08/05/2014 7:22PM

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga: Darley secures Bernardini colt for $800,000

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by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

The only colt at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale by Bernardini sold for $800,000 to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's Darley operation to pace the early action as the second and final session of the first elite-level yearling sale of the year got off to a comparatively sluggish start.

Darley campaigned Bernardini as a homebred and stands the son of A.P. Indy, based at the operation’s Jonabell Stud in Kentucky. The colt, bred in Kentucky by Marylou Whitney Stables, was consigned to the Fasig-Tipton sale by Gainesway, as agent.

“It's a stallion's family,” Oliver Tait, Darley’s chief operating officer, said. “If he can do it on the track, it will be very exciting. He's a beautifully-balanced horse and he moved wonderful.”

The colt is the second foal out of the winning Unbridled's Song mare Tweeter; her first foal is a 2-year-old who has yet to start. Tweeter is one of 13 winners from as many starters out of the top producer Dear Birdie, dam of Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone and Kentucky Oaks winner and champion Bird Town. Tweeter is also a half sister to Grade 2 placed Mountain Bird and to stakes placed So Long Birdie.

Mountain Bird is the dam of Grade 1-placed winner Mountain Town, and two other half sisters, Bird Cage and Dearest Gulch, have each produced stakes placed winners.

After Monday night’s opening session of the sale posted an impressively low buyback rate of 10 percent – a vast improvement from 25 percent in 2013 – 11 of the first 25 hips reported through the ring at Tuesday’s session failed to meet their reserves. The Bernardini colt was one of three yearlings to pass the $600,000 threshold through that point, along with a $610,000 Malibu Moon filly and a $600,000 Awesome Again filly.