By Sarah Mace
Session 1 of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearling Sale (Hips 301-400) saw the top seller hammered down just four horses into the auction: Hip 306, a bay colt by Violence bred by Fred W. Hertrich lll, who sold on a winning bid of $380,000. (Read more). More or less bookending the sale—only 28 horses before the end of Monday’s concluding Session 2—a colt by Practical Joke bred by Donald Michael McCormick matched that $380,000 price tag, yielding co-toppers for the sale overall (Hip 628).
After outs, 300 New York-bred yearlings passed through the ring over the two sessions of the Fasig-Tipton sale, which took place Sunday, August 13 and Monday August 14 at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs. A total of 217 individuals sold, a high-water mark for the auction. The previous record was set in 2021 (post-Covid), when 203 individuals sold. Total sales this year amounted to $20,806,000, also a record, besting last year’s benchmark of $20,175,000.
The sale average did slip this year, down from last year’s $107,314 (historically second-highest) to $95,880 (dipping 10.7%), while the sale median rose a notch from $74,000 in 2022 to $75,000 this year (up 1.4%). RNAs, which were 19.3% last year, climbed to 27.7%. This final result did, however, moderate the 33.3% RNAs posted in the opening session.
As has become familiar in recent years, there was plenty of activity at the high end of the spectrum. In all, 91 yearlings brought six figures, 26 brought $200,000 and up, while no fewer than eight horses sold for $300,000 and up, with six of these changing hands in Monday’s second session. The session also saw a new New York-sired topper, a $150,000 Solomini colt (Hip 551; see further below).
Fasig-Tipton president and CEO Boyd Browning gave the auction a positive review overall. “We concluded another successful New York Bred Yearlings Sale today… We had great activity and many outstanding horses on the sales grounds.”
He added a bit of nuance to his appraisal, however. Said Browning, “We set a new record gross for the overall sale, which is always encouraging. The average declined slightly from last year, probably due to some additional horses entered in the sale. There is possibly a slight decline in the middle market. Last year was a tough year, and pinhookers are being more selective.”
Hip 628, the Donald Michael McCormick-bred $380,000 co-topper by Practical Joke, is a dark bay or brown colt foaled on March 5, 2022 at Sue Carlson’s Carlland Stables in Avon. Consigned by Nardelli Sales, Agent for his first encounter with the auctioneer, he was purchased by Tom McCrocklin, Agent. (Virtual inspection)
The colt is out of Golden Mystery, a Florida-bred graded stakes winner and earner of $540,223 in her racing career. She was purchased in-foal by McCormick at the 2021 Keeneland November sale for $60,000. The sale colt is a half-brother to Apalachee Bay, a stakes winner by Malibu Moon. His second dam has produced a stakes performer in addition to Golden Mystery, and her offspring Beloveda and All Saints Day have produced stakes winners. Third dam Orange Sickle is a stakes winner and multiple stakes producer. Golden Mystery foaled a filly by Improbable on May 7, 2023 and was bred this year to McKinzie.
The second-highest-priced yearling in the session and third best-seller in the auction overall was Hip 407, a $360,000 dark bay or brown colt from the first crop of Authentic. The winning bidders were micro-share partnership MyRacehorse Stable, who co-campaigned Authentic, along with RT Racing. Bred by Oak Bluff Stables and Christophe Clement and foaled at Stonewall Farm in Westchester County on April 10, 2022, the Authentic colt was consigned by Winter Quarter Farm.
Purchaser Roderick Wachman, global head of bloodstock and racing for MyRacehorse, said, “We liked this horse because he was a nice big, scopey, athletic two-turn-looking colt. I think he’s going to develop significantly more and I am really looking forward to seeing him get under tack. Obviously, Authentic is a big draw card because MyRacehorse were partners in him.”
The colt’s first dam, Ontario-bred Savvy Sassy, by Street Sense, is a multiple winner who has already produced a pair of New York-bred stakes performers from three foals to race: Brattle House and Bourbon Bay. She produced an April 14 Medaglia d’Oro colt this year and has been bred to Not This Time.
