Tuesday, consigning a pair of broodmares that brought $150,000 and $180,000, respectively.

First up was Thicker Than Water (Speightstown) (hip 377), who was purchased by agents Sallusto and Albina. Picked up at last year’s Keeneland January sale for $30,000 by Sikura while barren to Hard Spun, she was offered this time in foal to Hill ‘n’ Dale resident Maclean’s Music. A two-time winner on the NYRA circuit, the 9-year-old is a half-sister to another popular Hill ‘n’ Dale resident in Kantharos. Her now 2-year-old colt by Super Saver was a $130,000 KEESEP yearling.

“It’s not really a question of value; the majority of the market isn’t going to buy a mare in her third season not in foal,” Sikura said of how he acquired Thicker Than Water for what he did some 13 months ago. “Kantharos is having a great year at stud and is a very popular horse, and she’s attractive–cost $250,000 as a yearling and Mike Ryan, a great judge of a yearling, bought her.”

It didn’t take long for another Hill ‘n’ Dale offering to light up the board as Vickie Wins (Unbridled’s Song) (hip 401) went to Machmer Hall’s Carrie Brogden for $180,000 in foal to Violence. Vickie Wins, a daughter of GISW Mistical Plan (Game Plan), was purchased off the track for $270,000 at this sale two years ago to be bred to Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Bayern. She produced that first foal, a colt, last March.

“I thought she was a little light, actually, I thought she’d bring $200,000-plus, but she sold for $180,000 and that’s ok,” Sikura said. “I thought she was good value–Violence is flying, and a good Violence can pay for the mare.”

Machmer Hall has shown a particular affinity for Unbridled’s Song mares and purchased two at last month’s Keeneland January sale for $290,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Overall, Sikura seemed pleased with the day: “There’s been good trade. We try to sell horses when we bring them to auction and be reasonable when we set reserves. So far, it’s gone well. We’ve sold everything… It’s a pretty good market here. It’s not just an afterthought or [full of] severe culls. There’s a lot people here and some good, quality stock with breeding season right around the corner. Plus, it’s not sunny but it’s 65 [degrees] today–last week it was 0.”

 

Pedigree Insights: Feedback Positive for Violence

Tue, 2019-02-05 13:18

Even though Medaglia d’Oro’s fee has been reduced to $200,000 from last year’s $250,000, this son of El Prado still justifiably ranks among America’s highest-priced stallions. After all, he had eight yearlings sell for $1 million or more at last year’s sales and, in 2017, he notched up the remarkable total of seven individual Grade I winners in the U.S. That’s very good going for a horse who was priced no higher than $35,000 when he made his stud debut at Hill ‘n’ Dale in 2005.

With Medaglia d’Oro now 20, the search is on for his successor. Perhaps the search hasn’t been made any easier by the fact that fillies such as Rachel Alexandra, Songbird, Elate, Plum Pretty, Champagne d’Oro, Gabby’s Golden Gal, Marketing Mix and New Money Honey account for 12 of his 19 Northern Hemisphere Grade I winners.

That said, there are sons of Medaglia d’Oro at several of Kentucky’s foremost stallion stations. While Coolmore hasn’t shuttled the champion Australian 2-year-old Vancouver for a third season at Ashford, Darley has travelled Astern, another of Medaglia d’Oro’s best Australian sons, for a second season in Kentucky. Then there’s the newly retired Bolt d’Oro at Spendthrift, with Fast Anna at Three Chimneys, Mshawish is at Taylor Made and both Atreides and Violence at Hill ‘n’ Dale.

A lot has been expected of Violence ever since he attracted a $600,000 bid from Steve Marshall’s Black Rock Stables at the yearling sales of 2011, when his price was bettered by only one other son of Medaglia d’Oro. That other son, the $1.2-million Superfection, never raced and was gelded, but Violence has proved to be worth every cent.

A debut victory over seven furlongs at Saratoga earned Violence an immediate step up to Grade II company in the Nashua S. at Aqueduct. Victory was widely expected to go to Darwin, another Pletcher-trained colt, but it was Violence who overcame his greenness to score by two lengths. Although Pletcher suggested that Violence would not be seen again until the winter circuit moved on to Gulfstream, the colt was given one more juvenile start, six weeks later on the opposite coast, in the GI CashCall Futurity on Hollywood Park’s Pro-Ride surface.

Despite the presence in the field of He’s Had Enough, who had failed by only a head to wear down Shanghai Bobby in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, it was Violence who started a short-priced favorite. He justified the confidence, maintaining his unbeaten record by more than a length, with the future GI Preakness S. winner Oxbox fourth and He’s Had Enough fifth.

Rider Javier Castellano was impressed, commenting that, “He is so calm and handles himself very professionally. I think he is a special horse and I am really looking forward to big times.”

The compilers of the Experimental Free Handicap shared Castellano’s enthusiasm, awarding Violence 123 pounds, which put him joint-second with He’s Had Enough among the males, three pounds below the unbeaten Shanghai Bobby.

The GII Fountain of Youth S. was the next stop for Violence and he started odds-on, even though the race’s conditions meant he was set to give six pounds to all eight of his rivals. He nearly proved up to the task, but at the wire he was a half-length adrift of a progressive colt called Orb. While Orb went on to decisive Grade I victories in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, Violence’s career ended in the Fountain of Youth. He was found to have suffered a fracture to a sesamoid.

Violence is comfortably the highest priced of the Medaglia d’Oro sons mentioned above, with his fee having risen over the last three years from its original level of $15,000 to $25,000 and now to $40,000. The reasons for this latest rise are encapsulated in some of the data that appears in his Stallion Register details:

“#1 Second Crop Sire by Cumulative SWs and SHs with 5 SWs and 8 SHs.

“Yearlings sold for $850,000, $725,000, $500,000, etc.”

His initial fee of $15,000 in 2014 ensured that Violence would be very attractive to mare owners. In addition to possessing good looks and a fashionable sire, he offered Grade I-winning juvenile form and a female line which featured the champion older female Sky Beauty as his third dam, the dual Grade I winner Maplejinsky as his fourth dam and Mr. Prospector’s champion sprinter Gold Beauty as his fifth dam.

Sure enough, mares flocked to Violence, with nearly 700 of them visiting him during the four years he was priced at $15,000. He attracted another 214 in 2018, when his fee was $25,000.

He now holds first place on the TDN‘s list of Leading Third-Crop Sires, both by cumulative earnings and for the current year. The cumulative table credits him with 105 winners, of which 13 have won black-type events and three are graded stakes winners. The latest of those graded winners is Feedback, who landed the GIII Forward Gal S. over seven furlongs. Her predecessors are Cosmic Burst (GIII Honeybee S.) and Talk Veuve To Me (GIII Indian Oaks). It is significant, in view of Medaglia d’Oro’s record, that all three of Violence’s graded winners are fillies, as is Vibrance, who–like the Acorn S. second Talk Veuve To Me–has been runner-up at Grade I level. I tend to think this is simply coincidence, as there are plenty of colts among his 22 black-type horses.

