Success Starts at Saratoga: Lawn Jockeys

LawnJockeys2.pngThe lawn jockeys in front of the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion at Fasig-Tipton in Saratoga are a longstanding tradition recognizing a selection of Grade/Group 1 Fasig-Tipton graduates sold at The Saratoga Sale and New York Bred Yearlings sale.

Each year, the lawn jockeys are painted in the silks of some of Fasig-Tipton’s top graduates and placed in front of the pavilion to greet visitors to the sales grounds. This year’s lawn jockey class features the silks of seven recent Grade/Group 1 winners, including (clockwise from top left):

MIND YOUR BISCUITS, multiple G1 stakes winner and the top earning New York bred of all time, in the colors of J Stables LLC, & Head of Plains Partners LLC, & Summers, Summers, Kisber, et al. Mind Your Biscuits was consigned to the 2014 New York Bred Yearlings sale by Select Sales.;

BOLT D’ORO, multiple G1 stakes winner in the colors of Mick Ruis & Wendy Ruis. Bolt d’Oro was consigned to the 2016 Saratoga Sale by Denali Stud;

AUDIBLE, winner of the 2018 G1 Florida Derby in the colors of WinStar Farm, with China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, and Starlight Racing, consigned to the 2016 New York Bred Yearlings sale by Winter Quarter Farm; and BATTLE OF MIDWAY, winner of the 2017 G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in the colors of WinStar Farm with Don Alberto Stable, consigned to the 2015 Saratoga Sale by Gainesway;

RUSHING FALL, winner of the 2017 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in the colors of e Five Thoroughbreds. Rushing Fall was consigned to the 2016 Saratoga Sale by Taylor Made Sales Agency;

MOONSHINE MEMORIES, multiple G1 stakes winner in the colors of Bridlewood Farm, with Mrs. John Magier, Derrick Smith, & Michael Tabor. Moonshine Memories was consigned to the 2016 Saratoga Sale by Lane’s End;

AVENGE, winner of the 2016 and 2017 G1 Rodeo Drive S. in the colors of Ramona S. Bass LLC. Avenge was consigned to the 2013 Saratoga Sale by Gainesway.

Visit the lawn jockeys out front of the Saratoga sales pavilion!






Success Story: The October Sale

Since the 2016 edition of The October Sale, sale grads have run rampant, capturing graded stakes across the country and in Canada. Among those graded stakes are five Grade 1 wins, courtesy of The October Sale’s five newest Grade 1 victors: Annals of Time, Girvin, La Coronel, Mor Spirit, and Zipessa.

Annals of Time

Annals of Time has never been off the board in five career starts, in which he has won three times. After finishing third in the Hill Prince S. (G3) in the fall of his three-year-old season, Annals of Time stepped up immediately into Grade 1 company. In his first start at the highest level, Annals of Time captured the Hollywood Derby (G1) by 1 ½ lengths over multiple Grade 1 winner Beach Patrol. After a break, he recently returned to win an allowance at Belmont.

Breeder Monticule consigned the bay son of hot turf sire Temple City to the 2014 October Sale, where he was purchased for $80,000 by Nick de Meric, agent.

Annals of Time is campaigned by owner Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence and trainer Chad Brown. He has earned $337,000 to date.


A four-time winner in nine career starts, Girvin opened his account with a maiden win on his first outing at two, and claimed his spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting gate with subsequent wins in the Risen Star S. (G2) and the Louisiana Derby (G2). However, his biggest score came this summer at Monmouth Park, when he captured an exceptionally hard fought renewal of the Haskell Invitational S. (G1) over a packed field which included McCracken, Practical Joke, and Irish War Cry.

The dark bay or brown son of Tale of Ekati was offered at the 2015 October Sale by Legacy Bloodstock. He was purchased for $130,000 by Grand Oaks.

Girvin is campaigned by owner Brad Grady and trainer Joe Sharp, and has earned $1,586,392 to date.

La Coronel

The October Sale’s newest Grade 1 winner, three-year-old La Coronel’s biggest score came just recently, on October 14, when led gate-to-wire to capture the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. (G1). Prior to that impressive victory against older fillies and mares, La Coronel was already a three-time graded stakes winner, having captured the Jessamine S. (G3) in her stakes debut at two and the Appalachian S. (G3) and Edgewood S. (G3) earlier this year.

