free spirit

Monday November 3, 2014

The day started off not as a typical fall day, but rather as a day in which Summer seemed unwilling to let go of a last opportunity.  The temperature was in the middle 50’s as I completed a sunrise jog around the Griffin Gate Hotel that was the home base for the team. Dr. Sinatra’s flight arrived that morning and the team gathered around noon. After a brief discussion of things, David & Steve made a trip to the Keeneland Sales Barn to check on both the mother and weanling filly that would be sold on Wednesday. Joe Sites and the crew at Brookdale Farm reported that many people had looked at the duo and provided the owners a list.

Two of the horses that would be sold that week were:

 Sage Cat in foal to Union Rags with her groom, pre-sale
Sage Cat in foal to Union Rags with her groom, pre-sale

HIP #394 Sage Cat 

The 16 year-old  mare is no doubt best known for being the Dam of Desert Party, a contender in the 2009 Kentucky Derby that Was won by Mine That Bird . (Desert Party had raced against his Dubai stablemate Regal Ransom that day, after successful stakes wins in Dubai for owner, Sheik Mohamed.

 Presale: Sage Cat-Bodemeister filly (photo by Julie Kent)
Presale: Sage Cat-Bodemeister filly (photo by Julie Kent)

HIP #395 Weanling Filly of Sage Cat

This is a filly that was sired by the notorious Bodemeister. The weanling horse has great confirmation and with the exception of being a little small due to being a May foal, there were no blemishes.

Monday afternoon the team gathered in the lobby around 4 PM and headed to the Fasig Tipton November Sale.  This sale was a mixed bag of horses, but had a very deep and talented catalog. There were several horses that had run the preceding weekend in the Breeder’s Cup races that were now being sold to new homes.

The Fasig Tipton grounds are just north of Interstate 64. When you pull through the gates you see a sign designating the grounds as being on the Historical Register. When I drove the 2 miles from the gate to the parking area, all I could think of was the quality of horses that sold after establishing careers in that famous sales ring.   

Once parked we entered the grounds, we strolled around looking at several horses that were a part of our past equine careers. David Smith had picked out Wine Princess for their former owners. We went by the Hill & Dale barn and looked at her. Wine Princess looked as if she could be saddled and win a graded race that evening. What has amazed me about the sales is the access that you get to past champions that we have witnessed on the racetrack. We inspected about 5 other horses that I remember seeing perform at the highest level as well as some very well conformed yearlings.  

After a brief walk around the grounds and rekindling some old acquaintances, we headed for the auction ring.  Another aspect that I really think is neat about the equine auction is how most of the people either have on the hat or jacket highlighting some particular horse or stallion. Unlike other sports, you can’t simply buy this merchandise, you obtain it as an award for being a part of the connections. This merchandise represents a connection a groom/owner/trainer always has with a horse no matter that it is sold to a new home. Home truly is where the heart is.

We settled into our seats at the northern side of the auction arena.   The seats allowed us a great view of the profile of the horses being auctioned and one could still see the definition of the muscles that make these equine athletes both beautiful and powerful. It was not long before horses that I recognized were being sold to new homes. Among these included:  Ria Antonia, Princess of Sylmar, My Miss Sophia, Leigh Court (I wondered how she got to Kentucky as I remember how she had to be vanned from Toronto to Los Angeles for the Breeder’s Cup race held 48 hours before),  and She’s a Tiger.  

The horse that caught my eye the most was Stephanie’s Kitten. I had followed her in great detail through her career. She entered the ring and looked like the champion that she was. The bidding began and the bids increased rapidly. She finally sold for $3,950,000. I sat in my seat and compared that to what kind of home I could get for that amount. Then I realized that no home has the ability to establish a legacy like a good mare. You could see production of 10 champions out of this brood mare.

The bidding continued at a very competitive pace and the sales results were up sharply from last year.  That bode well for the horse’s to be sold across town in the next few days as the auction venue moved from the prime time select show at Fasig Tipton to the deep 10 day Keeneland sale.

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