Perhaps because his progeny have often sold for substantial amounts, I find myself wishing that he had a few more top-level performers to his credit. However, it’s important to remember that all of Violence’s racing-aged progeny were sired at $15,000 and that his second-crop 3-year-olds haven’t had many opportunities. His ‘TDN Rising Star’ Feedback was racing for only the second time when she landed the Forward Gal S.

Feedback’s pedigree suggests she may be capable of shining at a higher level. Her dam, the Grade III-placed Honest Answer, is a half-sister to I Ain’t Bluffing, a Pine Bluff filly who enjoyed Grade I success in California over seven furlongs at three (La Brea S.) and 1 1/16 miles at four (Milady H.). Another of Honest Answer’s half-sisters, Sweet As Honey, produced Borrego, a high-class 1 1/4-mile winner to a mating with Medaglia d’Oro’s sire El Prado.

Insights: Medaglia d’Oro FTKOCT Topper Debuts at Gulfstream

Tue, 2019-02-05 13:00

After topping the 2017 FTKOCT Yearling Sale at $700,000, the second-highest for a colt in the sales history, Broadway d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) gets his career started in a two-turn maiden special weight over the Gulfstream grass Wednesday.

The 3-year-old is a full-brother to two-time Grade III winner Golden Lad and a half-brother to MGSW and GI Kentucky Oaks runner-up Broadway’s Alibi (Vindication) and MSW/GISP R Gypsy Gold (Bernardini). The John C. Oxley, Baccari Racing Stable and SF Racing colorbearer is the final produce out of the late stakes winner Broadway Gold (Seeking the Gold), herself a half-sister to GI Florida Derby winner and promising young sire Dialed In (Mineshaft). His third dam is champion Eliza (Mt. Livermore).

Broadway d’Oro’s breeder, SF Bloodstock, purchased Broadway Gold, with this colt in utero, for $950,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale. He was bought back for $475,000 as a Keeneland September yearling.

Broadway d’Oro, trained by Mark Casse, worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 (10/14) around the dogs over the Palm Meadows lawn Jan. 13. He was scratched from the rained-off opener on the GI Pegasus World Cup card Jan. 26. TJCIS PPs

McKathan Funeral Arrangements Announced

Tue, 2019-02-05 09:46

Funeral services for the late J. B. McKathan, who passed away suddenly Feb. 2, are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Roberts Funeral Home, 606 S. W. 2nd Avenue, in Ocala, FL. Viewing will take place from 1-4 p.m. to be followed immediately by a funeral service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Home, 1841 Paynes Depot Rd., Georgetown, KY, 40324.

McKathan and his brother Kevin opened their training center in Citra three decades ago and forged relationships with top horsepeople such as Bob Baffert, the Zayat family and owner/breeder Charles Fipke, and horses, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Silver Charm, Real Quiet and recent GI Pegasus World Cup runner-up Seeking the Soul.

A ‘Celebration of Life’ has also been planned for Wednesday, Mar. 6, from 4-6 p.m. on the grounds of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company.

For further information, contact Roberts Funeral Home at (352) 537-8111 or OBS at (352) 237-2154.

 

Steady Action at Fasig Opener

Mon, 2019-02-04 16:49

LEXINGTON, Ky–The money was there for perceived quality during the first of two sessions of Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale Monday in Lexington.

A total of 146 head changed hands on the day for a combined $4,677,200. The average was $32,036 and median was $18,000–both of which compare favorably to last year’s cumulative stats of $28,673 and $10,500, respectively. The buyback rate for the session was 29.5%, compared to 22.7% for the entirety of last year’s sale.

A total of 13 offerings reached or surpassed the $100,000 threshold Monday, putting the 2019 renewal on pace to meet or exceed the mark of 24 horses which did the same in 2018. Eight brought $200,000 or better during the entirety of last year’s sale, but only two did the same on Monday.

Topping Monday’s session was graded stakes-winning broodmare prospect Cheekaboo (Unusual Heat), who was purchased by K R Japan for $300,000 from the Small Batch Sales consignment as hip 57.

The day’s second topper was also the priciest short yearling: hip 191, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services LLC, brought $200,000 from Irish Meadow Stable.

“The market was very solid today,” said Fasig-Tipton President and Chief Executive Officer Boyd Browning, Jr. “It’s the same old story–we sound like broken records–the quality offerings were very much in demand, with lots of bidding and lots of activity on those horses. Unfortunately, not every offering at this time of the year is going to be perceived as a real quality offering. But, for the most part, there was a marketplace for virtually every horse that walked through there. So, I thought, all in all, it was a successful day and there’s no question that the market continues to demand quality and is willing to pay for it… I think the stratification continues, and we don’t see any reason in the marketplace, frankly, to give us any indication that it’s going to change in 2019. I think we’ll continue to experience stratification in the marketplace at 2-year-old sales, at yearling sales and the mixed sales in 2019.”

There were no repeat buyers among the toppers until the 15th priciest lot, and Browning said he was pleased with the diversity of the buying bench.

“There was a broad cross-section of buyers,” he said. “We sold the sale topper to a group from Japan; we had Australian representatives here who bought a few horses; obviously, some folks from south of the border were active in the marketplace; and certainly there was American participation. So, it was a broad and diverse group of buyers today.”

The Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale’s second and final session begins Tuesday starting at 10 a.m. For more information, visit www.fasigtipton.com.

Cheekaboo Heats Things Up Early

Grade II winner Cheekaboo (Unusual Heat) woke up a somewhat sleepy sales pavilion early in Monday’s session, garnering a winning bid of $300,000 over the phone from Japanese interests. The ticket was signed as K R Japan.

Offered as a broodmare prospect, Cheekaboo was consigned as hip 57 by Small Batch Sales on behalf of Ciaglia Racing.

Click for walking video.

“We had the reserve a bit less than that, so it was exciting to exceed the reserve,” said Small Batch’s Fletcher Mauk. “We’re super excited for the owners–they did a great job exercising patience with this filly, putting her in the right places and they’ve been rewarded for it.”

Hailing from the extended female family of Grade I winners Miss Josh, Royal Mountain Inn and Bit of Whimsy, Cheekaboo was purchased for $55,000 as a Barretts October yearling in 2014. Turned over to trainer Peter Eurton on behalf of Ciaglia Racing, Mike Burns and Sharon Alesia, her signature win was a 23-1 upset of the 2016 GII Honeymoon S. over nine panels of Santa Anita sod. She racked up total earnings just short of $372,000 from three wins and 24 starts.

