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Friday, October 18, 2013

A Look At The Lexington Selected Sale (part 1)


The Lexington Selected sale, held in conjunction with the recent Grand Circuit meet at the Red Mile, has been deemed a success since overall averages were up over last year. I thought I’d look at the performance of some of the sires represented at the sale. Any references I make to this year or last apply only to this particular sale. For a variety of reasons some stallions fare better than others at Lexington and not as well at Harrisburg and vice versa.

The A group coming out of this sale consists of Cantab Hall and Credit Winner on the trotting side and SBSW and first timer Rocknroll Heaven on the pacing side. Two of them stand at Blue Chip in NY and the other two at Hanover.

Many consider 12-year-old Cantab Hall to be the most productive trotting stallion in NA. Father Patrick is a superstar and he’s backed up by the likes of Uncle Peter, Pastor Stephen, My MVP, Tamla Celeber, Lifetime Pursuit and Coffeecake Hanover. Jimmy Takter bought 4 of the 21 Cantab Halls up for auction, including 450K sale topper, Custom Fit, a full brother to Father Patrick and Pastor Stephen. He also took home two by Cantab’s son Explosive Matter. Tony Alagna bought a Cantab Hall colt for 170K as well as a filly. Swedish agent Robert Lindstrom purchased a 77K Cantab colt and Lars Palm, agent for Stefan Melander, signed for colts by Cantab and his son Explosive Matter. And another Swede, Bjorn Noren, the agent for Courant AB, purchased the 175K Cantab colt, Holy Ground. Jeff Gillis took a Cantab filly back to Canada.

Explosive Matter, Cantab Hall’s first son to enter the stallion ranks in a meaningful way, had his first crop race this year, and the fact that his average was up almost 22% over last year is indicative of the fact that his freshman class held their own. None of the nine available in Lexington sold for more than 100K, with the top being a 77K colt, but none went for 15K or less either. Struck By Lindy, Vanity Matters, Outburst and Amped Up Hanover are a few of the better ones.

Credit Winner is the other trotting stallion who was an unmitigated success at the Lexington sale. His close to 88K average, without the benefit of a wildly expensive outlier, topped all, including SBSW. Last year only four Credit Winners were sold at Lexington, while this year 19 were up for auction. Seven of them brought more than 100K and 15, or 79%, sold for more than 50K. Credit Winner’s progeny do equally well on the Grand Circuit and in the NYSS. Credit Fashion, EL Rocket and To Dream On are a few of the better ones. 25 more will be available in Harrisburg.

Agent Robert Lindstrom bought the top priced Credit Winner colt, Madrid, for 260K, as well as another colt for 165K. And Lars Palm purchased a full brother to Shaq Is Back for 120K. Jeff Gillis took home a son of Margarita Momma for 180K and Ray Schnittker bought a half brother to Money On My Mind for 100K. Andy Miller bought a filly for 50K and Paul Fontaine, of Team Royalty For Life, paid 65K for a Credit Winner filly. Paul Kelley bought a colt for 100K and a filly for 60.

The average this year was about the same for SBSW but ten fewer were sold. Six of them brought more than 100K and 11, or 73%, sold for more than 50K. All of them sold for 25K and up. Meadow Skipper produced MHF from his first crop and followed him up with Albatross in the second. And although there are plenty of good SBSW freshmen out there, The Captain stands alone; there doesn’t appear to be a freshman following in his footsteps. So Surreal, Somestarsomewhere, Melberby Beach, Gallie Bythebeach and Beach Body are all promising colts and fillies, though. Casie Coleman bought a SBW filly, but Takter, Alagna and Burke passed on them.

Takter, Burke, Alagna, the Cancellieres, Dustin Jones and William Donovan did not pass on Rocknroll Heaven, in fact some bought more than one. Whether it was his absolute domination of a weak bunch, the premature demise of his very productive sire, or the pot of gold available in the NYSS, 28 Heavens averaged a robust 69K. And there were 10 colts and 18 fillies, something that probably didn’t help his average. Eight, or 28.5 %, sold for at least 100K and 18 of the 28 brought 50K or more. Only two sold for less than 25K. 37 more sell at Harrisburg.

Lucky Chucky sold 28 yearlings, 10 colts and 18 fillies. His 53K average is third only to Credit Winner and Cantab Hall, but the Cancelliere brothers, who like to own the sale topping trotter—see Detour Hanover—skewed the average with their successful bid of 450K for the Chucky  half brother to Muscle Massive and Muscle Mass. He was the only one of the 28 to top the 100K level. Eight, or 28%, sold for 50K or more. 28% did not bring at least 25K and four failed to top the 15K mark. Those last figures certainly temper the high average the Cancellieres bestowed on Chucky. Chuck Sylvester, who trained Lucky Chucky, bought a couple at modest prices. Jonas Czernyson purchased a pair of fillies. Ron Burke bought a colt for 65K. Lars Palm got a filly. William Donovan bought the second highest priced colt for 95K. And Paul Fontaine and Alfred Ross of Team RFL bought a colt for 50K. 32 more Chuckys are on the docket at Harrisburg.

