Hip 51, by Unbridled's Song, fetched $700,000 from Irish bloodstock agent John McCormack.

Hip 51, by Unbridled's Song, fetched $700,000 from Irish bloodstock agent John McCormack.

Keeneland Photo

Bloodstock & Markets: Select Leaders

Wavertree Stables, Bernardini lead the top end of the market

Select Leaders

Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables was the leading consignor during the select selling season for 2-year-olds in 2013, with 54 juveniles sold for $11,965,000. The results include the March 4 Barretts March sale, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s select sale March 12-13, the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale March 25, and Keeneland’s April 8 sale. It’s little surprise top sire Bernardini  lead all sires by average ($653,571), with seven 2-year-olds bringing $4,575,000.

On the other side of the ring, agent Steven W. Young spent $4,625,000 for 11 2-year-olds, including the $1.6 million sale-topping Bernardini—Hishi Aspen, by Forestry, colt at Fasig-Tipton. Stonestreet Stables spent $3,595,000 for five juveniles including the year’s highest-priced 2-year-old, a colt by Smart Strike—Mini Sermon, by Pulpit, at $1.8 million.

The Italian Connection
by Michael Compton

The Sister City relationship between Ocala, Fla., and Pisa and San Rossore, Italy, has proved fruitful for both equine-rich communities. The alliance will soon reach a milestone as the first Italian-bred 2-year-old ever entered in a sale at OBS was cataloged for the upcoming OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training April 22-25. The gray colt, Hip No. 988, is by Johnny Red Kerr—Sophy Kate, by Outofthebox. Consigned by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, agent, the colt, however, is listed as an out for the sale and instead will be re-entered to sell at OBS in June.

Sister City partners since 2004, Ocala and Pisa and San Rossore’s alliance was formed when the Marion County Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association, the latter headed at the time by Richard Hancock, reached out to Paolo Romanelli, a horseman and native of Pisa who resides in South Florida. Romanelli’s great-grandfather was once assistant trainer to the famed Federico Tesio.

“This colt selling at OBS represents everything the Sister City relationship is about,” said Romanelli. “The mare, Sophy Kate, was purchased by an Italian buyer at OBS and raced in Italy, and the colt is from a strong American family. It’s absolutely terrific.

“Many Italian horsemen have traveled to Ocala to buy horses out of the OBS sales,” he added, “and at the same time horsemen from Ocala have taken numerous trips to Italy through the years and have had success racing horses there.”
Among the recent OBS graduates to make headlines in Italy is Gordol Du Mes who won the recent Premio Pisa. The Exchange Rate colt races for Terra de Sienna di Salvatore Simeone and went through the ring at the 2011 OBS August yearling sale. The Florida-bred is a two-time stakes winner and is being pointed to the Premio Parioli (Italian Two Thousand Guineas), a group III race April 28 in Rome.

OBS April graduate Samysilver, a son of Indian Charlie—Hidden Ransom, by Silver Ghost, is also a stakes winner in Italy and has earned more than $100,000.

“There are many similarities between the two cities,” Romanelli said, “and both regions are important to the horse industry. I have pushed and promoted the relationship because of my family’s tradition in the horse business, and I believe both places have benefited greatly from the partnership.”

Tod Wojciechowski, director of sales at OBS, added; “Having a horse bred in Italy entered in the sale is a small step in expanding on our relationship with horsemen from Italy and it certainly brings to light just how truly international our business is.”                 

Keeneland Sales in HD
by Esther Marr

Despite its reputation for being steeped in tradition, Keeneland has sure raced to the lead in terms of cutting edge technology. In the midst of the Lexington sale company’s high-paced 2-year-olds in training auction April 8, employees in the video sale control room worked to ensure a seamless production.

Since 2004 Keeneland has gradually integrated improvements to the technology in both its sale pavilion and racetrack, and in 2008 the racetrack became the first in North America to provide live race coverage and limited simulcasts in High Definition format.

The multi-year transition included the installation of infrastructure necessary to support HD technology. It wasn’t until a year ago that all the cameras in the racing control room were switched to HD format, and its in-house signal was converted to HD quality.

“The ratio and clarity are there, but our next step is to upgrade our sales control room to HD completely, which is a process,” said G.D. Hieronymus, Keene-land’s director of broadcast services.

Keeneland’s advanced technology is easy to take for granted during the sales, where a certain level of quality is expected. But everyone involved in the process—from buyers and consignors, to bid spotters and journalists—rely on the various features offered on the video screens in the sale pavilion as well as the LED tote board displaying breezes at the track.
“The consignors and owners of these deserve (quality technology),” said Hieronymus. “They’re bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars of horse flesh in here and we need to do our job to show and document the whole process.”

Keeneland’s state-of-the-art digital LED tote board was installed following the debut of its Polytrack surface in 2006. During a sale breeze show, the board gives onlookers an early, up-close shot of the horse, which enables them to see how the animal is reacting to the situation and how quickly it gets into its work.

“We’ve made it so much easier for (horsemen)…the better we can do our job to show the horse, the easier it makes their job,” said Hieronymus. “We also want to turn around those videos as quickly as possible,” he added of the breezes, which have recently been made available by hip number via Keeneland’s website shortly following the breeze show.