Officer's Offspring Stand Out In Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale's Second Session

Officer's offspring were in demand Tuesday during the second session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale at Timonium in Maryland. The stallion was the sire of both the top-priced colt, which brought $190,000, and the top-priced filly, which went for $125,000.

But the popularity of Officer's progeny wasn't great enough to prevent some of the second-day statistics from slumping after a fast start on opening day. The gross revenue suffered a 20.8% setback compared to last year's total, and the average price dropped 22.6%. The buy-back rate increased to 32.4% from last year's figure of 18.5%.

The bright spot was the median price, which grew 4.5%.

Trainer Mike Trombetta bought the $190,000 Officer colt, named Cartouche, on behalf of Joe Balsamo. Trombetta saddled Balsamo and Ted Theos' Sweetnorthernsaint to win this year's Illinois Derby (gr. II). The gelding also finished second in the Preakness (gr. I).

"It was kind of spur of the moment," Trombetta said. "I saw him (Cartouche) in the back (outside the sale pavilion), and he wasn't there very long. He got there late. But he looked like a striking colt. It happened pretty fast. I told Joe that if the right horse came along, I was going to call him, and he said that would be fine. I called Joe, and he answered the phone. Officer is a very hot horse, and this colt looked like the real thing. It's no coincidence this colt brought this kind of money."

Warrendale Sales, as agent, consigned Cartouche. Produced from the 10-year-old Rubiano mare Paris Gem, the colt is a half-brother to six-time winner Roll Your Own (by Smoke Glacken), who finished third in the 2004 Native Dancer Stakes at Arlington Park. Cartouche's third dam, Bitty Girl, was a champion in England. Another member of the family is Eclipse Award winner Action This Day.

Epona bred Cartouche in Kentucky. North Tamarack Stables acquired him as a weanling for $60,000 from Paramount Sales, agent, at last year's Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

The Gibraltar Group purchased the $125,000 Officer filly, with former trainer Mike Mollica signing the sale ticket. Steve Barberino was standing beside Mollica, but declined to comment. Mollica described the Gibraltar Group as "a partnership of three or four people."

According to Mollica, an important factor in the decision to buy the bay yearling was the seven-length victory by her half-sister, Quite a Rush (by Wild Rush), in a six-furlong maiden-special-weight race at Golden Gate Fields Sept. 30.

"She won by a block; it was an incredible win," Mollica said "She's going to be a stakes winner. Officer is hot, and this filly looks fast."

Produced from the 10-year-old unraced Meadowlake mare Merit, the Officer filly also is a half-sister to another winner, Finish (by Skywalker). Their second dam, French Oil, was a stakes winner.

Marshall Silverman consigned the Officer filly as agent. Robert Waltrip Jr. bred her in Texas.

In all, 221 horses were sold during the second session, grossing $4,152,300 and averaging $18,789. The median was $11,500. In 2005, the 216 horses sold grossed $5,246,000 and averaged $24,287. The median was $11,000.

For the first two days of selling combined, the results were 446 horses sold, a gross of $9,727,200, an average of $28,810, and a median of $11,500. During the first two sessions last year, 428 horses were sold, grossing $10,229,700 and averaging $23,901. The median was $11,000.

The buy-back rate was 18.8% in 2005 compared to 31.3% this year.

The sale's third and final session is scheduled for Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. (EDT).