Yearling Sales Season Kicks Off with Encouraging July Sale

into mischief filly fasig-tipton july sale
Fasig-Tipton Photo

The summer yearling sales season kicked off Tuesday at Newtown Paddocks in Lexington, KY with a resurgent edition of Fasig-Tipton's July Sale of selected yearlings. The sale's average and median were well-placed historically, and the highest since the benchmarks set in 2007.

"It was a strong start to the 2021 yearling sales season," said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. "We were very encouraged when we went to the farms to inspect yearlings by the quality of horses we were seeing, and certainly the two-year-old sales were encouraging, so we had a lot of optimism. I don't think any of us [hoped] to surpass the 2019 numbers… so to be over 2019 is very, very, very encouraging."

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LNJ Foxwoods joined forces to take home the top-priced yearling of the sale, an $800,000 daughter of Into Mischief offered as Hip 123 by Burleson Farms, agent (video). Current leading sire and two-time champion sire Into Mischief is represented by a pair of Eclipse Award Champion Female Sprinters in Gamine, who captured the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) in 2020, and LNJ Foxwoods's own Covfefe, who took that race and her division's championship in 2019.

Bred in Kentucky by McKenzie Bloodstock, Hip 123 is out of the unraced Indian Charlie mare Cashing Tickets, a full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Conveyance. Cashing Tickets is the dam of three winners from as many to race, including multiple stakes winning filly Leggs Galore (Bayern), recently second in the Wilshire S. (G3) at Santa Anita to increase earnings to $342,709. The bay filly is from the immediate family of multiple Grade 1 winning millionaire Plum Pretty.

"He's an amazing stallion," Browning said of Into Mischief, who sired three of the top four yearlings sold. "He is always at the top of the boards. He produces colts, fillies, Derby winners, Classic winners, grass, dirt, short, long. He is the consummate professional as a stallion and there is a high demand for [his offspring], as there should be because of the potential reward on the track."

The sale's top colt came in the form of Hip 111, a son of Candy Ride (ARG), which sold for $350,000 to James Bernhard from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent (video). The bay colt  is the second foal out of the Uncle Mo mare Beyond Grace, a full sister to multiple stakes placed winner Mighty Mo. The colt hails from the immediate family of Group 1 winner Moriarty. Hip 111 was bred in Kentucky by OXO Equine.

Also sold for $350,000 was a daughter of Into Mischief purchased by Mike G. Rutherford from the consignment of Four Star Sales, agent for Spendthrift Farm (video). Offered as Hip 339, the dark bay or brown filly is out of the multiple stakes placed winning Henny Hughes mare Anahauc, a half-sister to stakes winners Gangbuster and Dream Call, as well as to stakes placed winner Glorified, who produced stakes winner Anythingyoucando. The immediate family includes Grade 1 winner Diplomat Lady. Hip 339 was bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm.

Tuesday's sale marked the return of the Freshman Sire Showcase, featuring 103 yearlings by first-crop sires, which were offered at the front of the catalogue. Colts by Grade 1 winners Army Mule (Hip 8) and Mor Spirit (Hip 44) were the top sellers, fetching $200,000 each.

Maverick Racing sprung early to snap up Hip 8, a colt by undefeated Carter H. (G1) winner and Fasig-Tipton graduate Army Mule, for $200,000 from the consignment of Gainesway, agent. The bay colt is out of the winning Congaree mare Congarette, from the immediate family of Grade 1 winner Home at Last. Hip 8 was bred in Florida off Army Mule's 2019 stud fee of $10,000.

Woodford Thoroughbreds purchased Hip 44, a bay colt by multiple Grade 1 winner and Fasig-Tipton graduate Mor Spirit, for $200,000 from the consignment of Eaton Sales, agent for Spendthrift Farm. Out of the Malibu Moon mare Malibu Cove, a full sister to Grade 2 winner Prospective, Hip 44 is a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Kalypso (Brody's Cause), a graduate of this sale in 2019. The colt's dam is also a half-sister to the dam of stakes winner Josie, who fetched $300,000 to lead off yesterday's July Selected Horses of Racing Age sale. Hip 44 was bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm off Mor Spirit's 2019 stud fee of $10,000.

A pair of fillies by Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) champion Mendelssohn sold for $185,000 each during the opening section, bred off his 2019 stud fee of $35,000.

Hip 15, by Mendelssohn out of Doritza, was purchased by Rebecca Galbraith from the consignment of Machmer Hall Sales, agent for Stoneriggs Farm. Hip 15 was bred in Kentucky by Robert Slack.

Hip 42, by Mendelssohn out of Laquesta, was purchased by Ben Gowans, agent from the consignment of Paramount Sales, agent. The dark bay or brown filly was bred in Kentucky by Rose Hill Farm & John Trumbulovic.

"It's kind of going back to our roots," Browning said of the return of the Freshman Sire Showcase. "For years, our reputation in July was great physicals. We may be forgiving a little bit on pedigree and sire power, but if you have a good-looking colt or filly that looks precocious, that is what we are about in July. It helps build momentum for the farms as well."

The most expensive yearling by a first-crop sire sold later in the sale, Selective LLC/Cary Bloodstock, agent purchased a filly by multiple Grade 1 winner for $230,000. Offered as Hip 174 by Bluewater Sales, agent, the filly is out of Grand Sofia, an unraced Giant's Causeway half-sister to track-record setting Grade 1 winner Rail Trip. Hip 174 was bred in Kentucky by Cobra Farm & MRJ Thoroughbreds.

Practical Joke, currently ranked ninth on the first-crop sire list by earnings, is responsible for the top-priced second-crop yearling. Scott & Evan Dilworth purchased Hip 159, a filly out of staes winner and stakes-winner producer Fortune Play, for $240,000 from the consignment of Four Star Sales, agent for D.C. Goff. Hip 159 was bred in Kentucky by D.C. Goff.

In total, 208 yearlings changed hands for $21,608,500, up 16% from when 202 sold for $18,621,000 in 2019. The average rose to $103,887 from $92,183, a 12.7% increase. The median rose 6.7% to $80,000 from $75,000 in 2019. The average was the fourth highest all-time for The July Sale, while the median ranked second. The average and median were the highest at The July Sale since 2007, when the records were set in both categories. The RNA rate was 24.9%.

"I am proud of the group of horses our inspection team put together for this sale," Browning added. "Everybody in the marketplace ought to sleep pretty good tonight. It should be a very good yearling market in 2021."

Full results are available online.