Medaglia filly on top as Saratoga sees declines

Two seven-figure yearlings went through the ring at the Saratoga sale

Medaglia filly on top as Saratoga sees declines By RON MITCHELL OF BLOOD-HORSE 12:22PM 10 AUG 2016

THE opportunity to buy a well-bred filly from the stock of Josephine Abercrombie proved irresistible to Mandy Pope, who bought a Medaglia D'Oro filly from the prominent breeder for $1.45 million to top the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale on Tuesday.

The filly and continued demand for yearlings by leading sire Tapit highlighted the second and final session of the auction in Saratoga Springs, New York, which saw a decline in key statistical categories.

Consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff's Denali Stud, the filly bred by Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stud is out of the stakes-winning Thunder Gulch mare Whisper To Me, the dam of Grade 2 winner Overheard.

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In addition to the powerful female family, the filly is by Darley stallion Medaglia D'Oro, whose offspring continue to excel at the highest level. Included among his top fillies are Rachel Alexandria, who is being inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame this year, and undefeated champion Songbird.

The filly's family is steeped with tradition, tracing back to champions Chris Evert, Chief's Crown, and Winning Colors, among others.

Pope said the filly was the standout horse in the sale.

"[She] stands over a lot of ground, has good conformation, and as often as she was shown, she always had a forward walk, she always had her ears up, you could always go up and pet her, she never pinned her ears," she said. "She always had so much class – an unbelievable amount of class."

The filly was one of two seven-figure horses at this year's two-day sale, held in the unique setting that combines racing at nearby Saratoga racecourse, the sale, and Fasig-Tipton's hospitality.

Last year, three yearlings were sold for more than $1 million, topped by Rothenburg, a son of Tapit purchased by El Capi Racing.

Declines across the board

For the two days, Fasig-Tipton reported 156 horses sold for $45,570,000 compared with gross receipts of $46,755,000 for 145 who changed hands last year.

This year's average price of $292,115 was down nine per cent from $322,448 in 2015 and the median declined five per cent from $250,000 to $237,500. The 47 horses not sold represented a 23 per cent buyback rate, compared with 15 per cent in 2015.

"I think the reality is that the marketplace is in close proximity to last year," said Fasig-Tipton president and CEO Boyd Browning Jr.

"I think there is a little less competition at the top of the market and you continue to see the trend toward a merging and developing partnerships among the top buyers, which don't result in as spirited bidding competition we want to experience in expensive colts."

Browning said part of the interest in the sale-topper was the ability for Pope to obtain a quality individual from the Pin Oak stock.

"She was a beautiful, beautiful individual, but the reality is it's a family people have not had access to," Browning said. "It's unusual to see a filly with that depth of pedigree and physical offered at public auction. That's why you such spirited competition."

Tapit stock in strong demand

Not surprisingly, yearlings by Gainesway's leading sire Tapit were in demand at Saratoga, with the night's second-highest price of $1.25 million paid for a full brother to Graded-placed Royal Obsession.

The colt, bred in Kentucky by Marbat, is out of the winning Tiznow mare Rote and has a female family loaded with stakes winners, including Grade 1 winner Magnificent Song under the second dam.

"He's a beautiful Tapit; as far as Tapits go, he's one of the best ones I've ever seen," said Stonestreet bloodstock adviser John Moynihan, who signed the ticket. "We hope to have a lot of luck with him. He's probably one of the two best horses in the sale.

"He's completely different from Royal Obsession. She is big and lanky; this horse has a look of more muscle. He's a little more tighter, he looks like he'll be early. I actually prefer him physically to her."

For more news on US racing, sales and bloodstock news visit bloodhorse.com

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