Savvy Sassy is also a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Southdale and S S Pinafore, the dam of multiple winner and Grade 1-placed millionaire Plainsman. Third dam Pinafore Park is a stakes winner and half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Iron Courage, a course-record-setter at Hawthorne, and stakes winner Dance for Lucy.
Bred by Old Tavern Farm in Saratoga Springs, where she was foaled on April 17, 2022, and consigned by Denali Stud, Agent XIII, the Munnings filly is out of To the Moon Alice, a placed runner by Malibu Moon who has produced a winner from two foals to start. Out of graded stakes winner Love Match, To the Moon Alice is a half-sister to Grade 2 Mother Goose winner Unchained Melody, by Smart Strike.
Trainer Wesley Ward, who signed the ticket for David Reid’s Preferred Equine, said he had a little help from his friends in selecting the filly. “She was a standout individual in the sale. She made Ben McElroy’s short list, so I came over to look at her. She is the sale topper so far for fillies, so there were a lot of people interested in her. Ben is a great judge of a horse and we were happy he tipped us off and we got her. She looked like the best filly that we saw in the sale.”
Keeneland-based Ward does foresee some road trips back to the filly’s home state. “Hopefully we will be back here next summer to win one of these New York-bred stakes,” Ward said.
In addition to the new filly topper, there was no shortage of female standouts in Session 2 of the Fasig-Tipton sale, with an exceptional trio of fillies all drawing final bids of $300,000 and up.
Fetching $325,000 from Niall Brennan, Agent for JR International Holdings was Hip 619. A bay by Munnings, the filly was bred by Fergus Galvin, Marc Detampel, Jayne Johnson & Adrian Wallace, and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds on April 16, 2022. Her dam will be familiar to followers of the New York-bred program: multiple New York-bred stakes winner Frostie Anne (by former New York sire Frost Giant), who is a half-sister to multiple New York-bred stakes winner Freudie Anne (by New York sire Freud). (Virtual inspection)
Clement purchased Hip 618, a bay Bernardini filly who is the first foal out of Fresco, a full sister to stalwart turf specialist Therapist, by Freud, for $320,000. Although Fresco is the winner of a New York Stallion Stakes Series race in her own right, it is only fitting to highlight the achievements of her older brother, now an 8-year-old gelding. Co-bred by Oak Bluff and Clement, Therapist is a winner of 13 races from 42 starts. A career achievement came in in his most recent start, when he posted his tenth stakes victory and first Grade 1 win in Monmouth’s United Nations Stakes on July 22. The Bernardini filly was consigned by Winter Quarter Farm, Agent for her breeder Oak Bluff Stable, and was foaled on April 14 at Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs. Fresco foaled an Improbable colt on April 24, 2023 and has been bred to Oscar Performance.
To complete this group, Peter Deutsch went to $300,000 for Hip 410, a grey or roan filly by Ghostzapper. Bred by Hidden Lake Farm & 3C Stables, she was foaled at Hidden Lake Farm in Stillwater on February 22, 2022. Hidden Lake was also her consignor. To say that this yearling was out of a proven producer is an understatement. Her dam Scene Maker is responsible for 11 winners from 11 foals to start. Her fourth foal, Big Screen, is a stakes winner with multiple graded placings. Her current 3-year-old Storm Rufino by Goldencents is graded-stakes-placed. The filly’s second dam Walk in Time and third dam Big Squaw are both stakes winners. (Virtual inspection)
Finally, the second session of the New York-bred sale saw the New York-sired topper of the sale: Hip 551, a bay colt by Solomini, whose first crop are 2-year-olds of 2023. The youngster was purchased by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing for $150,000 from the consignment of Hunter Valley Farm, Agent. (Virtual inspection)
Bred by Hunter Valley Farm and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds on March 22, 2022, the colt is out of Cheyenne Autumn, by Indian Charlie, who has produced a pair of winners, led by Firecrow, a stakes winner and graded-stakes-placed runner. Cheyenne Autumn, who foaled a colt by Complexity in 2023, has been bred back to the same sire. The extended female family can boast champions Chris Evert, Chief’s Crown, Sight Seek, Tates Creek and other luminaries.
Solomini, the striking chestnut whose first juveniles were especially well-received earlier this year, stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds for a 2023 stud fee of $6,500.