10/04/2016 10:01PM

Harness: Lexington Selected Yearling Sale up 18% as Mission Brief brother brings $800,000

Derick Giwner
A round of applause went up after the hammer came down for $800,000 on Tactical Landing, the full brother to Mission Brief

The fireworks started early at Tuesday's opening session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky. HIP #1 Come See The Show brought a whopping $550,000, and the momentum continued throughout the night, hitting a crescendo when HIP #70 Tactical Landing sold for a near record $800,000.

Buoyed by the top pair, the sale was up an impressive 18% year over year.

The bidding was fast and furious on Come See The Show, with a $200,000 opener from eventual winning bidder Richard Young, who owned two-thirds of the filly prior to the sale.

“I was bidding on one-third dollars, and yet there were two others in this room going against me,” said Young, who will give the Pennsylvania-sired pacing filly by Somebeachsomewhere to Linda Toscano to train. “I was done at $550,000. She went for about $100,000 more than I wanted to spend.”

For Young, it was his only purchase of the night, which has become something of a tradition.

“I’ve gone one and done seven times at this sale,” he said.

Come See The Show is the second foal out of $2,406,628 earner Put On A Show.

The buzz all night long surrounded Tactical Landing. Even those who were clear that they wouldn’t be in on the bidding felt that the full brother to world champion Mission Brief would stand above the rest when the session came to a conclusion.

Ultimately, Ernie Martinez signed the ticket for $800,000 for a group of owners that he said included Howard Taylor and many others. The final price tag was the second highest in history for a Standardbred yearling behind Detour Hanover, who went for $825,000 in 2011.

“We’ve put together a great group of people and we’re really excited,” said a visibly-excited Martinez.

“I was hoping to get him for that ($800,000), but we probably would have gone a little more,” he continued. “These kind of horses don’t come around every year. I saw him last year as a weanling, loved him then, knew he should have been bought then, but they wanted to sell him as a yearling. We were just fortunate that we had enough bullets to get it done.

“The horse is the complete package. He’s very mature and very confident in the way he moves.”

Tactical Landing will be trained by Bob Stewart and hopefully embark on a career to rival that of his freaky-fast $1.59 million-winning sister Mission Brief.

“It is the beginning of a long journey, but every journey begins with one step, so here is step one,” said Martinez.

Ron Burke, trainer of Mission Brief, was in on the bidding until the end.

“We were in it up to $750,000,” said Burke. “I’m really happy for the connections to get so much for him.”

Finishing third on the sale-topper list was Pro Beach, a full brother to the talented 3-year-old pacing filly Darlinonthebeach. The colt by Somebeachsomewhere out of Darlin’s Delight went for $475,000 to a group led by Jimmy Takter.

“He was definitely the best-looking colt, I thought, in the sale,” said Takter, who mentioned $500,000 as his top price for the colt.

“It is not just her,” said Takter, referring to Darlinonthebeach as one of the reasons he bought the yearling. “It is the bottom of the family. It is one of the better pacing families in the sport. “

Bud Hatfield, Brixton AB and Marvin Katz are to be his partners on the venture.

Following a strong opening night in 2015 when 98 yearlings went through the ring for an average of $109,531, most were hoping the sale would stay flat or gain slightly. Though only 87 were sold, the average was $129,333 and the gross of $11,252,000 exceeded the 2015 total.

“I was surprised that we were up that much,” said Randy Manges, co-sales manager. “We had a couple of really high-priced horses tonight, and that made a difference. The colt that brought $800,000; that was the highest we’ve ever sold.

“He brought more than I expected,” continued Manges. “I’m always optimistic, but we can’t be that optimistic. That was a big surprise. I’m very happy for the consignors. Hunterton Farms and the connections are very good consignors.”

In total, seven yearlings sold for at least $300,000. Two, including Tactical Landing, were by Muscle Hill. Three were sired by Somebeachsomewhere.

The Lexington Sale continues on Wednesday night and concludes on Saturday. While the brothers and sisters of champions usually sell on opening night, Manges is hoping the good fortune carries through the next four nights.

“There are a lot of very nice horses selling tomorrow night and throughout the sale,” said Manges.