This talented young daughter of Colonel John was consigned to the 2015 October Sale by Nardelli Sales, where she was purchased for $37,000 by Teresa & David Palmer, agent. La Coronel races for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse and has earned $585,560 to date.

Mor Spirit

A Grade 1 winner at two and a graded stakes winner at three, Mor Spirit captured the Steven Sexton Mile S. (G3) this spring at four before advancing to his greatest victory yet. Going a mile on the dirt, Mor Spirit blew away his competition by 6 ¼ lengths, clear of a full field of 12 which included Grade 1 winner Denman’s Call and graded stakes winners Sharp Azteca, Tom’s Ready, and Mohaymen, among others.

Consigned to the 2014 October Sale by Allied Bloodstock, the dark bay or brown son Eskendereya sold for $85,000 to Red Wings. He would later realize $650,000 at the following year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale when purchased by Bernard Schiappa and Michael Lund Petersen.

Mor Spirit is campaigned by owner Petersen and trainer Bob Baffert. He has won or placed in 11 of 13 career starts, including six wins, and has earned $1,658,400 to date.


Zipessa showed her class and earned G1 honors on her latest outing, capturing the First Lady S. (G1) with ease over the likes of Hawksmoor, Roca Rojo, Dona Bruja, and Dickinson. Zipessa had previously captures the Dr. James Penny Memorial S. (G3) and placed in the Rodeo Drive S. (G1) behind Avenge and the Beverly D S. (G1) behind Sea Calisi and Al’s Gal.

Zipessa, an attractive chestnut daughter of the late City Zip, was offered at the 2014 October Sale by St George Sales. She was purchased for $67,000 by Marette Farrell, agent.

A winner and a winner at two, three, and four, Zipessa has earned $783,550 for owner Empyrean Stables and trainer Michael Stidham, and is a contender for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on November 4. Thereafter, she will be offered at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale as Hip 139.

Find Your Own Success Story!

The 2017 October Sale will be held Monday through Thursday, October 23-26 at 10:00 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in Lexington, Kentucky> The full catalogue is available online now at

Saratoga Success Story: Fabulous Fillies

2017-0717_Fasig_TDN Fab Fillies.jpgThe Saratoga Sale, held in Saratoga Springs, New York, is annually the top ranked sale in North America by percentage of Grade 1 winners sold.

When it comes to the fillies who have graduated from the Saratoga Sale, it’s not just lady luck. It is a combination of pedigree, physical, and refined selection by skilled horsemen that starts when they walk into the ring at The Saratoga Sale, and culminates in the winner’s circle.


 Eventual two-time champion Tepin was purchased for $140,000 out of the 2012 Saratoga Sale consignment of Select Sales, where her consistency and laid-back personality drew Robert E. Masterson to the Bernstein filly.

“Deuce Greathouse and David Greathouse, Deuce’s father, were the first two to see her,” Masterson said about the yearling Tepin at the Saratoga Sale. “They loved her disposition, they loved the way she walked. She was a great mover. I saw her later that day. Same thoughts that they had. You know we saw her several times after that. You like to see a horse after it’s been out so many times, and how it acts, and how it’s disposition is later on in the day after it’s been handled so much and walked so much. She always carried herself the same way. There was never any change in her.”

Tepin hinted early on at her superior potential while winning the Delta Downs Princess (G3) on the dirt during her two-year-old season. But it wasn’t until she switched over to turf that Tepin truly found her stride.

At four, Tepin fired off a front-running victory in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) before clinching her first Grade 1 title in the Just a Game S. (G1) at Belmont. After a nose and a head second in the Diana S. (G1) and Ballston Spa S. (G2), it would be more than a year before another horse put their head in front of Tepin’s.

That fall, Tepin rattled her competition with a decisive 7-length score in the First Lady S. (G1) before showing the boys how it’s done in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), winning that race by 2 ¼ lengths. Tepin’s four-year-old season earned her the first of two consecutive Eclipse Awards for Champion Grass Mare.

