I'm a little late here, but I've been on vacation. So I'm not going to go hip by hip, since that's been done ad nauseum here, here, here, and here. Plus you can peruse the full results here at Fasig's site and see the summary here at Bloodhorse. What I want to talk about is how the sale felt in person as I stood in the back ring, how yearlings looked during the preview day when I saw them walk, and which new sires look like their progeny have some serious potential.
One of the most important things to look for in a yearling is a "Big Walk". That means everything moves straight forward, no wasted motion, with an athletic/fluid movement. I looked at about 55 yearlings and I saw exactly 3 with big walks. That's disappointing from a sale that perennially has some of the best talent in the year's crop. The three were a Scat Daddy, a Summer Bird, and a (suprise, surprise) a Tapit. But honestly, a significant factor in me only seeing three big walks was probably the heat. Sunday, the preview day, was brutally hot, and every yearling had been shown dozens of times, so I'll give a pass to most of them.
A great thing about the FT sales is that there are basically zero duds. While the Keeneland September Sale boasts some incredibly beautiful specimens, there are colts and fillies with mechanical flaws that are pretty glaring. These ones rarely sell for more than a few thousand dollars (although you always have the ones like Emma's Encore that sell for a few thousand dollars and then go on to be a GSW.) But at FT, you don't see these since every entry is pre-screened to be accepted into the sale. It makes looking at the yearlings both easier and more complicated, if that makes sense. It is easier in terms of being able to immediately look for more minutiae in the conformation and stride, but tougher to sort through all of the yearlings, since discarding the colts and fillies based on glaring deficiencies just doesn't happen. Unfortunately, it also pushes every single one out of my price range since the first bid must be no less than $10,000.
There are a few sires I do want to talk about though:
- Scat Daddy ($30,000 LFSN; Ashford Stud/Coolmore): Every single one of his foals just looks like a runner. We've had more than a few on the farm, I try to look at most in the sales (when I can get there) and he gets a pretty uniform foal. That's pretty impressive.
- Eskendereya ($17,500 LFSN; Taylor Made): Only one in the sale, but a nice body on the filly. Good start for the first crop of this new sire. I'm excited about him in general.
- Big Brown ($35,000 LFSN; Three Chimneys): Only one to talk about here. The biggest boned, biggest bodied, just plain biggest yearling I've seen in a long time was Big Brown's only yearling in the sale. Ridiculously big. No way he stays sound, but my goodness was he big.
- First Defence ($7,500 LFSN; Juddmonte): Again, only one in the sale, but I really liked this filly. Long bodied, like her daddy, but athletic looking in general. I like his foals, for the most part, and this filly did nothing but reinforce my impression.
- Kitten's Joy ($50,000 LFSN; Ramsey Farm): Really Ramseys? Two in the sale, two go for 6 figures, BOTH RNA? C'mon.
- Majesticperfection ($8,500 LFSN; Airdrie): 7 in the sale and they all looke like short backed speed balls that could run 6f right now. Really fit the archetype of a sprinter.
- Majestic Warrior ($12,500 LFSN; Ashford Stud/Coolmore): 4 in the sale here.But all were big, rangy, athletic looking yearlings. No reason why he can't be a really solid sire. And with Princess of Sylmar with 2 G1 wins to her name thus far this year he's pretty hot right now. Only one sold, the other three RNA'd, but all four looked pretty good.
- Midnight Lute ($20,000 LFSN;Hill 'N Dale): Gorgeous. All three were fantastic looking. Previewed one, saw the other two in the ring and all were great.
- Tapit (Gazillion Yen; Gainesway): WOW. Nothing else here. Just wish I had $125k lying around. Anyone have that for me? Anyone? Please?
- Desert Party ($7,500 LFSN; Sequel Stallions NY): I have to admit, I looked at zero since he stands in NY now, but my oh my, the ones I saw in the ring looked very nice.
Overall, it really felt like the sale was strong. The numbers support that: The high was up 23%, the average was up 10%, and the median was up 20%. While the total cataloged (catalouged? catalogued?) was down by 60 colts and fillies, it was definitely a positive movement in the market from last year. But I always have one question about this sale? How in heck do you get yearlings to look like that so quickly? I got it that you have the complete freaks that grow that fast and still grow perfectly. But where do the rest come from? I need to know the secret! (Joking).
I'm looking forward to the rest of the sales season. And I'm pretty sure everyone else is too, which is a great change from a couple years ago.