The meteoric rise of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale from a place for early-season scratches, buybacks, and regionally-bred horses into a legitimate place to sell an upper-market juvenile continued in 2019, with the sale once again breaking records in gross and average sale price.
A $1.8-million Into Mischief filly became the most expensive horse ever sold at public auction in the state of Maryland during Tuesday's second and final session, driving record revenues of $29,374,000 from 326 horses sold. That marked an 18 percent increase from the 2018 gross of $24,868,500 from 333 sold, and eclipsed the previous record of $25,237,000 from 330 horses sold in 2017.
The average sale price closed at an all-time high $90,104, up 21 percent from last year. The previous record stood at $88,859, set in 2015.
This year's median sale price was $43,000, which marked a 13 percent gain. It was the second-highest in the auction's history, behind the 2015 edition, which closed at $45,000. The buyback rate finished at 23 percent, going unchanged from 2018.
“I was hoping we'd do something big, based on what people told me they were bringing, so it all came to be,” said Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales director Paget Bennett. “You hope to always improve off your previous year, but this really exceeded my expectations.”
This year marked the fifth consecutive renewal in which a seven-figure horse was knocked down at the Midlantic sale.
“It's just great for this marketplace to have the confidence from the consignors to bring that type of horse here, and for everyone to see you can get the big bucks in Maryland in May,” Bennett said. “We had a lot of new buyers here, a lot of new consignors. When you get all the new faces here, that just kind of tells you that they have confidence in this sale. We'll look for more new faces next year.”
That confidence is one of the main reasons Bennett listed for the auction's growing profile, especially over the past half-decade, but she also said a shifting philosophy among sellers in targeting spots for their horses has worked in the Midlantic sale's favor.
“I think a lot of the horsemen like to wait longer,” she said. “They don't want to push their horses. They know they have good horses and want to give them the time they need, and just showing that bringing them here and getting those type of prices, I know a lot of people bought horses targeting this sale. They didn't try any other 2-year-old sale this spring, so they had that confidence purchasing last fall.”
Michael Lund Petersen landed the record sale-topper, an Into Mischief filly for $1.8 million.
The bay filly, who went through the ring as Hip 360, is out of the stakes-placed Kafwain mare Peggy Jane, who is the dam of one winner from two foals to race. Canadian champion Dynamic Sky is in her extended family.
Petersen said he acted on the advice of trainer Bob Baffert, who conditions his successful purchase from last year's Midlantic sale, Mucho Gusto. The Mucho Macho Man colt was secured by Petersen for $625,000 at the 2018 renewal, and he's gone on to win a trio of Grade 3 races, most recently taking the Lazaro Barrera Stakes on May 18 at Santa Anita Park.
“Bob loved her, that's basically it,” Petersen said. “I was hoping it wouldn't to go that high, but we had him on the phone, and he thought it was still a good idea, so that's why we decided to buy her….When something good comes, I'm solely relying on Bob. If he thinks it's a good purchase and it's my turn, then I'm going to buy them. I don't know enough about horses to spend $1.8 million, I can tell you that, so I need a little of advice.”
Petersen, a native of Denmark and founding shareholder in Pandora Jewelry, is still a relatively new owner, having campaigned his first horse in 2014. His best-known runner to date is the Grade 1 winner Mor Spirit.
The filly was consigned by Bobby Dodd, as agent for Brad Grady, whose Grand Oaks operation purchased her for $220,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
She breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 seconds flat during the pre-sale under-tack show, tying for the fastest time of the under-tack show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Md. The filly lived up to expectations when the spotlight was the brightest, but Grady and Dodd knew what they had well before they shipped north from Florida.
“Bobby doesn't give the accolade of 'freak' very often,” Grady said. “He's done it a couple of times, and one of them happened to be the horse we went to the Derby with and won the Grade 1 Haskell with, Girvin. The second or third time he breezed her, he called me and said this filly's a freak. I knew from then, if they kept her sound and happy, we were going to have a big payday or a good racehorse, but it doesn't make economical sense to keep horses like that when they're worth that much money.”
Tuesday's hammer price safely eclipsed the previous all-time mark for the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, set in 2017 when Breeze Easy and John Oxley teamed up to buy Curlin's Honor, a Curlin colt out of Stormin Fever mare Franscat, for $1.5 million. Curlin's Honor has gone on to become a multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner.
Best Strikes For $850,000 Colonel John Colt Vegas Strong
Larry Best's OXO Equine made a statement at the top of the list for the Midlantic sale with the $850,000 purchase of a Colonel John colt named Vegas Strong.
The bay colt, offered as Hip 528, is the second foal out of the winning A.P. Warrior Tayrona. Grade 2 winner Medici Code is in the extended family.
It was an unusually high sale price for a son of Colonel John, who was sold to stand in Korea ahead of the 2017 breeding season, but the individual outshone his page.
“He's just a big, strong two-turn colt that just has natural turn of foot,” said John Dowd, Best's bloodstock adviser who signed the ticket in his absence. “Obviously, the sire left the country, but he was a really good horse who won the Santa Anita Derby and the Travers. He was just a really good athlete.”
The exchange a pinhooking coup for consignor Randy Miles, who bought the colt privately in Kentucky last October. He was a scratch from last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
Miles said the colt has his name before he bought him, a nod to the slogan adopted in support of the Las Vegas community following the mass shooting that occurred in the city in 2017.
“We were asked to look at him for a private purchase, and we fell in love with him right there,” Miles said. “Then, when we got him back to the barn and started breaking him and training him, he had so much class and athleticism. It all fell into place, and we couldn't wait to get him here. We wanted him here in Maryland to showcase him on the dirt, because he just handled the dirt so well. We just had to wait until Maryland. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but this time just worked.”
