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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Part 4 Of A Look Back At The Harrisburg Sale (The Rest Of The Trotting Stallions)

Here are the rest of the trotting stallions…..It is one thing to be a dual threat stallion—sire stakes and Grand Circuit—from New York or Pennsylvania, but even before the Ontario program landed on shaky ground it was no easy trick. Kadabra stood for 10,000 (U.S.) through 2011, then stepped up to 15K in 2012, just in time for the chaos. Last year the powers that be in Ontario announced right in the middle of the Harrisburg sale that the sire stakes program would continue for at least another year. Talk about too little too late. Kadabra was down 52% at that sale; 30 of them went for an average of 30,000. Those figures are a little bit misleading since only ten sold in 2011 for a 64K average. However, only 13% of those sold in 2012 brought 50,000 or more—a terrible number for a 15,000 stallion. Bee A Magician had a very good freshman campaign and Prestidigitator and Knows Nothing were factors in the sophomore class in and out of Ontario, but the buyers were spooked.

This year at Harrisburg 20 Kadabra’s sold for an average of 43,000. Two of the 20 brought 100K or more—a little light—while a quarter of them sold for at least 50,000. Larry Hartman, one of the owners of Bee, gave 160K for a sister to Moonlight In Miami while David McDuffie paid 140K for a filly out of the Muscles mare, One Tough Lass. Greg McNair bought the top priced colt for 67,000—very light. Kadabra, who turns 15 in a month or so, is the last top line link to Stars Pride in NA, and he has produced nothing remotely resembling an extender. This inability to produce top shelf sons is a condition that also plagues several other high profile stallions.  With the exit of Muscle Mass, Kadabra will surely dominate the OSS, but at what cost. Seven colts and six fillies by Kadabra sell at Forest City over the weekend.

Muscle Hill had a very good sale, coming second to Credit Winner in overall average—67.5K for 23 sold. Last year his initial offering at Harrisburg averaged 56,000 for 25 sold. He did have more sell at the low end: last year only two—both colts—went for 15K or less while this year five, or 22%, fell to that level. Also, 48% sold for 50,000 plus this year while 60% did last time around. The fact that more than twice as many colts sold as fillies this year gave him a boost. Jimmy Takter paid 300,000 for a brother to Glidemaster; Synerge Montreal gave 185K for a colt out of Poster Pin Up; and Mark Harder paid 160K for another colt. The fillies only averaged 32,000. Muscle Hill wasn’t exactly SBSW out of the gate but a number of them showed promise: Southwind Spirit, Odds On Amethyst, Chivaree Hanover, EL Titan and Muscle Network, to name a few. A syndicate member stated prior to the sale that they would evaluate the results before deciding whether to relocate. This isn’t the late ‘60s when a Meadow Skipper could stand in Kentucky as a Grand Circuit stallion. And with Chris Christie’s head so far up Steve Sweeney’s butt that he’ll never get it out, there doesn’t appear to be any chance of gaining meaningful relief on the sire stakes front in New Jersey. As far as I know Muscle Hill and If I Can Dream are the only two stallions left in the state. Time to leave. There are two choices--New York or Pennsylvania.

There were more Explosive Matter yearlings sold at Harrisburg than there were from any other trotting sire, with the possible exception of Muscle Massive—42. Explosive Matter stood at Hanover through 2012 for 7,500. He was dropped to 6,000 last year when his first crop sold. Today they bumped him back up to 7,500 for some reason. None of the 42 cracked the 100,000 barrier and only five, or 12%, sold for 50,000 or more. 33%--14—brought 15K or less. Maybe Hanover is trying to serve the Stallion Series or the Fair Stakes with Explosive Matter, Crazed and Muscle Massive? More than 80% of the Explosive Matter yearlings fetched 30,000 or less. It’s hard to see how that model works. If the top end is active some can sell cheap, but you can’t sell almost all of them cheap. Struck By Lindy, who won a leg of the Bluegrass, finished second in the BC and is an outsider in Sunday’s Matron, is one of the better ones. Outburst, Amped Up Hanover, Vanity Matters and Nitro Nittany are a few more.

Check Me Out faded this year and has been retired, but she was a great filly. And it looks like Donato has come up with another in the form of Shake It Cerry. Designed To Be, Royal Assets and Mystery Woman are a few others. But Your So Vain, who won splits of the Bluegrass, ISS and Simcoe, is the best he’s done on the male side of the ledger. Possess The Will from his first crop didn’t go on. Still, ten Donato colts sold for better than 50,000, so I guess folks still have faith in him. Last year the colts averaged twice what the fillies did, although his overall average was down 11%. His average jumped by almost half this year. 37 sold for an average of 46,500. Three topped 100K and 16, or 43%, sold for 50,000 or more. A quarter of them brought 15K or less—that was the weak point. A filly out of Secret Credit sold for 175K and a colt out of Mayday Hanover brought 120,000. Donato’s fee was dropped 25% to 15K last year and they left it there for 2014.

Conway Hall stood for a steady 10,000 for several years before being dropped 25% to 7,500 for the 2013 season. His average at Harrisburg was up 11% last year with 21% bringing at least 50,000 and the same percentage going for 15K or less. His average jumped 15% to 40K this year. The same 21% topped 50K at this sale. Jeff Gural paid 120,000 for a sister to Possessed Fashion. Conway Hall didn’t have one of his better years with young horses in 2013: Flyhawk El Durado was a  good freshman. He is the sire of Windsong’s Legacy, Wishing Stone, Broadway Hall, Win Missy B and Pizza Dolce.

Muscle Massive is still one more stallion who has had his stud fee slashed before his first crop raced. Hanover cut him from 7,500 to 6,000 today. His Harrisburg results were pretty ordinary with 40 selling for an average of 30,000. Only one topped 100K and 14% sold for 50K or more. Almost 40% fell below the 15,000 threshold. His less heralded brother, Muscle Mass, has been very good in the Ontario SS and was recently relocated to New York. I guess Crazed and Muscle Massive are being positioned as Hanover’s economy trotting stallions, with Explosive matter a step above that. Time and the racetrack will tell the tale on Muscle Massive.

Yankee Glide, who gave us Glidemaster and Passionate Glide a decade ago, stood for 20,000 in Pennsylvania in 2011. Last year he was down to 15K. His son, Shift Into Glide, topped the trotting portion of last year’s Harrisburg sale at 250,000. And another colt, Hot Air Balloon, sold for 130,000. This year the offering was small—15—and it topped out with a colt and a filly for 75K each. Five, or 33%, broke 50,000. His average was about the same as last year when 25 sold. Guccio, Aperfectyankee and Personal Style have all fallen short of expectations this year. Yankee Glide turns twenty in a month or so.



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