Vinnie Viola's St. Elias Stables struck swiftly and quietly across both sessions of the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale and purchased 14 mares and one short yearling for gross receipts of $1,725,000.
"We have several young stallions that we like to support, particularly right now Liam's Map , Army Mule , and in Florida, Battalion Runner who is a really talented horse," said John Sparkman, bloodstock advisor for St. Elias Stables. "Basically what we were doing was buying a few mares for those horses. We were very pleased with the quality of the horses in the Fasig-Tipton sale. Obviously some of them went for rather more than we'd hoped, but that's how it works in any sale for any good horse. That's part of the game. Overall, we're very pleased with what we got. We will discuss breedings over the next few days and go from there."
Bidding via the internet, the most expensive purchase for the day came in the form of Whoa Nellie, a 5-year-old daughter of Orb purchased for $450,000. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Fox Hill Farms, the mare (Hip 625) was bred in Kentucky by Doug and Felicia Branham out Allegheny Angel (by Medaglia d'Oro ), and is from the female family of Spinaway Stakes (G1) winner Awesome Humor, Forego Stakes (G1) winner Emcee, and grade 1 winner and sire Constitution .
Trained by Larry Jones and campaigned by Fox Hill, Whoa Nellie's best season came in 2020 when she won the Pippin Stakes and Joseph E. Spanky Broussard Memorial Stakes. That same season, she also placed second in the Bayakoa Stakes (G3) and third in the Chilukki Stakes (G3). She retired with a 6-2-3 record from 12 starts and earnings of $353,380.
"Whoa Nellie is one of those typical Fox Hill mares," said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales. "I always tell Rick Porter that Fox Hill is like a franchise. It's an entity that carries a lot of clout not only on the racetrack but also in the sales ring because they pick out gorgeous horses. This filly was no exception. She was a picture. She has great balance, great hind leg, great body, she was smart, and she had high-level talent on the racetrack.
"One thing we hammered on was that she was from the family of Constitution. It's down the page a little bit but it's a deep, good family and everyone loved her. You got her out on the end of the shank and people said, 'She's the deal.' I'm very happy for Fox Hill. They've been so good to us for so long. They make life easy because they deliver a really good-looking product."
St. Elias went back to the Taylor Made Sales well later in the afternoon for Hip 640, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini named Fiftyshays Ofgreen. Offered as a broodmare/racing prospect, the bay filly was purchased for $400,000.
Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Fiftyshays Ofgreen is out of the Touch Gold mare Divine Dispatch. Her second dam was grade 3 winner Party Cited, who produced Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Las Virgenes Stakes (G1) victress Composure.
Fiftyshays Ofgreen hit the board in six of her 11 starts with her best coming in the 2020 Busanda Stakes where she ran third.
"She was sold for another great customer of ours, D. J. Stable. Being by Bernardini really set her apart," said Taylor. "She was black-type at 3, she could run and had talent, and she had a really nice family. But being by Bernardini and being a really big, leggy mare, I heard a lot of people say, 'This is the kind of mare you can breed to anything physically and she's going to help them.' It'll be interesting to see who these mares go to. St. Elias added some quality to their collection that's for sure."