“It was typical of what you’d expect for a Grade II winner in the last sale of the year before the breeding shed opens,” Mauk said when asked about the interest Cheekaboo had garnered during inspection time. “Most of the larger farms were interested in her. They respect the race record; race record says a lot. I think for the sire, she was a bit of an anomaly because she was a bigger-bodied horse than what most people expected from Unusual Heat. So to have that long shoulder, high withers, powerful hip, I think really carried her further than it could have had she been a more typical offspring of Unusual Heat.”

Into Mischief Filly Stands Out Among Short Yearlings

A filly by commercial powerhouse Into Mischief proved the most popular short yearling Monday at Fasig-Tipton, bringing $200,000 over the phone from Irish Meadow Stable. Bred by the Regan family’s Newtown Anner Stud, she was offered by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services as hip 191.

“She’s a lovely filly; a big, strong filly with a beautiful walk,” said consignor Ron Blake. “We were really thrilled with her and hope she grows and develops. We think a lot of her. Anyone that would have her would be very proud to have her. We wish the best of luck to everybody.”

Newtown Anner purchased hip 191’s dam Kashami (Mizzen Mast)–who hails from the very productive Dr. John Chandler family of Grade I winners Dynaforce (Dynaformer) and Cetewayo (His Majesty) and millionaire Willcox Inn (Harlan’s Holiday)–for $160,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September sale. She was a maiden special weight winner in eight attempts for Wayne Catalano. Hip 191 is Kashami’s third foal–she produced a now-placed Pioneerof the Nile filly who sold privately after RNA’ing for $240,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred sale; and a 2-year-old Majesticperfection filly who brought $100,000 at that same auction last term. Hip 191 was bred in Kentucky, and Kashami subsequently visited Kitten’s Joy.

Into Mischief has emerged as one of North America’s best sires, both on the track and in the ring, and Blake acknowledged that his name carried plenty of weight in this open sale.

“You don’t want to overload them and have too many of them, because the object is to come here and stand out and not be one of 40 or 50 Into Mischiefs–you want to be one of one or two, and have a nice enough horse that everyone wants it,” he said. “We sold a Tiznow [colt] here last year for $260,000; we sold an Into Mischief filly here [in 2015] for $180,000, so every year we try to bring one that we think will stand out a little bit.”

Blake said he was pleased with how his consignment had been received overall Monday.

“We’ve done pretty well today,” he said. “We sold a Shackleford colt (hip 95) earlier for $70,000–I thought that was good money–so I think overall we’ve been pretty happy with today.”

McMahon & Hill Double Down on Frosted

Agents Mike McMahon and Jamie Hill picked up their second filly from the first crop of Frosted (Tapit) Monday when they went to $160,000 to scoop up hip 111 out of Stuart Morris’s consignment. They paid $240,000 for a New York-bred weanling filly by the same Darley inmate, also consigned by Morris, at Keeneland November.

“He was a great racehorse and a lot of times those great racehorses make good sires,” Hill said of brilliant MGISW Frosted. “I know they bred him to a lot of good mares. It’s the second Frosted we’ve bought, both of them from Stuart, both of them quite a bit of money, one of them was a New York-bred and this is a Kentucky-bred, so we’ve got our bases covered.”

Frosted was a clear second–behind only farmmate Nyquist–by first-crop weanling average last year. His 12 foals to sell brought an average of $186,250.

Hill confirmed that hip 111 would be part of his and McMahon’s successful pinhook venture.

Out of the young multiple stakes-placed mare Enchante (Bluegrass Cat), hip 111 is half to a now 2-year-old Uncle Mo filly who cost $250,000 at Keeneland September. Champion Forty Niner is under her fourth dam.

“We knew what the reserve was, and we were right at the reserve–maybe a tick over,” Hill said of the price paid.

Of the market overall, he echoed a familiar sentiment: “If you have the right horse it brings the right money, but if you don’t, you’re left with nothing.”

Tampa Bay Derby Next Stop for Promising Win Win Win

Mon, 2019-02-04 15:32

Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}), a track record setter in his latest start at Tampa Bay Downs, will get his first two-turn test in the GII Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 9 at the Oldsmar oval, trainer Michael Trombetta confirmed to TDN Monday. The homebred was under consideration for the prep for that event, this Saturday’s GIII Sam F. Davis S., but will instead be trained up to the meet centerpiece, with his performance likely to go a long way in determining whether the colt is ultimately pointed for the GI Kentucky Derby.

“The Sam Davis would certainly have been a great option for us, but I elected to pass on that to give him a little bit of extra time to prepare properly going into the other race,” Trombetta said. “That would’ve been back in three weeks off a pretty fast race.”

That pretty fast race was indeed the swiftest seven furlongs in Tampa Bay Downs’s 93-year history, as Win Win Win overcame a slow start in the Jan. 19 Pasco S. to stop the timer in 1:20.89 while romping by 7 1/4 lengths (video). No horse had ever before run a sub-1:21 seven panels over Tampa’s notoriously deep main track.

“It was a lot of fun, we went down for the race and I was expecting him to do well, but did I think he would break the track record? No,” Trombetta said. “He really showed up in a good way.”

Now the dark bay prepares for the most important crossroad of his young career, as his connections attempt to figure out whether they have simply a dynamite sprinter or a potential superstar.

“I think he should be fine with it, but obviously it’s still a big unknown for us,” Trombetta said. “We haven’t done two turns with this guy yet, but he has four races under him, two [5 1/2-furlong] sprints and two seven-eighths so I think he’s ready to transition over and give it a try.”

Trombetta has experience with this specific scenario–training a dazzling sprinter early in his sophomore season who could be Kentucky Derby-bound if he can prove his mettle around two turns–and it’s an experience that actually led the veteran Maryland-based conditioner to saddling the 2006 Derby favorite, Sweetnorthernsaint (Sweetsouthernsaint). That taught him to trust in the talent of his animal above all, something he’ll do again with Win Win Win.

“It’s familiar territory,” Trombetta said. “It’s been a while, but I had Sweetnorthernsaint in 2006 and he broke his maiden and ran, if I remember right, a 102 Beyer sprinting at Aqueduct. All those same questions were asked–‘Will he rate?’ ‘Will he go long?’–and all that kind of stuff. I think the good ones can do a lot, and we just have to see if he’s one of those.”

Annual KEEP Day in Frankfort

Mon, 2019-02-04 13:19

The Kentucky Equine Education Project will host its annual KEEP Day in Frankfort Feb. 12. The event provides KEEP grassroots members, industry leaders and horse breed associations an opportunity to share with state legislators the importance of horses to their districts and to the state’s economy. It will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Senate Caucus Room, Room 265 in the Capitol Annex.

