The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale was a place to see and be seen and it also was a fantastic yearling sale with 108 horses selling for more than $31 million. (Photo by Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)
An area of Saratoga that is usually devoid of horses during the year, the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. was bouncing over the weekend.
Racing personalities from around the world flooded the grounds to look at the 140 yearlings on display before Fasig-Tipton’s two-day select sale on Aug. 5-6. While Fasig-Tipton kicked off the yearling sale season with a mid-July sale in Kentucky, the Saratoga selected yearling sale rings in the season of big-money purchases.
The Saratoga sale featured two night sessions that began at 7 p.m. and lasted for about three hours with about 70 horses offered per night. The sale ushered in a new era with many new sires, such as Quality Road and Blame, represented by their first crops. But the sale also represented the end of an era with the final crop of yearlings from prolific sires Dynaformer and Indian Charlie going through the ring as well.
People who came to watch the spectacle for the two-night sale weren’t disappointed in the results with all but one of the horses who sold going for six figures or more. Showing how high end the sale was, on the first night alone six yearlings had bids of $200,000 or more and ended up going back to the barn still owned by their original owner because they didn’t meet their reserve.
Two horses hit the magical $1 million mark during the sale with much-talked-about Hip No. 69, a Dynaformer filly, topping the sale with a price of $1,225,000. That figure was $225,000 more expensive than the second-highest-priced horse of the sale.
Photo by Eclipse Sportswire
The sale topper is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Optimizer. By the late, great sire Dynaformer, she looked the part of a $1.25 million yearling. The filly, offered by Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services Inc., made sure she had everyone’s attention when she made a big entrance by kicking the auctioneer’s stand soon after she entered the ring. Sold to Borges Torrealba with Three Chimneys acting as agent, the filly made sure her hype was justified by keeping the top spot even after nearly 100 more hips had gone through the ring.
The first million-dollar yearling came early in the sale when Hip No. 23 became the first yearling to break the $900,000 mark. A Distorted Humor filly, the bay has quite the female family behind her. She is out of a granddaughter of Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. Sold to Live Oak Plantation for $1 million, she was the only other horse to sell for more than $875,000. She was offered by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.
While first session yearlings earned the top three spots, session two horses dominated the top 10 highest sellers list with six of that session’s yearlings owning spots on the list. The day two session topper – a colt by Indian Charlie offered by Hill ‘n’ Dale - sold for a cool $750,000. Sold to Stonestreet and George Bolton, the owners of champion My Miss Aurelia, the colt is out of a half-sister to champion Vindication.
Overall, the 108 horses that left the ring with new owners brought a total of $31,870,000 with the average price sitting at just above $295,093.
While many people at the sale didn’t buy anything, for them being a part of the Saratoga social event of the year was well worth it. Between the drama of a fake bidder causing a voided sale and the possibility of seeing stars such as Bobby Flay sitting in the pavilion, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale had a bit of everything for every race fan who loves to see the inner working