On Monday morning I had some time to kill before the races and so I walked over to the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds. The guys over at Fasig-Tipton really had the place polished up and it shined like a new penny. My initial reaction was, “Wow! This place is gorgeous.” The renovations definitely had my eyes wide open.
I observed the newly remodeled pavilion and sales grounds for a few minutes and then moved onto the horses. At this point, I felt like I was at any other sale. There were beautiful horses everywhere, busy consignors, interested buyers, and even some tourists. One horse specifically caught my eye and it was hip #101. I was on my way to say hi to the owner of Bluewater Sales, Meg Levy, when this horse stopped me in my tracks. A beautiful bay son of A.P. Indy, this was the first foal out of champion sprinter Maryfield. I eventually made my way over to Meg, who consigned hip 101, and commented on how amazing the horse looked. She responded by saying, “Yeah, he’s a really nice colt and has the potential to be the sales topper.” Well, she wasn’t kidding because hip 101 would go on to be the sales topper; selling for $1,200,000 on Tuesday night.
After speaking with Meg, I walked over to Sam-Son Farm’s consignment and requested to see hip #69 out of her stall. I wanted to take a closer look at this particular daughter of Smart Strike for one reason: her third dam. This filly’s third dam is Loudrangle and Loudrangle is the 4th dam of my mare, Sky. When they brought her out of the stall, I immediately got a great first impression of her. She was very pretty, had a great walk, and was very correct. On Monday night she sold to Glen Hill Farm for $300,000, so apparently I wasn’t the only one that liked her a lot.
Speaking of Monday night, let’s fast forward to Monday at around 6:30 PM. I had just arrived back at the sales grounds after a day at the track and could feel the excitement. I walked around for an hour and finally the sale began at about 7:30. The sale started off with a bang with hip #4 selling for $775,000. Shortly after, hip #7 went through the ring and sold for $325,000. The significance of this hip was that I worked with the horse all summer. I spent time with this son of Rock Hard Ten six days a week for twelve weeks. I’m very proud to say that I had a part in prepping him for the sale and I’m happy that he sold so well. Congratulations to all of his connections and to his new owners, Shadwell.
I went back to the barn area and said goodbye to hip #7 and then I headed back to my spot on the rail by the show ring. By this time, the sale was really booming and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was at a big party, definitely not at a horse sale. Everyone in sight was drinking and socializing and it seemed that many were totally unaware that a major Thoroughbred yearling auction was taking place. Also, as I looked around at the people with my dad, we started to feel out-of-place. Neither of us were very dressed up and everyone else seemed to be dressed like they were headed for the red carpet. It was weird because I did happen to have a tie on, and before I arrived at the sale I figured that I would be overdressed. If I were at a Keeneland sale, or a different Fasig-Tipton sale, I probably would have been slightly overdressed. This was not the case because I apparently missed the “Dress like you’re going to meet the Queen” memo.
Regardless of feeling slightly underdressed, I still had an amazing time because I was with my family and I was around the horses. I was hoping to form a solid opinion about the sale having a party feel to it, but I still have mixed feelings. It seemed to me that the horses were not the main focus of the sale, and rather socializing and looking good were more important to most. I did not like that. However, the sale did have an incredible amount of energy and a buzz to it that I’ve never experienced before at a horse sale and how could I be upset about that? It was definitely a very fun event and I think that’s great for the sport. We need to be displaying the fun, excitement, and energy of Thoroughbred racing and sales at every opportunity. We never know when a potential owner, breeder, buyer, or fan is going to see a snapshot of our sport, and so we have to produce as many good pictures as possible.