02/03/2009 12:00AM

Sadler's Wells makes Irish hall of fame

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association has named Coolmore's famed stallion Sadler's Wells to its hall of fame. The 28-year-old Northern Dancer horse, now pensioned from stud duty at Coolmore in Co. Tipperary, is the first horse accorded the honor.

Sadler's Wells now joins Coolmore owner John Magnier, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, and other luminaries in Irish breeding "who have made lifetime contributions to our industry," according to the breeders' association.

Sadler's Wells, Coolmore's flagship sire for two decades, was champion sire in Britain and Ireland for a record 14 times. Three of his best sons, Galileo, Montjeu, and High Chaparral, all stand at Coolmore. The Co. Tipperary stud farm pensioned Sadler's Wells in May 2008 due to declining fertility.

The breeders' association's year-end awards also included Irish-bred titles to Zarkava as top 3-year-old filly; New Approach, 3-year-old-colt; Yeats, older horse; Serious Attitude, juvenile filly; and Mastercraftsman, 2-year-old colt.

Fasig-Tipton renovations

Renovations are under way at Fasig-Tipton's Kentucky headquarters, and plans are in the works for some changes at the storied auction house's Saratoga Springs, N.Y., pavilion, too.

The most obvious physical change this year at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks in Lexington, Ky., is a new administrative building, which will include a basement and two stories, plus a half-story at the top for mechanical and information technology functions, according to Fasig-Tipton executive vice-president Dan Pride.

"We are adding a new office that will go right in front of the sale pavilion," said Pride. "It's going to increase our space and our ability to service our customers. It will be attached to the pavilion with two breezeways, so the facade will tie in from one building to the next. We're optimistic it will be ready by the November sale."

The new office primarily will serve the sale company's administrative functions, but it also will have a few additional conference rooms for buyers' and sellers' use.

More renovations in Kentucky, mostly functional renovations of existing structures, are in the planning stage, Pride said.

In Saratoga, the sale pavilion will retain its round shape under plans recently approved by the local planning board. The proposal calls for eventually enclosing an outdoor walkway, opening up more indoor space for auction-goers, and other updates to the pavilion. But most of those, Pride said, will take place in phase two of the Saratoga project. Buyers and sellers this year will see some changes to the outdoor area, including a larger covered walking ring that will accommodate four horses at a time.

Fasig-Tipton also is in the planning stage of renovations and upgrades at its Timonium pavilion.

Virginia bill tackles sales duplicity

The Virginia senate has taken up a bill that seeks to increase transparency in horse sales and protect parties in horse sales from undisclosed dual agency.

Senate Bill 967, introduced in January, is similar to a horse-sale law the Kentucky legislature enacted in 2006. Like the Kentucky law, Virginia's SB967 bans undisclosed dual agency, a practice in which a single agent represents both buyer and seller in a transaction without notifying both parties, and requires written consent from buyer and seller in cases where an agent will represent both. It also would require a bill of sale for any horse sale, including stallion shares and season, greater than $10,000.

The Virginia bill also makes commission or compensation agreements enforceable only if they are in the form of a written contract signed by the parties and the agent seeking the commission provides a written bill of sale for the transaction.

The legislation would make violators liable for triple the damages sustained by their victims.