Strong Yearling Market Expected to Continue at Saratoga

More of the same. That's what Fasig-Tipton executive Boyd Browning is predicting for the company's Saratoga select yearling sale, which begins its three-night run Tuesday in New York.

"We're anticipating a very healthy marketplace," he said. "We've seen a very enthusiastic bidding pattern thus far in 2004, not only at the 2-year-old sales but at the first yearling sale (Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in July). We would expect it to continue at Saratoga. We've got a very nice group of horses, both in terms of pedigree and physical conformation, and we're very optimistic."

Last year's Saratoga sale marked the start of a rebound in the Thoroughbred auction business that carried over into the fall breeding stock sales and beyond. Gross revenue soared 36.9% from 2002's comparable figure while the average and median prices rose 24.5% and 33.3%, respectively

One highlight of the sale's 2004 edition could be the crowning of Storm Cat as the all-time leading sire of seven-figure sale yearlings. With 51, he trails top-ranked Northern Dancer by only one. Four Storm Cat offspring are catalogued to the auction, including two colts that are highly regarded by their consignors.

Eaton Sales has a son of Storm Cat out of champion Sky Beauty. Coolmore Stud's John Magnier purchased the colt's dam for $2,850,000 at the 1999 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The breeder of the yearling is the Coolmore-related entity Pacelco S.A.

Three Chimneys Sales is the consignor of the other Storm Cat colt, which is out of the winning Gone West mare Gone to Venus and is a full brother to grade II winner Saudi Poetry. Beau Ravine Farm is the breeder.

The two Storm Cat fillies in the Saratoga sale are out of champion Jewel Princess and the stakes-winning Relaunch mare Turbo Launch. Eaton is the consignor of Jewel Princess' daughter, bred by the Coolmore-related entity Barnett Enterprises, and Taylor Made Sales Agency is the consignor of Turbo Launch's daughter, bred by Bertram Linder. Turbo Launch also is the dam of stakes winners U R Unforgettable and Turko's Turn, who produced Horse of the Year and two-time classic winner Point Given.

Fasig-Tipton's yearling inspection team is known for its ability to select athletic-looking horses with buyer appeal, so there should be plenty of other fireworks outside the Storm Cat quartet. One promising prospect is a Fusaichi Pegasus colt out of Nemea, a wining daughter of The Minstrel. Denali Stud is the consignor of the colt for New York pinhooker Jane Schosberg, who purchased him privately when he was only a suckling at Coolmore's Kentucky division, Ashford Stud. She owns 100% of the colt, which is a half-brother to Lover's Knot, a group II winner in England and a grade III winner in this country.

Schosberg said she was attracted by the colt's big stride. With his dark coloring, he reminded Schosberg of Storm Cat. He now looks a lot like his strapping, handsome sire, which captured the 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), she said.