KEEP is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry.

Diversification Key At Cheveley Park

Mon, 2019-02-04 10:21

As an owner/breeder of both flat and National Hunt horses, a seller at public auction and stallion farm, Cheveley Park Stud has its fingers on a lot of pulses in the Thoroughbred business, and indeed David and Patricia Thompson’s operation enjoyed notable successes in all these areas in 2018. In their own silks they enjoyed pattern-race wins with the likes of Angel’s Hideaway (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), Pilaster (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Regal Reality (GB) (Intello {Ger}) and Veracious (GB) (Frankel {GB}). Advertise (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), who they sold as a yearling, won the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. and the G2 Arqana July S. On the stallion front, Pivotal (GB) continued to cement his legacy as a sire, sire of sires and broodmare sire; young stallions Intello (Ger), Mayson (GB) and Garswood (GB) had promising results on the track and Twilight Son (GB) had encouraging returns with his first foals at the sales.

Progress doesn’t happen looking backwards, however, and Cheveley Park is set to cover just under 160 of its own mares this year.

“About 40% will go to outside stallions, and 60% go to our own stallions, of which we have eight,” said the stud’s Managing Director Chris Richardson. “We have a busy season ahead. We have 10 foals on the ground and another 100 to foal in the coming months, so we have plenty to look forward to.”

In running through some of Cheveley Park’s mating plans for 2019, Richardson began with one of the stud’s brighter stars on the racecourse in recent years, the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. winner Persuasive (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}).

“Starting with one of the mares who has foaled we have Persuasive, who won the G1 QEII beating the colts,” Richardson said. “She had a very nice Frankel filly so we’re delighted to have a filly out of a mare like that. She foaled on Jan. 18 and she goes back to Frankel.”

Another Grade I-winning mare, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Queen’s Trust (GB) (Dansili {GB}), visits Dubawi (Ire) for her second covering, as does her dam Queen’s Best (GB) (King’s Best). The latter was rested last year so will not have a foal of 2019.

One of the more recent additions to the Cheveley Park Stud stallion roster is the Niarchos-bred G1 Juddmonte International and G1 Coral-Eclipse S. winner Ulysses (GB) (Galileo {Ire}). Cheveley Park supported him with 50 mares in his first season last year and will send around 40 this year. Visiting the horse in both years will be a pair of mares bought for seven figures from the U.S. in 2017.

“We have a nice mare that cost $2-million at Fasig-Tipton called Mesa Fresca (Sky Mesa), who we bought in foal to War Front,” Richardson said. “We have a very nice yearling filly by War Front out of her, and she’s the dam of the GI Del Mar Oaks winner Harmonize. She is in foal to Ulysses, and goes back to him.

Fools In Love (Not For Love), who is the dam of Seahenge, winner of the G2 Champagne S., is currently in foal to Ulysses and goes back to him,” Richardson added. “We paid $1-million for her at Keeneland so we’re looking forward to seeing her foal in due course.

“We’re very keen to support our young stallion Ulysses, who I think is very exciting, bred as he is. We sent some nice mares to him last year and we’re looking forward to seeing the foals. We have a few on the ground already: we have a very nice filly by him out of another mare we bought in America called My Hope. She is by Afleet Alex, we paid $525,000 for her at Keeneland and she’s a half-sister to a colt called Carve, who was a multiple stakes winner in the States and it goes back to the family of Bound, Archipenko, Blame; it’s a great family.

“Ulysses covered 115 mares in his first season so we’re looking forward to seeing plenty more foals on the ground in due course,” Richardson said. “He had six Group 1 winners visit him last year and the dams of eight Group 1 winners, along with over 30 stakes-producing mares.”

The Cheveley Park team are also awaiting Ulysses foals this season out of the dams of the aforementioned Regal Reality and Advertise. Both mares will visit outside sires after foaling; Regal Realm (GB) (Medicean {GB}) is booked to Caravaggio (Ire), while Furbelow (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), Advertise’s dam, returns to his sire, Showcasing. Another outside stallion Cheveley Park will patronize this year is Shadwell’s popular sprinter Muhaarar (GB), who has his first runners in 2019.

Integral (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), the G1 Sun Chariot S. and G1 Falmouth S. winner, is in foal to Ulysses and goes to Muhaarar,” Richardson said. “Her first foal is a Dubawi colt that has gone into training with Sir Michael Stoute and he’s called Inherent. So we have a bit of action coming through on that.”

Joining Regal Realm on the trip to Ireland will be Infallible (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), the dam of black-type winners Veracious, Intimation (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Mutakayyef (GB). She returns to the latter’s sire, Sea The Stars (Ire). Richardson noted that Veracious remains in training with Sir Michael Stoute.

After enjoying so much success with its stallion barn flagbearer Pivotal, Cheveley Park is supporting his leading son in France, Siyouni (Fr), with the 2017 G2 Rockfel S. winner Juliet Capulet (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) for her first covering.

“Siyouni is an interesting son of Pivotal, which brings me on to Pivotal, who has just turned 26 years of age,” Richardson said. “He covered 53 mares last year, only eight of them were not in foal, so his fertility last year was exceptional for a horse of his age. We have just under 50 mares booked to him again this year so hopefully all being well he’ll continue to breed a few select mares. He’s such a phenomenal sire-he’s produced champion sprinters to Classic mile-and-a-half winners. He’s a sire of sires and now as a broodmare sire he’s taking all before him. We have a mare who is a daughter of Islington that we bought last year called Angel Vision, and she visits Pivotal this year. She’s currently in foal to Dark Angel.”

Richardson noted that Cheveley Park’s other ‘elder’ statesman-although he is nine years Pivotal’s junior-Dutch Art (GB) is under a bit of a fertility issue cloud after returning some concerning figures end of last year. He will be closely monitored during the early part of the season but it could be that the six younger members of the roster may need to take up the baton. In addition to Ulysses those include Intello, who in addition to Regal Reality had G1 Prix Jean Prat winner Intellogent (Ire) and dual Group 3 winner Young Rascal (Fr) from his first crop of 3-year-olds last year. In an agreement with Intello’s owners the Wertheimer brothers, the G1 Prix du Jockey Club winner has thus far alternated every second season between Cheveley Park and Haras du Quesnay in France. He is at Cheveley Park this year and will be visited by Troarn (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), the full-sister to Almanzor (Fr) bought by Cheveley Park for €600,000 at Arqana December in 2017.

