Songbird's half-sister to sell at Fasig-Tipton Monday night
by TERESA GENARO
Last year, in the weeks heading to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, an enormous banner, nearly a billboard, depicting American Pharoah decked the exterior of the Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion across the street from Saratoga Race Course.
Three years ago, that yearling by Pioneerof The Nile went through the ring, both consigned and purchased by Ahmed Zayat, and for the company that has sold yearlings here since 1917, the 2015 Triple Crown winner is the latest symbol of the quality equine that is on offer here each August.
Before the end of 2015, Fasig-Tipton Saratoga could boast four new champion alumni: American Pharoah, Tepin, Stellar Wind, and Songbird.
Over the next two nights, 219 young equines are expected to go through the auction ring, with the cream of the racing crop vying for the opportunity to take one—or more—of them home, for the privilege of paying the highest price to take a shot a dream.
The ubiquitous Tapit is represented by 13 yearlings. Last year’s leading freshman sire and producer of this year’s winner of the Kentucky Derby, Uncle Mo has four colts and seven fillies in this year’s sale. Three of his offspring sold here last year, for a total of $470,000.
The progeny of Frankel are off to a sizzling start in Europe, but the first U.S. starter, Brooklyn Bobby, didn’t impress when he ran sixth here on Saturday. Will that affect the interest in the two yearlings he’s got here? The colt, hip #148, is out of champion two-year-old filly She Be Wild, whose three previous foals, including a 2016 two-year-old, are unraced. The filly, hip #65, is out of multiple-graded stakes winner J’ray.
And hip #61 tries to follow in the footsteps of her famous big sister, who sold here two years ago for $400,000 and is undefeated in nine races, most recently in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga. While her half-sister by Ghostzapper parades on the sales grounds, across the street, Songbird trains for the Alabama G1) on August 20.
Though long known for the quality of the horses sold here, the Saratoga yearling sale has in recent years become a hyperbolic concentration of the summer racing scene. The bar by the walking ring is unmanageably crowded, populated by locals and visitors, sporting attire that in recent years has tended towards the sort featured in racetrack marketing shots. Some are interested in pedigrees and prices; many seldom cast an eye at the blue-blooded horses walking within feet of them or at the closed-circuit televisions broadcasting the action from inside the sales pavilion.
The sale is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm (though it usually starts a little later than that) and can be streamed on fasigtipton.com, with hips 1-126 scheduled for tonight. The sale concludes on Tuesday night.
Photo of Songbird's half-sister courtesy of Teresa Genaro