There is always a buzz around the first yearling auction of the season, especially when so many good horses entered their breeding careers at the same time. This is considered to be the glimpse into the rest of the season as the larger, more well-known auctions like the Saratoga Select and Keeneland September start to loom on the horizon and the farms around Kentucky start intense preparations.
While there was a lot of activity and interest surrounding the yearlings of American Pharoah, the sale only had two representatives to look at this year; other first-crop sires faired better as Palace, Palace Malice, Tapiture, and Constitution all had significantly larger offerings on display that generated lively bidding in the ring.
The old guard of established sires also struck hard and fast at this sale as Flatter went home with top prize as the sire of the sale’s topper when a colt of his sold for $520,000 to Al Rashid Stable. Street Sense, Into Mischief, and Violence locked up the top spots as the first-crop sire with the largest price at the sale wound up being Palace Malice, who “finished” seventh in that tally.
Among the more interesting offerings was HIP 171, a chestnut filly by Mucho Macho Man that came as the offering of Maine Chance Farm, which is part of the University of Kentucky. She was long and her hindquarters needed some filling, but she walked like a horse with a purpose. The filly sold for $15,000 to Grassroots TRN & Sales LLC, suggesting that she might go back up for offer at the 2YO sales later next year as a horse in training.
HIP 40- One that I lovingly called “Rachel Face”, she was a nice, full filly that brought plenty of attention to Barn 3. She was bright and attentive with a big, swinging walk that impressed the large majority of the potential buyers that saw her.
Her family was equally as impressive, with her second dam’s offspring drawing the most attention, as the one-time Kentucky Derby favorite of his year I Want Revenge makes an appearance under Meguial (Arg). She is only the second foal of her dam, Samsational, who could potentially be continuing the trend of successful, young Unbridled’s Song mares to produce talented racers.
In the ring, she spurred a bidding war that lasted until she hit $180,000, though this would ultimately result in an RNA. She was later sold privately for $147,000 to JSM Equine LLC.
HIP 46 became a high priced sale for her young sire, Palace. Already named (quite a few in this sale were), Palace Two Step went to Hartley/Derenzo Thoroughbreds for $160,000; she is a registered Florida bred with a nomination to the Breeders’ Cup.
Eclipse Thoroughbreds came to the Fasig-Tipton auction prepared to play as the group went for another filly by a first time Palace, but this time in the sire Palace Malice. HIP 60, the daughter of the Belmont Stakes winner drew eager early bids, but eventually was hammered down at $275,000 to the fan-favorite black and baby blue silks.
As for the two yearlings by American Pharoah, HIP 205 was declared an out and HIP 131 initially RNA’d in the ring before being sold for $200,000 privately.
In terms of high-end price tags, Will Take Charge and Into Mischief led the charge with both sires having three yearlings sell for $200,000 or more. The former’s first foals are 2YOs of 2018 while Into Mischief has eight crops on the ground.
Overall, the sale experienced gains in every category: horses sold rose from 172 (2017) to 196; total amount sold was $19,762,500 from $16,107,000 last year; average increased to $100,829 from $93,645 and the median rose to $75,000 from $70,000. The RNA count rose to 86 horses.