Garswood is an interesting prospect heading into his first year with 3-year-olds, having sired two stakes winners last year off an opening £7,000 covering fee. Lethal Force has been a reliable source of winners but is still looking for that first stakes winner to raise his profile further, while Mayson has sired five stakes winners from four-figure fees from three crops of racing age. The youngest members of the roster are Group 1-winning sprinters Twilight Son (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}) and Unfortunately (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}).

“Garswood is a son of Dutch Art, a very good-looking horse and a horse we bred. He had two stakes winners in France last year so we’re hopeful that he can build on that going forward,” Richardson said. “We have Lethal Force who has lots of winners but probably just needs a good stakes horse. Mayson is teetering on the verge of making that big step up. He had another phenomenal year last year. Twilight Son, we were delighted with his first foals, they sold extremely well averaging nearly £30,000, which is treble his stud fee. They look really rather similar to his sire Kyllachy; his stock were always considered to be real trainers’ type horses and hopefully Twilight Son can emulate that.

“We have Unfortunately, who was a champion Group 1-winning 2-year-old in France by Society Rock, who once again could rekindle what Cheveley has always been associated with, which is speed stallions.”

As an added incentive for breeders to use the G1 Prix Morny winner Unfortunately, Cheveley Park is offering a £10,000 bonus to the breeder of Unfortunately’s first 2-year-old winner from his first crop. The breeders of all 2-year-old winners from his first crop will receive a free return.

One could imagine that a reputation of producing precocious sprinters in a market that is increasingly craving such could put Cheveley Park on the front foot, but Richardson said the stud is actually looking to diversify its portfolio in the interest of its own racing ambitions and the greater good of the business-hence the introduction of stallions like Ulysses and Intello.

“Pivotal has been a prime example of the fact that most good horses that stay need to have some speed,” Richardson said. “That’s one thing that he’s been able to introduce to the industry and his legacy will live long as a result of it. It’s worked for us and there’s been a number of people to say, ‘Cheveley has always been associated with sprinters, stick with it, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ But we’re conscious with our own breeding program for the future. We want to have the opportunity to be running in mile-and-a- quarter, mile-and-a-half races and competing on a more international front, as we have done as an example with Queen’s Trust coming to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Factors such as Brexit and the extreme polarization in the breeding stock market last year mean that breeders face some uncertainties heading into the season, and Richardson said it will be important to control numbers and focus on quality.

“I think we’re all very aware of the fact that we are facing some challenging times, especially in the UK,” he said. “There are a lot of uncertainties over Brexit, which is something people are genuinely nervous about. The economy is indicating quite a lot of potential concerns going forward and we have to bear all those things in mind.

“The markets were very selective, it’s certainly challenging times, but I think the important thing is we have to remain focused on controlling numbers. Within the industry there are a lot of people suggesting they want more fixtures, more races, more runners, which frankly is going to be difficult to maintain because there are only so many breeders and owners that can accommodate the number of horses that are being bred. We have to be conscious of the fact that we don’t want to get back into a scenario where we’re suffering from overproduction. In the States, there is a wealth of people who are prepared to invest in racing and breeding, and the markets are much more sustainable, whereas in Europe it’s much more a delicate balance. I think the industry has to be careful. There is plenty of work going on behind the scenes with regards to prizemoney issues, and we’re also trying to encourage people to have a longer-term view, using more middle-distance stallions, which I think is important for the future of the industry. It’s not all about the commercial angles or precociousness. We do need to be looking at the industry with a long-term view, hence why we’ve tried to diversify into a few more middle-distance stallions.”

With a diverse portfolio of young stallions and a strong band of top-quality broodmares working for them, Cheveley Park Stud has plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2019 and beyond.

A Bit Special A Comfortable Winner in Sweetest Chant

Sun, 2019-02-03 17:44

A Bit Special notched the first graded stakes win of her young career with a decisive stalk-and-pounce score in Sunday’s GIII Sweetest Chant S. at Gulfstream Park. Having already captured the Our Dear Peggy S. and Wait a While S. over the Hallandale turf Sept. 29 and Dec. 8, respectively, the daughter of Mukhadram (GB) ran her overall record to four-for-five with her latest success.

Securing a closer-than-usual stalking position around the first turn as Eyeinthesky (Sky Mesa) showed the way through an opening quarter-mile in :23.92, she settled down the backstretch but was asked to match a bid from Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) to her outside approaching the far turn. Cued up to go after the leader on the bend, she seized control entering the lane under confident handling by jockey Julien Leparoux. Kept under a brisk hand ride late, A Bit Special widened to win comfortably. Regal Glory held second, with fellow Chad Brown trainee La Feve (Fr) finishing fast to complete the trifecta.

“She could be anything,” said winning trainer Patrick Biancone. “She should be unbeaten. The race when she got beat, she lost 10 lengths at the start and she only got beat [a neck]. She’s special and she’s a lovely animal to be around. When they’re good like that, it’s fantastic for the team.”

Biancone acknowledged the win was bittersweet, because A Bit Special’s regular rider Romero Maragh remains hospitalized after suffering a serious spinal injury in a Jan. 31 spill.

“This makes me sad,” Biancone said. “They ask me why I’m not smiling and it’s because the kid is injured. It’s tough.”

A Bit Special was a first-out maiden winner sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream turf Aug. 19 and rallied from a distant last to be second, a neck behind the winner, in the Sept. 1 Sharp Susan S. From there, she returned to the winner’s circle with a three-length victory in the Our Dear Peggy before kicking off the Championship Meet in style in the Wait a While.

Pedigree Notes:

A Bit Special, from the first crop of 2014 G1 Coral Eclipse S. winner and G1 Dubai World Cup runner-up Mukhadram, becomes the first graded/group stakes winner for her sire less than two months after becoming his first stakes winner. Imported to America after being purchased for €80,000 as a Goffs Orby yearling by Wavertree Stables, she is a half-sister to Turkish champion older mare Iskra (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}). The winner’s dam, Euro Empire, enjoyed stateside success of her own, capturing two stakes in Southern California and finishing second in the GI Oak Leaf S. and third in the GI Del Mar Debutante in 2000.

