07/20/2006 11:00PM

N.Y. Breeders switch focus to fall


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The New York Breeders' Sales Company isn't holding a summer yearling sale at Saratoga this year, but the company has big plans for the fall.

The company was formed in 2004. It held its first summer yearling auction in August 2005 but dropped that sale from its calendar this year when Fasig-Tipton announced it would add an open yearling sale to its Saratoga auction program on Aug. 15. So NYBS is now throwing its energy into its fall mixed Oct. 15 sale. NYBS general manager Chip Landry said the company has added a select portion to the auction and also will beef up the sale's total offerings this year.

"We're adding a selected weanling section, because it seems like weanlings have been the strongest part of the fall sale each year," Landry explained. "We're looking for 450 to 500 horses for the whole sale. That would be a big uptick in numbers, and we're looking for a big uptick in quality, as well. We're trying to attract major pinhookers to the sale."

One possible attraction: a major dispersal of stock from Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin's New York bloodstock holdings.

"It's a sale in close proximity to us," Thomas said.

She said the dispersal would include a significant number of horses, though the final count has yet to be determined.

Thomas and Lakin said last year that they would reduce the stock they own together over the course of several years. Thomas and Lakin are co-breeders of such runners as Grade 1 winner Behaving Badly and are one of the industry's most successful pinhooking partnerships. Lakin, 73, has said the reduction is part of his estate planning.

The NYBS October mixed sale isn't just for New York-breds, Landry said.

"It's an open sale, and even the selected weanlings don't have to be New York-breds," he said. "But we are stressing that New York-breds will be running for slots money in New York."

Landry said planning for the 2007 auction season is already underway at NYBS, and one of the ideas on the table is a late-season juvenile sale at the Spa.

"We're looking at it as a possibility," he said. "It probably would be either immediately before or immediately after the meet. A number of yearlings are bred here in the later part of the season and are late foals. They could easily be ready for a late July or August sale, and they wouldn't be 'retreads' from other 2-year-old sales."

Lexington's skeleton on museum's wish list

The Kentucky Horse Park's International Museum of the Horse in Lexington has become an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, and now Thoroughbred fans hope that will help bring a champion's skeleton home.

The great racehorse and stallion Lexington died in 1875 at age 25, and his skeleton now resides in the Smithsonian's Hall of Mammals. Museum of the horse director Bill Cooke emphasizes that the museum and the Smithsonian haven't had any discussions about moving or displaying Lexington. But it's on Cooke's wish list.

"He's number one on our list of things I'm interested in getting permanently or on loan from the Smithsonian," he said.

Lexington, originally named Darley, led from start to finish in his first race, which came as a 3-year-old in 1853, after bolting before the break. That impressed Richard Ten Broeck, who bought the colt from Dr. Elisha Warfield as part of a syndicate that renamed him Lexington. Lexington went on to set a four-mile record in 7:19, in which he beat his rival LeComte's previous record of 7:26. He won 6 of 7 races and was the sport's third-leading money earner at that time with $56,600.

As a stallion, Lexington was sold to Robert Alexander's Woodburn Farm and became American's leading sire 16 times from 1861-74, 1876, and 1878.

Cooke last saw Lexington's skeleton in December 2004, when the horse was displayed at the Museum of American History as part of an exhibit about time.

"It was a thrill to see him," Cooke said. "This is something Lexingtonians and racing fans would love. He was the greatest sire of the 19th century."

If you're among those who would like to see Lexington return to the Bluegrass, you can e-mail your support to Cooke at bill.cooke@ky.gov.

Deauville Sales part of merger

The Aga Khan is among a group of backers that have purchased Deauville Sales in France, the company has announced. The group, which also includes a number of other French breeders, intends to merge France's summer sale icon with the Goffs France auction house. Together, Deauville Sales and Goffs France have combined annual gross sales of nearly $90 million. The Deauville Sales, best known in America for its Thoroughbred sales branch, also includes two other entities that conduct Standardbred auctions and art auctions.

* Australian auctioneer John Inglis, whose family has conducted horse auctions in Australia since 1867, died Thursday at 88, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported. Inglis was retired from the family's William Inglis and Son auction house, though he still was an active racehorse owner.