Over the past several years horse sales have, like everyone else, fought to regain ground lost to the economic downturn. However, the sales received an added kick in the gut two and a half years ago when the Ontario government announced an end to the slots at racetracks program in that province. Lack of clarity in regard to the future of the sport north of the border compelled many Canadian buyers to stay home. But this year, with long term stabilizing agreements in place and reason to believe that the industry will eventually be folded back into the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, optimistic buyers rolled south in caravans, each one toting a satchel of cash. The question is, what attracted these wild and whacky Canadians to the Lexington Selected Sale, and exactly what have they been buying?
Bettor’s Delight, who serves his one year residency in the OSS program in 2015, has been very popular with Canadian buyers. Sportswriter rolled over the two-year-old class this year and will no doubt do the same to the sophomores in 2015, however the mighty Bettor’s Delight is no pushover. Three years after leaving New York he still rules the roost in that state’s sire stakes program. This sets up as the clash of the Titans in 2015. It looks like 14 of the 22 sons and daughters of Bettor’s Delight that have sold through session four went to Canadian based buyers.
Casie Coleman, who tasted tremendous success with BD’s sons Betterthancheddar and Vegas Vacation, paid $85,000 for a half-brother to Southwind Silence. Jeff Gillis bought a colt out of Marietta Hall for $65,000; Mallar Farms paid $60,000 for a colt out of KG Delight; Keith Clark, Synerco Ventures and Jack Darling also purchased the offspring of that stallion.
Kadabra has not been popular with Lexington buyers, with the exception of his syndicate members, in recent years. Two years ago seven averaged $42,000 while last year 10 averaged $31,000. The $400,000 Hartman, McDuffee and Katz paid for the Pizza Dolce filly skews the average somewhat but at this point 19 of them are averaging an impressive $68,000. BAM didn’t seem to make a big difference last year, but the stabilization of the program in tandem with the dearth of quality trotting stallions in Ontario has apparently given buyers a renewed love for the 15-year-old son of Primrose Lane.
Fifteen of the 19 Kadabras sold through day four have gone to Canadian based buyers. Surprise! Surprise! They’re all gone. Putting the $400,000 baby aside, Victor Hayter paid $150,000 for a brother to The Game Plan; Bob McIntosh and friends gave $90,000 for the first foal of Windsong Soprano; Rick Zeron bought a filly out of Miss Wisconsin for $75,000. There were also plenty of bargains by Kadabra: Susanne Kerwood got a colt for $10,000; Rocco Auciello a colt for the same; and Per Henriksen purchased a filly for $13,000.
There were only a dozen Sportswriters for sale, but they were popular, averaging $59,000. Last year 19 averaged $29,000 at this sale, with none of them topping the $100,000 mark. Last year Casie Coleman purchased nine by her former charge—not all at this sale. She bought a colt and a filly for $62,000 each at Lexington. This year she bought a colt from JK Sure I Can for $50,000 and a filly for $45,000. Yankee Tony Alagna swooped in and took the prize from this group, a half-brother to Warrawee Needy for $170,000. And, to add insult to injury, he also grabbed another colt for $47,000.
Jack Darling paid $100,000 for a Sportswriter colt; Mark Steacy gave $110,000 for a half-sister to Dancin Yankee; Larry Todd bought a colt out of A And Gs Princess for $47,000; Carl Jamieson got a ridgling for $55,000. Blake MacIntosh, who never lost sight of the bargain bin, bought a colt for $7,000. And Steve Calhoun got a filly for $12,000.
There are 31 by SBSW being offered at the sale but just five fillies and one colt have gone to Canadian based buyers. Mark Steacy purchased a filly for $100,000 and Coleman bought a filly for $45,000 and another for $52,000.
Manofmanymissions, the mercurial son of Yankee Glide who won the BC at two and the KY Futurity and Dancer at three, sold 13 for a $40,000 average. He was relocated to Ohio in 2014, but this crop is Ontario eligible. Canadian based buyers took six colts and a filly thus far. Several will sell tonight. The average got a big boost from Victor Hayter’s purchase of a brother to D’Orsay for $120,000.
There are only two by Majestic Son for sale. The colt sells tonight, but Mark Steacy paid $77,000 for the filly, a half-sister to Oaks winner Lifetime Pursuit. That’s the third highest price ever paid for a yearling by that sire. Steacy also bought the top two, a colt for $110,000 in 2010 and another colt for the same amount the following year.
Eight by Shadow Play averaged about $40,000. Jack Darling paid the top price ever—not very long in this case—for a Shadow Play filly. He gave $92,000 for a sister to Gallant Yankee.
There’s lots more to say about what our wild and whacky friends up above did at the Lexington Selected Sale, but I have to run. Maybe I’ll continue this later.