Runhappy owner secures Frankel colt at Saratoga

The bay colt by Frankel out of She Be Wild bought by James McIngvale

Runhappy owner secures Frankel colt at Saratoga
By Michele MacDonald 12:10PM 11 AUG 2016

JAMES McINGVALE'S voice trembles slightly as he tries to find words for what he has just done.

"I'm still in shock," says the owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas, and – more famously in racing circles – of 2015 American champion sprinter Runhappy.

After phoning in some bids during the second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearling Sale in Saratoga Springs, New York on Tuesday, McIngvale is now also the owner of a promising bay colt by Frankel out of champion She Be Wild, by Offlee Wild.

"I don't know how you could get any better breeding than that. I thought he'd go for $1 million, so I thought I'd bid for a while and see what happened, and the next thing I know they said ‘You bought him'.

I said, ‘What the hell!'" McIngvale recalls, laughing, moments after the bidding stopped on his offer of $500,000.

"I'm just trying to figure out how to tell my wife the good news," he adds.

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The Frankel colt was the only one by Juddmonte's hot first-season sire to sell at the boutique Saratoga auction. A filly by Frankel out of multiple Graded winner and course record setter J'ray, by Distant View, was offered in the opening sale session but was listed as not sold at $485,000.

Of three yearlings catalogued for the sale by Galileo, one colt was withdrawn, another colt was listed as not sold at $725,000 and a filly out of a sister to Grade 2 winner Chinese Dragon was reported as sold privately for $175,000 after not meeting her reserve price in the ring.

McIngvale flew into Saratoga to attend a meeting on Monday and inspected the Frankel colt, a compact bay who has inherited much of the speedy frame of his dam who won the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and reigned as the best of her age and gender that year. She has produced three foals of racing age, none of whom has raced, including a three-year-old Tapit filly named Propositioned who sold at Saratoga in 2014 for $1.15m to Alex Solis and Jason Litt.

"I was a big fan of Frankel and I liked Offlee Wild too, so it was a good combination," McIngvale says of the Frankel colt. "I was up there yesterday in Saratoga and we saw the horse and liked him.

"I never thought in a thousand years that I'd buy him, but here I am."

McIngvale said the colt, who was bred in Kentucky by She Be Wild's co-breeder Nancy Mazzoni and consigned to the sale by Bluewater Sales, would be sent to his sister-in-law and racing manager, Laura Wohlers, and broken and trained at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, where Runhappy is also stabled.

"He'll be living by Runhappy, so I hope he can learn from him," McIngvale says.

Meanwhile, Runhappy – who won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in December on his most recent start before incurring some minor setbacks including a bruised foot – resumed serious training about a week ago and will be campaigned next year as a five-year-old.

"He looks good. He's incredibly fit even though he hasn't raced since the Malibu. He's fresh and forward and moving on," McIngvale says, recalling that he paid $200,000 for the champion as a yearling.

"So, if [the Frankel colt] is two and a half times as good as Runhappy, I'll be really happy. We're thrilled to get him and I hope he'll turn out to be a good runner."

The closing session of the two-day Saratoga sale recorded two seven-figure prices, with Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm giving $1.45m for a Medaglia D'Oro half-sister to Grade 2 winner Overheard, and Stonestreet Stables and Coolmore's MV Magnier partnering on a $1.25m Tapit half-brother to Grade 2-placed Royal Obsession.

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