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America’s Best Racing and HorsePhotos.com

Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., offers one of the elite race meetings in the world, and the upstate New York town also serves as host to one of the world’s premier Thoroughbred auctions, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings.

The two-day sale of yearlings (horses born in 2011 who all are 1-year-old) was held Monday at Tuesday the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion. 

America’s Best Racing and HorsePhotos.com combined to take readers and fans behind the scenes at this high-energy marketplace with this photo blog. Enjoy!

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The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings closed powerfully on Tuesday night with the highest-priced horse of the two-day sale providing the spark.

A gray or roan filly, named Wait No More, sold for $1,575,000 to multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who trained the sale topper’s dam (mother), champion Wait a While. Pletcher declined to identify the buyer of the filly by top young sire Medaglia d’Oro.

The Saratoga sale closed with 107 yearlings selling for $32 million, down slightly from the 2011 Saratoga sale.

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All eyes were on this Medaglia d’Oro filly, who topped the sale on a final bid of $1,575,000. Three Chimneys Sales consigned the filly on behalf of breeder Arindel Farm.

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Pletcher was all smiles on Tuesday night at the Humphrey S. Finney Sale Pavilion, where he signed the ticket for the top-priced yearling of the Saratoga sale.

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It’s easy to see why Wait No More was a much sought-after filly at the sale. 

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Celebrity chef Bobby Flay (left), Pletcher, and Barry Weisbord (right) confer during Tuesday’s session.

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MONDAY NIGHT'S SESSION TOPPER

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The Saratoga sale generated plenty of interest and spirited bidding on opening night as 52 yearling were sold for $13,590,000 Monday at the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion at the first of two sessions. The session was topped by a bay colt by Street Cry who sold for $1.2 million to John Ferguson, chief adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and a global force in the Thoroughbred industry. Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned the session-topping Street Cry colt, whose dam (mother) is Canadian champion Serenading.

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Ferguson, acting on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed, secured Monday’s highest-priced yearling for $1.2 million and signed for five yearlings during the session for a combined $2,375,000.

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John G. Sikura is owner and president of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, which consigned Monday night’s session topper. Sikura raced the colt’s dam (mother), Serenading, in partnership.

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This bay colt by Empire Maker generated some fireworks of his own, selling for $1.1 million to Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton, who co-own 2011 champion 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia. The Empire Maker colt is a full brother (same father, or sire, and mother, or dam) to Grade 1 winner Mushka.

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One of the most prestigious yearling sales in the world, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearling always draws a big crowd.

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Many of those in attendance, such as Courtney Anne, enjoy the atmosphere of the Saratoga sale.

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Of course, the buzz and excitement of a sale of this magnitude can spook a young horse, such as this yearling colt early in Monday’s session.

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No doubt, the Saratoga sale was THE place to be on Monday night, and expect a similar feel to Tuesday night’s session, which is sure to draw many of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest names.

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Gretchen Jackson and her husband, Roy (far right), chat with bloodstock agent John Adger (center) prior to the Saratoga yearling sale. The Jacksons raced 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.

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This More Than Ready filly (Hip #110) handles the auction experience with a professional demeanor. Three Chimneys Sales will offer the filly during Tuesday night’s session.

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Rick Porter (left), who raced 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, talks with consignor Ton VanMeter on the Saratoga sales grounds.

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A colt by Hard Spun (Hip #168) enjoys a break to graze and relax a bit.

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Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen examines the sale catalog, which feature pedigree information for each yearling in the auction.

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An old-fashioned stare down. This filly (Hip #154) from the first crop of graded stakes winner Old Fashioned appears to be intently checking out her handler.

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Chad Brown inspects a yearling with his catalog handy to cross- reference with pedigree information as well as to take notes.

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Not just another pretty face, this Tapit filly (Hip #72) is a half sister (same mother) to one stakes winner as well as a stakes-placed winner. 

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The Saratoga yearling sale is a great venue for buyers, with its proximity to Saratoga Race Course and ideallic setting, but it's also a great atmosphere for the horses.

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Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is one of Thoroughbred racing’s most recognizable owners. Last year, Flay purchased one yearling for $110,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale.

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Bobby Flay inspects a yearling on Sunday on the Saratoga sales grounds.

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Kentucky Derby- and Belmont Stakes-winning trainer Michael Matz, along with his son, Alex, tour the sales grounds looking at the yearlings on offer.

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New buyer Paula Flores gets up close and personal to get a good picture of this yearling.

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Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher (right) chats with Mark Taylor, vice president of marketing and public sales operations for Taylor Made Sales Agency, on Sunday at Saratoga. Pletcher advises numerous clients on auction purchases and Taylor Made perennially is the leading consignor in the U.S. by total auction sales. Last year at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga, Taylor Made sold 11 horses for more than $4.2 million.

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This colt by 2003 Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker (Hip #91) is a full brother (same father, known as the sire, and mother, referred to as the dam) to Grade 1 winner Mushka. Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud offers the colt, who will go through the sales ring on Monday night.

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Bloodstock agent John Fulton (far left) rests with Craig Banderoff, his daughter, Isabel, and wife, Holly at Fasig Tipton. Bloodstock agents represent buyers at public sales (and in private purchases) to provide expertise and advice when purchasing horses.

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (green shirt), who owns and operates the powerhouse Darley racing and breeding operation in the United States and heads the Maktoum family's powerful global Thoroughbred operation Godolphin Racing, examines yearlings with Mahmood Al Zarooni, one of Godolphin’s trainers. Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, is one of the leading buyers of horses worldwide and his racing and breeding operations stretch from Dubai to Europe to Australia to Japan and the United States.

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Sheikh Mohammed inspects a yearling on the Saratoga sales grounds with his team of advisers.

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Another yearling has the full attention of Sheikh Mohammed.

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This colt by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense (Hip #161) gets a refreshing bath. Offered by Hidden Brook, the colt is out of the Distorted Humor mare Crown of Diamonds, whose full sister (same father and mother) is Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor. He will be offered at Tuesday night’s session.

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Trainer Dale Romans, who won the Preakness Stakes in 2011 with Shackleford, relaxes with his dog, Archie.

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This colt by Distorted Humor (Hip #5) is out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy’s Windy, who is a half sister (same mother) to champion Banshee Breeze. Taylor Made Sales Agency will offer the colt at Monday’s first session

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Three Chimneys Sales offers this colt by 2007 Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun for owner Arindel Farm. Sales companies prepare horses for the auction to make sure they put their best hoof forward to catch a buyer’s eye. Grade 3 winner Dat You Miz Blue is the dam (mother) of this colt (Hip#168), who will be offered on Tuesday night.

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