Hip No. 134 got the best possible update the weekend before the Saratoga select yearling sale, a grade I victory in the family courtesy of Aug. 3 Whitney Invitational Handicap (gr. I) winner Cross Traffic .
Over at the Taylor Made Sales consignment early the next morning, brothers Mark and Duncan Taylor watched the bay Medaglia d'Oro yearling walk as they recalled selling his older half brother for $300,000 in 2010. Both are out of the grade I winning Cure the Blues mare Stop Traffic, also the dam of stakes-placed Bianco Tartufo and Into My Soul.
"Her foals don't really ever wind up looking like a football player," Duncan Taylor said. "They'd be more like a lean basketball player who is really athletic. And Cross Traffic has grown up even more than that. He's got a good body but he's not a Quarter Horse type."
Cross Traffic, by Unbridled's Song, earned his first stakes victory with a wire-to-wire hustle in the Whitney while making just his fifth career start for GoldMark Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher. The speedy gray runner soundly defeated a classy field including runner-up Successful Dan, third-place finisher Mucho Macho Man , and Ron the Greek, who edged 2012 Whitney and Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Fort Larned for fourth.
"That year we had a few Unbridled's Songs up here," Mark Taylor recalled of the season Cross Traffic sold at Saratoga. "Cross Traffic was popular, but he didn't bring a lot of money. We thought everybody liked him a lot and the people were on him...it was like a lot of people were right there on him and at the last minute decided not to bid or whatever the case may be.
"But this mare, she's absolutely amazing. She's got Cross Traffic, Bianco Tartufo...(3-year-old) Fame and Fortune brought $500,000 here in 2011, she ran an 11 on the sheets her first time out, and last year she had this Thirteen Arrows bring $350,000 at Keeneland. Chad Brown has her, and he loves her. She's getting ready to run."
Gerald Ford's Diamond A Racing Corporation campaigned Stop Traffic in the latter part of her career, when she won the 1998 Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course as well as the Ruffian (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The next year, she took the Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. Overall, she won 12 races from a 2-year-old to her 6-year-old season, with earnings of $864,518.
"That's pretty good, winning grade I races on both coasts," Duncan Taylor observed.