10/17/2014 1:41PM

Fasig-Tipton October: Rare white Thoroughbred to be offered

Courtesy of Patchen Wilkes Farm
Painted Patchen, a rare white Thoroughbred, will be offered at the upcoming Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale.

When one takes a horse to auction, the hope is usually that he or she will stand out from the crowd.

Painted Patchen will have no trouble doing just that.

The Thunder Gulch colt will be 12th registered white Thoroughbred offered at a North American public auction since 1999 when he goes through the ring on Wednesday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale.

Warrendale Sales will consign the colt as agent for breeder Patchen Wilkes Farm of Lexington, Ky., an operation known for producing horses that qualify to be registered as “white” by The Jockey Club.

Patchen Wilkes Farm was instrumental in moving The Jockey Club toward accepting horses into their registry as “white,” with the first being White Beauty in 1963. White Beauty became a foundation mare for Patchen Wilkes, and is the fifth dam of Painted Patchen.

Painted Patchen is unique among his kind, in that he has significant chestnut coloring, particularly around the top of his head and ears, which is referred to as a “medicine hat.” The marking is unusual among paint horses, much less Thoroughbreds.

“Conformationally, he’s nice,” said Barry Ezrine, farm manager at Patchen Wilkes. “The X-rays are clean and the scope is clean. He’s not like any of the whites I’ve had, to be honest. He’s like a paint. He was born with a medicine hat, and I’ve never had one like that. The head started coming out, and I said, ‘Oh my.’”

Ezrine described the colt as well-mannered, but his color presents some unique challenges. In particular, a white horse requires extra diligence to keep his or her coat up to the pristine expectations that come with a horse of such color.

Two weeks before the Fasig-Tipton October sale, Painted Patchen was giving Ezrine fits after the horse rolled in some walnuts in his field and stained his coat.

“If he was a bay horse, nobody would have noticed it,” he said.

White Thoroughbreds have typically been modest-priced offerings, with the most expensive of the past 15 years being Silver Mystique, who brought $85,000 as a weanling at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton fall selected mixed sale.

Six white Thoroughbreds have been sent through the ring as yearlings during the traditional yearling sale season, with two selling for an average price of $20,507. The highest-priced of that group was Turf Club, who sold to Naveed Chowhan for $40,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. She later sold for $10,000 at the 2013 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, in foal to Old Fashioned, and produced a white filly.

With such a small group of offerings over the past decade and a half, it can be difficult to gauge how the market will react to a white Thoroughbred in the auction ring.

Hunter Simms, director of bloodstock services at Warrendale Sales, noted that as a son of Ashford Stud resident Thunder Gulch, Painted Patchen has more sire power than the average white horse at auction. Of the 11 white horses to be offered, nine were by sires that were themselves white or were a known commodity for producing white horses.

“He’s a unique offering,” Simms said. “I don’t know how he’ll go over. He’s a pretty nice horse. He’s correct, he’s got a good walk on him. It’ll be interesting to see what people’s thoughts are as the sale progresses.”

Painted Patchen is out of the white Skip Away mare Spot of Beauty, a winner of one of five starts during her on-track career for earnings of $5,727. Spot of Beauty has had five foals, all of which are white. Two have started, but both are winless in one start each. Her weanling of 2014 is a colt by Cowboy Cal.

The colt’s page is dotted with some stakes-placed blacktype, but Simms said he was realistic about Painted Patchen’s strengths and weakness, and he plans to take advantage of them accordingly.

“I think he’ll be one that you have outside showing, and people are not going to pick him up off of his pedigree,” he said. “We’re going to have to push him along. I think once you get him outside, people will look at him. I don’t know value-wise what one of these will bring, but it’ll be interesting. We’re looking forward to it.”

Simms said that Patchen Wilkes Farm has been a client of Warrendale Sales for about three years, after a long association with Hopewell Farm. Warrendale will also handle at the October sale the final foal out of the white Patchen Wilkes-homebred Patchen Beauty – a dark bay or brown colt by Einstein.