Bobby Zen

As is the custom, the summer ushers in the yearling sales season, headed by Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton July Sale of Selected Yearlings at Newtown Paddocks. Beginning at 10 a.m., the sale features a trimmed-down catalogue of 286 yearlings, once again highlighted by a selection of first-crop sires, making up roughly a third of the catalog.

Featuring 370 head one year ago, this season’s offering of yearlings points not only to availability, but to the ongoing drive toward quality.

“It’s always a function of the type of horses that you’re exposed to in terms of the physicals and the pedigrees,” explained Fasig-Tipton President and CEO Boyd Browning Jr. “It’s not really ever a terribly conscious decision to say ‘hey, we’re going to have X number of horses.’ The variety and the quality of the new sire showcase [freshman sires] can sometimes have an impact on that.”

He continued, “I think we saw that the 2-year-old market was a little sticky in parts [earlier this year] and we saw maybe a little bit of the middle market not being as vibrant or strong as we would’ve hoped in 2023. So, I think those were factors in the small decrease in catalogue size. The quality is still really good. We’re generally, most years, in that 300 range, so we’re just a tiny bit below that.”

Commenting on the overall strength of the latest freshman sire roster this season, Browning added, “I think it’s a very interesting group overall. There is no clear standout at an extremely high stud fee level. There are obviously some exciting horses–Charlatan, Yaupon, Maxfield, Tacitus, Essential Quality, and there’s a wide range of stud fees.”

Explaining the value of having a sale at this time of year, with a focus on the season’s freshman class, Browning opined, “That’s the great thing about the freshmen sires. It gives people an opportunity to see a cross-section of yearlings by these stallions, most of which are going to be very forward, very mature, very precocious-type yearlings. It really allows you to get a horse off to a flying start and build momentum from the outset.”

Among the stallions represented by their first crop of yearlings is Essential Quality (Tapit), who received a well-timed boost internationally when a yearling colt by the Darley sire brought ¥92 million (approx. $572,000) during Monday’s JRHA Select Sale in Japan. There are two yearlings by the Classic-winning sire available in the July catalog, Hip 34 and Hip 43.

Other operations also hope their own resident stallions can get off to a fast start in Lexington this week, among them Taylor Made Stallions, represented by freshman sires Tacitus (Tapit) and Knicks Go (Paynter).

“We’re biased, but the Knicks Gos are very athletic horses, and they look like racehorses, and that’s what he was,” said Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor. “Tacitus has really blown us away with the physicals he’s putting on the ground and with the pedigree he’s got behind him, it just kind of makes you dream about the future.”

Taylor Made is also poised to sell yearlings by several other first-season stallions, including Yaupon (Uncle Mo), Beau Liam (Liam’s Map) and Rock Your World (Candy Ride {Arg}). Beau Liam stands at Airdrie Stud, while the latter two have taken up residence at Spendthrift Farm.

“I hadn’t seen a lot of Beau Liams until the last three weeks, but I like them also,” he said. “He was brilliantly fast. I’m a Liam’s Map fan myself. Obviously, it’s that family of Miss Macy Sue/Not This Time [also standing at Taylor Made]. So I’m very bullish on him. And Rock Your World, I had not seen any Rock Your Worlds since last November. In my yearling inspections this year, I just had not seen any. And we’ve got two in here that are both nice. Hip number 84 is a real standout. So, I’m excited, and we’re just getting a taste at this sale, and there’s going to be a lot more to come.”

Also weighing in on this year’s group of aspiring stallions, Franklin Ave. Equine’s Brian DiDonato pointed to the variety of the freshman group on a whole.

“Off the top of my head, we vetted weanlings last November by at least Yaupon, Maxfield, Essential Quality, Knicks Go, Tacitus, Rock Your World, Independence Hall and Modernist, so there were plenty of nice individuals by a bunch of the first-year sires then and that seems to be the case again here,” he said. “I have some on my second looks list by several other sires I didn’t really give much thought to last year, but presumably a lot of what we’re seeing in July are sires’ respective standouts so the sample size is still a bit small and potentially misleading to generate super strong opinions yet.”

And when asked if any have left a mark on DiDonato so far?

“Yaupon obviously has a numbers edge on some of the other high-profile freshmen at the July sale and he’s got a very nice group–they’ve got size, strength and plenty of athleticism,” he explained. “For a slightly more under-the-radar pick, I’m interested in the Rock Your Worlds. He had speed and versatility on the racetrack, and was a pricey horse himself from a strong family. He reminds me of Twirling Candy in a few ways and I’m getting similar vibes from his progeny, physically. I’d expect them to work particularly well over the OBS synthetic [next season], like the Twirling Candys do, and would expect the pinhoookers to take some shots with them this week and probably be rewarded come next season.”

The July Sale has typically served as a barometer for what is to come in the upcoming yearling season.

“I think [this sale] gives some indication,” said Browning. “I don’t think it’s the bellwether sale given there’s 300 horses in the catalogue and a lot of them–roughly 90 of them–are by freshman sires. I think what we’re looking for is a fair marketplace, to see plenty of people on the grounds, to see good interest. And I think that’ll give us some indication of where we think the market’s going to be, but I think we all have a pretty good idea that we don’t expect a dramatic change in the yearling marketplace from 2023 to 2024. It’ll be all the same quotes that we always use. The horses that ‘check all the boxes’ will sell extremely well and we’ll wish there was a little more strength in the middle market. I think that is indicative of the market and that would be my expectation.”

The post Fasig-Tipton Launches Yearling Season With July Sale appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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