Tepin carried her streak into 2016, kicking off her five-year-old season with wins in the Endeavor S. (G3) and Hillsborough S. (G2) at Tampa Bay. She returned to Kentucky to capture the Jenny Wiley S. (G1) and successfully defend her title in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2).

Tepin’s next appointment was oversees at Royal Ascot, where she represented the United States with aplomb as she bested colts and won the Queen Anne S. (G1) – the first American-based horse to do so. Hopping from the United Kingdom to Canada, Tepin won her second consecutive race outside of the United States when taking the Woodbine Mile (G1) by ½ length.

“In Woodbine, Canada when we were getting the trophy for winning the Woodbine Mile, we had to stop the reception because the people were shouting Tepin’s name so loud,” Masterson recalled. But above all the triumphs, Masterson stated that winning at Royal Ascot was the most memorable moment of Tepin’s career.

“First of all, we had no expectations of winning, but we wanted to go and try, and we thought that she’d done everything we wanted her to do, and it would be a great opportunity to take an American horse over there and run and perform well. But to win was simply amazing. I mean it was just unexpected, and a great trial.”

The spectacular distaffer closed out her career with runner up finishes in the First Lady S. (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), in which she was a game second by ½ length to record-setting winner Tourist. Tepin capped her phenomenal final year on the track with a second Eclipse Award for Champion Grass Mare and retired with earnings of $4,437,918.

“It’s a once in a lifetime experience in the horse business. It’s very difficult to ever get a horse like that, and have the opportunity to have one like that, and to cherish all the time with her was just outstanding.”

Stellar Wind

A $40,000 purchase by Vernan Lee Stables from the 2013 Saratoga Sale consignment of Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, Stellar Wind ultimately found the west coast more to her liking.

After breaking her maiden late in her two-year-old season, Stellar Wind shipped to Santa Anita to win her graded stakes debut in her first outing at three. A 2 ¾ length winner of the Santa Ysabel S. (G3), Stellar Wind went on to win the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) by more than five lengths.

After a successful spring in California, Stellar Wind soared through her summer, capturing the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita and Torrey Pine S. (G3) at Del Mar before finishing a neck second to multiple Grade 1 winner Stopchargingmaria in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Stellar Wind exited her three-year-old campaign with an Eclipse Award for Champion 3YO Filly.

At four, Stellar Wind found herself hard up against the great mare Beholder, to whom she finished second in the Vanity Mile S. (G1). She returned with a vengeance a month later to best that counterpart in the Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) and Zenyatta S. (G1).

Stellar Wind returned in top form this year, winning the Apple Blossom H. (G1) at Oaklawn and Beholder Mile (G1), named after her rival of the previous year, at Santa Anita. She remains in trainer with John Sadler for owner Hronis Racing.



Consigned by Gainesway to the 2013 Saratoga Sale, Avenge was purchased for $650,000 by agent Steven W. Young, who admired the filly’s pedigree and overall physical appearance.

“Obviously she’s by War Front, who I couldn’t possibly have more respect for than I do him,” Young said in a recent phone interview. “On paper she comes from an old Claiborne Farm family, and was an offshoot of horses that did very well for Lane’s End also. Then you go to her physically, she was very strong over her back, she had a great shoulder, great balance. Physically she’s always been special, and she was special then.

“[Owner Ramona Bass] liked her immediately. As I said she was a beautiful filly that stood over ground and had a lot of good aspects from both sides of her family. Ramona liked her a lot the first time she saw her.”

A stakes winner at Santa Anita at three, Avenge really came into her own at four, when she notched her first graded stakes win in the John C. Mabee S. (G2) at Del Mar over eventual Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) winner Finest City. A month later, Avenge got the jump on the rest of the field right at the start of the Rodeo Drive (G1) and never looked back, cruising from gate to wire on the lead to win by ¾ length.

“We’re fortunate enough that most of the people that I buy for, they’re not my clients, they’re my friends,” Young said. “When you have a horse that you pay that kind of money for come to fruition on the racetrack, it makes everything worth the effort and the time, and it’s very, very special.”

Twice Grade 1-placed behind the exceptional Lady Eli since the Rodeo Drive, Avenge is currently in training with Richard Mandella for owner Ramona Bass.


