For the past couple of years, Sam-Son Farm has found success with a relatively small consignment at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale—and this season was no different.
The 45-year-old farm, which has a broodmare division in Ontario and a training center in Ocala, Fla., cataloged five fillies and mares as racing or broodmare prospects in this year's January sale. The farm sold three hips and had one out. Their top sale was Hip 537, Singwiththebirds, who was picked up by Hill 'n' Dale Bloodstock/Flintshire for $75,000.
"(Singwiththebirds is) a very pretty filly," said Dave Whitford, broodmare and stallion manager at Sam-Son Farm. "She's got lots of family—her mom (Song of the Lark) is in foal to Medaglia d'Oro and has a Kitten's Joy foal that's coming along from 2016—there's lots of upside with that family.
"Up With The Birds will continue to race next year, (Singwiththebirds is) a half sister to him," he added, mentioning the 2013 Canadian Horse of the Year who is a homebred runner for Sam-Son. "He's put a lot of money in the bank for us over the last few years. We've got a lot of fillies coming along in the family, so we felt that we could let this one go. She's pretty and I think she'll make a great broodmare for somebody."
Whitford said their offerings this year fit well in the January sale, where the farm has typically sold in the past with some success. At the 2016 Keeneland January sale, they sold four fillies or mares, led by Fifth Avenue Bloodstock going to $240,000 for stakes winner Ready for Romance.
"I think we would still go to Keeneland November if we had the right mares," he said. "But we figured these mares would be better suited to January.
"Sometimes (their progeny) jump up and show promise and helps us make a decision on whether we keep one opposed to selling one, so we use that little extra time for that."
Sam-Son mostly keeps what they breed to race themselves, winning multiple Sovereign Awards for both outstanding owner and breeder in the process. Last year the farm ranked 59th by leading North American owners by earnings and notched a 21% win rate.
However, Whitford said the farm aims to keep its broodmare band on the smaller side, around 25 mares, and will occasionally sell mares to the public but will rarely sell weanlings or yearlings.
"(The mares sold are) usually finished racing," Whitford said. "But in our eyes, we've tried them, and we believe that we've gotten the best out of them ... so we want to cut our losses and move on and make room for horses to come in.
"For a couple of years we sold some yearlings just to get our numbers down because they ballooned up on us. But since then and before then, we never sold any of our young stock. It's always breed to race, and we keep everything."