08/10/2006 11:00PM

Spa sale debut a $360K hit

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Two Sophisticated proved she fit right in with the Saratoga crowd when she appeared in the sales ring on opening night of Fasig-Tipton's sale of selected yearlings. A flashy chestnut Two Punch filly, she was sold to Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stable LLC for $360,000, the top price among the eight Maryland-breds offered at this year's sale, held on Aug. 8-9 at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion.

Derry Meeting Farm was agent for Two Sophisticated, who was bred by Edward Gamble's Destinaire Farm. But the more than two-year process for Gamble to sell his first horse at Saratoga began at Susan Dunham's Cross Ties Farm in Sykesville, Md.

About eight years ago, Dunham set out to run her own operation where she would oversee foalings, do sales prep, and occasionally break yearlings. She became acquainted with Gamble through connections to Country Life Farm in 1999. Gamble had a mare in foal to Country Life's leading sire, Allen's Prospect, and it was suggested that Gamble contact Dunham about boarding his mare at Cross Ties Farm.

Dunham notes that she specializes in high-risk and older broodmares, and among those broodmares was Grand Sophisticate, a daughter of El Gran Senor and half-sister to Doneraile Court whom Gamble purchased at the Keeneland November sale in 2000 for $60,000 from Golden Eagle Farm. Grand Sophisticate was in foal to Souvenir Copy when she was sold.

Grand Sophisticate failed to get in foal the next year and was sent to Dunham, who decided to breed her locally. Grand Sophisticate visited Two Punch, and Two Sophisticated was the result of that mating.

"I thought she was something special from the moment she stuck her nose in the world," said Dunham of Two Sophisticated. "She is a bright filly and handled the sale beautifully. She is just lovely."

Grand Sophisticate got back in foal to Two Punch, and this May she produced another chestnut filly.

"Two Punch is a wonderful, reliable sire," said Dunham, who noted Grand Sophisticate was booked to Two Punch again, but because of the late foaling, was given the year off.

The second-highest price for a Maryland-bred at the sale was $300,000, for a colt by Tiznow out of Smarten's stakes-winning daughter Lipstick. The Tiznow colt was the last hip led into the ring on the sale's first night. Bred by Robert Kirkham and Summer Wind Farm, the colt was sold by Highclere Sales as agent, and the buyer was Bruce Lunsford. Lipstick's first four foals have all sold as yearlings, and each has brought six figures, for an average of $206,250.

Leading Maryland breeders Sondra and Howard Bender were represented by two in the sale, through Eaton Sales, agent: A Tale of the Cat filly out of Indy Power sold for $250,000 to M.W. Miller III, and a Hennessy colt out of Affirmed Class (by Affirmed) was sold for $65,000 to Dogwood Stable Inc.

Two fillies who appeared in the ribbons at the Maryland Horse Breeders Association's yearling show in June sold on the sale's second evening.

A Not for Love filly out of Lunar's Legend (by Polish Numbers), consigned with Northview Stallion Station/David Wade, agent, was sold to Matt Haney for $180,000. She is a half-sister to 2005 Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old filly Celestial Legend and a full sister to stakes-placed Legendary Journey.

The yearling show's reserve champion was Rosy Wreath, a Hennessy filly out of Royal Feat (by Kingmambo). Sold with Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services as agent, she was purchased by Becky Thomas for $170,000.

A second Maryland-bred yearling by Two Punch - his son out of Good Forecast (by Caveat), bred by Ryehill Farm and consigned by Gainesway, agent - was sold to George A. Mellon for $150,000.

Mark O'Donnell sold his filly Solemn Vow for $110,000 to G. Watts Humphrey Jr. The filly is by Broken Vow out of Li Law and is from the family of champion Banshee Breeze.