The Saratoga Sale, annually the top ranked sale in North America by percentage of Grade 1 winners sold, is known for offering the “cream of the crop” each year at its trackside location in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Over the past six years, graduates of The Saratoga Sale have captured every jewel of the prestigious Triple Crown. Saratoga grads have won an astonishing third of all Triple Crown races since 2012, exceptional for a sale which offers less than one percent of the total foal crop annually.
“Test of the Champion”
Including American Pharoah’s historic run in 2015, Saratoga Sale graduates have also captured four of the last six renewals of the “Test of the Champion.”
Tapwrit – 2017 Belmont S.
This handsome Tapit colt gained the attention of the racing industry long before he hit the track when selling for $1,200,000 at the 2015 Saratoga Sale. He was purchased by the partnership of Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Robert LaPenta from the consignment of Denali Stud.
“Tapwrit was the complete package during the inspection process at The Saratoga Sale,” said Aron Wellman, front man for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “He was a robust colt with tons of scope, yet he was extremely well balanced and had a rhythmic, athletic walk. He had terrific bone to support his considerable frame and he was superb from a conformational perspective.”
Tapwrit broken his maiden in November of his two-year-old season, following that score up shortly thereafter with a win in the Pulpit S. at Gulfstream Park. In his second start at three, he nabbed his first graded stakes win, pulling away to a 4 ½ length victory in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2).
After suffering a notably rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, Tapwrit took the Preakness off to prep for the Belmont. On June 10, the big gray colt swung off the rail to power home to a 2 length victory over the favored Irish War Cry.
“He came through for us,” said Wellman of Tapwrit’s Belmont success. “Seeing Tapwrit cross the fire first in the Belmont was a euphoric feeling… It was a dream script that morphed into reality and every facet of the journey from the moment we laid eyes on him until the moment he walked into the winners’ circle after winning the Belmont was sensational.”
Campaigned by owners Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Robert LaPenta and trainer Todd Pletcher, Tapwrit has earned $1,143,902.
American Pharoah – 2015 Triple Crown
The most notable of these Triple Crown race victories came in 2015, when American Pharoah, a Pioneerof the Nile colt who sold to David Ingordo for $300,000 at the 2013 Saratoga Sale, captured all three jewels of the Triple Crown over five exciting weeks beginning the first weekend in May. The plain bay colt was purchased by agent David Ingordo from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency.
At two, American Pharoah made a splash at the top level in only his second start, winning the Del Mar Futurity (G1) by 4 ¾ lengths and the FrontRunner S. (G1) by 3 ¼ lengths, both over future graded stakes winner Calculator. The FrontRunner field also featured next-out Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Texas Red and future Grade 1 winner Lord Nelson.
At three, American Pharoah started twice at Oaklawn Park to prepare for his “Run for the Roses,” capturing the Rebel S. (G2) by 6 ¼ lengths and the Arkansas Derby (G1) lengths in a pair of no-doubters.
On the first Saturday in May, American Pharoah captured a notorious hard-fought renewal of the Kentucky Derby (G1), finishing a head in front of graded stakes winner Firing Line and previously undefeated Grade 1 winner Dortmund (both graduates of Fasig-Tipton sales).
The Preakness S. (G1) two weeks later was run in a downpour on a track labeled “sloppy.” To counter the poor conditions, American Pharoah was gunned at the start and led at every call, eventually lengthening his lead to a handy 7 lengths at the wire.
On June 6, 2015, with the hopes of racing fans heavy on his back, American Pharoah galloped into racing history in the Belmont, triumphing by 5 ½ lengths over future Grade 1 winners Frosted and Keen Ice. The future Hall of Famer captured the hearts of racing fans across the country and thrust the sport into the national headlines from coast to coast.
American Pharoah would capture eight Grade 1 stakes and nine graded stakes in his career, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The first Triple Crown winner since 1978, he also earned Horse of the Year, Eclipse Champion 2YO Colt, and Eclipse Champion 3YO Colt honors.
Watch American Pharoah capture the 2015 Triple Crown:
Tonalist – 2014 Belmont S.
This big bay Tapit colt fetched a final bid of $145,000 at the 2012 Saratoga Sale when offered by Sweezy & Partners.
A newcomer to the Triple Crown series, Tonalist broke his maiden in January of his three-year-old season and captured the Peter Pan S. (G2) by 4 lengths over future graded stakes winner Commissioner on May 10 prior to his start in the Belmont.
Coming from off the lead, as was his wont, Tonalist surged to win the Belmont by a head, once again over Commissioner, to end eventual two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid.
Tonalist’s dam is by Pleasant Colony, who came up short to finish third in the Belmont in 1981 on his way to Eclipse Champion 3YO Colt honors. Pleasant Colony was bred and raced by Buckland Farm, helmed by Thomas Mellon Evans, whose son Robert “Shel” Evans owns Tonalist.
The younger Evans spoke with Daily Racing Form shortly after Tonalist’s Belmont victory. “It was quiet after he didn’t win,” he remarked about Pleasant Colony’s placing in the Belmont. Of Tonalist, he added, “He’s 17 hands, a great big boy, sort of like his grandfather… I’ve been in the game a long time, and I know you have to be patient, take care of the horse, and that’s what we [Evans and trainer Christophe Clement] did… Christophe had him just right.”
Tonalist returned victorious to Belmont in the fall, capturing the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) by 1 ¾ lengths over a packed field featuring current or future Grade 1 winners and V. E. Day.
The big bay continued to show his affinity for “Big Sandy” with a win in the Westchester S. (G3) in his four-year-old debut. He then successfully defended his Jockey Club Gold Cup title by 4 ¾ lengths over Grade 1 winners Wicked Strong, Effinex, and Constitution. In the final win of his exceptional career, Tonalist gamely outfinished his rivals for a neck victory in the Cigar Mile (G1).
Campaigned by owner Evans and trainer Clement, Tonalist recorded seven wins in 16 starts and earned $3,647,000.
Union Rags – 2012 Belmont S.
IEAH Stables purchased this future multiple Grade 1 stakes winning Indian Charlie colt out of the 2010 Saratoga Sale for $145,000 from the consignment of Paramount Sales.
A precocious two-year-old, Union Rags broke his maiden in July and jumped right into graded stakes company, winning the Saratoga Special S. (G2) a month later, over a field that included future Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Trinniberg. Next out, he drew off to a ¼ length win in the Champagne S. (G1) at Belmont Park, defeating future Grade 1 winner Alpha. Union Rags closed to finish a head shy of eventual Eclipse Award Champion 2YO Colt Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), defeating current or future Grade 1 winners Creative Cause, Dullahan, Take Charge Indy, and Drill.
Union Rags romped by 4 lengths in his three-year-old debut, capturing the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. (G2) easily. Placed in the Florida Derby (G1) and coming off an unlucky trip in the Kentucky Derby, Union Rags pounced on next-out Grade 1 winner Paynter late after being blocked on the rail to capture the Belmont S. by a neck.
Owner & Breeder Phyllis Wyeth put it most simply in a post-race interview with The New York Times: “It was my dream and he made it come true.”
Union Rags was owned by Chadds Ford Stable and trained by Michael Matz. The multiple graded stakes winner retired with five wins from eight starts and earnings of $1,798,800.
Find Your Own Success Story Jewel!
The 2017 Saratoga Sale of Selected Yearlings will be held Monday and Tuesday, August 7 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. the Fasig-Tipton Sales Paddocks in Saratoga Springs, New York. The full catalogue is available online now at www.fasigtipton.com.