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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

News and Notes - Feb 27

- The Fasig Tipton sale at Calder suffered declines across the board.

This year's edition of the auction, held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Calder Race Course, suffered downturns from 2007 of 17.7% and 19.5%, respectively, in the number of horses sold and gross revenue. The average price declined 2.2%, and the median price fell 8%. [Bloodhorse]
I know that my loyal reader Onecalicocat is really psyched about the Smarty Jones progeny making their debuts this year. However, the buyers at the Fasig Tipton sale weren't so enamored with the Smarty offerings; and the Derby-Preakness winner had a bad day. He had five entered, of which three were declared out, and the other two didn't meet their reserves with total bids of just $155K. Last year, 34 of his yearlings sold for an average of just over $200K, double his $100K stud fee.

The fortunes of Fusachi Pegasus may have waned of late in terms of stud fee (down from a high of $150K to the present $45K) and U.S. graded stakes winners (Ravel in 2007, and before that.....Bandini?). But he had quite a good day - four of his five foals to make it to the ring sold, bringing a total of $2.1 million; including a colt who sold for an even million. Hip 73 is out of Silver Tornado, a Maria's Mon half to Roman Ruler/El Corredor/Maimonides; not sure how well that bodes for this million dollar baby's feet. And where the hell is Maimonides anyway (other than now being with either Mott or Asmussen)?

First year sire Speightstown, who's been getting some good press, had four out of four in the ring sell (seven others were OUT). Those four brought a total of $3.005 million, including Hip 254, who went for $1.7 million to Coolmore. The colt is out of La Comete, a Holy Bull half sister, out of G1 winner La Gueriere, to Lasting Approval. Last year, 54 of the sire's yearlings averaged over $180K, not bad for his $40,000 stud fee.

- The Breeders' Cup, no doubt thanks to pressure from the TBA, has announced a major format change which will see all five of the filly and mare races shifted to Friday...and the name of the Distaff changed to the Ladies' Classic. It will officially be Ladies Day! Remember when baseball used to have ladies' days, with reduced admission for the distaff set? I don't think that women will get in for free. But the Breeders' Cup seems set to go all out to promote the concept, including cause-related programs focused on women’s health.

It all sounds quite noble. Except for one thing: Does it really serve the distaff divisions well to shift all of their championship races to a weekday on which virtually nobody will be watching?