The juxtaposition of the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland November sales and the Breeders' Cup World Championships has always been considered a positive for the industry.
The reasoning goes that owners, who have reveled in the hospitality and perks associated with having participants in racing's biggest days, and who may have found their way into the winner's circle, are more inclined to want to delve into the marketplace to find future equine athletes that can compete on the biggest stage.
There is an overall positive vibe within the industry post-Breeders' Cup, with a residual psychological and hopefully financial boost to Fasig-Tipton's boutique sale Nov. 6 and Keeneland's expansive breeding stock sale that begins Nov. 7.
But the Cup-to-sale scheduling can be challenging for some, especially consignors who have sold Breeders' Cup runners and want to share in the moment with their clients—and at the same time, have to oversee the logistics of shipping horses to the sales and begin the inspection process.
Balancing both is particularly important to ELiTE, the agency established earlier this year by Bradley Weisbord and Liz Crow. The upcoming sales will be the first mixed consignment for Weisbord and Crow, and they were able to attract a high-powered group of horses to both venues.
At the same time, Weisbord and Crow continue to manage racing and bloodstock activities for clients through BSW Bloodstock, which has several hundred horses under its management umbrella, and has a connection to about a dozen Breeders' Cup participants.
Now wearing two hats, the partners spent the week in Del Mar, while ELiTE's client services manager Jackson Buchanon has been overseeing the sale setup. Weisbord and Crow were scheduled to take in the Breeders' Cup Friday card, board a red-eye flight from California to Kentucky, and be on the Fasig-Tipton sale grounds early Saturday.
It will mark the first time in recent memory either have missed the featured Breeders' Cup second day—and Weisbord would like to see a better system.
"It's a week of pure excitement, but really, really hard work," Weisbord said, equating the timing of the two events to NFL's Super Bowl and player draft. "I wish the industry could have banded together and put a little more time between what I would call racing's version of the Super Bowl and the NFL draft, which are our Breeders' Cup and breeding stock sales. The lack of time between the events, especially when the Breeders' Cup is on the West Coast, makes it difficult on everybody. I know some major buyers who are not going to be at the Breeders' Cup because they will have to be at the sales, doing their work."
"We are trying to bridge racing and sales," Crow added. "We are so involved in racing, we thought we should bring our knowledge of racing over to the sales side. It makes it hard when you get to a point like this, considering how important the Breeders' Cup is, but also we want to make ELiTE Sales work. It makes it tough when you want to give your all to both."
One reason Weisbord and Crow feel it is more important they give the sale higher priority than the Breeders' Cup—at least this year—is the fact their Fasig-Tipton consignment includes Tepin, the two-time champion grass mare who won six grade/group 1 stakes in three countries. The 6-year-old daughter of Bernstein, consigned as Hip 130, is being sold in foal to prominent sire Curlin .
"We're blessed, lucky, and excited to sell a two-time champion we believe is the most accomplished turf mare to ever be offered at public auction," Weisbord said of the mare who earned more than $4.4 million. "Although she won a graded stake on dirt as a 2-year-old, her legend is on turf."
ELiTE's Fasig-Tipton consignment also includes Decked Out (by Street Boss ) as Hip 164 and Birdatthewire (by Summer Bird) at Hip 156, both grade 1 winners at age 3. "They are really special," Weisbord said. "Both were at the top two or three in their divisions."
Quality Rocks, another ELiTE offering at Fasig-Tipton as Hip 110, won the Florida Oaks (G3T) and is being sold ready to be bred, since she was not bred this year. "There are not going to be many that look better than her on the sales grounds," Weisbord said about the daughter of Rock Hard Ten.
ELiTe's Keeneland Book 1 offerings include Test Stakes (G1) winner Paola Queen, a daughter of Flatter offered as a broodmare prospect as Hip 297; Puca, Hip 309, a grade 2-placed Big Brown mare who is a half sister to grade 1-winning millionaire Finnegan's Wake; I'm a Looker, Hip 259, a grade 3-winning daughter of Henny Hughes from the family of multiple grade 1 winner Dortmund ; and Pricedtoperfection, Hip 306, a grade 3 winner by Temple City who is a full sister to multiple grade 1 winner Miss Temple City.
Weisbord and Crow said they are particularly proud to have Test winner Paola Queen in their offerings, considering the impact winners of that race have had on the breeding industry.
As part of the extensive research and analysis ELiTE does for its "Passport" package of information put together on some of the agency's sale horses, Crow found that from 1950 to 2011, 80% of the winners of the race had produced a graded stakes winner, a stakes winner, or a graded stakes race.
"It's just fun to sell these mares," she said.