08/19/2004 11:00PM

Rice one trainer to spend at sale

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Pinhookers, buyers seeking yearlings to later sell for a profit, probably outnumbered horsemen who were looking for horses to race at the two-day New York-bred sale last week at Saratoga. But there were several prominent New York trainers who were at the Fasig-Tipton sale, buying horses for clients.

Among the trainers who bought yearlings are Linda Rice, Bruce Levine, Barclay Tagg, Tom Bush, Angel Penna Jr., Mike Hushion, Stanley Hough, and Frank Alexander.

For an undisclosed buyer, Rice signed the ticket for the sales topper, a Straight Man filly. The price was $180,000 for the filly, whose dam, Seattle Moon, produced stakes winner Vous, who is expected to run in Monday's Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga.

Rice was taken by the Straight Man filly's looks.

"She was just a beautiful filly," Rice said. "She had good conformation, a terrific walk, and a nice pedigree. She stood out. I thought she would go for at least $150,000 and could creep up to $200,000."

Rice also bought a Phone Trick filly for Trackmen Golf Club Stable. The filly, who was bought for $85,000, was produced by Regal Ruby, a daughter of Rubiano.

Levine, who claims more than he buys at sales, had three of his clients purchase yearlings at the New York-bred sale - Richard Balfour, who bought a Citidancer filly for $55,000; Jared Abbruzzese, who purchased a City Zip colt for $77,000; and ELR Corp., which bought a Two Punch filly for $90,000.

"With all the pinhookers, it looked like an Ocala sale," Levine said. "I usually struggle to buy at the sales, but I have some [client] money to spend this year. At this sale last year, I bought nothing, and one the year before."

Gallo reduces consignment

Tom Gallo, a prominent New York consignor, scaled back his consignment at this year's New York-bred sale. He brought only six yearlings to the sale, compared to about 25 in 2003.

Gallo said his decision to reduce was based on slower-than-usual business at last year's sale. "I had more [reserved not attained] horses last year than usual," he said. "So I picked my best group to come here this year."

Gallo said when he selected the horses to consign to the auction, he focused mainly on his early-maturing foals.

Gallo, who plans to sell his other yearlings in Kentucky and Maryland in the fall, said it's easier to sell "a finished product" to pinhookers, who are the primary buyers at the New York-bred sale.

"It's a tricky thing in August because these horses are still growing," Gallo said. "A lot of resellers are very sharp. They are the most professional and disciplined buyers in the industry and know what they want."

Two of the horses in Gallo's consignment failed to meet their reserve, but Gallo still had a solid sale. He was the consigner of the highest-priced colt, a son of Tale of the Cat, who brought $175,000. Gallo also sold a Smoke Glacken filly, a half-sister to stakes winner Fortunate Damsel, for $75,000.

Big owner shuns new sales company

Becky Thomas, who co-owns Lakland North in Hudson, N.Y., with Lewis Lakin, surprisingly is not among the shareholders in the recently formed New York Breeders Sales Company. The company will hold its initial auction on Sept. 28-29 at Saratoga Race Course.

The 40 shareholders represent some of the biggest breeding operations in the state, including McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Highcliff Farm, Questroyal Stud, Stonewall Farm, Chestertown Farm, Sunnyfield Farm, Liberty Stud, and Metropolitan Stud.

Thomas, a regular buyer and seller at nearly every major sale venue in the country, said that while she is "fully supportive" of the New York-bred program, she didn't see a need for this type of sale.

"I'll try very hard to be there as a potential buyer, but it's not a selling venue that we needed to focus on," she said. "You want to take your product to the best marketplace, and the best marketplace is not going to be Sept. 28 in Saratoga, New York."

Canadian Frontier to go to Questroyal

Questroyal Stud LLC has acquired Canadian Frontier, a graded-stakes-winning sprinter, to stand stud in New York in 2005. His stud fee will be announced at the end of his racing career. Canadian Frontier is currently being syndicated.

Canadian Frontier has six wins from 12 starts and earnings of $251,142. A son of Gone West, he is out of Borodislew, a stakes-winning daughter of Seattle Slew.