When Paola Queen won the Grade I Test at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 6, 2016, the $300,000 winner’s share of the purse from that one race represented almost 70% of her eventual career earnings as a racehorse.
Her short career as a broodmare has produced much more eye-popping numbers.
On Tuesday, a yearling colt out of Paola Queen sold for a whopping $2.6 million at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion to blow away the competition as sale topper at the 100th edition of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings sale.
The bay colt, by the star sire Into Mischief, was purchased by Michael Vincent Magnier as agent for powerhouse Coolmore.
It was the highest price for a yearling at this sale since John Ferguson, representing Godolphin Racing, bought a Storm Cat colt for $2.8 million at the 2009 Saratoga sale.
The Into Mischief colt helped Fasig-Tipton enjoy big numbers that were nearly identical to 2019, when the auction company averaged $411,459 per yearling sold, a record in the history of the sale. This week, the average was $408,556 for 135 yearlings sold and a median of $350,000, identical to 2019. Last year during the pandemic, the sale was canceled, and the horses meant to be catalogued for Saratoga were folded into a special fall sale in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I think we witnessed the magic of Saratoga tonight,” Fasig-Tipton president and CEO Boyd Browning Jr. said. “Whatever adjectives you want to use to describe … fantastic, vibrant, energetic, dramatic … you’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again, it all begins with the quality of horses on the sales grounds. We were lucky to have an exceptional group. You could feel the buzz growing.
“It was a near-record sale in every statistical evaluation. And to accomplish that, coming off a disruption in 2020, I think it’s frankly remarkable.”
Into Mischief and Uncle Mo were the two heavyweights among sires.
There were 14 Into Mischiefs sold for an average price of $577,143, and 10 Uncle Mos went for an average of $542,000, including one that sold for $1.6 million on Monday.
There was a long series of back-and-forth bids on the Into-Mischief-Paola Queen colt before Coolmore finally secured him for $2.6 million, just the second time since the Storm Cat colt of 2009 that a yearling price reached at least $2 million.
“When we saw him on the farm, we were like, ‘This is a got-to-have horse,’ ” Browning said. “I mean, he was a majestic physical individual. When he walked out of the stall, you’re like, ‘Dear God, please send him to Saratoga.’ He had the pedigree, and he had the wow physical [make-up]. We’ve known from Day 1 that he was cut out to be a special horse. “You don’t know in April how they’re going to finish and how they’re going to mature in the next four months. But he was a special horse.
“The Bolt d’Oro was a special horse. The day we walked on the farm, my mouth fell open. The guys on my team were giving me a wink and a nod, like, go after him right now.”
A Bolt d’Oro colt by Lotta Kim who is a half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra went for $1.4 million on Tuesday to Larry Best of OXO Equine.
The seven-digit Uncle Mo yearling sold on Monday was out of Bobby Flay’s mare Dame Dorothy.
There was a fourth yearling who commanded seven digits, a Quality Road filly out of Above Perfection who went for $1 million to Kindred Stables. Above Perfection has also produced 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Hot Dixie Chick, who won the Schuylerville and Spinaway at Saratoga in 2009.
The recent Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018), were both represented at the sale, Justify with yearlings from his first crop of foals.
On Monday, a colt sired by American Pharoah out of Randies Legend and a filly out of Funfair went for $300,000 and $700,000, respectively.
Justify had a more substantial presence, with four yearlings sold for an average of $567,500.
American Pharoah ($100,000 stud fee) and Justify ($125,000) both stand at Coolmore’s farm, Ashford Stud, in Versailles, Kentucky.
The first crop by Gun Runner has been on a torrid streak of victories since May, including Wicked Halo’s impressive win in the Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.
The 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner had two yearlings in on Monday, a Wembley colt who sold for $550,000 and a Dayfa colt who sold for $850,000.
Constitution, who sired 2020 Belmont Stakes and Travers winner Tiz the Law, had two yearlings in Monday’s half of the sale. A colt out of Welcome Speech sold for $385,000, and a colt out of Coquihalla went for $300,000 to a group that includes Starlight Racing.
Tiz the Law was a $110,000 purchase for the Saratoga Springs-based Sackatoga Stable at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale, which is scheduled this season for Sunday and Monday.
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