Muscle Hill’s average was down by half at the Lexington Selected Sale. 28 sold for an average of more than 102K last year while 33 went for an average of less than 50K this time around. Only four, or 12.5%, brought more than 100K, and it is noteworthy that 28% did not bring at least 25K. In addition, three sold for a single digit figure. Twice as many brought 100K plus last year at Lexington.

There are two Muscle Hill colts in the BC final—Southwind Spirit and Muscle Network. Neither is given much of a chance against Father Patrick. And there are no Muscle Hill fillies in that BC final. Chivaree Hanover and Odds On Amethyst are other good ones, but considering what folks paid for them this time last year he hasn’t met expectations. They’re obviously marketing him as a GC stallion but the fact that his get have been less than wonderful in that sphere in tandem with his location in the domain of the woefully underfunded NJSS program has led to lower prices. There will be 23 Muscle Hill’s for sale at Harrisburg.

Takter passed on the Muscle Hills in Lexington. He has a big unwieldy Muscle Hill colt named Trixton in his barn. Maybe the frustration involved with taming him scared him off. Jonas Czernyson bought a Muscle Hill filly, and Ron Burke shelled out 150K for Mission Brief, another Muscle Hill filly. Jeff Gural bought two trotters, both NJ breds, and one was a Muscle Hill filly. Agent Robert Lindstrom paid 260K for a filly out of Caught My Eye as soon as the sale started—hip #2. Bob Burgess bought a filly and agent Bjorn Noren paid 100K for a colt.

Art Major showed a 16% gain in his average this year, coming in at an excellent 56K for 28 sold. Precocious Beauty has been a genuine star, winning 7 of 10, including the Eternal Camnation, Great Lady and Champlain. She’s Da Bomb is another star from that division. And Fool Me Once has dominated the sophomore colt division. Seven Art Majors sold for more than 100K and 13 brought 50K or more. 64% of his colts sold for more than 100K. He doesn’t make the top group because 32% did not crack the 25K mark.

American Ideal, another Blue Chip stallion, had less than half as many as Art Major for sale, and they averaged 47K. Thirteen sold for 30% more this year than 14 averaged last year. 23% sold for 100K or more and 37% sold for more than 50K. They seem to only sell between 10 and 14 at Lexington; 27 will be available at Harrisburg. Sunfire Blue Chip won the Adios and a split of the Tattersalls while Ali Blue and Scandalicious have both been good. His success with Sunfire Blue Chip and Ali Blue notwithstanding, Takter passed on the baker’s dozen on display, but Alagna bought a filly.

Donato Hanover saw his average drop last year but he held steady at this sale. Two of the 14 colts and 16 fillies brought more than 100K while 30% sold for at least 50K. 77% sold for 25K or more. Your So Vain, who is not racing in the BC, is the first standout colt by Donato in NA since Possess The Will from his first crop. It’s all fillies. Check me Out is his best, but this year it’s Designed To Be, Demanding Sam, Mistery Woman, Shake It Cerry, Royal Assets and Thistle Dhu. Don Durado and Possessed Fashion are a pair of geldings who are helping right the curious gender imbalance. Those two go in the two and three-year-old BC finals. Takter purchased a pair of Donato fillies and Alfred Ross of Team RFL also bought two. Czernyson, Tony Alagna, Palm and Noren each bought one.

Marginal stallions bounce around on a regular basis, but it’s unusual for a top shelf sire like Bettor’s Delight to be forced to reboot from year to year. He was sent to Ontario to make room for his little brother, Roll With Joe, at Blue Chip, and then relocated to Pennsylvania when the bottom fell out in Ontario. This year’s crop is the last one eligible to the NYSS and they sold well at Lexington. And through it all he stepped his average up 13% this year. Nineteen colts and 9 fillies were sold at Lexington. Only one sold for more than 100K, but 10—9 colts and 1 filly—brought 50K or more. Shebestingin, Uffizi Hanover, Sometimes Said, Southwind Silence, Thirty Two Red and Bettor Business are a few of the better ones. And don’t forget Vegas Vacation. Jimmy Takter paid 75K for a Bettor’s Delight colt out of Armbro Amoretto. Casie Coleman, who trains Vegas, spent 112K on a pair of Bettor’s Delight colts and Chris Oakes bought one for 77.

