Anne M. Eberhardt

Saratoga Catalog Has International Flavor

Yearlings include the offspring of foreign sires such as Oasis Dream and Cape Cross.

Fasig-Tipton officials have spiced up the latest edition of the Saratoga select yearling sale with more international flavor in the pedigrees of the horses that are cataloged.

In 2009, the yearlings offered included a colt by Encosta de Lago, a leading sire in Australia, and a filly by Monsun, a prominent sire in Germany. This year, there are five yearlings with very strong foreign ties – four that were bred in Europe and an American-bred by a European-based sire. They are Hip No. 11, a French-bred Street Cry – Attima colt; Hip No. 35, an Irish-bred Giant's Causeway  – Crazy Volume colt; Hip No. 43, a Kentucky-bred Oasis Dream – Devout filly; Hip No. 56, a Dubawi – Fawaayid filly; and Hip No. 195, an Irish-bred Cape Cross – Two Clubs colt.

“It’s all part of our efforts to make Saratoga a truly international yearling sale,” said Terence Collier, Fasig-Tipton’s director of marketing. “We want to change the perception of the European buyer who says, ‘I will not go to America because they don’t have the stallions that are of interest to us.’ It also stems from suggestions made by American buyers who often are saying to us, ‘Bring us something different.’ Satish Sanan was one of the prime catalysts for this project. He saw the Encosta de Lago colt last year, he loved him, and he said, ‘I wish you could find a few more horses of that nature for the Saratoga sale.’ ”

Last October, according to Collier, Fasig-Tipton officials decided to target the offspring of a “leading, dominant group” of European sires that included Cape Cross, Dubawi, Oasis Dream, and Pivotal. The auction firm’s management also enlisted the help of Chris Richardson, the managing director of Cheveley Park Stud in England, and European agents such as Ted Voute, Caroline Green, and Richard Brown (now Fasig-Tipton’s European representative) to find the progeny of those stallions that would be suitable candidates for the Saratoga sale.

“Frankly, our August sales dates pose a big problem for European breeders and consignors because many of them are on a schedule to sell their yearlings in October and we were asking them to move that schedule forward,” Collier said. “With a horse that looks like it won’t be ready until October, you can’t push it fast enough and carefully enough to be sold in August, so it was an uphill struggle. But we did find this small group of horses that were so attractive physically and were so precocious (in their development) that it didn’t take much of an adjustment to get them ready for an August sale.”

Collier and Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton’s vice president of sales, journeyed to England and Ireland in May and inspected approximately 30 yearlings. They also found another candidate, the Giant’s Causeway colt, whose breeder suggested he might be a good fit for the Saratoga sale. Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning and the Taylor Made Sales Agency, accoding to Collier, were responsible for recruiting the Kentucky-bred Oasis Dream filly.

“One of the horses that we tried to get, but failed, was a Pivotal, but we are delighted with this group,” Collier said. “We love the horses, and we recognize that their owners have gone out on a limb because they could have, for safety’s sake, offered them in a sale much closer to their homes. The proof of this pudding will be in the eating, but the experiment certainly has worked already in terms of getting a group of beautifully-conformed yearlings to the Saratoga sale that could have held their own in any international marketplace.”

The Saratoga select sale will be conducted the evenings of Aug. 2-3 in upstate New York. There are 202 yearlings in the catalog.

Of the 186 horses that remained in the auction following scratches made soon after the catalog was scheduled to be printed, 20% have a sire or grandsire that was foaled outside of the United States, according to Collier. Forty dams of those yearlings earned graded or group black type outside of North America.

“I don’t think the critique that this sale typically has an American catalog holds water when you consider those sorts of statistics,” Collier concluded.