The colt breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 seconds.
“The horse did everything,” Miles said. “He breezed that way twice. He did it in his prep breeze, he did it in his timed breeze, and the horse just came back like he'd never breezed, like it was a walk in the park. I can't wait to watch this horse on the racetrack, because his cardio is just out of this world.”
Lawrence Lands $710,000 Into Mischief Colt, Big Auction Continues For Top Line Sales
The Midlantic Sale has been a big showing for both sire Into Mischief and consignor Top Line Sale, each bringing high prices individually, but coming together to sell a colt to William Lawrence for $710,000.
The bay colt sporting the Hip 322 sticker is the second foal out of the winning Latent Heat mare Nihilist, whose first runner is a winner. Bred in New York, his page features G1 winners Fire the Groom, Dowsing, and Sakhee's Secret, Kentucky Oaks runner-up Ermine, and Swiss champion Street Rebel.
“I liked everything about him,” said bloodstock agent Peter Bradley, who signed the ticket on Lawrence's behalf. “He's beautiful-balanced, has a good mind. There's a lot of good judges here, and when a good horse comes in, there's plenty of money for them. I think I've heard it from everybody you talk to lately, but we had to stretch.”
Tuesday's transaction continued what has been a strong performance at the Midlantic sale for consignor Top Line Sales and its clients. The Florida-based operation handled Monday's session-topper, a $500,000 Street Sense colt, and a $350,000 Uncle Mo filly.
Like Monday's topper, Tuesday's Into Mischief colt was withdrawn from the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Selected Sale of 2-Year-Olds In Training. Still, Jimbo and Torie Gladwell kept the faith, as did owner Carlo Vaccarezza, who bought the colt for $265,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling sale.
“We knew he'd sell well, but not quite how well,” Torie Gladwell said. “He was an extremely popular horse. Ever since the Miami sale, he just got better and better. Never had a day off, never did anything wrong, just a true, solid racehorse.”
The colt breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5 seconds during the Gulfstream sale, then stretched out to a quarter-mile in :21 3/5 seconds during the Midlantic sale. It tied for the fastest time over two furlongs among this year's offerings.
Gladwell said the colt didn't get much bigger between the sales, but did get leaner, developing more of an athletic, racehorse frame, growing out of his immaturities.
“He's super-fit,” she said. “We actually breezed him three-eighths on the farm a couple weeks ago, and he's just gotten fitter and fitter, and we knew he'd breeze really well here, even though he's a big horse. Our track's small at home, so we knew he'd handle these tight turns here.”
First-Crop Palace Filly Goes To Speedway Stables For $570,000
The most expensive first-crop offering of the sale thus far is a filly by Spendthrift Farm's Palace, who sold to Speedway Stables for $570,000.
The Iowa-bred filly is out of the winning Broken Vow mare Prenuptial Vow, whose two winners from three runners includes stakes winner Theperfectvow. She went through the ring as Hip 384 with a page that includes champion Banshee Breeze and G1 winners Mutual Trust, Hilda's Passion, Twice Over, Passage of Time, and Timepiece.
Eddie Woods consigned the filly, as agent. She was a $170,000 purchase by McCrary Cove Bloodstock at last year's Keeneland September sale.
The filly breezed an eighth in :10 1/5 seconds during the under-tack show.
Durant Lands American Pharoah Colt For $530,000
It's been rare that an auction has gone by without a son or daughter of American Pharoah making a splash, and that streak continued on Thursday, with owner Tom Durant securing a colt by the Triple Crown winner for $530,000.
The bay colt, sold as Hip 350, is out of the placed Tapit mare Our Love to Tap, from the family of G1 winners Dearest Trickski and Comptitionofideas. Consigned by Paul Sharp, agent. the colt breezed an eighth in :10 3/5 seconds.
“We had bought an American Pharoah for Tom at the April sale that was from Tapit's family, and this colt being out of a Tapit mare, he made the list, and that just kind of pushed us over the edge, because we've been really happy with that filly,” said bloodstock agent Josh Stevens, who signed the ticket. “This was a colt that I think is prototypical of what the 2-year-old sales do for you. Physically, when he stands in front of you, he's got a bit of growing up to do, but on video and the numbers, he was one of the top horses in the sale for us.”
Stevens said the colt would go to trainer Bret Calhoun.
It was a successful pinhook for the partnership of Sharp and Liz Crow, who picked up the colt for $200,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale.
Half To Preakness Winner War Of Will Goes To L And N Racing For $260,000
The bay Tapit ridgling dropped the hammer for $260,000 late during Tuesday's session, going to L and N Racing. The racing operation of lawyer Lee Levinson, sons Andy and Michael, and prosecutor Don Nelson is best known for campaigning Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin at Lee. Their winning bid was made by phone by Fasig-Tipton staff.
French stakes winner Visions of Clarity is the dam of the colt, with other foals including Irish G1 winner Pathfork, stakes winner Tacticus, and stakes producers Lotus Sutra and Visual Mind. International G1 winners Spinning World and Chimes of Freedom are in the extended family.
Donna Wormser's Sensible Equine purchased the colt for $130,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He was consigned by Wavertree Stables, and breezed an eighth in :10 3/5 seconds.
Strong Returns In Closing Session
As expected, the second day of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale was stronger than the first, with 156 horses sold for $17,971,500, up 40 percent from last year's closer when 161 horses brought $12,802,500. The average sale price rose 33 percent to $105,715, the median grew 9 percent to $43,500, and the buyback rate finished at 21 percent.
Tuesday's gross, average, and median sale price were all higher than on Monday's opening session.
To view the full results from the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, click here.
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