Western Terror is in need of some birth control; there were 38 of them for sale at Lexington—23 colts and 15 fillies. Only one sold for more than 100K and four, or 10%, went for more than 50K. The important point is that 29, or 76%, did not sell for 25K or more. That’s brutal. Only two colts and three fillies by Western Terror will sell at Harrisburg. Maybe they shipped them all to Kentucky so they wouldn’t act as an anchor on their average. Matte Terror Girl, a marginal 3YOF, Economy Terror, a 2013 train wreck, and Drop The Ball are the three Western Terror’s racing in the BC finals. Jimmy Takter bought a sister to Krispy Apple and Casie Coleman bought a filly out of a sister to Something For Doc.

Sportswriter is introducing his first crop at Lexington. Nineteen brought an average of 29K. None sold for 100K while four brought at least 50K. 58% did not sell for 25K or more. Seven sold for 15K or less. Casie Coleman supported her old trainee; she bought a colt and a filly for 62K each.  His Artsplace lineage is a plus in a world of Western Hanover and SBSW bloodlines. On the other hand, he only won once at three. It was a big one—the NA Cup—but retiring early has placed an extra burden on Sportswriter and his fellow Ontario stallion, Big Jim, as well.

Speaking of Canada, it was just announced that MOMM is being relocated to Ohio, which is being overrun by stallions desperate for a home. This lame duck phenomenon created by carpet bagging stallions that sought gold in them there Canadian hills but broke camp and headed for the border as soon as the subsidies dried up will wash over Ontario during the next several years. Bettor’s Delight, Dewey, Tell All, No Pan Intended and MOMM are a few examples.

That raises the question of what will happen with the Tara Hills stallion, Kadabra, who is the most expensive sire in Ontario at 15K. I know a strong statement of loyalty to the Ontario market was recently issued on Kadabra’s behalf, but how many arrows can these folks take. His sale results were a big disappointment last year and the small group of ten sold at Lexington represent more of the same. Last year at this sale seven were sold for a 42K average while this year it’s ten for a 31K average. The offering was topped by a 110K colt but five of the ten brought 15K or less. That’s awful. Eight fillies and 14 colts by Kadabra will sell at Harrisburg, but there’s no reason to believe they will reverse the trend. Bee is a great filly but Miss Autsville and Flanagan Memory are not turning on the buyers. If they leave him in Canada I don’t see how they can avoid giving his stud fee a 33% haircut.  A ride in a truck that’s headed south would probably be the most sensible course of action. [What happens when there’s no elbow room left for stallions in PA, NY and Ohio?] Robert Lindstrom bought a Kadabra colt and Stefan Melander also bought a colt.

Andover Hall, who is well represented by the likes of Spider Blue Chip, Creatine, Nuncio, Handover Belle and Auspicious Hanover, had a strong sale. Thirty sold for a 43K average. Only one sold for more than 100K but 40% of them went for more than 50K and only two fell under the 15K threshold. He was very solid up the middle. Thirty more will be available at Harrisburg. Two years ago his son, Detour Hanover, brought what proved to be an insane 825K at Harrisburg. Last year the pendulum swung the other way and his top at Lexington was 70K and only 75K at Harrisburg. At this sale a colt out of Bar Slide brought 150K. Charles Sylvester purchased a colt for 50 and Team RFL got a filly.

Yankee Glide was just as popular this year as he was last year at Lexington. Jimmy Takter bought four of them; Jonas Czernyson bought a filly out of a sister to Vivid Photo for 65; Robert Lindstrom picked up a filly for 95; Lars Palm bought a couple of colts; Andy Miller picked up a brother to The Chancellor and Beer Summit for 92 as well as a filly; Bjorn Noren got a filly for 47; everybody had to have at least one. Like Andover Hall, Yankee Glide was strong up the middle; his top was 105K. The 19-year-old son of Valley Victory has given us the aforementioned, MOMM, as well as  Glidemaster, Holiday Road, Ken Warkentin, Guccio, All Laid Out, Aperfectyankee, D’Orsay, Appomattox and Personal Style.

Dewey, Dewey, Dewey. What’s the problem? Is that peripatetic lifestyle getting to you? Kentucky, Ontario, now New York. When do you get to settle down? None of the 26 sold brought more than 100K and only four sold for at least 50K. Only 35% sold for 25K or more. Not good. Ma Chere Hall is a nice filly and Master Of Law is very fast, trotting and running. Deweycolorintheline won a clown show of a Yonkers Trot and a leg of the KYSS. Walnut Hall is having a dispersal. Not sure what the end game is for Dewey. As I recall, the Canadian Yearling Sale had hardly any and only four are for sale at Forest City.

[To be continued]

JF