A More Than Ready colt that Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds had bought for $500,000 as a yearling was purchased by agent Ben McElroy for $750,000 to top the May 21 opener of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training.
McElroy, accompanied by Southern California trainer Simon Callaghan, signed the ticket in the name of Ed Savant Jr.
The first session of the two-day sale produced numbers in line with the first session of last year's record Midlantic sale.
Fasig-Tipton reported 172 horses were sold for gross receipts of $12,066,000, up slightly from the $11,537,500 paid for 162 head last year. The average price declined 1% from $71,219 last year to $70,151 Monday, and the median fell 10% from $40,000 to $36,000. The 51 horses that did not sell represented 22.9% of those through the ring, compared with a session RNA rate of 25% in 2017.
Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the numbers are indicative of the overall juvenile market this year.
"I think we have seen a fairly similar marketplace throughout most of the 2-year-old sales this year," he said. "There is still some polarization, but certainly more diversity and depth here as you would expect with a larger catalog and a wide variety of horses that were on offer today."
Conducted on a sunny, humid day with temperatures in the high 70s, the first day attracted a diverse group of buyers.
"There was a large crowd here today," Browning said. "There was plenty of interest. It was a solid, solid day and that's what you hope for in this marketplace; for people to be rewarded for bringing high quality horses here but also find a marketplace for horses they are not willing to take to the races."
The session-topper consigned as Hip 204 is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Embur's Song, the 2011 Canadian champion older mare and winner of three grade 3 stakes who is a half sister to stakes-placed Dawn Raid, dam of three-time grade 1 winner and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) runner up, Exaggerator .
The colt had been purchased by Hartley/DeRenzo out of the Denali Stud consignment to last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.
Bred in Florida by Bridlewood Farm, the colt breezed an eighth-mile in :10 1/5, co-second-fastest time at the distance during the under tack show.
"I thought his breeze was pretty exceptional," Callaghan said. "He is a great-looking horse, (with) a great attitude and he did everything right. More Than Ready is obviously a very proven stallion. I thought this horse had a lot more substance than some of the More Than Ready's."
Callaghan recalled seeing the colt when he was bought by Hartley/DeRenzo as a yearling.
"He was obviously a very good yearling," the trainer said. "I liked him then, and to pay a little more than that after you've seen him breeze so well and jump through all the hoops, it made sense."
"We are happy with (the sale) for a couple of reasons," DeRenzo said. "One, we get to watch him (race) right here in the United States and that is important to us to build our client base when you sell horses to good trainers and good racetracks."
Considering that the colt is by the prominent sire More Than Ready and the yearling price paid for the pinhook, DeRenzo said the partners would like to have gotten more.
"I think they got a bargain," DeRenzo said with a chuckle. "Of course, you always want more money for the More Than Ready. But it works. I can't do any better than that in many other places so the investment portion of it works for us."
The sale concludes Tuesday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds with a session that begins at 2 p.m. ET.
With additional reporting by Meredith Daugherty