03/13/2008 11:00PM

B.C.3. Thoroughbreds to pinhook in Australia

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - John Brocklebank and Shane Chipman of B.C.3. Thoroughbreds barely got done selling their eight-horse consignment before they were off on a new project: a yearling-to-juvenile pinhooking venture in Australia.

The Utah-based partners are the first American yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers to be invited Down Under by the Magic Millions auction company.

"They've asked us to come down and pinhook to help them increase their 2-year-old sales," Brocklebank said. "Shane will stay here through the end of our [Northern Hemisphere] consignments, and I'll go buy the horses. Then Shane will go down and run B.C.3. Thoroughbreds in Australia. The sales down there stop about the same time our consignment comes in up here, so it's actually a perfect thing to do."

According to Magic Millions's North American representative, David Bernsen, the auction house will offer financing for B.C.3.'s purchases at their auctions, beginning at a March 24 yearling sale, and provide training facilities. B.C.3. will point its pinhooks to the Magic Millions breeze-up sale Oct. 27-31.

B.C.3. Thoroughbreds has been a leading consignor at California 2-year-old sales in recent years. At the March 12 Barretts select auction, they sold eight horses for $1,605,000 (an average of $200,625), good enough to make them the sale's second-leading consignor by gross, behind the Jerry Bailey Sales Agency's gross of $2,700,000 for six horses.

The Australian project will challenge B.C.3.'s usual way of business, but a growing staff will help smooth the transition.

"We're getting bigger, but basically it's just Shane and myself," Brocklebank said. "Neither one of us is very comfortable without one of us being there with the horses. But now we have some guys that stay with us year after year that are making all the difference in what we're trying to do."

Seattle Fritz colt sells for $600,000

The $600,000 sale of Hip No. 122 at Barretts select 2-year-old sale was a three-fold success for pinhooking partners Terry Finley and Lewis Lakin.

The pair paid just $22,000 for the Seattle Fitz colt at Fasig-Tipton's 2007 October yearling sale on the advice of agent Buzz Chace. Argentine-bred Seattle Fitz, whose first foals are 2-year-olds this year, was not the most fashionable of sires at the auction. But he was a selling point for Finley, whose public syndicate West Point Thoroughbreds campaigned Seattle Fitz with trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The stallion now stands for $6,500 at Buck Pond Farm, which, incidentally, sold the home-run Barretts colt as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton's October sale last year.

"I'm very happy for the stallion," Finley said after Mike Ryan, acting as agent for William Warren, bought the colt at Barretts. "Kiaran McLaughlin and I were talking the other day about how good it would be for a Seattle Fitz foal to come to the forefront. He really loved Seattle Fitz and thought he could have been a top horse."

Finley said the colt, a son of the Whiskey Wisdom mare Whiskey Babe, had been a favorite with David McKathan, who broke him.

The $600,000 sale certainly will boost Seattle Fitz's sale-ring average, and Finley hopes it will also provide credibility for the fledgling L&F Stable, Lakin and Finley's pinhooking partnership.

"We have to keep reaffirming to the market that we're sellers," Finley said. "I know when I see people who run and sell, I want to know their background, if they really are sellers or if they're just trying to cherry-pick. You've got to sell them and operate the selling as a separate entity."

Gibson County dies at 11

Ocala Stud Farm stallion Gibson County, sire of California stakes winner Genuine Talent and Woodbine track-record-setter Fast Trick, died March 12 of an apparent heart attack at the Ocala, Fla., farm. He was 11. Gibson County was a multiple stakes-winning son of In Excess and the Winrightt mare Miss Gibson County. He stood for $3,000 in 2008.

Koch promoted at Woodbine

Stephen Koch, son of Claiborne Farm manager Gus Koch, has been promoted to vice president of Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine racecourse in Ontario, Canada. Koch previously was director of Thoroughbred racing at the track, which hired him in 2003. He also has worked for Keeneland.