Consigned to the 2014 Saratoga Sale by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, Songbird was a $400,000 buy for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm.

A year later, Songbird took flight in her very first start, winning a maiden special weight at Del Mar by 6 ½ lengths. She immediately followed that with a move up to Grade 1 company in the Del Mar Debutante (G1), blowing away the field in a swift 5 ¼ length victory. Twenty-one days later she contended the Chandelier S. (G1), and even after being bumped at the start, she pulled ahead of her rivals and led the field from gate to wire, dominating by 4 ½ lengths.

Those victories set her up for the most dominating score of her career to that point, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), where she triumphed over fellow Grade 1 winners Rachel’s Valentina and Nickname, along with a number of other talented graded stakes winning fillies, by 5 ¾ lengths. At the end of her two-year-old season, Songbird was honored with the distinction of Eclipse Award 2015 Champion 2YO Filly.

With expectations high as she soared into her sophomore year, Songbird did not disappoint, knocking down seven consecutive graded stakes races – four of which were Grade 1events – and never finished less than 3 lengths ahead of her competitors.

Starting at her home base on the west coast, she won the Las Virgenes S. (G2), Santa Ysabel S. (G3), Santa Anita Oaks (G1), and the Summertime Oaks (G2), before taking the east coast by storm. Undaunted by the ominous “Graveyard of Champions” title that is synonymous with Saratoga, Songbird won the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) by 5 ¼ lengths before blowing away the field of the Alabama (G1) by 7.

Her win in the Cotillion S. (G1) at Parx was followed by a valorous performance in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita. The stretch run was one of the most exciting in the Breeders’ Cup to date, as Songbird set the pace and led the field into the stretch, digging in with determination to face the challenge of four-time champion Beholder, and only losing by the barest nose in the final bow of the older mare’s racing career.

After being awarded another champion title, Eclipse Award for Champion 3YO Filly, along with a well-deserved six-month rest from the races at WinStar Farm, Songbird fired off dual Grade 1 victories. In her four-year-old debut, she won the Ogden Phipps S. (G1) at Belmont on June 10, and followed that score with a win in the Delaware Handicap (G1) a month later at Delaware Park. To date, she has earned $4,562,000 for owner Fox Hill Farm and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.


Find Your Own Success Story!

 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


Saratoga Success Story: Find Your ‘Jewel’ at Saratoga!

Tapwrit wins the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 9, 2017.

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

Throwback Thursday: Take Charge Lady

“Definitely the Dehere filly”

Hip 428, The July Sale (2000)

In mid-July of 2000, trainer Kenny McPeek had a choice to make. He was torn between two yearling fillies on offer at the Fasig-Tipton July Summer Selected Yearling Sale: one by Saint Ballado, the other by Dehere. Before either filly went through the ring, McPeek sought advice from colleague Dominic Brennan:

“Definitely the Dehere filly.”

The July Sale is known for offering precocious young athletes, a standard well met by the Dehere filly, then known only as Hip 428. The February foal’s catalogue page didn’t have an overwhelming amount of blacktype: the first stakes winner on the page was under the third dam, and through four dams there were no graded stakes winners on display.

When asked what first drew him to Hip 428, McPeek said plainly, “The truth is she didn’t have much page… but she was pretty striking. She was a beautiful filly with a lot of leg to her.”

McPeek purchased the bay filly from the Bluewater Sales consignment for $175,000 on behalf of owner Select Stable.

“I just had to hang on”

Hip 428, named Take Charge Lady, was sent to Another Episode Farm in Ocala, FL for her early training. She arrived in McPeek’s barn in the spring and broke her maiden, a 4 ½ furlong affair, in April by 4 ¼ lengths after a single work.

“Tony D’Amico ended up riding her,” McPeek recalled, noting that the jockey originally scheduled to pilot Take Charge Lady in her debut chose a different mount in the race. “Tony said, ‘I just had to hang on.’ And I specifically didn’t run her short ever again after that first race. She was too fast.”

Given the remainder of the spring and summer to mature, Take Charge Lady posted an easy allowance win in September and captured the Alcibiades S. (G2) her third time out.

