10/03/2017 11:27PM

Harness: Rifleman shoots to the top on the first night of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale

Derick Giwner
The board read $330,000 at the end of bidding on Rifleman during Tuesday's session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale

HIP 35 Rifleman, a colt from the first crop of Father Patrick, fetched $330,000 from Courant AB (Anders Strom) to top the first night of the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale on Tuesday, October 3 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavillion.

Rifleman, who is the first foal out of multiple world champion Designed To Be (Donato Hanover, $656,166), was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, raised at Walco Farms, and sold out of the Kentuckiana Farms consignment.

"He is out of a world champion dam, and this is her first foal," said Strom.  "It was also the first season for Father Patrick, so we knew it would cost plenty of money.

"We recently bought a Muscle Hill Swedish-bred for about the same price, and the Swedish racing program is probably better than any program in the U.S. right now and it cost about the same. We were arguing, is this one better or the other. I couldn’t decide, so we went for both.​"

Trainer Jimmy Takter, who was one of the under-bidders on Rifleman added, "I love that colt, but he went a touch too high."

The other yearling to reach the $300,000 mark was HIP 47 Seaside Bliss, a Cantab Hall filly out of You Want Me (Credit Winner, $220,980).  Bred and consigned by Carter Duer's Peninsula Farm, the half-sister to this year's Peter Haughton Memorial winner You Know You Do (Muscle Hill, $362,574) went to agent Paul Kelley for $300,000.

​"She's from a great family. I owned and raced her mom," said Kelley, who signed for the filly for Lennart Agren (SRF Stable).  "She has dual eligibility in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, which is nice, and plenty of residual value."

Muscle Hill wound up with five of the top-ten sellers, keyed by HIP 93 The Dream Lives On, who went to Takter for $265,000.  Bred by Katz and Libfeld and their partner Sam Goldband, The Dream Lives On sold from the Kentuckiana Farms consignment and is the second foal out of To Dream On (Credit Winner, $975,395), the Dan Patch Award winner for top 2-year-old trotting filly in 2012.

"I trained the mother," remarked Takter.  "I trained the first foal, and she was three months behind where she should be. I liked this one much better. I had to go for it.

"He was one of the better Muscle Hill colts in the sale."

Takter was also pleased to have gotten HIP 22 Fatima Blush, a Muscle Hill filly out of Borrow And Spend (Credit Winner, $159,370) from the Cameo Hills Farm consignment for $185,000.

"She was the best field mover in the sale according to Perry (Soderberg)," said Takter. "I trained a horse called Earn And Burn (half-brother) from that family. I screwed him up a little bit. He was third maybe in the Peter Haughton, and he was actually a pretty good horse. He never really came back as a 3-year-old, but I really loved him as a 2-year-old."

The highest-priced pacer of the evening checked in fourth overall at $250,000 and was the very first yearling sold during the night, HIP 1 Southport Beach.  Southport Beach sold from the consignment of Vieux Carre Farms, and was a buy-back for breeder Geoff Martin.  Southport Beach is out of Benear (Badlands Hanover, $319,321), making him a full brother to the likes of 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach ($1,292,069).

Rounding out the top five was HIP 11 Lu's Illusion, who went to Determination (Serge Godin) for $235,000.  A filly from the first crop of triple millionaire Sweet Lou, Lu's Illusion was bred by Steve Stewart, Julie Nash, Francene Nash, and Charles Nash, and sold from the Hunterton Farms consignment.  She is out of Hall of Fame broodmare Artistic Vision (Artsplace, $634,808), making Lu's Illusion a half-sister to Rock N Roll Heaven (Rocknroll Hanover, $2,748,818) and Clear Vision (Western Hanover, $2,729,921).

The top-seller from the first crop of Captaintreacherous was HIP 34 Captain's Darlin', who went to agent Nancy Johansson (for Caviart Farms) for $185,000.  Bred by White Birch Farm and sold from the Preferred Equine Marketing Inc. consignment, Captain's Darlin' is out of Darlin's Delight (Bettor's Delight, $2,901,926), making her a three-quarter sister to Darlinonthebeach (Somebeachsomewhere, $931,153).

In all 93 yearlings were sold for a total of $10,634,000 and an average of $114,344.  This was down from last year when 87 yearlings were sold for a sum of $11,252,000 and an average of $129,333, but it should be noted how rare it was to have an $800,000 yearling (Tactical Landing) and a $550,000 yearling (Come See The Show) both sold on the first night of last year's sale.  Sales manager Randy Manges was not discouraged at all by this year's numbers, and is looking forward to Wednesday's second day.

"When you have a sale where one brings over $500 (thousand) and one brings $800 (thousand), you don't bring that very often," said Manges. "I was pleased with the strength of the sale. We sold 13 more horses for over $100,000 than we did last year, so the market is strong when that happens."

"My feeling is the second night is better," said Magnes, comparing the second night this year versus 2016. "Last year is the best year ever. In my opinion if we can do somewhere between last year and the year before, which we are $5,000 up on the average from two years ago, if that holds up I'll be pleased."

--Derick Giwner contributed to this story