Horse Racing

Gun Runner Filly Stars As Fasig-Tipton October Rewrites The Records Again


LEXINGTON, KY – With some 75 horses still to go through the ring, the 2022 Fasig-Tipton October Yearlings Sale overtook its record gross set just last year and, by the close of business Thursday, 1,100 yearlings had grossed $55,426,500. The 2021 gross was $52,607,500 for 1,153 yearlings sold. Also surpassing records set last year were the average of $50,388 and the median of $25,000. The previous marks were $45,627 and $22,000, respectively.

“Another remarkable sale concluded tonight,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “You are always thrilled when you set records for your gross, your average and your median price, particularly considering the 2021 sale had a dramatic increase from previous years as well. It was just a remarkable horse sale from start to finish.”

Trainer Wesley Ward made the biggest purchase of Thursday’s session–and of the whole auction–when he paid $700,000 for a daughter of Gun Runner from the Claiborne Farm consignment. The yearling was the third most-expensive filly to ever sell at the October sale and the auction’s fifth highest price.

The sale topper was one of 56 yearlings to sell for $200,000 or over. Forty reached that mark a year ago.

“We were optimistic coming in, a) because of the market, but b) because we knew the consignors and sellers had supported us with better horses than in the past,” Browning said. “Probably the most gratifying thing is that, for many sellers, the October sale has become a first option, not a last option. I think the men and women who brought quality horses here were really rewarded by bringing horses that had great appeal across the market. I think the confidence level that this sale has now achieved amongst buyers and sellers is tremendous. When you look at the catalogue cover and you see the three [Grade I winners] on the front and you see a horse like Hot Rod Charlie on the back cover, that’s what makes a sale. Buyers can come and expect to buy horses that can compete next weekend in the Breeders’ Cup and sellers can bring quality horses here and get rewarded for bringing them, whether they bring $50,000, $75,000 or $700,000. I think there is a high level of confidence amongst both buyers and sellers. The October sale has become a staple in the marketplace. ”

Wesley Ward was at nearby Keeneland saddling the winner of the day’s second race when a filly by Gun Runner (hip 1364) went through the sales ring at Fasig-Tipton, but with bloodstock agent Ben McElroy handling bidding duties, the trainer secured the yearling for a sales-topping $700,000 Thursday. The filly was consigned by Claiborne Farm on behalf of her breeder, Rich Santulli’s Colts Neck Stables. When Ward first saw the filly, he told Claiborne’s Walker Hancock that he had found his GI Kentucky Oaks winner, but the trainer admitted Thursday the yearling reminded him of sprint champion Judy the Beauty (Ghostzapper), whom he purchased for $20,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September sale.

“When Ben brought me over to see her, what she really reminded me of was Judy the Beauty,” Ward said. “She has a lot of the physical attributes she had when I bought her, except it was a difference of $20,000 versus $700,000.

“That’s a big difference,” he added with a laugh.

The chestnut filly is out of the unraced No More Parties (Speightstown), who is a full-sister to Santulli’s Grade I winner Force the Pass.

“She’s a great physical by a sire who is off to a sensational start from a really nice family,” McElroy said. “I loved the bottom side of the family, too. Mr. P with Roberto on the bottom side and the dam is a full to a good horse. Regardless of whether she was by Gun Runner, she was a really top physical. She ticked all of the boxes.”

Asked who he bought the filly for, Ward said, “For myself. Right now anyway. I hope to [add partners], of course, or it’s going to empty out everything I’ve got. But this is what I do, it’s the only thing I’ve ever done my whole life. You’ve got to invest in what you believe in.”

Ward purchased five yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton October sale. In addition to hip 1364, he also acquired a filly by Into Mischief (hip 336) for $425,000.