“Good horses work on a different set of numbers”

AE_AshlandTLC web
Take Charge Lady wins the 2001 Ashland S. (G1). Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Take Charge Lady took the winter off and returned to the track victorious early in her sophomore season, winning the Silverbulletday S. (G3) by 8 ½ lengths in February. Three weeks later, she was five lengths the best in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). A month after that, she dusted her rivals by 4 ½ lengths on her way to winning the Ashland S. (G1), the first of her three wins at the Grade 1 level.

“It was a great ride,” said McPeek of the spring leading up to the Kentucky Oaks (G1). “She was so freaky earlier in the season. I remember working her one day in company with Repent (also a GSW July Sale grad) and they worked so fast it scared me. Then I had an old experienced trainer tell me, ‘Don’t worry about it. Good horses work on a different set of numbers.'”

Take Charge Lady came up just about a length short as the favorite in the Oaks, but came back just three weeks later to capture the Dogwood S. (G3) before taking a brief refresher.

In the fall of her three-year-old season, Take Charge Lady captured the Spinster S. (G1) against older fillies and mares, then took the listed $201K NTRA Great State Challenge Distaff Invitational S. easily in her last start of the season.

“A lot of people told us not to go to that race”

Take Charge Lady ran second to a trio of talented fillies and mares in her first three starts of her four-year-old season, yielding to future Hall of Famer Azeri in the Apple Blossom H. (G1) in April, eventual seven-time Grade 1 winner Sightseek in the Ogden Phipps H. (G1) in June, and eventual four-time Grade/Group 1 winner Wild Spirit in the Del Mar H. (G2) in July.

Of the match-up with Azeri, McPeek recalled that there were those around him urging him not to put his filly up against eventual four-time champion and Hall of Famer, whose win streak at the time was sitting at seven.

“A lot of people told us not to go to that race. It’s still one of the greatest races I’ve ever been involved in,” said McPeek. “They were just nose-to-nose the last quarter of a mile and, of course, Azeri got [Take Charge Lady] last jump. But, you know, that was a fun day. We were trying to break Azeri’s win streak.”

Take Charge Lady returned to her winning ways with an emphatic 10 ½ length victory in the Arlington Matron H. (G3) in September. She then successfully defended her three-year-old victory in the Spinster S. (G1) with a repeat win that October.

“They’ll make their own pedigree if they’re any good”

Catalogue page for Lady Take Charge, out of Take Charge Lady

 Take Charge Lady was retired after her four-year-old season with a record of 11 wins and seven seconds in 22 starts and earnings of $2,480,377. She was bred to Seeking the Gold and offered in foal to that sire in the fall of 2004, where she sold for $4.2 million to Eaton Sales.

Charming, her first foal, was born two months later. That filly was a $3.2 million yearling purchase who broke her maiden first time out before suffering a career-ending injury and retiring to the breeding shed. Not for naught, however, as Charming went on to produce Take Charge Brandi, 2014 Eclipse Champion 2YO Filly and Grade 1 winner of more than $1.6 million.

Take Charge Lady’s 2009 foal, a colt by the name of Take Charge Indy, by A.P. Indy, captured the Florida Derby (G1) in his sophomore season and the Alysheba S. (G2) at age four. His first foals are two-year-olds of 2017.

In 2010, Take Charge Lady produced Will Take Charge, an exceptional son of Unbridled’s Song, who took home Eclipse Champion 3YO Colt honors in 2013. A multiple Grade 1 winner of over $3.9 million, Will Take Charge’s championship season was a display of exceptional durability and consistency: he started 11 times, won five graded stakes, including the Travers S. (G1) and Clark H. (G1), and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), a nose behind multiple Grade 1 winner Mucho Macho Man in a stretch drive for the ages. Will Take Charge’s first weanlings sold for up to $350K last fall, and four of his first yearlings are catalogued in the 2017 July Sale.

Take Charge Lady has also been responsible for a $2.2 million yearling (2012 filly, I’ll Take Charge) and a $3.2 million weanling (2015 filly, Lady Take Charge). Overall, she has produced six winners from seven starters, one champion, and two Grade 1 winners.

