Exotic 'Encosta' Colt in Saratoga Sale

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale will have a touch of the exotic this year with a colt by Encosta de Lago among its offerings. Encosta de Lago was the leading sire in Australia for 2008/2009, and his offspring generate bidding frenzies when they’re sold Down Under. But will buyers at Saratoga be interested when they have a chance to buy one of  the stallion's sons Aug. 11, during the second session of the New York auction?

“It’s a risk, one we’re taking alongside Fasig-Tipton,” said Jeremy Smallwood, who is the sales manager for Darby Dan Farm, the colt’s  consignor. “But we think we’ve got something special, and we’re hopeful he’ll be appealing enough to European buyers or Australian buyers that they’ll make a trip to see him.”

The bay colt is out of the 7-year-old Machiavellian mare Nicole and Krista, and his other family members include French champion and 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Arcangues and French group I winners Agent Double and Air de Cour.

Charles Fipke purchased Nicole and Krista, while she was carrying the colt, for $325,348 at the Tattersalls in December in England. Fipke wanted the mare to breed to his Canadian champion Perfect Soul  , who stands at Darby Dan.

“Because Encosta de Lago is an Australian sire, he (the colt) doesn’t really fit his (Fipke’s) American racing program, so that’s why he’s for sale,” Smallwood said. “We were debating what to do with him, and Fasig-Tipton said they would like to give it a shot because they’re trying to make the Saratoga yearlings into a more diverse group and attract more foreign buyers. Basically, they said it fit hand in hand with what they were trying to do this year, and we’re trying to support a sale that we believe in.”

To market the colt at Saratoga, Darby Dan plans to give prospective buyers material with information about Encosta de Lago that the farm obtained from Coolmore Australia, where the stallion stands, according to Smallwood.

“Because Encosta de Lago is an Australian sire and there is less information about him here, I thought people needed to know the colt was going to be in Saratoga before he went up there,” Smallwood said. “We’ve run some ads on him, and we’ve sent a bunch of letters out to people that we thought would be interested in looking at him. I’ve also called some people personally. We had a couple of people come up to us during the (Fasig-Tipton Kentucky) July (yearling) sale and ask us about him. I was just trying to get a little hype going, and I think they started to pick up the scent.”

The yearling is “a big, robust colt with a wide body, and he’s got a beautiful top line and a great walk,” Smallwood said. “There isn’t much you can fault him on.”

The colt is a member of Encosta de Lago’s first crop of European-bred yearlings.

A group I winner in Australia, Encosta de Lago is a 16-year-old son of Fairy King. One of his daughters, Alinghi, captured the 2005 Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Sartoga, and one of his sons, Man Of Illusion, won the 2006 Aegon Turf Sprint Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. 

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