“I only got three total horses at Keeneland,” Ward said. “Everything that Ben showed me that I got excited about, they were just unattainable for what I put to my clients. We went way higher than we should have on a lot of them trying to chase them up there. So only having three horses and me being a 2-year-old guy, I really didn’t have anything. I was lucky enough Ben bought some nice horses for Barbara [Banke] and some other clients of mine in Europe, but here in the States, at Keeneland, I just didn’t get anything. I think [October] is a great sale for me and I think I got some really nice horses.”

Hip 1364 had originally been expected to sell at last month’s Keeneland September sale, according to Hancock.

“She was a Book 1 scratch at Keeneland a couple of days before the sale,” Hancock said. “We thought she could be doing better and we didn’t want to sell her at what would maybe be a discount, so we decided to try her here figuring she could be a big fish in a small pond. And sure enough it looks like she is. We are thrilled with the result and very excited for the owners.”

Hancock admitted Claiborne was making an unusual appearance at the October sale.

“We are not really familiar with the October sale,” he said. “We just had an overflow of yearlings this year. We only sell what we raise, yearling-wise, and we didn’t have enough stalls to sell them all in September, so we had to choose some to come to this sale. The first three days were definitely not as good for us. But this filly stood out. She’s a very classy filly.”

 

Carlisle Makes Solid Contact

Lauren Carlisle waited all week for a filly by Uncle Mo (hip 1429) to stride into the Fasig-Tipton sales ring and the bloodstock agent would not be denied Thursday, going to $485,000 to secure the yearling on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“First of all I am feeling relieved,” Carlisle said after signing the ticket on the yearling. “I saw this filly on Sunday and I haven’t stopped thinking about her since. She was my favorite filly. I haven’t bid on any other horse besides her. So it’s been a long week.”

Carlisle admitted bidding at the Keeneland September sale last month felt like sledding uphill.

“I took some pretty big swings in September and I felt like the Yankees in the post-season,” she said. “I just couldn’t connect on anything. So I am pretty relieved and very happy. She’s a lovely filly.”

Hip 1429 is out of Pearl Turn (Bernardini) and is a half-sister to Canadian champion Gretzky the Great (Nyquist). She was bred and consigned by Anderson Farms, which purchased Pearl Turn for $310,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

“We pointed her to this sale,” said Dave Anderson. “I had two Uncle Mo fillies to sell this year and I put one in Keeneland and this one here. She just thrived in the prepping process and exploded into the type of filly that we thought she was all along. She is very athletic, never had a pimple on her. She’s a half to a Grade I winner and a champion horse. She just kind of ticked all the boxes. I am thrilled that Lauren got her. I know how much she loved her.”

Anderson sold the filly’s half-brother Robitaille (Quality Road) for $560,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“Fasig-Tipton has done an amazing job with this sale and they have proven that you can get a lot of money for the right horse,” Anderson said of the October sale. “I’ve been fortunate enough to do it for several years now, so I am not afraid to bring the right horse here. I know I will get the money and this was an example of that.”

 

Broks Not Too Busy for First Breeders’ Cup Starter

Glenn and Becky Brok ended two decades of breeding Thoroughbreds in Pennsylvania with the sale of their Diamond B Farm earlier this year, but the couple will be celebrating their first Breeders’ Cup starter as breeders when I’m Very Busy (Cloud Computing) goes postward in Friday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The colt was co-bred with Mark Toothaker in a partnership designed to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s breeders awards program.

“Mark and I have done mares before. He always supports Spendthrift stallions and he breeds mares, some of which he keeps and foals himself, and some he and I partner on because he wants to get them in a state program,” Glenn Brok said. “He would send the mares to Becky and me and the deal was, we would foal the mares and the foal was a registered Pennsylvania-bred. When we sold that foal, we were halfsies on the proceeds and we got to keep the mare. We did that on a couple of mares, hoping the foals run in Pennsylvania and we are the recipients of breeders’ awards.”

