The Brock Talk

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Round Features Million Dollar Draft Picks

The athletes are young and unproven. The owners have researched them on paper for months and put the candidates through rigourous physical examinations for days on end from early in the morning until twilight. Their are potential multi-million dollar contracts involved. There will be diamonds like Peyton Manning and busts like Drew Bledsoe. Such are the similarities of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale going on Monday and Tuesday.

There too will be a Joe Montana, the 82nd player selected in the 1979 NFL draft who went on to win four Super Bowls. Perhaps the best parallel to Montana is 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, who earned $1.2 million on the tracks and countless more millions as a sire. In July of 1975, he was purchased by Karen and Mickey Taylor for $17,500 at a Fasig-Tipton auction in Lexington, Kentucky.

With apologies to football television analyst and former coach Mike Dikta, I present my Ricky Williams of the thoroughbred world. As the coach of the struggling New Orleans Saints, Dikta traded his entire draft board for the rights to select the Heisman Trophy winning Williams in the first round of the 1999 draft. Williams NFL career is best remembered for his early retirement after repeatedly violating the league's drug policy.

At the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course, Irish agent Demi O’Byrne held off Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, in an intense bidding battle and took home The Green Monkey for $16 million. Two years later The Green Monkey had his early retirement after only three races with a third and two fourth place finishes.

The most expensive yearling ever sold was Seattle Dancer (photo) who sold for $13.1 million at 1985 Keenelend July select yearling sale to the British Bloodstock Agency of England. Although the half-brother to Seattle Slew went on to become a multiple group 2 stakes winner in Europe, his career as a stallion resembled Bledsoe's NFL multiple-stop stint. Seattle Dancer had stallion duties in Kentucky, Ireland, Japan and finally in Germany.

The top draft pick so far at Saratoga is a filly by Medaglia d'Oro who sold for $1.5 million Monday night. John Ferguson, who was the underbidder on The Green Monkey in three years ago, won the bidding for the filly acting as the agent for Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai. Like the San Diego Charges drafting Eli Manning in the first round, bloodlines were a major consideration for Ferguson in considering the purchase. Medaglia d'Oro is also the sire of Rachel Alexandra.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, known for spending big money on big NFL talent, has little on Ferguson and the Shiekh in that category after Monday night in Saratoga. Ferguson signed the ticket on the other two million dollars babies as well. Both are by Preakness winner and champion Bernardini who stands at Mohammed's Darley Stud in Kentucky.

A colt out of Bird Town, the winner of the grade 1 Ketuncky Oaks on the track and a half-sister to Mine That Bird sire and Belmont winner Birdstone, sold for $1.3 million. They purchased another Bernardini colt out of Storm Beauty for $1.2 million and a colt by Belmont winner A.P. Indy for $900,000.

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Results for Monday, Aug. 10

1 comment:

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