The North American 2-year-old auction season has wrapped up, and the major summer race meetings at Del Mar and Saratoga, which traditionally unveil standout juveniles, are on the horizon. Many of this season’s top lots are in training with an eye toward those race meets – including the three top-priced juveniles of the season.
Leading the way this season was a $3.65 million colt by consistent classic sire Curlin, sold to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier and undisclosed partners at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream selected sale of 2-year-olds in training. The colt became the most expensive juvenile sold in North America since 2006, and was the highest-priced horse since Fasig-Tipton moved its selected sale to Gulfstream beginning in 2015.
“I don’t think anybody was really shocked,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said of the high price tag. “You could sense and feel that he was a special colt.”
The colt, who is not yet named, is to be trained by Bob Baffert, but had not posted an official work as of June 20. He had worked a furlong in 10 seconds during the sale’s under-tack preview show at Gulfstream.
The colt is out of the winning Bernardini mare Achieving, who is the dam of English Group 1-placed stakes winner Arabian Hope and of stakes winner Counterforce. Counterforce is by Smart Strike, the sire of Curlin.
Achieving is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Streaming and stakes winners Treasuring and Cascading. Streaming and Treasuring are both by Smart Strike. Achieving’s second dam is Grade 2 winner and blue hen Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil, Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron, and Grade 2 winner Casino Drive.
A colt by perennial leading sire Tapit sold for $2 million to L.E.B., as agent for West Point Thoroughbreds, its associate Robert Masiello, and Siena Farm to establish a record price for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March sale. The New York-bred colt was already named Chestertown for breeders Chester and Mary Broman, who campaigned his dam, multiple Grade 1 winner Artemis Agrotera, as a homebred. Post-sale, the Bromans arranged to retain a one-third interest in the colt.
In a blog post on its website, West Point has announced that Steve Asmussen would train Chestertown, citing his long record of success with runners by Tapit. The colt shipped to the trainer’s staff in Kentucky after taking a few weeks in Ocala to unwind from the sales process.
“When he gets back to the barn after he trains, he wants to see everything that’s going on,” Asmussen said. “Like a lot of the Tapits, he is very intelligent and curious. Fortunately he also really enjoys and is aggressive about his job on the racetrack.”
The record price for a juvenile also fell at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale later in the season, with an Into Mischief filly fetching $1.8 million from Michael Lund Petersen. Into Mischief is a perennial leading juvenile sire and had a standout commercial season.
The filly has also been sent to Baffert, whose current runners for Petersen include multiple graded stakes winner Mucho Gusto, a 2018 Midlantic sale graduate.
“Everybody knew she was a lovely horse,” Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sales director Paget Bennett said. “Hopefully, Mr. Petersen is going to have another cover horse next year.”
The filly, who is not yet named, is out of the stakes-placed Kafwain mare Peggy Jane. She has been working at Santa Anita, most recently breezing three furlongs in 36.60 seconds on June 19, eighth best of 29 that morning.
Led by those three horses, a total of 13 juveniles sold for seven figures during the formal 2-year-old sale season from March to June in North America. Next on the list was a $1.65 million colt by Coolmore stallion American Pharoah sold at at Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream. He became the ninth seven-figure lot from his sire’s eagerly anticipated first crop. The colt, who is a half-brother to classic-placed Grade 1 winner Ice Box, was purchased by Coolmore, who has strongly supported American Pharoah.
A racetrack trainer has not been announced for the colt, who remained in training at Gulfstream following the sale and has now moved to Saratoga, with a pair of four-furlong works there.
The next-highest price for progeny of a first-crop sire on the season after American Pharoah was a $1.2 million colt by Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map, sold to Robert and Lawana Low at the OBS April sale. The Lows extensively use trainer Todd Pletcher, who also conditioned Liam’s Map.
Into Mischief finished a strong juvenile season with three other seven-figure lots: A $1.5 million filly sold to Larry Best’s OXO Equine at Gulfstream; a $1.3 million colt, now named Milano, sold to Team Casse at OBS April; and a $1 million colt sold to Coolmore at Gulfstream.
Curlin and Tapit also finished with other top lots to go along with their season leaders. Coolmore and Kaleem Shah teamed up for a $1.3 million Curlin filly at Gulfstream. The Keeneland April sale was led by a Tapit filly out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory, purchased by bloodstock agent Chad Schumer for Prince Sultan bin Mishal al Sau. The $1.3 million filly has been named Miss Tapirado.
The other seven-figure horses from juvenile sale season were a $1.2 million Medaglia d’Oro colt at Gulfstream and a $1 million Quality Road filly at OBS April, both to Narvick International, and a $1.2 million Pioneerof the Nile colt to OXO Equine at OBS March.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.