–Ben Massam

Sunday, Gulfstream Park
SWEETEST CHANT S.-GIII, $100,000, Gulfstream, 2-3, 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:35.62, fm.
1–A BIT SPECIAL (GB), 118, f, 3, by Mukhadram (GB)
                1st Dam: Euro Empire (MSW & MGISP, $281,145),
                                by Bartok (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Lotta Glory Beau’s, by Empire Glory
                3rd Dam: Lotta Beau’s, by Beau’s Eagle
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. (15,000gns Wlg ’16 TATFOA;
€80,000 Ylg ’17 GOFOR; $70,000 RNA 2yo ’18 FTFMAR).
O-Linda Shanahan, Mrs. M. V. & J. P. Magnier; B-Lindum
Partnership (GB); T-Patrick L. Biancone; J-Julien R. Leparoux.
$59,520. Lifetime Record: 5-4-1-0, $193,605. *1/2 to Iskra
(GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), Ch. Older Mare-Tur, MSW-Tur,
$212,800. *1st GSW for her sire (by Shamardal). Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Regal Glory, 118, f, 3, Animal Kingdom–Mary’s Follies, by
More Than Ready. O-Paul P. Pompa, Jr.; B-Paul P Pompa (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown. $19,200.
3–La Feve (Fr), 116, f, 3, George Vancouver–Marcela Howard
(Ire), by Fasliyev. (€7,500 Ylg ’17 DEANOV). O-Madaket
Stables LLC, Robert V. LaPenta, Lindy Farms & Team Hanley;
B-Bernard & Mme Raymonde Leclere (FR); T-Chad C. Brown.
$9,600.
Margins: 2HF, 1 3/4, NK. Odds: 2.30, 3.20, 3.10.
Also Ran: Eyeinthesky, Hard Legacy, Mission From Elle, Miss Unbridled Cat, Bella Ciao, Ardara Belle (Fr).
Click for the Equineline.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

Awesome Again Filly Graduates in Busanda

Sun, 2019-02-03 16:44

Always Shopping broke her maiden and earned her first black-type rosette in the Busanda S. at Aqueduct Sunday. The shortest price on the board, the Pletcher-trained runner tucked in behind horses and sat fifth against the fence as Filly Joel set uncontested fractions of :23.91 and :48.52. Making her bid for the lead after three-quarters in 1:13.34, she tipped out in upper stretch and edged past a stubborn Filly Joel for the victory, earning 10 points toward a start in the GI Kentucky Oaks, May 3. Fifth debuting at the Spa in late July, the Repole Stable homebred ran a distant second to Filly Joel downstate at Belmont upped to 1 1/16 miles Oct. 25 and was second again cut back to a mile locally to the reopposing Miss Marilyn (Bellamy Road) Dec. 14.

“We were cautiously optimistic about this spot,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “We were always looking to stretch her out and get her to race at two turns. Manny [Franco] did a great job saving ground and tilted her out down the stretch. She’s the grinding type and kind of grinded out the win. At this point, we’ll see how she comes out of this race and go from there.”

The 66th black-type winner for her sire, the Adena Springs veteran Awesome Again (Deputy Minister), Always Shopping is a half-sister to SW and GIII Delaware Oaks third Mo Shopping (Uncle Mo). GI Frizette S. bridesmaid Stopshoppingmaria foaled full-sisters to Mo Shopping in 2017 and 2018. She was covered by Medaglia d’Oro in 2018. This is the extended family of Canadian champion grass horse, GISW and Grade I sire Perfect Soul (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells). Click for the Equineline.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

BUSANDA S., $101,000, Aqueduct, 2-3, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:52.24, ft.
1–ALWAYS SHOPPING, 118, f, 3, by Awesome Again
                1st Dam: Stopshoppingmaria (SW & GISP, $394,631),
                                by More Than Ready
                2nd Dam: Skybox, by Spend a Buck
                3rd Dam: A Status Symbol, by Exclusive Native
   1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O/B-Repole Stable Inc (KY); T-Todd A.
Pletcher; J-Manuel Franco. $55,000. Lifetime Record: 4-1-2-0,
$87,000. *1/2 to Mo Shopping (Uncle Mo), SW & GSP,
$131,250.
2–Filly Joel, 118, f, 3, Dialed In–Sally’s Song, by Unbridled’s
Song. O/B-Arindel (FL); T-Rudy R. Rodriguez. $21,000.
3–Afleet Destiny, 118, f, 3, Hard Spun–Afleet Lover, by
Northern Afleet. ($35,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY). O/T-Uriah St.
Lewis; B-Wynnstay LLC & H.Allen Poindexter (KY). $12,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 5HF, 4. Odds: 2.15, 2.35, 4.90.
Also Ran: Miss Marilyn, Discreet Sister, Lady Banba, Getting Warmer, Floss Dancer, Destiny Over Fate. Scratched: Elegant Zip, No Mo Lady.

Breeding Stock Sales Season Makes Final Stop at Fasig

Sun, 2019-02-03 14:37

Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed sale, the last major breeding stock sale before the 2019 breeding season, will take place Monday and Tuesday in Lexington, KY. A catalogue of 528 head will be on offer, with hips 1-274 going through the ring Monday starting at 10:00 a.m. and the remaining offerings selling Tuesday starting at the same time.

“There’s always a strong market at this sale for maiden mares with a little bit of pedigree or race record; there’s always a stallion’s book that needs a some extra mares; someone’s always got an extra season or share out there that they need a mare for, and that has always been a source of strength in this part of the market,” said Fasig-Tipton Executive Vice President Bayne Welker when asked about expectations heading into the auction. “I think we saw a lot of strength in the foal market [in 2018] and that will continue on into the short yearlings–there has been quite a buzz for those, so I think we’ll see quite a bit of scrambling for those at the top.”

The 2018 edition of the auction saw slight year-over-year increases compared to 2017, with 364 head changing hands for a combined $10,436,800. The average was $28,613 and median was $10,500. The RNA rate was 22.7%.

When asked to compare this year’s catalogue to last year’s, Welker said, “It’s very similar to any open February sale we’ve had in absence of having a marquee horse or a dispersal to tag on to it–it’s about what you’d expect. There’s been a lot of hustling around and some very good entries that have come in the supplemental part of the catalogue and I think a lot of that’s due to the strength of the market. People have taken the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, let’s put a pretty good short yearling in here.’ Or they’ve been able to find a decent kind of broodmare prospect to put on offer that the market gravitates towards this time of year.”

Last year’s sale topper was racing or broodmare prospect Girl Talk (Medaglia d’Oro)–a supplemental entry and the last horse through the ring as hip 574–who brought $310,000 from Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds. Consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud on behalf of Ramona Bass LLC and Cheyenne Stables LLC, the daughter of MGSW One Caroline (Unbridled’s Song) was fresh off a runner-up finish in Aqueduct’s Ladies H.

“Supplemental entries play a big part, especially in February, but in a lot of our sales,” Welker said. “It’s been very instrumental and a very key part of our market in February.”

A total of 52 supplemental entries were added to the original catalogue for 2019.

The priciest short yearling at the 2018 sale was a Tiznow colt (hip 419) purchased by Jack Johnston for $260,000 out of the Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services consignment. The colt brought $575,000 from Alex and JoAnn Lieblong later last season at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.