As part of the partnership, Toothaker sent the mare Two Kisses (Kissin Kris) to Diamond B Farm while she was carrying a foal from the first crop of GI Preakness S. winner Cloud Computing. While most of the partners’ foals were sold privately off the farm to local trainers and owners, Two Kisses’ colt was considered to have enough commercial appeal to head to public auction.

“I sent him to my son-in-law Carlos and my daughter Sarah in Kentucky and they finished prepping him for us and sent him back to Maryland and we sold him with Blake-Albina,” Brok said. “Ronnie [Blake] did a great job selling him to James Layden, who gave $50,000 for him and later took him to an OBS sale. He sold him [for $135,000] to Lauren Carlisle for her client who has horses with Chad Brown.”

I’m Very Busy, racing for Team Hanley, Richard Schermerhorn and Paul Braverman, made an immediate impact on the racetrack, graduating on debut at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles on the lawn under Flavien Prat and earning the ‘TDN Rising Star’ nod.

“I happened to be there for the race after his when he won so impressively first time out,” Brok recalled. “I was in the paddock for the next race and Jose Ortiz is riding a horse for a friend of mine. Jose says, ‘Oh, Glenn, congratulations on your horse running so well. We love that horse. We tried him on the dirt and he seemed to like the turf better.’ I said, ‘Jose you didn’t even ride the horse and you know everything about him.’ He said, ‘We pay attention.’ That was a real eye-opener.”

I’m Very Busy earned his spot in the Breeders’ Cup with a runner-up effort in the GII Pilgrim S. last time out.

Ironically, the Broks are less busy these days after making the move to Kentucky.

“Right after COVID, it was difficult getting help. My wife was doing all the work and getting burned out,” Brok said of the decision to sell Diamond B. “I wasn’t getting any younger and she wasn’t going to get any healthier with me working her to death. It just seemed like a good time. The PA program was amazing to us. We were the leading breeders, we made a lot of money and we still have horses in the pipeline that are bringing us breeders awards–it’s kind of like an annuity. You need to know when to hold them and when to fold them, so we did.”

The move to Kentucky brings the Broks closer to daughter Samantha, who runs Ron Wise’s Four Pillars Farm, as well as Sarah and Carlos and their grandchildren.

“We bought a little place down here, 22 acres with an indoor for my wife to ride in,” Brok said. “I partner with Sarah and Carlos, who own and operate C & S Thoroughbreds, and our farms adjoin. It’s just been a new page and a good one. We are enjoying living here in Kentucky. We have a lot of friends here and there are a tremendous amount of things to do in the horse community.”

Brok also remains in his position with Brook Ledge Horse Transportation and the move has given him more time to devote to his clients.

“I get to spend more time with my Brook Ledge clients then I did when I was living in Pennsylvania,” he said.

The move has also meant the Broks have the time to stop and enjoy the moment ahead of the Breeders’ Cup.

“My wife was so inundated with work with the farm in Pennsylvania, she would never have been able to get away and enjoy this experience of having a Breeders’ Cup horse,” Brok said. “Now I said to her, ‘Hey we were invited to a party here and seats at the Breeders’ Cup.’ And she said, ‘That’s great, let’s do it.’”

Diamond B was the leading breeder in Pennsylvania in 2017 and was ranked second in the state in 2018-2020. But what would a win in the Breeders’ Cup mean to the longtime breeders?

“In our industry, is there anything other than the Derby that is bigger than those two days of racing and being a part of it?” Brok asked. “Nobody is flying under the radar here. When you have success and luck and you are the leading breeder or your horse wins a stakes, or your horse runs in the Breeders’ Cup, people notice. And that’s a good feeling. That’s a feeling of accomplishment and acceptance.”

When it was pointed out that the partnership designed to take advantage of a state-bred program had produced a colt who made his first two starts in New York before heading to Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup, Brok laughed and said, “It has worked out in the past. This time, it’s the good news and the bad news. He’s a pretty nice horse and he’s going to the Breeders’ Cup. Which isn’t in Pennsylvania.”

 

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