Fasig-Tipton closes out its 2-year-olds in training sale season with the annual Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training May 19-20 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The two-day offering features a catalog of 580 juveniles, up 36% from last year's catalog of 425 horses.
While many in the industry basked in the afterglow of a sparkling victory by California Chrome
in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course
in nearby Baltimore May 17, potential buyers and their representatives spent the morning following the second jewel of the Triple Crown traversing sale barns at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in search of racing's next major stakes winners.
Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic sales director, is optimistic on the eve of the sale.
"We're excited about the catalog that we have," Bennett said. "We have a lot of nice horses. The beauty of this sale is that we have horses for everybody. We don't target one particular group. We have a wide range of horses for everyone.
"Consignors are very excited about the horses they've brought," she added. "We had a good breeze show, and all of the horses got across the track well. We're hopeful we can get a lot of horses sold. The results show that good horses come out of this sale."
The Midlantic sale has a rich history of producing top-class stakes horses.
Two-time GEICO Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I) winner Mizdirection
sold to Solis Bloodstock for $50,000 out of the Casse Sales consignment in 2010.
Cary Frommer, agent, sold grade I winner Dance to Bristol
to David Wantz for $42,000 in 2011, and De Meric Sales, agent, sold 2013 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) winner Winning Cause
to Steven Young, agent, for $200,000 at the 2012 sale.
The Midlantic sale has been represented in this year's classic events with graduates of last year's sale. Louisiana-bred Vicar's In Trouble
, an $80,000 acquisition by Ken and Sarah Ramsey out of the Pike Racing consignment, captured this year's Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
before finishing 19th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (gr. I).
Kaleem Shah's Bayern
, who sold for $320,000 by Eddie Woods, agent, crossed the wire first but was placed second for interference in Churchill Downs
' Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) April 26. Unable to make the Derby, the son of Offlee Wild
finished a troubled ninth in the Preakness Stakes and also finished third in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) for trainer Bob Baffert.
Eisaman Equine's Barry Eisaman, who broke and trained Preakness Stakes runner-up Ride On Curlin
at his Ocala, Fla. facility, anticipates another strong 2-year-olds in training sale.
"The April and the Maryland market is very healthy," he said. "Some of the more boutique, select sales struggled. When it got to OBS in April it was quite healthy. I think it will be the same here.
"We target some horses for this sale each year," Eisaman continued. "We've been coming here a long time. So far traffic has been good, about what we usually expect here. In Maryland, traffic in the barns ratchets up the closer you get to the sale starting."
Among the top prospects in the Eisaman Equine consignment is Hip No. 256, a filly by Unbridled's Song
out of the stakes-winning Flatter
mare Indy's Alexandra. The bay filly worked a co-bullet eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 at the first of two under tack previews last week.
"She's is outstanding," Eisaman said. "She's been well received. She worked quite well. She is just excellent in all ways."
Eisaman also harbors high hopes for Hip No. 274, a War Front
colt out of Judy's Magic, by Wavering Monarch.
The colt hails from the same female family as a War Front colt who recently set a European record for a breeze-up sale at Tattersalls in April, selling to bloodstock agent Jamie McCalmont for about $2.03 million (1.15 million guineas).
"Genetically, he is a three-quarter brother to the War Front that topped the Tattersalls sale," Eisaman said of the colt that worked a furlong in :10 2/5 and is scheduled to go through the ring on the first day of the sale.
"This colt we have is tough, sound and talented. I think he's the kind of colt anyone that has classic dreams in their pocket, which is everyone in the horse business, should be looking at seriously."
A pair of colts from the consignment of Clovis and Joanna Crane's Crane Thoroughbreds drilled an eighth of a mile in :10 to record the fastest time at the distance during the two previews May 14-15.
Hip No. 292, Kowboy Nowboy, is a Kentucky-bred colt by Kodiak Kowboy
out of the stakes-placed Demaloot Demashoot
mare Leading Role.
Hip No. 343, Shining Steel, is a Florida-bred colt by Exclusive Quality
produced from the winning Capote mare Miss Cap.
"They are both really nice horses," noted Clovis. "The Kodiak Kowboy is a May foal that doesn't look like a May foal. He's really coming into himself. He's gotten bigger, heavier and stronger every day he's been here. He's doing great and has absolutely clean vet work. I'm as excited as heck about him.
"The Exclusive Quality colt has been extra fast all winter," he said of the dark bay or brown colt. "He's a big, massive horse with a lot of substance. He worked in :09 4/5 at Penn National for me about a month ago and I refused to let him go to too fast. I didn't even prep him here because I knew he was fast and would breeze well."
The Cranes launched Crane Thoroughbreds in 2011.
Operating out of their 65-acre home base in Lebanon, Pa., the Cranes board and foal mares and operate a racing stable, Pinhook Racing, in addition to their 2-year-olds in training sales consignments.
"This year we really stepped out of our boundaries," Clovis said. "We went to Barretts, the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale and to OBS. We've been to every dance this year. We did it by design for exposure and to experience those markets."
Clovis is also excited about Hip No. 81, Callmethewildman, a colt by Wildcat Heir
out of the stakes-placed Gulch mare Brittons Hill.
"He was supposed to go to Barretts, but he bruised a foot," Clovis said of the half brother to stakes-placed Bridgecut. "He's one of the better horses we have here. He should bring a high number.
"Overall, this is the best group of horses we've had," he added. "We're excited. Hopefully some of these horses can go on and become major stakes winners for our clients."
Recording the fastest quarter-mile breeze, getting the distance in :21 1/5, was Hip No. 455, a Desert Party
colt consigned by Eddie Woods, agent. The half brother to multiple stakes winners Britt's Jules
and Probation Ready
and stakes-placed runners Social Probation and Dirty Rush is out of the winning Olympio mare Satinet.
Two horses each breezed three furlongs in :35 1/5. Army Bell, selling as Hip No. 82, is a daughter of Deputy Storm
—Britt's Quest, by Opening Verse, consigned by Crane Thoroughbreds.
Kirkwood Stables consigns Hip No. 225, a Scat Daddy
half brother to graded stakes winner Redaspen
out of the winning Strike the Gold
mare Goldie Pops.
A Malibu Moon colt consigned by Eddie Woods, agent, topped last year's sale, fetching $450,000 from trainer Gary Contessa, as agent for Wounded Warrior Stable. Named Jazz Player, the colt has yet to start.
Last year's Midlantic sale saw 249 head sell for $16,675,000, virtually identical to the previous year's gross sales of $16,721,000 on 312 horses sold.
Last year's sale average increased nearly 25% to $66,968 from $53,593 in 2012. Last year's median price of $40,000 also rose from $28,000 the previous year. Buy-backs dropped significantly at the 2013 sale as only 43 horses failed to meet their reserves compared to 102 the year before.
Joseph Moss, represented by trainer Nick Zito, acquired eight juveniles for $1,442,000 to top all buyers last year.
Eddie Woods led all other consignors at last year's sale, selling 29 of 30 head offered to the tune of $2.4 million. Eisaman Equine followed, parting with 23 of 24 through the ring for $1,360,000.
"This is the time of the year when people mentally want to go restock their barns," said Eisaman who brought 38 head to this year's sale. "The Northeast is out from underneath the snow deluge they've had all winter. The grass is getting green, the birds are singing, and the Preakness and Derby are running.
"People are ready to stock their racing stables, sometimes even more so than at the early 2-year-old sales."