10/05/2015 10:33PM

Harness: Alagna top buyer on day one at Lexington Selected Yearling Sale

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Derick Giwner
Federal Hill was share the sales-topper spot with Live For Greatness at $350,000.

Trainer Tony Alagna came to the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion on Monday night with a fistful of money and some new investors. While he failed to bring home the sale-topper, he led all buyers in both horses purchased and total spent.

For the second straight year the sale produced positive results. A total of 98 yearlings went through the ring for an average of $109,531, a 4.3% increase over 2014 when the average was $104,959 for 97 yearlings.

For Alagna, he signed for seven horses at a total of $1,232,000. According to the trainer he came away with 10 new horses for the barn and attributed his ability to spend on some new blood on the ownership side. Some of those newbies included Courant AB and Tristan Sjoberg, who came in for 25% each of the $275,000 price tag on HIP 86 Evelix AM, a pacing filly by Art Major out of Credit Rating. Bradley Grant took the remaining 50%.

“When you have good years you get new interest and I’m glad to have people who are new to the barn,” said Alagna, referencing recent success with Captaintreacherous, Artspeak and Caprice Hill. “We’ve had consecutive good years and we were able to get some new people into the barn.”

Other top buys by Alagna included: HIP 104 Mountain Of Love ($280,000), a colt by Muscle Hill out of Somebody To Love; HIP 37 Signal Hill ($250,000), a Muscle Hill colt out of Special Appeal; and HIP 84 Major Account ($200,000), a Western Ideal-sired colt by CPA.  

“Pedigree and individual,” said Alagna on his formula for picking out those particular yearlings. “We follow a pretty easy pattern. People can see what we like. We buy the same families every year, but we have success with them, so that’s what we stick with.”

Giwner Photo      Owner/trainer Tony Alagna

Alagna, who owned part of 40-something horses in 2014, puts his money on the line rather than just training.

“People see me putting my money in too. When they see you owning the horses as well, I think it is a vote of confidence that they like to see,” said Alagna.

Topping the sale was a pair of $350,000 purchases. The ticket for HIP 21 Federal Hill (Muscle Hill-Gala Dream) was signed by Mario Zuanetti for Atlantic Trot. The colt is a half-brother to Father Patrick. Live For Greatness (HIP 31) went to Robert Lindstrom, who ranked second in money spent on the night at $970,000. The half-brother to millionaire Muscle Massive is by Cantab Hall and out of Forever Graceful.

The final horse to break the $300,000 threshold was HIP 40 Julieann B, a Cantab Hall filly by Yankee Blondie for went for $310,000 to Nancy Johansson as agent for Stall Courant AB.

Co-sales manager Randy Manges was very happy with the results of the first night.

“I was ecstatic. To be up that much over last year was really terrific, even with all of our outs. I can’t even imagine how good of a sale we would have had if those horses were in,” said Manges, alluding to the 11 horses that were withdrawn from the sale.

“I think we had a really good group of horses that sold here tonight. The pedigrees were there and the horses matched the pedigrees.”

The sale eclipsed the $100,000 average in consecutive years for the first time in over 20 years and will look to keep the momentum going on Tuesday night.

“I think it is very equal to last year,” said Manges about the second night offerings. “I wouldn’t be disappointed if we were down a little but I don’t expect to be down a whole lot.”