Another FTKFEB ’18 purchase who provided her buyer with a solid return on investment was GSP Moana (Uncle Mo) (hip 319). Purchased for $220,000 by Roderick Wachman Bloodstock from Bluewater Sales as a racing or broodmare prospect, she was put in foal to Into Mischief and resold for $500,000 at Fasig-Tipton November.

“I think it does,” said Welker when asked if he thought positive subsequent results for purchases out of this sale last year might make prospective buyers shop the 2019 renewal a little harder. “People look at the market pretty hard as a whole, and this is the last stop in the mixed market and the last stop at which people will be able to buy a broodmare prospect, broodmare or short yearling, so it’s one of those things where sometimes need and necessity help drive the market a little bit further than if it was at a different spot on the calendar.”

For more information, visit www.fasigtipton.com.

‘Wallbanger’ in Good Order, McPeek Considering Options

Sun, 2019-02-03 13:50

Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman’s Harvey Wallbanger (Congrats) emerged from his breakout victory in Saturday’s GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. in good order, trainer Ken McPeek said Sunday morning. The colt, who was dismissed as a 29-1 chance in the 1 1/16-mile event, rallied up the rail to score by a length over fellow longshot Everfast (Take Charge Indy).

“He came back fine, no problems,” McPeek said. “He’s definitely matured and he showed a lot of killer instinct yesterday. He had a couple races as a 2-year-old where he didn’t put horses away when he had a chance to. I think the win he had in the fall got him some confidence, and hopefully this one takes him to the next step.”

Harvey Wallbanger finished second in each of his first three career tries in maiden races in Kentucky, before breaking through with his first victory in a maiden heat at Churchill Downs Nov. 17. McPeek said the colt will be nominated to both the GII Xpressbet.com Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 2 and the GI Xpressbet.com Florida Derby Mar. 30, with the Florida Derby firmly circled on the calendar as his likely final GI Kentucky Derby prep.

McPeek added that his GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. winner and MGISP Signalman (General Quarters) remains on track for a start in the Fountain of Youth, where he could meet Holy Bull beaten favorite and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief), who flattened out late to finish third.

“He came out of the race very well,” said trainer Butch Reid. “He was a little tired this morning, so maybe I didn’t have him quite as tight as I thought I did. He came out of it fine and ate up his dinner last night but walked a little quiet this morning. I’m going to say he gets a lot out of that race yesterday and it’s going to set him up perfectly for the next spot.”

 

Influential Florida Horseman J.B. McKathan Passes Away

Sun, 2019-02-03 13:19

Florida horseman J.B. McKathan passed away after suffering a heart attack Saturday. He was 53. McKathan and his brother Kevin, sons of pioneering pinhooker Luke McKathan, launched their 200-acre training center in Citra in 1988. The farm’s most famous graduate is Zayat Stable’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“I guess the simplest way to put it is: ‘super satisfying,'” J. B. McKathan told TDN after American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown sweep in 2015. “We’ve had horses in the past that have been close, but training him was a privilege. He was so easy, and so talented. At some point with horses like that, it’s just up to the horse. He never did one thing wrong, he was nothing but super fast–just really great to be around and super sound.”

The McKathans had a long association with the Zayat operation, breaking such racetrack standouts as Pioneerof the Nile, Bodemeister, Paynter and American Pharoah for the family.

“When we got into the business, we only had one other farm before we started going to the McKathans and we’ve been with them 14 years,” said Justin Zayat. “Every good horse that Zayat Stables has had, J.B. had his hands on. He has been a huge part of our operation. We even had a horse named J Be K once who won the GII Woody Stephens and was named after J.B. and his brother Kevin–that’s how close we’ve been with them. It’s a very big loss for all of us.”

Zayat continued, “On a personal note, he taught me a lot through the years. And he loved to tell stories. He would talk and tell a zillion stories at a time. He would always keep you entertained.”

McKathan was among the first to recognize a Pioneerof the Nile colt as a star-in-the-making in the spring of 2014.

“Around March, we go to Ocala to see all of our 2-year-olds breezing,” Zayat recalled. “When American Pharoah breezed, J.B. said, ‘I’m scared of this horse–he’s too fast. Get him out of here.’ And we sent him to Baffert right after that.”

McKathan Bros. Training Center was also the early home of dual Classic winners Silver Charm and Real Quiet.

Islanders Arena Project Means Changes to NYRA Schedule, Including Longer Saratoga

Sat, 2019-02-02 19:39

According to a source, the New York Racing Association Board of Directors has approved a resolution to adjust the opening day of the 2019 Saratoga meet to Thursday, July 11, eight days prior to what would have been opening day under the normal schedule. The meet will end on the traditional closing day, Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The number of racing days at the meet will be 40, the same as last year. During the second through fifth weeks of the meet, NYRA will race only five days a week, as opposed to six. Mondays and Tuesdays will be dark days.

NYRA cannot formally announce its racing schedule until it is approved by the New York Gaming Commission, but there is no reason to believe that agency will stand in the way of the proposed change.

The alteration of the Saratoga schedule is among a number of possible changes NYRA may have to make to its future racing schedules due to the construction of a new arena for the New York Islanders, which will be built adjacent to the far end of the track’s grandstand. Ground will likely be broken on the arena in late spring or early summer. The source said some of the construction will take place as close as 150 feet from the Belmont paddock. Operating a racetrack in what will essentially be a construction zone causes obvious problems and NYRA is seeking ways to lessen the headaches. By moving out of Belmont a week earlier than normal, that will ease some of the difficulties.

“There are equine safety issues that will arise both during morning training hours and during normal racing hours because of the proximity of the construction,” the source said.

So far, NYRA has yet to announce any of its racing dates or its stakes schedule past closing day at Aqueduct, Apr. 20. It had been waiting to get a clearer idea of when the arena construction would begin, but realized it needed to make an announcement about Saratoga so as to cause as little inconvenience as possible for horsemen, fans and employees.

“At this point, it is a little bit later than folks are accustomed to when it comes to our announcing not only the Saratoga schedule, but also the Belmont spring and Belmont fall schedules,” the source said. “We’re just looking at 2019 and confirming racing dates so people can finalize their plans for the summer and horsemen have some clarity when it comes to Saratoga.”

While the Saratoga 2019 dates were the only issue the NYRA Board voted on when it came to future racing schedules, it is clear that the arena project could affect NYRA’s racing schedule for some time, perhaps as much as two years. The Islanders arena is not expected to open until the start of the 2021-2022 hockey season.

For now, NYRA is focused only on coming up with a workable schedule for 2019 and what it needs to do to stay away from the construction as much as possible. The source said that it is possible that weekday cards at Belmont could start as late as 3:30 and that the Belmont fall meet could be shortened, with racing switching to Aqueduct earlier than normal.

