03/03/2006 12:00AM

Some consolation after misfortune

Consignor David Scanlon's agency sold seven lots at the Calder auction for a total of $1,435,000, with the top seller a $500,000 Jump Start filly.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The last time consignor Don Graham was at Calder for a 2-year-old sale, he endured a tragedy no horseman ever wants to face. The star of his consignment for the Feb. 7 sale was a Forest Camp filly out of Daggett who had breezed an eighth-mile in 10 seconds at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s under-tack preview. The filly was tipped to be one of the auction's highest-priced lots. But on the way to the paddock for the sale, she reared and flipped over backward, striking her head on the ground. The filly had to be put down, to the horror of Graham and his staff.

Graham had a happier time at the Fasig-Tipton Calder sale. His agency sold five horses for $2,095,000, including a pair of high-priced fillies to Coolmore's agent, Demi O'Byrne. The first of those fillies was a $775,000 daughter of Elusive Quality and Gather the Storm, a daughter of German champion Martessa. The other was a $750,000 Mr. Greeley filly out of Grade 1 winner and 1987 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Jeanne Jones.

Graham seemed to have the golden touch at this auction, and he credited a strong selling atmosphere.

"I had one horse that didn't sell for $90,000, and I got that one sold privately for $150,000, so that tells you everything's falling into place when that happens," he said. "I knew we had a really good group of horses, and they vetted well, so I was expecting a good sale. We've been really blessed. I've got good help at home and at the sales, and that's what it takes."

The good day took some of the sting out of his earlier loss, but not all of it.

"That filly had a whole lot of ability, and you'd like to have seen what she could have done," he said. "But that's part of horse racing. I'm happy about today, anyway."

Scanlon's first sale at the helm

Another consignor, David Scanlon, was attending his first Fasig-Tipton Calder sale since the death of his father, Bobby, a regular consignor at major 2-year-old sales, last fall from cancer.

The Scanlon agency will have fewer horses to offer at this year's juvenile sales, Scanlon said, because during his father's illness the agency was understandably less active buying yearlings. The Scanlon Training Center, now with David at the helm, consigned 11 lots to the Fasig-Tipton sale, grossing $1,435,000 for the seven that sold.

The Scanlon Training Center agency's highest-priced horse was Hip No. 175, a $500,000 Jump Start filly out of the Relaunch mare Ms. Cuvee Napa. That filly, a half-sister to Grade 2-placed Deb's Charm, went to Team Valor.

"We're still in a trend where people all seem to fall on the same horse," Scanlon said of the buyers. "With horses like Stevie Wonderboy and Afleet Alex coming out of these 2-year-old sales, I hope people are starting to recognize that some of these horses that don't work that fast turn out to be good horses."

Scanlon said his pinhooked horses averaged $50,000 to $75,000 as yearlings, giving him some protection in a highly selective marketplace.

"I'm in a position where they're very viable," he said.

Successful debut for Miles

Randy Miles made his Calder sales debut a memorable one. The Charlottesville, Va., consignor isn't part of the Florida pinhooking community that dominates the select juvenile market, but he ranked right up there with the prices his pair of horses brought.

Selling on behalf of Ken Luke's Eldon Farm, Miles consigned a $500,000 Yonaguska colt out of Lady Giselle, by Broad Brush, that agent John Ferguson bought for Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum. He also sold a $400,000 Gone West filly out of Troubling, a daughter of multiple Grade 1 winner Dispute, to Tadakuni Sugiyama. A third lot, a Two Punch-Smart Erin filly not sold on Eldon Farm's behalf, failed to reach her reserve at $260,000.

Miles has consigned horses for 11 years, but was pleased with his debut at the prestigious Fasig-Tipton Calder sale. What took him so long to get here?

"You have to have confidence, and you have to have the right horse," Miles said. "This is a tough sale. I had three horses in the first breeze show and they did so well we didn't have to breeze them back, but I was still nervous. The work here doesn't stop.

"You look around and these people are the who's who of racing," he added. "But I don't know them, and am presenting my horses to them for the first time. I have to make them feel comfortable about me. You've got to have confidence."

Miles's operation is off the beaten track by pinhookers' Florida-slanted standards, and that's not the only difference, Miles said.

"My training style's a little different, too," he said.

Miles eschews fast breezes even for his juvenile sale stock, and frequently sends his young horses on post-breeze trail rides through the woods at the training center he leases from Noel Twyman.

"We breeze them as often, but we breeze them slower," he said. "When I got here, I'd only had mine go as fast as 12 seconds. I have a great owner, and the first thing he wants is for me to take care of these horses. It's not about the money. We just want to present a good product."