Any reasonable person would acknowledge that it’s far too early in the game to be declaring winners and losers in a first-crop stallion race among those with first weanlings this year.
There have been exactly two days of selling at the major Kentucky fall mixed sales, prefaced by a few smaller sales around the country – hardly enough to provide an accurate projection of long-term commercial or on-track success for this year’s class of young stallions.
However, the context behind those two days of selling in Kentucky make it worth noting who performed well.
The Fasig-Tipton November sale and Book 1 of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale are the pinnacle of North America’s mixed auction calendar. The quantity of foals cataloged in each session says a lot about a first-year stallion’s perceived spot on the high-end pecking order, and the performance of their foals when the hammer falls is a major dress rehearsal for the elite yearling sales to come. How a new stallion performs in these boutique sessions won’t make or break a commercial legacy, but it’s good information to have.
By that standard, the first jump out of the gate went to Spendthrift Farm’s Omaha Beach, who was the leading first-crop weanling sire by average sale price, combining the Fasig-Tipton November sale on Tuesday and Book 1 of Keeneland November on Wednesday.
The Grade 1-winning son of War Front had five weanlings change hands through the ring over the two days for an average of $160,000.
Leading the way for Omaha Beach was a colt who sold Wednesday at Keeneland to Freya Stables for $300,000.
The dark bay or brown colt, offered as Hip 176, is out of the unraced Bellamy Road mare Achalaya, whose three foals of racing age are all winners, including Grade 1 winner Casa Creed and Grade 3 winner Chess’s Dream. Gainesway consigned the colt, as agent.
Omaha Beach sent the most expensive first-crop weanling through the Fasig-Tipton ring on Tuesday, when Hip 46, a filly out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Glory Gold, sold to Sewanne Investments for $220,000.
The New York-bred filly is a sister to stakes winners Espresso Shot and Venti Valentine, and she was consigned by Ballysax Bloodstock, agent.
Spendthrift Farm general manager Ned Toffey said he knew expectations were high for Omaha Beach’s first foals. When an incoming stallion enters the marketplace with a $45,000 stud fee, a strong commercial reception is supposed to be a feature, not a pleasant surprise. Toffey said he was satisfied with how the Omaha Beach weanlings met their first challenge.
“They’re just classy, elegant looking foals, very much like him,” Toffey said. “They’re really good mentally. The stallion is wonderful mentally, and that’s something that we’re hearing from breeders is how good-minded these foals are.”
A fellow Spendthrift Farm resident wasn’t far behind Omaha Beach among the early leaders in the first-crop race.
Champion Vino Rosso had five weanlings bring an average of $135,000, led by the most expensive first-crop weanling of Keeneland November’s first book.
That was Hip 112, a dark bay or brown colt out of the unraced Tiznow mare Fair Huntress who sold to Bolter Bloodstock for $340,000.
The colt hails from the family of Grade 1 winner Competitionofideas and Grade 3 winner Devil by Design.
He was consigned by Glennwood Farm, which also bred Vino Rosso and consigned the Breeders’ Cup Classic-winning son of Curlin as a yearling.
Vino Rosso’s second-leading weanling came at the Fasig-Tipton November sale, when BW Stables went to $150,000 for Hip 114, a colt out of the Bodemeister mare Storm Raven. Ballysax Bloodstock consigned him, as agent.
“He’s just been incredibly consistent,” Toffey said about Vino Rosso. “We get one breeder after another giving us this great feedback on how much they like their foal; things like ‘best foal this mare’s ever thrown,’ ‘best foal on the farm.’ The rest of the market’s starting to see that as well. They’re very athletic, very well-balanced, everything you want to see.”
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