LEXINGTON, KY (Ju.y 10, 2017) – Got the chance to drive out to the beautiful grounds of Fasig-Tipton this morning to check on the crowd and the horses that have been catalogued for tonight’s July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale.


The weather was picture perfect. The grounds were nothing short of Peter Williams worthy, with huge bowls of summer flowers blooming like a good 2-year-old colt at this time of year. There were teams of horse scouts searching every barn for a bargain buy. And, horses were being led to and fro, shinning like never before.


I ran into the affable and talented trainer Buff Bradley, making his way towards the barns and the horses. I saw trainer Jinks Fires circling around this horse and that one.


And, I got to chat with Fasig-Tipton’s Bayne Welker, who serves as the company’s Vice President of Sales. He was beaming. And, so he should.


This horse sale – which goes tonight and just hours before the company’s July’s Selected Yearling Sale scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday – has become an unmitigated, unquestionable, unbelievable success.


Just take a look at these numbers, since the company launched this crazy idea in 2013 that you can sell quality racehorses, at a quality marketplace, for a quality price in the middle of the summer:


  • Graduates of the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale have made over 3,500 starts for their new owners.
  • A whopping 25% of the horses they have sold have gone on to become stakes horses
  • Those horses have won – get this – 41 different stakes races
  • And, the horses sold have combined to win over $19 million in purses


It’s all right there on the back of the printed sales catalogue for all to see. But the fact that Fasig-Tipton doesn’t rush to print a book for this sale, and mail it out to customers is one of the reasons that this sale has become so successful. It gives the sales team the flexibility to take applications and entries really all the way up to the weekend before the sales event itself.


And, this year’s sale may just become the best since its’ inception. This year’s field of horses is chalk full of talent – both perceived, believed and real.


Just two hips into the sale there is Zulu, who ran second in the G2 Fountain of Youth just a year ago, and has already run a second in the G3 Skip Away Stakes this year.


Three hips in, the new team of Bradley Weisbord and partner Liz Crowe at Elite Sales – who will be making their public auction debut tonight – will lead over the 3-year-old filly Adorable Miss, who just captured the Martha Washington Stakes at Gulfstream Park. She is 3-for-3 at Gulfstream and has two stakes wins already this year (having won the Honey Ryder Stakes at Gulfstream earlier this year, as well).


Five hips in, Elite Sales will have Aquamarine – who ran an impressive second in the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Stakes day.


Ten hips in, Taylor Made Farm will offer the Graded Stakes winner Bitumen, who captured the G3 Sanford Stakes a year ago as a 2-year-old. Eleven hips in, the 3-year-old Bronson, a son of Medaglia d’Oro, who won the English Channel Stakes this year and just ran second in another at Gulfstream Stakes, will be sold by Elite.


And, the list goes on and on. There is WinStar’s Hedge Fund, who ran second in THIS YEAR’S G3 Illinois Derby. There is Insurgent, who is bred very closely to Dreaming of Julia. There is the 4-year-old King Kranz, who has already won over $315,000. There is the Stakes-placed Lady Alexandra. There is the Stakes-placed My Sweet Stella.


There seems to be something for everyone. Including me. My personal favorite is Hip 489, Sweet Ella, who is by Scat Daddy and has earned over $110,000 and is the daughter of the fabulous Sweet Monarch. She was a solid, stakes-winning filly who earned over $223,000. Most of all, though, Sweet Monarch is by the grand broodmare-sire Wavering Monarch.


This one is consigned by the husband-wife team of Craig & Holly Bandoroff, as agent. And, she is so intriguing for so many reasons.


The Fasig-Tipton grounds were alive with the sound of horses, and those who love to buy horses. And, it was good to see the excitement in a sport that needs new ideas, new people (like Elite Sales), and new energy.


Congrats to Fasig-Tipton and its team for giving this new sales idea a try. It is fun. And, it is good.


Bayne Welker has said it more than once. “We don’t mind taking chances here. We know that sometimes we are going to try things that don’t work. But how do you know if you don’t try. And, we are going to always try.”


In this case, Bayne and Fasig-Tipton tried. And, they hit a home run.


And, that’s not an easy thing to write, say, or do in today’s world of the Thoroughbred business – where new things are so seldom; where imagination and innovation are so limited; where the phrase “that will never work” has become more than a slogan; it has become a constant reframe.


We here at The Pressbox and The Louisville Thoroughbred Society have heard our fair share of doomsday dribble, too. But, like Bayne, we are going to try. We are always going to try. And, we hope to hit a home run just like they did.