Team Valor International went to $2.2 million to acquire a Mr. Greeley colt to top the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale that concluded Aug. 7 with across-the-board declines.
The colt, bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Oratis Thoroughbreds, was consigned by Antony Beck’s Gainesway Farm. At the time of the sale, the colt was owned by a Gainesway partnership. Liberation Farm's Rob Whiteley said and Oratis had previously sold the colt privately. The colt is the first foal produced from the King of Kings mare Win My Heart.
"I expected him to go for $2.3 million," said Barry Irwin, who operates Team Valor. "That was my last bid. He's just an incredible-looking horse. I come out here with no preconceived notions. I don't look at the pedigree first, and this horse just stood out. He has an incredible shoulder and just great balance. You don't see a horse that big with that kind of balance."
Buzz Chace, acting on behalf of West Point Thoroughbreds, was the underbidder.
“This horse is a beautiful horse with great motion for a big horse,” said Michael Hernon, Gainesway’s director of sales. He credited Neil Howard and Brian Graves with getting the colt prepped for the sale. “We’re just delighted with the result,” he said. “Beyond that, I’m speechless.”
Only one other horse sold for more than seven figures during the two-day auction, compared with five in 2006. On this year’s opening day, John Ferguson, agent for Sheikh Mohammed, went to $1,050,000 for an Unbridled's Song yearling.
The sale concluded with overall declines in gross, average, and median prices, with increases in both numbers sold and unsold.
FT reported 142 horses sold during the two days, for a total $41,082,000. That was down from the $42,085,000 gross in 2006, when 130 horses sold. This year’s average $289,310 was 10.6% below last year’s $323,731, and the median fell 7.1% to $227,500 from $245,000. The 46 horses that did not sell represented an RNA rate of 24.5%, compared with an 18.75% buyback rate last year.
During the final session, 66 horses brought a total of $21,215,000, for an average price of $321,439 and a median $235,000. During the second session a year ago, 70 horses averaged $332,786 from gross receipts of $23,295,000 and had a $225,000 median.
Despite the downturn, sales company officials did not appear overly disappointed with the outcome, noting that the numbers are in line with trends seen in previous sales this year.
“The market is what it is and not terribly different from what we saw all spring,” said FT president Walt Robertson.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas paid the second day’s next-highest sale price ($875,000) for a Storm Cat filly produced from the Mr. Prospector mare Blissful. The colt was bred in Kentucky by Commonwealth. Blissful had been purchased by Coolmore Stud’s John Magnier for $4 million from the Denali Stud consignment (as agent for Bob and Beverly Lewis) in the 2000 Keeneland November mixed sale.
Lukas said he would train the filly, as well as an Awesome Again colt he purchased for $750,000, on behalf of a group he is putting together to race in partnership.
Consigned by Eaton Sales, the colt was produced from the grade II-winning Victory Gallop mare Victory U.S.A.
“He looks like he is really quick to me but is bred to run a long way,” Lukas said of the Awesome Again colt bred in Kentucky by Tom VanMeter, a partner in Eaton Sales. “I thought he might be a classic type horse. He looks precocious. I know his pedigree is going to carry him a long way. As long as you have that much quality in front of you, it will work out. I thought he might bring a little more (money).”
The third-highest price of $800,000 during the final session was paid by B. Wayne Hughes for an Unbridled's Song colt from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment. Bred in Kentucky by Vallecito Farms, the colt is out of the A.P. Indy mare Court Reception, the dam of grade II winner Ruby’s Reception.
Hughes said he bought the colt on the recommendation of trainer Richard Mandella.
Trainer Dale Romans got the session off on a good foot, going to $700,000 for a Storm Cat colt out the Mr. Prospector mare Spun Gold. Romans said the colt will race for a partnership he is putting together. Consigned by Eaton Sales for breeder Overbrook Farm, the colt was the first horse in the ring the second night of the sale.
“If he can run, he will be a good stallion prospect,” Romans said. “He is a pretty colt. I thought he would have cost more, being a Storm Cat colt.”
Another Storm Cat colt would likely have been among the top-priced horses at the session but was bought back for $800,000. Consigned by Taylor Made, agent for Spendthrift Farm, the colt was bred by Spendthrift owner B. Wayne Hughes.
“I think we put him in there at a fair price,” Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor said. “He’s a nice horse. We had somebody call, and there’s a chance we might get him sold before the night is over. He might be standing at Spendthrift or Taylor Made in three or four years.”--Ron Mitchell
-- Session Leaders: Day One | Day Two | Cumulative