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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Freshman Class

- The yearling sale at the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale had good numbers in the places that matter - average, median, and particularly, the buyback rate, which dropped impressively from 39% to 25%. Over $35 million was spent over the two day sale, a total that would be mind boggling if it all wasn't so mind numbing.

It's always fun to see how the first-year sires did; horses whose racing careers, and in some cases, surrounding controversy, are still fresh in the mind. I had grown skeptical of Empire Maker by the time he was retired in the fall of his three-year old year. Perhaps it was a grudge. I not only had him in the Derby, but I actually chuckled as he made what I thought would be a winning move on the turn. I was feeling smug over being amongst those who discarded the reports of his bruised foot which inflated his odds to 5-2.

Then there was the Jim Dandy, and anyone who was at the paddock that day can attest to the fact that Strong Hope was the best looking horse in the race. Empire Maker's narrow loss there was followed by the wearying reports of various illments that eventually led to his retirement, and Frankel's famous proclamation that “We weren’t within ten lengths of seeing this horse’s best race.” Feh.

My cynicism has eased somewhat over time, especially when I watch this replay of his Florida Derby stretch run, wow. But I can't help but think that his $100,000 stud fee was one earned to a large extent on reputation and on his own breeding, rather than his performances on the track.

But that's history now, and he'll be judged going forward based on the performance of his offspring, on the race track and in the sales ring. So far, with a very limited sample, the reception has been excellent. He had just one weanling sell last year, in Japan, but that one went for an equivalent of $894,400, which must be around 87 zillion yen.

At the Fasig-Tipton sale, he also had just one entry, a colt out of Saturday's Child, a stakes winning Storm Cat mare from the female family of Unbridled's Song; and he brought $375,000.

The late-developing Aldebaran, standing for $40,000, also fared extremely well. He had five entered, and four sold, all bringing six figure returns ranging from $125,000 to $220,000. The highest priced one is a filly by Corporate Report who is, unusually, inbred 3x3 to Private Account. She's a half-sister to the stakes winner Quiet Cash.

Sky Mesa is another freshman whose foals attracted big bucks. This son of Pulpit was a disappointment at three, but had inmpressed enough the prior year to command $30,000 for his services. He had eight weanlings sell last year for an average of over $160,000, so it was little surprise that in Lexington this week, all six of his entrants sold, and for a similar average. A filly out of Impertinent Lady, a mare by Sham, brought $275,000. She's a half to the dam of Zavata, whose first crop are also yearlings; Zavata had three sell for an average of $49,000.

Perhaps a bit of a surprise was Posse, a mere $10,000 stallion. He had ten foals sell out of 12 entered, for an average of $107,000. His sale topper was a filly out of a Silver Ghost mare who is a half to the Withers winner Fast Decision. The sales filly's second dam is a half to champion Dehere.

- A couple of sires who are not first-timers proved to be popular enough to warrant a mention. Songandaprayer had 10 sell (out of 13 entered), and they all drew six figure winning bids ranging from $100,000 to $260,000, and averaging $160K. And More Than Ready, currently third on the third-year sire list, saw all nine of his progeny find new stables, at an average of over $150,000.

1 Comment:

El Angelo said...

See, I disagree on Empire Maker, and think he's going to be a tremendous sire. He's got three G1 wins (Fla Derby, Wood, Belmont), has spectacular breeding, and was somewhat prodiguous by being a nice 2yo, albeit one conservatively maintained. Additionally, his progeny should absolutely love the turf as well. Maybe we're looking at people overpaying for the late Unbridled, but I think he's money well-spent. At worst, I see him being the next Lemon Drop Kid, but actually expect a ton more.