by Frank Vespe
If you squint your eyes in just the right way, you might – might – be able to see the future of mid-Atlantic racing through the prism of Monday’s Fasig-Tipton Mixed Sale.
New sires are set to play a prominent role, as are as-yet-unproven, but promising, dams.
More than 30 of the numbered hips are related to three popular new Maryland sires: Freedom Child (who covered 12 of the mares for sale); Friesan Fire, who covered four and sired 10 youngsters on offer; and Street Magician, who sired five weanlings.
Street Magician is the only one of the three to have had runners to date, and he’s already turning heads. He’s had five winners, and with Rockin Jojo’s win in the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, two of them are stakes winners.
Edwin Merryman, of Anchor and Hope Farm, has one of the Street Magician weanlings, Hip 168, a colt out of the winning Exchange Rate mare Snovember, who is from the family of Grade 1 winner Swap Fliparoo. “An outstanding weanling,” Merryman calls him.
Consignor Becky Davis has three of the five Street Magicians on offer, and one of those, Hip 128, has her excited. Out of the winning Lion Hearted mare Go Lion Go, she’s a half-sister to a winner and the latest of a solid family.
Davis and consignor Bill Reightler are selling a number of Friesan Fire weanlings. Davis says that Hip 118, out of the stakes-producing Storm Cat mare Dyna Two, “will turn some heads.”
And Reightler adds that Hip 180, out of Vee Vee Star, the dam of Declan’s Moon, and part of the Brice Ridgely dispersal, is a “quality individual.”
Reightler is also consigning 11 of the 12 mares that are in foal to Freedom Child. He’s excited about several of them – notably, Hips 19, 28, 32, and 85 – and is quick to point out something the astute buyer will note. Freedom Child, who stands at Country Life Farm, is owned by Spendthrift, which is backing the new stallion by sending its own mares to him. Among them is Hip 19, Danzing Celtic, a stakes-producing Danzig mare with plenty of black-type behind her.
It’s not just about new sires, of course.
There are also some intriguing mares on offer, though perhaps fewer than in previous years.
“People are hanging on to their nicer mares a little,” said Chanceland Farm’s Bob Manfuso. “They’re starting to realize that you have to have product.”
Manfuso himself picked up a couple of new mares at Keeneland this fall, and he’s making room by selling a couple in Timonium.
Among those are Jolie Visage (Hip 35), a stakes-placed Broken Vow mare who’s in foal to Girolamo. She has not yet had a runner to start. Maria’s Court (Hip 54) is another interesting offering from the Chanceland group, a half-sister to Maria’s Mon who’s in foal to Smarty Jones. And then there’s Sweet Elixir, who’s a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Borrego, who’s not pregnant; she’s Hip 83.
There are even a couple of horses of racing age that are worth a look. Both Hip 192 — Absolute Twist — and Hip 198 — Slaminator — are nicely bred, unraced two-year-olds. The former is a Lemon Drop Kid colt and the latter, a gelding by Grand Slam, has a couple of works under his belt.
For Manfuso, the key is sending the right horses to the sale.
“I really try to lean towards this market and try to support this market,” he said. “I believe the $50-$100,000 product will sell as well here as at Keeneland.”
Fasig-Tipton’s Paget Bennett agreed with that. “It’s been proven over and over that you can bring a good horse to Timonium and be successful,” she said.