The 2017 July Sale will be held Tuesday, July 11 at 10 AM. The catalogue is available online at

Well ‘Connect’ed: July Sale Success Story

“Very athletic-looking” with a nice pedigree was how agent Chris Brothers, who represents Paul Pompa Jr. at most sales, described the yearling Connect at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton July Sale of Selected Yearlings.

Known only as Hip 117 at the time, a dark bay or brown colt consigned by VanMeter Sales who Brothers had short-listed for Pompa. On July 14, the Curlin yearling out of Holy Bull mare Bullville Belle, walked into the Fasig-Tipton sales ring, pricked his ears as he studied the crowd, and walked out belonging to Pompa for $150,000.

Later named Connect, the colt broke his maiden by four lengths in May of last year at Belmont Park for trainer Chad Brown. After an allowance victory at Belmont on June 11 of his three-year-old season, Connect shipped north to Saratoga to run in a race named after his prolific sire: the Curlin Stakes. Not only did the gate-to-wire victory and the significance of the race’s name provide a thrill for Pompa, but the performance was telling of what was to come later that fall and into the following year.

“This might be the second best horse I’ve ever owned,” said Pompa – who also owned dual classic winner and Fasig-Tipton-sold yearling Big Brown – to The Saratoga Special after Connect’s win in the Curlin. “Early in the year, Chad had talked about timing it for this, because he knew this horse was special, we wanted to use this to get a race over the track, let’s hope that we show up for the Travers.”

In hindsight, Pompa echoed those sentiments during a recent phone conversation about Connect.

“I think the Curlin was a nice win because it was his first stakes try, up at Saratoga, and the race he won was named after his father, Curlin,” Pompa said, citing the race as his favorite victory of Connect’s. “And then the [Grade 2] Pennsylvania Derby, and then obviously the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.”

One month after his length victory in the Curlin, Connect contended the Travers (G1), running into Arrogate, who broke the 147-year-old track record, and finishing sixth. But having already proved himself, it was no secret that Connect was a viable contender for the Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx. Running mid-pack and making a ground-covering move along the inside rail as the field galloped around the far turn, Connect dug in and fought off recent Stephen Foster H. (G1) winner Gun Runner in the stretch to win by a half-length.

Connect went on to contest the Cigar Mile (G1). He ran from off the pace, grinding down the stretch alongside Divining Rod, who matched his stride until Connect extended himself to win by a head and become a millionaire.

“When you’re an owner, and you have the horse in any kind of race and you’re a big favorite, then there’s more pressure on you,” Pompa said. “He was a big favorite in the Cigar Mile, so we knew he belonged there. And then for him to perform and to win was extremely satisfying.”

After five months off, Connect came back to the races as a four-year-old in the one mile Westchester (G3) at Belmont Park in May, leaving the field behind in a 4 ¾-length victory.

There’s something to be said about buying a yearling and watching it transform into an excelling athlete. Pompa describes it well through the process he has observed in Connect’s career so far.

“You know they’re very young, they’re yearlings, so everything has to fall together the right way,” Pompa said about searching out potential at yearling sales. “I’ve been doing this for 17 years now, so I’ve had some big horses… it is very exciting, especially when it works out.”

And for Connect, it has obviously worked out.

The 2017 July Sale will be held Tuesday, July 11 at 10 AM. The catalogue is available online at

Nyquist: Gulfstream Sale Success Story

On March 4, 2015, future Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist entered the paddock at Gulfstream Park, announced simply as “a bay colt by Uncle Mo out of Seeking Gabrielle.” After a solid 10:2 work two days prior, the handsome bay colt was popular among potential buyers, drawing a final bid of $400,000 from Doug O’Neill, agent. Nyquist was consigned by Niall Brennan Stables.

Nyquist made his first start for new owner Reddam Racing only three months selling at Gulfstream Park. On June 5, Nyquist won his debut at Santa Anita in what was then just 0.06 seconds off the track record for five furlongs. He made the jump directly to graded stakes company two months later, running away with the Best Pal S. (G2) at Del Mar by 5 ¼ lengths. Nyquist broke through at the top level in his next start, winning the Del Mar Futurity (G1) by 3 ¾ lengths before annexing the FrontRunner S. (G1) three weeks later at Santa Anita.

