The Brock Talk

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Million Dollar Bids Of The Normal And Abnormal

The second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale answered two questions.

Nearly everyone approached this sale with cautious optimism after the sale company invested effort and money into elevating this once glamous auction to a return among the world's elite thoroughbred auctions. The Fasig-Tipton team courted the best consignors and bloodlines in North America and some of the top buyers in the world. But how would the market respond?

The second question is not nearly as serious, but one we've all asked ourselves. What would happen if some clown wondered in off the street and just started bidding on million dollar horses?

The increase in numbers after Monday night's session partially answered the first question. But the question was answered with authority when Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas challenged Shiek Mohammed in a bidding duel on hip 204, a colt by elite sire Storm Cat, who stood for as much as $500,000 per breeding as recent as 2007. Lukas bid while confering with Scott Ford of Westrock Stable while John Ferguson conducted the bidding for Shiek Mohammed from behind the sale ring. When the hammer finally fell, $2,800,000 lit the auction board as the sale's highest priced yearling.

When the two-day sale concluded, 160 yearlings had sold for $52,549,500, up a surprising 46 percent to the immence satisfaction of all involved.

The clown made his appearance, less the make-up and the humor, when he abrubtley bid $1 million on Hip no. 151, a filly by Kingmambo, from his seat in the front row. Buddled by the apparent lunacy of the stranger, no other potential buyers even offered another bid and the filly walked out of the ring with the seven-figure price tag.

According to Daily Racing Form, the press descended on the man who signed the ticket "Josh Mann", but when asked to provide identification he declined. Fasig-Tipton executives Walt Robertson and Boyd Browning approached the as he tried to escape the pavilion but were unable to convince the man into a private meeting. Shortly after consignor Craig Bandoroff joined the conversation, the man and friend embarked on a rapid departure from the facility despite Robertson and Browning repeatedly trying to stop them according to reports. Unconfirmed reports say the friend was wearing a t-shirt that read "I'm with stupidly".

Hip No. 151 was offered again later in the evening and brought $300,000 from Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Co. The incident potentially cost Bandoroff's Denali Stud agency and Fasig-Tipton tens of thousands of dollars and was partially attributed to the man being drunk. The other part was attributed to the man being stupid.

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