11/11/2013 11:12AM

Middle-market auction graduates dominate Breeders' Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day was the most expensive of this year's Breeders' Cup graduates purchased at public auction.

It does not take a seven-figure auction price to obtain a Breeders’ Cup winner. In fact, results from this year's renewal of the Breeders’ Cup prove that one can be had for a downright bargain price.

Of the 14 Breeders’ Cup race winners this year, eight were sold at public auction for an average sale price of $130,786. Five were campaigned by their owners as homebreds, while one was purchased privately – Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.

The sales graduates that won Breeders’ Cup races in 2013, for the most part, were a lightly regarded bunch during their time in the auction ring, with the eight horses changing hands nine times for a combined gross of $1,113,788. To put that in perspective, the sale-topper at this year’s Keeneland September yearling sale was sold for $2.5 million.

Leading the way among the sale graduates was New Year’s Day, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a strong inside trip for owners Gary and Mary West. The Wests bought the Street Cry colt through their bloodstock agent, Ben Glass, at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale for $425,000.

“Actually, we thought he might sell for a little more,” Glass said. “We were happy to get him for a little less than we thought he’d go for.”

Bred in Kentucky by Clearsky Farms, and consigned by the farm as agent, New Year’s Day is the first foal out of the multiple Grade 2-winning Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie. He went through the ring as Hip No. 107 on the first day of the sale.

“The main thing I remember was that he reminded me a lot of Street Cry, and I like Street Crys,” Glass said. “That’s probably the biggest thing that I liked about him. He was very athletic and moved pretty nicely. He kind of passed through all the hoops they have to pass through for me to like them.”

On the other end of the spectrum, two Breeders’ Cup winners were obtained at auction for less than $10,000 each, with the least expensive being Dirt Mile winner Goldencents.

A 3-year-old from the first crop of sire Into Mischief, Goldencents went through the ring as Hip No. 90 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, selling to Webb Carroll, as agent, for $5,500. Chuck and Lyra Miller’s Rosecrest Farm and Karyn Pirrello co-bred the colt, who is out of the winning Banker’s Gold mare Golden Works.

Robert Keck, director of stallion inquiries and bloodstock services at consignor Pope McLean’s Crestwood Farm, said the selectivity of an auction market that had bottomed out the previous year had more to do with the colt’s sale price than the condition of the horse himself.

“We loved the horse,” Keck said. “Physically, he was a standout, and I’m not just saying that with 20/20 hindsight. In October, he looked great, and we tried to get a lot of people out to look at him. The mare, Golden Works, could run, but it was by no means a sales pedigree, and the sire was unproven at the time.

“We were telling Dr. Miller that the horse could bring maybe $40,000 to $50,000, and he wasn’t allowed to put a reserve on him because it was a pay out of proceeds [deal],” Keck continued, explaining the colt’s price. “If he bid on it and got the horse, he was going to have to pay the stud fee, so it just went through the way it went through.”

Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia also brought a bargain price at auction, selling to agent Ricky Griffith as Hip No. 803 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale for $9,000.

Two horses sold as 2-year-olds in training: Sprint winner Secret Circle and Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection. The latter was the only Breeders’ Cup winner in this year’s edition to be offered and sold twice at public auction.

Consigned by Four Star Sales, as agent for breeder Joseph Perrotta, Mizdirection brought $85,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, purchased by Litt Bloodstock. The daughter of Mizzen Mast was then sold the following year, to Solis Bloodstock, at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale for $50,000.

The homebreds

Three of the five homebreds to win Breeders’ Cup races were foaled in Europe.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum’s Darley operation bred Juvenile Turf winner Outstrip in Great Britain. By Exceed And Excel, who stands at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket, England, Outstrip is out of the Grade 1-winning El Prado mare Asi Siempre. The dam was purchased by Darley’s bloodstock adviser, John Ferguson, for $3 million at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale.

Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank was bred in Great Britain by London Thoroughbred Services Ltd. – a leading international bloodstock agency founded by owner-breeder James Wigan, who campaigns the mare. Dank is out of the winning Darshaan mare Masskana, who has also produced Group 1 winners Eagle Mountain and Sulk.

Magician, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, was bred by the Absolutelyfabulous Syndicate, a venture of the Coolmore partnership that owns the namesake mare. Absolutelyfabulous, a stakes-winning Mozart mare, is from the family of English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner and Coolmore sire Henrythenavigator. Coolmore also stands Magician’s sire, the European champion and elite commercial stallion Galileo.

The two American-based homebreds were both repeat Breeders’ Cup winners – Mile winner Wise Dan and Filly and Mare Sprint winner Groupie Doll.

Wise Dan, the 2012 Horse of the Year and a leading contender to earn the same title in 2013, is a Kentucky homebred for Morton Fink. His dam, the winning Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle, has become a breakout star, earning Broodmare of the Year honors in 2012 with eight winners to date from nine starters. In addition to Wise Dan, Lisa Danielle has produced multiple Grade 2 winner Successful Dan and stakes winner Our Royal Dancer.

Groupie Doll, a 5-year-old Bowman’s Band mare, was bred in Kentucky by the father-son team of Fred and William “Buff” Bradley. She was campaigned by the Bradleys along with partners Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. Fred Bradley purchased Groupie Doll’s dam, Silver Deputy filly Deputy Doll, as a yearling for $25,000 at the 1997 Keeneland September sale.

The Bradleys’ homebred racing program has had success with runners such as Brass Hat, but Groupie Doll was the family’s first Breeders’ Cup winner and champion. While father and son were together to celebrate last year’s Breeders’ Cup win at Santa Anita, health reasons kept the elder Bradley from making the trip to the Southern California racetrack for 2013.

“For he and I to be doing it for so long, we’ve always dreamed of having a horse win a $100,000 stakes, so this is way beyond that,” the younger Bradley said. “We’re very blessed, and wish [Fred] could be here. But it’s a long trip to come out here for him.”

Last Wednesday, the Bradleys and partners sold Groupie Doll to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $3.1 million at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Classic winner Mucho Macho Man stands alone as the only Breeders’ Cup winner of 2013 to have been acquired through private transaction.

The 5-year-old son of Macho Uno was bred in Florida by John and Carole Rio, who gave the horse his early training and then sold him privately to Dream Team Racing, maintaining a minority share for themselves.

After Mucho Macho Man’s first start, a runner-up finish at Calder, Dean and Patti Reeves’s Reeves Thoroughbred Racing bought into the horse. The Reeveses, formerly partners with Dream Team Racing, campaigned the colt jointly through the middle of 2012 before assuming sole ownership.