With four wins in as many starts in California, Nyquist shipped for the first time to Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup Championships. Under gray skies, Nyquist was bumped hard twice as he broke from the far outside 13 post, raced wide throughout, swung into the six path on the final turn, and dug in doggedly to capture the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).

Unbeaten in five starts as a juvenile, Nyquist took a brief winter break, during which he was named Eclipse Champion 2YO Male of 2015 by an astounding 255 votes. He returned to his home base at Santa Anita for his sophomore debut, which he dispatched future Grade 1 winner Exaggerator by 1 ½ lengths in the San Vicente S. (G2).

Nyquist returned to Gulfstream Park in April 2016 to go head-to-head with fellow unbeaten sophomore Mohaymen, who had annexed the two G2 Derby preps at Gulfstream in January and February. In a race that was touted as a heavyweight fight, Nyquist captured the Florida Derby (G1) easily, leading from the second call on to win the race by 3 ¼ lengths.

On May 7, Nyquist went to lucky post 13 to contest the Run for the Roses. After patiently tracking the pace from the outside, Nyquist took the lead in the stretch and never looked back. He won by 1 ¼ lengths over a field which included no less than 14 then-or-future graded/group stakes winners, including G1 winners Exaggerator, Gun Runner, Body’s Cause, Mor Spirit, Creator, and Outwork.

Nyquist retired with a record of eight wins in 11 starts and earnings of $5,189,200. He is currently standing his first season at stud at Darley in Lexington, KY.

The 2017 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training will be held Wednesday, March 1 at 4 PM in the paddock at Gulfstream Park. The under tack show will be conducted on the main track beginning at 10 AM on Monday, February 27. The catalogue is available online.

A ‘Stellar’ Year for Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale Grads

What do last year’s Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, this term’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) victress, and this year’s Stephen Foster H. (G1) winner have in common?

They all sold at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale.

With no fewer than three Grade 1 winners among its currently performing graduates, the Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale boast 60 stakes wins since the beginning of 2015, led by 2015 Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Stellar Wind, 2016 Kentucky Oaks (G1) victress Cathryn Sophia, and 2016 Stephen Foster H. (G1) winner Bradester.

Stellar Wind

 A graduate of the 2013 Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale, Virginia-bred Stellar Wind began her career in Maryland, where she broke her maiden at Laurel Park in her second start. Relocated to California for the winter, Stellar Wind began to truly shine at Santa Anita. She checked all the boxes in her first start in graded company, winning the Santa Ysabel S. (G3) by an easy 2 ¾ lengths.

Stellar Wind leapt into the spotlight in April when capturing the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) by 5 ¼ lengths after a difficult start and a three-wide trip. After making the best of an extremely wide trip in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Stellar Wind returned to her winning ways in the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita where she prevailed by a nose after racing four-wide throughout. She won the Torrey Pines S. (G3) from the inside by 4 ¼ lengths in her final start before the Breeders’ Cup. She came up just a neck short to Stopchargingmaria in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) after taking the turn seven wide and hooking up with the eventual winner in a gritty duel to the wire.

Honored as the Eclipse Champion Three-Year-Old Filly for her efforts, Stellar Wind took a break and returned to California full of swagger. A gutsy runner who never once backed down from the competition, Stellar Wind took on three-time Champion Beholder in the Vanity Mile S. (G1), giving that older foe a run for her money in early June. In late July, Stellar Wind was able to turn the tables in the Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1), finishing a half-length ahead of the future Hall of Famer with the remainder of the field, including two Group 1 winners, nearly 10 lengths back. With her victory, Stellar Wind became the first horse to beat Beholder in more than two years.

Stellar Wind is the 6th highest earning filly among her foal crop. She is expected to go up against Beholder again in the Zenyatta S. (G1) on October 1.

Cathryn Sophia

A graduate of the 2014 Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale, Cathryn Sophia kicked off her career with four straight wins, including two graded stakes. This Maryland-bred began her career in Pennsylvania, where she dispatched eight other juvenile fillies by nearly 13 lengths in a maiden special weight at Parx.

