LEXINGTON, KY – With just weeks to the opening of the 2023 breeding season, the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale begins its wo-day run Monday at Newtown Paddocks with an eclectic offering of broodmares, broodmare and racing prospects and short yearlings. The auction attracted 465 entries to its main catalogue and, with the addition of supplemental entries, now features 594 catalogued offerings. Bidding begins Monday at 10 a.m.
Jill Gordon and Jacob West’s Highgate Sales consignment made its debut at last year’s Winter Mixed Sale and made an immediate impact when selling the broodmare prospect Brilliant Cut (Speightstown) for a sale-topping $750,000 to Katsumi Yoshida.
Highgate returns for its second February sale with a consignment of 10 head.
“This sale got us off to a really good start last year,” Gordon said on a windswept Sunday morning in Lexington. “We are definitely glad to be back.”
Activity at the Highgate sales barn, and throughout Newtown Paddocks, has been steady over the lst two days, according to Gordon.
“The traffic has been steady throughout the barns,” Gordon said. “We haven’t been overrun, but we have kept busy enough throughout the day today as well as yesterday. We hope to see some more activity for the remainder of the day today and into tomorrow.”
The consignment has a hard act to follow from its 2022 debut. In addition to the sale-topper, Highgate sported a perfect strike rate at Fasig-Tipton last February.
“We have a good group of horses,” Gordon said of the 2023 offerings. “We have got horses with current race form and some stakes-placed fillies. And some mares in foal to fashionable covering sires and a nice weanling from the first crop by Game Winner. So we are hopeful that we will have another good February sale. We were 10 for 10 last year and hopefully we can replicate that this year.”
Morris Back in Action
After missing the first two auctions of the new year while at home recovering from a stroke he suffered in December, Stuart Morris was back at the helm of his consignment at Fasig-Tipton Sunday. Morris will offer 17 horses over the next two days in Lexington, including the broodmare Brooke and Emory (Speightstown), a half-sister to promising sophomore and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Faustin (Curlin). The 6-year-old mare is offered in foal to Twirling Candy.
“I feel like the interest and the buyer base is very typical for this sale,” Morris said. “It’s very strong, with a deep buying base from all levels. All of our babies and mares have been well-received, it appears. So I feel like this sale will be consistent and strong like it always is. It’s always been an honest market here at Fasig in February. And I don’t anticipate any slack coming. I’ve always felt like this market is very honest and fair and you get what your horse is worth and, if you get lucky, you get a little extra. But I’ve never brought a horse out here and thought I sold it short. I think that’s going to carry on. All of the usual suspects are here and a few others that usually aren’t are in the room. It certainly feels like, for us, here in this shedrow, that it will carry on like it’s been at the previous sales in the last two years or so.”
Morris agreed the February sale’s status as the last stop, not just ahead of the breeding season, but also before the yearling sales, helps build business.
“I think for young mares and maiden mares, it creates a fervor for them,” Morris said of the auction’s place on the calendar. “If guys are trying to cover a season that they have to cover or if ‘I need mares for a stallion I stand at my farm,’ or ‘I can buy one and not have to feed it for another three months’ because we start breeding and foaling next month, instead of buying in November and having to feed it until it foals. For young mares and broodmares it creates extra demand because of the timing of it. It’s the last stop to buy those.”
Morris continued, “It’s also the last stop for yearlings. So if you have an order to fill for pinhooking or racing and you need to buy horses in that market, it’s obviously our last chance to do it. So I think both sides of that market are bolstered somewhat by the timing of the sale.”
Despite not being able to travel to Florida for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale at the end of January, Morris’s consignment sent out the auction’s top-priced lot, a short weanling colt by Tapit who sold for $225,000.
Asked if it was hard to watch the result from afar, Morris said, “It was and it wasn’t. I missed it because I missed seeing all of my friends and being in Ocala and being in the market. I just enjoy being at a horse sale. It was hard not to be there and celebrate with the longtime clients and friends who owned that horse. They’ve been supporters of me for my whole career–since I was 15 years old. So I missed it for that reason, the more personal aspect of it. Professionally, I never had any doubts that my staff would do a phenomenal job and those horses would be very well cared for and very well presented. So it was more on a personal level that I missed being there.”
Morris said he is still trying to take it a bit easy at his first sale back in action.
“It feels very good to be back,” he said. “I made a goal for myself with my kids on Dec. 28 to be here for this market. So to make that goal feels very rewarding. I am managing my energy level and my time out here. I still have to take care of myself–I am still going to physical therapy and doing all of that stuff, but it’s very great being back out here and seeing all my friends and peers. Being back out at a horse sale and smelling horses and being back at it again is very nice.”
Paddy Campion Makes Consigning Debut
The Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale marks the debut of Paddy Campion’s Dundrum Sales. The 25-year-old will offer three horses during Tuesday’s second session of the February auction.
“I have been working for Paramount forever and ever, since I was a kid,” Campion said. “Some people approached me that wanted to sell their horses and I thought, why not do it myself. I am glad I did. It’s been very fun so far.”
Campion was definitely born into the horse business. His parents, Lesley and Ted, operate Dundrum Farm in Versailles, while Lesley is the longtime accounts manager at Paramount Sales.
“The sales are my main thing,” Campion said. “I’ve always loved the sales. I’ve worked on farms. I’ve never worked racing, but I’ve always loved the sales. To have my own consignment is kind of special.”
Campion is pleased with how his three-horse consignment has been received so far at the sales grounds.
“I’ve been very happy,” he confirmed. “The yearling has been out a bunch of times. A bunch of people have come to see the two broodmares and everyone has been giving me pats on the back. We will see come the sale day. Hopefully it all comes together.”
Asked what he has learned from his parents that he will take into his consignor debut, Campion said, “I’ve pretty much learned everything from Lesley, my mom. She’s a huge hustler and she is always trying to find little things about the broodmares. She tries to find sneaky little facts that people might not know and just mention them to people in the hope that people find them interesting and they stay on people’s lists.”
And what nugget has he found for the three horses in his first consignment?
“Topanga Canyon (Lord Nelson) has nine sisters under 10 years of age and her mother is still having babies,” Campion said with a smile. “So the page is only going to get better.”
Looking ahead, Campion said, “The plan is probably to see how this sale goes and see if I can maybe round up some for October, I’m thinking.”
Campion looks to be remaining cool and composed ahead of the Winter Mixed sale.
“I don’t feel too much pressure, it’s kind of small at the moment, so it’s ok,” he said. “Come sales day, we might be talking a different story.”
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