TRC’s weekly industry digest - a round-up of international racing news from the past week.
Medaglia d’Oro and Pharoah star at record-breaking Saratoga Sale
The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale closed on Tuesday night with across-the-board gains, posting the highest gross, co-highest median, and second-highest average in sale history.
A colt by Medaglia d’Oro took the lead midway through the session, selling for $1,350,000 to the partnership of West Point Thoroughbreds, Robert Masiello, Chris Larsen, and Siena Farm from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. The colt is the first foal out of the stakes winning Wildcat Heir mare Coco’s Wildcat, from the immediate family of champion Songbird, who sold for $400,000 at the 2014 edition of this sale.
“I’m pleased to report that the 2018 Saratoga Sale established a new record for gross sales,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “It doesn’t happen without the trust and confidence of the best breeders, best pinhookers, [and] best consignors in the world.”
Another Medaglia d’Oro, a half-sister to Preakness winner Exaggerator, was the top filly, purchased for $1,300,000 by Phoenix Thoroughbreds from the consignment of Warrendale Sales, agent. The dark bay or brown filly is out of stakes placed winner Dawn Raid, by Vindication, responsible for three winners, including Exaggerator.
Medaglia d’Oro set the pace during the second session, accounting for all three of the top yearlings sold on Tuesday, all for a million dollars or more. He was responsible for seven yearlings sold for $5,495,000, with an average and median of $785,000 and $635,000, respectively. Only War Front, with two yearlings sold from two offered, boasted a higher average ($787,500).
A colt and filly by first crop sire American Pharoah also sold in the first session for seven figures, bringing the total of million-dollar yearlings at this year’s sale to five, up from two sold at that threshold in 2017.
American Pharoah’s first crop of yearlings continued to be in high demand during the second session, and he led his sire class by gross and average over the course of the sale, with ten of 12 sold for $5,435,000, averaging $552,500 each. Verrazano also retained his first session advantage over first crop two-year-old sires of 2018, with three offered and sold for $1,050,000, good for an average of $350,000.
Over the two sessions, 170 yearlings sold for a total of $62,794,000, up 18.5 percent from $52,995,000 in 2017 and eclipsing the record of $62,412,000 set in 2001. The average was $369,376, an increase of 8.7 percent over $339,712 last year, and second in sale history only to the 2001 record of $385,259. The median matched last year’s record high of $300,000. The RNA rate was 21 percent.
Full results are available here.
Poet’s Word may be aimed at Dubai World Cup
Sir Michael Stoute’s dual G1 winner Poet’s Word is likely to stay in training as a 6-year-old, according to Bruce Raymond, racing manager to owner Saeed Suhail.
York’s G1 Juddmonte International Stakes on August. 22 is the horse’s next target, giving the son of Poet’s Voice the chance of a G1 midsummer hat-trick, having defeated Cracksman in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and stablemate Crystal Ocean in the King George at Ascot on July 28.
The G1 Irish Champion Stakes and then possibly the Breeders’ Cup Turf are other objectives before a return to Dubai - he finished second in the G1 Sheema Classic in March.
“York is still on the agenda, as are a few of those nice races coming up, but York is what we are thinking,” said Raymond. “There’s York and then the Irish Champion, but I don’t think the Arc is really on his agenda, maybe the Breeders’ Cup. I don’t think he’d want soft ground, so the Arc hasn’t ever really been in our thoughts. The owner would like to take him back to Dubai and I’m sure he’ll be in training next year. He’ll either run in the Sheema Classic again or the Dubai World Cup [on dirt], which is very prestigious.”
… and now he’s ranked second best in the world
Poet’s Word is now officially the second best racehorse in the world, according to the latest update in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. He has been given a mark of 129, the same as Pegasus World Cup hero Gun Runner. Only Aussie mare Winx (130), who returns to action in the newly renamed G1 Winx Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, August 18, is higher.
Check out the latest ratings here.
… as well as leading the Cartier Horse of the Year race
Poet’s Word is also the clear leader in the race for 2018 Cartier Horse Of The Year honours, Europe’s equivalent to the Eclipse Awards.
The 28th Cartier Racing Awards, which will be presented in London on November 13, are decided through a combination of points earned by horses in Pattern races (30 percent), combined at the end of season with the opinions of a panel of racing journalists and handicappers (35 percent) and votes from readers of Racing Post and The Daily Telegraph plus ITV Racing viewers (35 percent)
Poet’s Word leads the way with 116 points, ahead of the John Gosden-trained 4-year-old Stradivarius (96) and the Jessica Harrington-trained 3-year-old filly Alpha Centauri.
Stadivarius, owned by Bjorn Nielsen, won the two-mile G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup for a second successive year to extend his commanding lead in the Cartier Stayer category. He will collect the inaugural WH Stayers’ Million bonus if successful the G2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup at York on August 24.
More immediately, the hugely impressive Alpha Centauri (also on 96 points), takes on the colts for the first time in the G1 Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Sunday.
Stronach donation to Canadian Hall of Fame
Stronach Stables has donated 2019 breeding seasons to seven stallions standing at Adena Springs North and Shaman Ghost to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Stronach Stables and Shaman Ghost were inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and the seasons were auctioned at that evening’s Hall of Fame gala.
Shaman Ghost, a multiple G1 winner and Canada’s Champion 3-Year-Old of 2015, has moved to Adena Springs in Kentucky for the 2019 season with a stud fee still to be announced. The Adena Springs North stallions are Silent Name, Giant Gizmo, Milwaukee Brew, Sligo Bay, Silver Max, Rookie Sensation and Signature Red.
Dermot Carty of Adena Springs said, “Frank and Frieda Stronach love racing in Canada and have for over 40 years. Some of their finest memories in racing were right here at Woodbine.”
Training milestone for Wesley Ward’s father
Dennis Ward, the father of former Eclipse Award-winning apprentice and current international trainer Wesley Ward, notched the 1,000th victory of his training career on Thursday at Gulfstream Park, saddling Greely Is Back for a half-length score in the fifth race.
Ward, who has been training horses since 1983, came right back in the sixth to saddle winner Dreaming of J C, who won by three lengths. Both winners are owned by Ridenjac Racing.
The 71-year-old native of Seattle started as a jockey at Longacres in Washington State in 1962 before retiring in 1968, a week after his son was born.
Ward worked as a jockey’s agent and valet before becoming a trainer. His son, upon retiring from riding in 1989, served as Ward’s assistant before going out on his own in 1991.