Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is high on the 2-year-old Take Charge Brandi, and will run her in the Adirondack at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.
He added her half-sister to owner Willis Horton’s stable on Tuesday by purchasing a War Front filly to top the second day of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale at $1.25 million.
Horton and Lukas are particularly fond of the mare Take Charge Lady, who is two generations removed from the bay filly they bought on Tuesday. Not only is Take Charge Lady the second dam of Take Charge Brandi, but she is the dam of Will Take Charge, who won the Travers and the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award for Horton last year.
That was more than enough to convince Lukas and Horton to pull the trigger on the filly yearling on Tuesday, which they did with the hammer nearly about to drop for $1.2 million.
“He said she’s going pretty high, and I said we’re never going to get her cheaper in her life, and he said, ‘Ah, let’s take a run at her and hit her,’ ” said Lukas, who communicated with his co-septuagenarian owner on a flip cellphone during the auction. “He’s game. He’s wonderful for the game.”
The bay filly, one of three million-dollar babies sold over the two days of the sale, is by War Front out of the Take Charge Lady mare Charming.
Take Charge Lady earned almost $2.5 million on the track, and besides Will Take Charge, she produced Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy.
Her daughter, Charming, never did much on the track, but has two very promising babies, Take Charge Brandi, who was second to Fashion Alert in the Schuylerville on opening day, and the filly Lukas bought for Horton on Tuesday.
“I got in, and then I let things cool down to see what was going on [during the bidding],” Lukas said. “We could’ve got shut out and hammered on the way down.
“There’s so much going on, broodmare of the year on the second dam [Take Charge Lady], and we’re pretty high on Take Charge Brandi. We think she’s Grade I quality.”
Don Lucarelli and his Starlight Racing partners got shut out of four horses they bid on on Monday, but got two on Tuesday, a bay colt by Majesticperfection (hip No. 129) for $215,000 and a bay filly by Congrats (No. 139) for $250,000.
“It was a little bit frustrating, because we had a couple on our list that we would’ve liked to take home, but you’ve got to have a little bit of patience and financial discipline,” Lucarelli said. “You can’t get carried away, because you don’t know if they’re going to run or not.”
Starlight spent $1.215 million on four yearlings at last year’s Saratoga sale, and $1.13 million in 2012.
Starlight rarely pays more than $300,000, and four of the horses they were bidding on on Monday went from between $290,000 and $360,000.
The sale topper on Monday was a gray or roan filly by Tapit, hip No. 81, out of the former champion She Be Wild, who sold for $1.15 million to bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Pitt.
Tapit’s progeny include Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist, who is pointing toward the Travers, and Untapable, the leading 3-year-old filly in the country.
The other yearling who went for seven digits on Monday was also a gray or roan Tapit filly, hip No. 69, who went for $1 million to Regis Farms.
The filly is the first offspring of the dam Rote, a daughter of Tiznow.
Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said he was encouraged by the fact that most of the numbers were similar to last year’s.
A total of 114 yearlings sold for $33,284,000, compared to $31,870,000 for 108 last year.
The fourth-highest seller was a Bernardini colt purchased by Darley on Tuesday for $800,000.
The average sale price this year was $291,965 and the median was 237,500.
“The average and median were almost identical to last year,” Browning said. “I was most encouraged by the depth and strength of the market. There were lots of underbidders and consistency across the board.”
The numbers on the first night were strong, especially the buyback of just seven who did not reach their reserve price, or 10 percent of the total up for auction.
Sixty-four yearlings brought a total of $18,267,000, a 17 percent increase from the same day of the 2013 sale, although average price ($285,422) and median ($232,500) were down.
Three other horses sold for at least $500,000.
Buying on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed, bloodstock agent John Ferguson bought a dark bay or brown colt by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Distorted Humor mare Passion du Coeur who sold for $675,000.
A bay War Front filly (75) sold for Blandford Bloodstock, and Ferguson paid $500,000 for a bay filly by Gio Ponti.