By Sarah Mace
Take a deep pedigree with intriguing updates and mix in a buzzworthy bullet work and you have a recipe for auction-ring excitement. In all fairness, however, probably not even breeders Chester and Mary Broman nor consignor Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock could have imagined that Berning Remarks by the late Bernardini, a third-generation product of the Bromans’ breeding program, would be hammered down for a record-shattering $3.55 million in Tuesday’s second and concluding session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale in Timonium, Maryland.
Gary Young, working on behalf of Amr Zedan’s Zedan Racing, won a bidding war for the colt with West Point Thoroughbreds. The $3.55 million price tag is the most paid for a juvenile at public auction this year and the top price ever for a New York-bred two-year-old. The previous record for an Empire State-bred juvenile was set by Broman-bred Chestertown, who fetched $2 million at OBS March in 2019. Last but not least, the colt is the most expensive horse sold in the State of Maryland. (INSPECTION VIDEO)
By the time the sleek and classy-looking dark bay was led into the sales ring as Hip 385 for his first-ever date with the auctioneer, Berning Remarks had already turned heads with the fastest furlong of the three under-tack shows, covering an eighth of a mile in :09 4/5 in the middle session on Wednesday, May 18. (WORK VIDEO)
Backing up the work, the pedigree page for Berning Remarks, foaled at the Bromans’ farm on April 21, 2020, is studded with stars both past and present. His first dam G Note, by Medaglia d’Oro, is a juvenile winner in her own right and producer of three winners from three foals to start.
His second dam, Grade 2 winner Seeking the Ante, produced four-time stakes winner Mineralogist and stakes-placed Risk a Chance. Mineralogist went on to produce stakes winner Can You Diggit, earner of over $400,000. Risk a Chance, in turn, is the dam of Un Ojo by Laoban, a Triple Crown hopeful of 2022 who won the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and finished second in the Grade 3 Withers. An earner of over $780,000 to date, Un Ojo was knocked out of the first two legs of the classic series with a foot bruise.
Berning Remarks’ third dam Antespend was a $900,000 purchase by the Bromans’ Chestertown farm at the 1997 Keeneland 2-year-old sale. An eventual multiple Grade 1 winner and $1 million earner, she went on to produce Grade 1 Florida Derby winner and sire Friends Lake for the Bromans.
G Note currently has a yearling colt by Practical Joke and a 2022 colt by Improbable.
In any other context, the next- top-selling New York-bred at F-T Midlantic, Hip 30, a bay colt by Bolt d’Oro co-bred by Mark Toothaker and Keith Crupper and foaled on April 30, 2020 at Sequel Stallions in Hudson, would have been the headliner for the State’s breeding program.
After breezing an eighth in :10 flat in the first day of the under-tack show (a co-bullet for the session), the Bolt d’Oro colt fetched $675,000 from Spendthrift Farm and Frank Fletcher Racing in Monday’s first session and emerged as the third-highest-priced horse of the sale. (WORK VIDEO)
The juvenile standout is out of Shine Softly by Aldebaran, a daughter of millionaire and champion grass mare Soaring Softly, and a half-sister to graded winner Manitoulin and stakes winner Much Rejoicing. Another half-sister is Seek to Soar, a winner who went on to produce multiple stakes winner and earner of over $700,000 Spring to the Sky.
Toothaker purchased Shine Softly, who is herself a black-type-placed producer of six winners from six starters, for $25,000 at the 2019 Keeneland January sale. Her most successful runner to date is last year’s Busanda winner The Grass Is Blue. She was barren in 2021 and was bred back last year to Bolt d’Oro.
The sale colt has changed hands at auction twice before, gaining value each time. Walnut Hill Bloodstock picked him up as a weanling for $65,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale, before Al Pike, his consignor at F-T Midlantic, bought him as a Keeneland September yearling in 2021 for $90,000. (INSPECTION VIDEO)
The top-selling filly of the F-T Midlantic New York-bred cohort was Hip 203, a gray or roan daughter of Frosted named Longlive the Queen who was bred by Danzel Brendemuehl Classic Mares and foaled on April 21 at Mahoney Eden Manor in Saratoga Springs.
West Point Thoroughbreds L.E.B., Agent, went to $330,000 to purchase the filly from Scanlon Training and Sales, Agent VIII, after she worked a furlong in :10 1/5. (WORK VIDEO). Offered twice before at public auction, the Frosted filly RNA’d as a short yearling at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter mixed sale when bid up to $120,000, and sold for $130,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale later in the year before leaving an impressive mark on the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale. (INSPECTION VIDEO)
The filly’s dam Auspicious, a stakes performer by Indian Charlie, has produced four winners, topped by New York-bred Bobby Bo, runner up in last year’s Albany Stakes at Saratoga. She is also a half-sister to another stakes performer, Flatter Than Me. The sale filly’s third dam Powder Doll is a Louisiana-bred winner of 16 races, including eight stakes races, and dam of multiple graded stakes winner Scott’s Scoundrel, who earned over $1.2 million.
Auspicious has a yearling filly by Gun Runner named Squirt Gun and was last bred in 2021 to Authentic on a June 11 cover.
As we approach the end of the juvenile sales season that is already going gangbusters both in general and for the New York-bred program, the major indicators figured to be upbeat at least. Bolstered by outstanding results at the top end of the spectrum, the numbers for the New Yorkers at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale came in very strong.
Of 102 New York-breds offered in Timonium, 90 sold (including 13 private sales) for an enviable RNA rate of 11.8%, which compares extremely favorably with the overall sales RNA of 18.9%.
The New York-bred average came in above six figures at $107,978, also outperforming the sale average of $95,391, while the $42,500 median came in a few ticks below the overall sale median of $47,000.
The final major juvenile auction of the year is the OBS June Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age, which will take place June 7 to 9.