“More likely than not there will be a condensed fall meet at Belmont Park followed by some version of the remainder of the Belmont fall meet being contested at Aqueduct,” the source said. “We want to be running as much as possible at Belmont Park. But once we get into the fall, it may become necessary to condense things and move over to Aqueduct. That piece of it has not necessarily been finalized. We understand this will require the patience of horsemen, patrons and all the various constituencies that make racing happen in New York. This is a significant project that will have an impact for some time.”

Mucho Gusto Much the Best in Lewis

Sat, 2019-02-02 18:19

‘TDN Rising Star’ Mucho Gusto lived up to his name once again with a decisive score in a sloppy renewal of the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita Saturday. Favored at 3-5 over GIII Sham S. victor Gunmetal Gray, the chestnut came out running from the outside post in this five-horse affair, but so did Kid Cantina (Richard’s Kid) and Magnificent McCool (Giant’s Causeway). Those two took control with the chalk keeping a close eye on them from third through a first quarter in :23.57. Kid Cantina sharply plummeted backwards on the fence leaving Magnificent McCool on his own up front with Mucho Gusto closing in a bit in second as the half went up in :46.55. The Bob Baffert runner seized control from the pacesetter on the backstretch run and it was all over from there. Mucho Gusto stormed clear to win for fun and Gunmetal Gray rallied for second over Easy Shot. Kid Cantina was euthanized.

“He got to sit off the pace, which was good,” said Baffert. “They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe [Talamo]. He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse and [Talamo] was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions…He’s a good horse. He’s a fighter, too. If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight.”

The Hall of Famer continued, “This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something. I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing. Right now, I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race…Let the games begin.”

“Every race, he’s getting better and better,” said Talamo. “He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times. He galloped out real strong. I don’t think distance is going to be any problem. At the three eighths [pole], I was pretty confident. He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse.”

Picked up for just $14,000 at Keeneland January, Mucho Gusto brought $95,000 in his next trip through the Keeneland ring that September. The colt RNA’d for $55,000 at the OBS March sale after breezing an eighth in :10 flat over the synthetic and was sent through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale two months later, where he summoned $625,000 from Michael Lund Petersen after working a quarter-mile over a sloppy dirt track in an eye-catching :21 1/5. He is currently the most expensive offspring of 2013 GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Mucho Macho Man to be sold at auction.

A good-looking debut winner going six panels at Los Alamitos Sept. 20, Mucho Gusto followed suit with a gritty score in Del Mar’s GIII Bob Hope S. going one panel further Nov. 17. He was last seen finishing second behind a dominant performance from undefeated stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity when trying two turns for the first time Dec. 8.

Pedigree Notes:

Mucho Gusto became the first graded stakes winner from the first crop of Mucho Macho Man with his victory in the Bob Hope and is still the Adena sire’s sole black-type victor at this point. His dam Itsagiantcauseway did not produce a foal in 2017, but had a colt by Jack Milton last April and was bred back to Alpha. The late Giant’s Causeway is also the broodmare sire of Horse of the Year Gun Runner, MGISW and young Ashford sire Verrazano (More Than Ready) and European MG1SW Hawkbill (Kitten’s Joy). The winner also hails from the family of Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore) and MGSW Alternation (Distorted Humor).

Saturday, Santa Anita
ROBERT B. LEWIS S.-GIII, $147,351, Santa Anita, 2-2, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:41.81, sy.
1–MUCHO GUSTO, 122, c, 3, by Mucho Macho Man
1st Dam: Itsagiantcauseway, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Countervail, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Strike a Balance, by Green Dancer
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($14,000 Ylg ’17 KEEJAN; $95,000 Ylg ’17
KEESEP; $55,000 RNA 2yo ’18 OBSMAR; $625,000 2yo ’18
EASMAY). O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Teneri Farm Inc. &
Bernardo Alvarez Calderon (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Joseph
Talamo. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $234,000.
Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Gunmetal Gray, 124, c, 3, Exchange Rate–Classofsixtythree,
by Include. ($85,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $225,000 2yo ’18
OBSMAR). O-Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point
Thoroughbreds; B-Lee Pokoik (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer.
$30,000.
3–Easy Shot, 120, c, 3, Trappe Shot–Daddy’s Dreamgirl, by Scat
Daddy. ($80,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Calumet Farm; B-Hinkle
Farms (KY); T-J. Keith Desormeaux. $18,000.
Margins: 4 3/4, HF, 2 1/4. Odds: 0.60, 1.70, 12.00.
Also Ran: Magnificent McCool, Kid Cantina. Scratched: Nolo Contesto. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Japanese-Bred Empire Maker Filly Prevails in Martha Washington

Sat, 2019-02-02 18:06

MARTHA WASHINGTON S., $125,000, Oaklawn, 2-2, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:39.82, ft.
1–POWER GAL (JPN), 118, f, 3, by Empire Maker
1st Dam: Nan (GISP, $221,974), by High Yield
2nd Dam: Trip Around Heaven, by Halo
3rd Dam: Key to Flight, by Key to the Mint
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Gary Barber; B-Paca Paca Farm (JPN);
T-Mark E. Casse; J-David Cohen. $75,000. Lifetime Record:
4-2-0-2, $126,370.
2–Marathon Queen, 115, f, 3, Super Saver–Marathon Lady, by
Graeme Hall. O/B-Alex & JoAnn Lieblong (KY); T-Steven M.
Asmussen. $25,000.
3–Taylor’s Spirit, 119, f, 3, Algorithms–Spirit Rising, by Dehere.
($37,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR).
O-Mark Norman & Norman Stables LLC; B-David Lickhalter
(KY); T-Scott Gelner. $12,500.
Margins: HF, NK, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.20, 2.20, 6.00.
Also Ran: Sunset Wish, Crafty’s Dream, Sheza Handfull, Arch Avenue.

The Japanese-bred Power Gal overcame a wide trip and closed into a modest pace, diving late to capture the Martha Washington S. Saturday at Oaklawn.

A rallying third debuting last April at Keeneland, the dark bay graduated off the bench in the Aqueduct mud Nov. 3 and completed the trifecta again in an optional claimer there Dec. 22. Made the third choice in this stakes debut, she broke alertly before settling in a three-wide joint third behind a :24.73 quarter. Traveling fourth as three leaders began to go at it past a :49.95 half, she advanced into contention four wide on the latter half of the far bend. Drawing alongside the leaders outside the sixteenth pole, she kept to her task late to edge pace player Marathon Queen on the wire. The winner shares a second dam with GI Del Mar Derby hero Gabriel Charles (Street Hero) and is the most recent foal out of her dam, who was second in the 2009 GI Del Mar Oaks. With the victory, Power Gal earns 10 qualifying points for the GI Kentucky Oaks. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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