By Sarah Mace
The connections of New York-based sire Solomini, whose first runners are headed to the races in 2023, had plenty to celebrate at the conclusion of the four-day Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2023 Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training. The chestnut son of Curlin, who stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds for a 2023 stud fee of $6,500, sired two of the four the top-selling New York-bred juveniles, led by the New York-bred topper, who went to Donato Lanni, Agent for $700,000 in the auction’s final session.
Overall, the New York-bred cohort generated solid results at the auction, which was held from Tuesday, April 25 through Friday, April 28. Of 81 juveniles offered, 68 sold (including 10 post-sale transactions) for strong RNA percentage of 16.0%, edging the sale RNA of 16.8%. The average price for a New York-bred was $84,500, while the median was $50,000. For the overall sale, the results were comparable to last year: the average price was a record $129,907 slightly bettered last year’s record of $128,685, while the median of $65,000 was identical to last year’s record median.
The New York-bred $700,000 topper was offered as Hip 1109 by Caliente Thoroughbreds, the debut one-horse consignment of former west-coast-based jockey agent Saul Marquez. Bred by Empire Equines, LLC and foaled on February 7, 2021 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, the chestnut went somewhat under the radar at the 2022 Keeneland September yearling sale, where he sold from the Hidden Brook consignment for $50,000 to a group of friends purchasing their first horse. Marquez, the thrilled OBS consignor, told the TDN, “Honestly, I was happy with $100,000 two weeks ago,” he said. “And today, I don’t even know what is going on. It’s mixed emotions. I just want to call my mom.”
Donato Lanni, who purchased the colt as Agent for Dr. Ed Allred & Liebau, told the TDN for his part, “He fit our program. We want to buy horses that look like stakes horses. It was very hard to buy yearlings in September. He worked really fast and looks the part. He [breezed well] and then you have to pay for it. He is beautiful and we liked him.”
The topper is the first foal out of Timberlea (by Flatter), who is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Untrapped and whose extended family features sires Tale of the Cat, Minardi and Johannesburg. Timberlea was purchased at the 2020 Keeneland January sale by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock for the bargain price of $10,500. She produced her second foal, a filly by Mo Town, on April 5, 2023.
The other Solomini-sired standout at OBS April brought $290,000 on Thursday when he went to Big Dom Racing / Big Toe Racing, Agent J. Taisey, from the consignment of Randy Miles, Agent. A chestnut colt like the topper, Hip 692 was bred by Laurel Least and Gabriel McDonough and foaled on April 22, 2021 at Gary Least’s Foggy Bottom Farm in Geneseo. He previously sold for $65,000 to Cool Hill Farm at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton New York Bred Yearling Sale in Saratoga.
Out of Miss Bonnie, an unraced daughter of Officer, the colt is a half-brother to graded-stakes winner Lookin to Strike. He breezed a sharp furlong in the fourth session of the under-tack show on Wednesday, April 19, going in :9 4/5 for a co-bullet. Breeze Video. Walking Video. The four Solomini juvenile colts sold thus far in the season have averaged $266,750.
The top New York-bred filly at OBS was Hip 176, who sold in the auction’s opening session to Town & Country Racing LLC for $380,000 from the consignment of Tom McCrocklin, Agent. The bay daughter of More Than Ready breezed a quarter in :21 3/5 in the second under-tack session on Monday, April 17. Breeze Video.
Out of Cinderella Time, the sale filly is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Horologist, by Gemologist. Michael Lischin and Bob Peterson’s Stable purchased the mare at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for $245,000, and the filly was bred by a partnership of GMP Stable, Dutchess Views Farm and C. Robert Valeri.
Foaled on April 15, 2021 at Lischin’s Dutchess Views Farm in Pine Plains, the filly was an early bloomer, going to Champion Equine for $260,000 at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Preferred Yearling Sale in Saratoga.
Another New York-bred filly headliner from the first day of trading was Hip 3, who kicked the proceedings off on a positive note for the New York-breds in Florida by bringing $300,000 (PS). Like the filly topper, she was a successful graduate of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale last year, when her OBS consignors Brandon & Ali Rice of RiceHorse Stable picked her up for $160,000.
A dark bay or brown filly by Bolt d’Oro, Hip 3 was bred by Caliburn Farm and foaled on March 9, 2021 at Shorthill Farm. Her dam is Above Fashion, a stakes winner and graded-placed runner by Paddy O’Prado. Second and third dams Holy Fashion and Looking for a Win are also stakes winners. Christopher Shelli purchased the mare at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Winter Mixed sale for just $27,000.
The filly breezed the fastest quarter of the opening session of the under-tack show (Sunday, April 16), posting in 20 3/5. Breeze Video. Walking Video. Consignor Brandon Rice told the TDN, “She has the tactical speed to go an eighth but we decided, with her being so early in the sale, we couldn’t afford to blend in. We wanted to make sure that we set ourselves apart. We knew that she had tenacity and a will to run and that’s the heart that you find in those good horses. We were delighted that she was able to put her best foot forward.”
Last but not least, a pair Empire State-breds bookended the sale with $200,000-plus price tags, a colt on Day 1 and a filly on Day 4, each bringing winning bids of $230,000.
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing took home the top-selling New York-bred colt of Tuesday’s opening session, Hip 89. A chestnut by Practical Joke, the colt was bred by Annemarie Toomey and foaled on April 28, 2021 at Fort Christopher’s Thoroughbreds. OBS consignor Grade One Investments purchased him as a yearling last summer in Saratoga for $70,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Preferred Yearling Sale and sent him out for a sharp 10-second flat eighth on the first day of the under-tack show. Breeze Video. Walking Video.
The colt is out of Big Thrill, a winner by Big Drama and a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Determinato.
Bringing $230,000 from Legion Bloodstock, Agent for Mark Stanley at Friday’s concluding session was Hip 1204, a bay Filly by Into Mischief sporting abundant black type in the first two generations.
Out of Winter Book, a multiple stakes winner by Any Given Saturday, the filly’s second dam Shawgatny produced three stakes winners in all. Two daughters (stakes performer Burma Road and winner Woodford Girl) went on to become stakes producers. Becky Thomas purchased Winter Book for $200,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.
The next opportunity to see a tranche of New York-bred juveniles go through the auction ring will be at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, May 22-23, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. Click here for New York-bred hip numbers and registration statuses.