Catching up with top sellers from 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

August 6th, 2018

As we look forward to the 98th Saratoga Sale tonight and Tuesday, let’s revisit the top-priced yearlings from last summer’s boutique Fasig-Tipton auction.

The $1 million Orb-Flashy American colt sports an apt name – ELVIS.

Purchased by Phoenix Thoroughbred, off to a fantastic start in the ownership business with the likes of Belmont (G1) runner-up Gronkowski and unbeaten Grade 1 star Dream Tree, Elvis is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. The March 28 foal posted a pair of three-furlong works at Keeneland in late spring, touring in :37.80 on May 9 and picking up the pace in :36.60 on May 15, but none since.

You might say that Elvis has racing experience already, after a fashion. He’s the first foal from 2014 Sixty Sails (G3) winner Flashy American, who ran several times while carrying him. Her best results while in foal were runner-up efforts in the 2015 Iowa Distaff and Locust Grove, in both cases as the defending champion.

Elvis was bred by Gainesway, Brian Graves, Kidder – Cole et al, but that’s a whole story in itself. Flashy American visited Orb when owned by Preston Stables. Upon retirement from the track, she was offered in foal at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November and gaveled down for $360,000. The winning bidder, Laura Worm, reportedly did not come through with payment, and Taylor Made Sales Agency sent Flashy American through the ring again in February. Wheeling right back in Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale, the Flashy Bull mare topped the auction by commanding $395,000 from Blue Sky Stable, a partnership put together by Gainesway’s Graves.

Thus Elvis was born as part of the Gainesway fold. Flashy American was bred back to Tapit and sold to Bridlewood Farm for $950,000 in her ensuing trip to Fasig-Tipton Kentucky in November 2016. The weanling Elvis went through the same sale, bringing $310,000 from Davant Latham, agent, with pinhook intent. Gainesway remained involved in the ownership and also consigned him as a Saratoga yearling.

The joint topper at $1 million, the Curlin-River’s Prayer colt, was purchased by Eric Fein, an owner most often associated with millionaire Musket Man and 2016 Champagne (G1) near-misser Syndergaard.

Yet unnamed, the colt was working earlier this summer for Chad Brown. Over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga, he stretched his legs in :39.79 on June 6 and covered the same ground June 13 in :37.65, his last recorded move.

The April 15 foal was offered under the banner of Denali Stud, as agent for breeder Stonestreet. Interestingly, Ian Brennan, the manager-cum-trainer in charge of the Stonestreet Training Center in Florida, signed the ticket for Fein.

River’s Prayer, who scored her signature win in the Princess Rooney H. (G1) during her perfect 2007 campaign, has produced four winners from five runners. The 15-year-old daughter of Devon Lane awaits her first black-type offspring.

The $995,000 War Front-Lerici colt, named SHERIFFMUIR, is the only one near the top of the leaderboard to race as of this writing (August 6).

The full brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Avenge was bought by Godolphin, but runs in the colors of Princess Haya, Sheikh Mohammed’s wife. Sent to trainer John Gosden in England, Sheriffmuir apparently has shown connections enough to garner an early entry in the September 15 Champagne S. (G2) at Doncaster – the same race that Mendelssohn flopped in last year behind Seahenge.

Sheriffmuir debuted as the 13-8 favorite on July 20 at Newbury, where he finished with interest for third. Although he was six lengths behind Momkin and Beat Le Bon, the top two are Champagne entrants themselves, so the contest might turn out to be decent.

Sheriffmuir’s sister Avenge captured the 2016-17 runnings of the Rodeo Drive (G1), and she held on stubbornly for third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) won by Queen’s Trust in a heartbreak for Lady Eli. Their dam, the Woodman mare Lerici, is also responsible for Grade 3-placed multiple stakes vixen Lira (by Giant’s Causeway).

Bred by Tada Nobutaka, Sheriffmuir was another consigned by Gainesway, as was the next on the list.

The $900,000 Medaglia d’Oro half-brother to Battle of Midway is still unnamed, but the Mike Repole/Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners buy just appeared on the worktab for Todd Pletcher. Listed as the 2016 foal from Grade 1 queen Rigoletta, he breezed three-eighths in :38.05 on the Belmont training track Saturday.

At this time last August, Battle of Midway had proven himself a talented three-year-old by romping in the Affirmed (G3), missing narrowly in a Santa Anita Derby (G1) dogfight, and placing third in the Kentucky Derby (G1). But the son of Smart Strike became an even more valuable commodity by season’s end, thanks to his 14-1 upset of Sharp Azteca in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Indeed, Battle of Midway had his stallion ad in hand, and accordingly retired to WinStar. Now that he’s reportedly turned out to be subfertile, the four-year-old is back in training for an eagerly awaited return to action.

The mare Rigoletta, a bargain $35,000 juvenile purchase by Erik and Pavla Nygaard’s Thor-Bred Stables, gave them a Grade 1 win in the 2010 Oak Leaf (G1). Now she’s the gift that keeps on giving for her owners as a broodmare.

The $850,000 Into Mischief-Victorious Ami colt, cleverly named INTO TEMPTATION, is breezing for trainer Arnaud Delacour at Fair Hill. The Lael Stables purchase negotiated three furlongs in :39.00 on the Tapeta training track July 23, clocked :38.40 on the dirt July 30, and stayed on schedule by going this morning in :38.00.

Into Temptation is a half-brother to dual Canadian champion Ami’s Mesa (by Sky Mesa), who was arguably a nose away from an Eclipse Award in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). Another half-sibling, Ami’s Holiday (by Harlan’s Holiday), won the 2013 Grey (G3) and competed honorably in all three jewels of the 2014 Canadian Triple Crown. Victorious in the Breeders’ S. on turf, he’d placed in both the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales.

As those relations suggest, Into Temptation was bred by Ivan Dalos’s Tall Oaks in Ontario. His dam, the stakes-winning Victory Gallop mare Victorious Ami, is herself a full sister to the dam of Canadian champion Amis Gizmo as well as Grade 3 victor Ami’s Flatter.

The best-selling filly, and sixth overall on the leaderboard, was the $825,000 daughter of Strong Mandate-Graeme Six now named ROYAL MANDATE by Live Oak Plantation’s Charlotte Weber.

After recording a series of half-mile works at Keeneland from April 29 through June 3, she has not logged one since.

Trainer Mark Casse, when attending the sale with Weber, spoke to Thoroughbred Daily News regarding Graeme Six’s remarkable produce record. Herself a Grade 3 victress and Grade 1-placed sprinter, the Graeme Hall mare has foaled three stakes winners. Two captured Grade 3 events in 2015, Cali Star in the Rampart (G3) and Delightful Joy in the Monmouth Oaks (G3). Her third, Seymourdini, crushed last summer’s State Dinner S. at Belmont Park in the manner of a graded-caliber horse, but his best result from three graded attempts was a fourth in the Bold Ruler (G3). .

Bred by Three Chimneys Farm and Besilu Stables, Royal Mandate was a pinhook success for Baccari Bloodstock, which first scooped her up for $270,000 as a weanling at Keeneland November.

Photo of Elvis in the building courtesy of Fasig-Tipton via Twitter