Bumped up to stakes company in her second start, Cathryn Sophia demolished her contemporaries by more than 16 lengths in the Gin Talking S. at Laurel Park. Shipped to Florida for the winter, Cathryn Sophia broke slowly in the Forward Gal S. (G2), winning nevertheless by a margin of 5½ lengths under a hand ride. Racing wide, she took the Davona Dale S. (G2) by 7 lengths in her next start.

After coming up just short in her first try over eight furlongs, Cathryn Sophia entered the gate for a wide-open Kentucky Oaks (G1). Overcoming a wide post and doubters alike, Cathryn Sophia cruised in the Oaks, saving ground to the inside before swinging wide to join the leaders and winning under a hand ride. Returning to Pennsylvania, she captured the Princess of Sylmar S. by 6½ lengths. She has also placed in the Acorn S. (G1) and the Cotillion S. (G1) this year.

Never off the board in seven career starts, Cathryn Sophia is the second highest-earning filly of her foal crop in 2016, behind only the incomparable Songbird.


 A graduate of the 2011 Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale, Bradester took a little longer to get going than his female cover stars. On the board in his first eight starts, with three wins in maiden and allowance company, Bradester broke through at four when winning the Mineshaft H. (G3). After runner-up finishes to Itsmyluckyday in the Salvator Mile S. (G3) and to Valid in the Monmouth Cup S. (G2), Bradester captured the Ack Ack H. (G3) in the fall of his four-year-old season.

At five, Bradester returned to clear up some unfinished business, this time winning both the Salvator Mile S. (G3) and the Monmouth Cup S. (G2), both times defeating rival Valid. Returning to Monmouth to open his six-year-old season, Bradester brought home the Majestic Light S. in what would be a prelude to his biggest score. Leading the way from the four path, Bradester fought valiantly and prevailed in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) at Churchill Downs over a field which included Grade 1 winners Majestic Harbor and Effinex and Canadian Champion Older Horse Are You Kidding Me. He followed that win with a facile victory in his third running of the Monmouth Cup S. (G2).

A sound and consistent racehorse, Bradester has raced 25 times to date, with 10 wins, 6 seconds, and 2 thirds. He is a winner at ages 3, 4, 5, and 6 with earnings in excess of $1.1 million.

Find Your Own Success Story!

The 2016 Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale will be held Tuesday, October 4 at 10 a.m. at the Maryland Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD. The full catalogue is available online now at

2016 Saratoga Cover Story: Part 3/3

What does it take to be a cover horse? Let this year’s class of Saratoga Sale cover horses show you!

Graded Stakes won by 2016 Saratoga Sale cover horses so far in 2016:

Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2) – Le Bernardin
Las Virgenes S. (G2) – Songbird
Endeavor S. (G3) – Tepin
Santa Ysabel S. (G3) – Songbird
Gulfstream Park H. (G2) – Blofeld
Hillsborough S. (G2) – Tepin
Santa Anita S. (G1) – Songbird
Bay Shore S. (G3) – Unified
Jenny Wiley S. (G1) – Tepin
Churchill Distaff Turf Mile S. (G2) – Tepin
Peter Pan S. (G2) – Unified
Woody Stephens S. (G2) – Tom’s Ready
Queen Anne S. (G1) – Tepin
Summertime Oaks (G2) – Songbird
CCA Oaks (G1) – Songbird
Clement L. Hirsch S. (G1) – Stellar Wind

In Case You Missed It: Part 1 Part 2

2016 Saratoga Cover Story: Part 2/3

What does it take to be a cover horse? Let this year’s class of Saratoga Sale cover horses show you!

Graded Stakes won by 2016 Saratoga Sale cover horses in the second half of 2015:

Vanderbilt H. (G1) – Rock Fall
Haskell Invitational S. (G1) – American Pharoah
Torrey Pines S. (G3) – Stellar Wind
Del Mar Debutante S. (G1) – Songbird
Summer S. (G2) – Conquest Daddyo
Chandelier S. (G1) – Songbird
Vosburgh S. (G1) – Rock Fall
First Lady S. (G1) – Tepin
Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) – Tonalist
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) – Songbird
Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) – Tepin
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) – American Pharoah
Cigar Mile H. (G1) – Tonalist

Check back later today for part 3!

In Case You Missed It: Part 1