Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Going Once...Anybody Else? SOLD!!

I've been working quite diligently this week on writing projects--so much so that I was in rather a state of information fatigue. Not only did I find many things I was looking for, I also stumbled upon (and trust me, when it comes to me and research, stumbling is the operative word) many more significant threads that are worthy of further exploration. Crazy how well things can go when you've got a little synchronicity and general good fortune on your side!

So after two days of disciplined writing and research, I decided a break was in order if for no other reason than to clear my head and focus my thoughts a bit. I'd seen a good deal of chatter about the Fasig-Tipton sales and when I learned I could watch them online, well, I poured myself an iced tea and settled in for the afternoon of equine fantasy.

Now I've always liked a good auction and in the past have spent many an afternoon and evening attending them--though usually estate auctions and the like where I was buying the occasional piece of cobalt Fiestaware or the odd piece of furniture to refinish for a 4-H county fair project. There was a kind of auction circuit for the local antiques dealers and you would get to know which ones were likely to bid you up and which ones would drop out quickly. Some dealers would show up and you knew you had zero chance of getting the item you'd been eyeing because they always seemed to be willing to pay well above what a piece was worth. And then there were the auctioneers. A few had really good banter and got into a good rhythm with the crowd and their bid takers. At the opposite end of that spectrum were the ones who stumbled, stuttered, lost bids, created chaos and couldn't--for love nor money--keep track of where the actual buyers were. It eventually got to be a bit of game for me and my friends when it came to one older auctioneer in particular. We'd all try to guess how long it was before he'd begin to argue with his son and daughter (who worked with him) over who had the bid and where it was. 

The atmosphere at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale of selected yearlings in Lexington, KY was classier by miles than the country auctions I used to attend. And well it should be, the horses on offer are the beautiful and (hopefully) talented sons and daughters of racing royalty. Colts and fillies sired by Medaglia d'oro, Harlan's Holiday, Street Cry, Empire Maker, Unbridled's Song, Afleet Alex, Giant's Causeway and Jazil were only the tip of the iceberg. But surely some of the buyers--those with the deepest pockets--are not so different from the aforementioned antiques dealers who are willing to pay out whatever is necessary to get the object in question: with horses it is just a more expensive proposition!

The amount of work done by all the farms and consignors has to be immense, but there was some incredibly beautifully horse flesh on display. A few others who were also watching the sales likened them to horse p@rn and I couldn't agree more--and this was high class fantasy stuff. Seeing the shiny-as-a-copper-penny chestnuts and the gleaming dark bays as they came into the auction ring was like seeing an incredible equine fashion show. And the one grey that I totally fell in love with was of course the most expensive of the sale: hip 159, a Medaglia d'Oro colt who brought $450,000. Talk about a stud...*sigh.* (Here's the Thoroughbred Times article on him.)

I sat watching how they'd enter the ring, some more jittery than others. The way the shoulders and withers rippled as the colt or filly would whinny and nicker in the ring; seeing their ears prick as they watched the assembled visitors ogling them, such fantastic stuff. Some clearly were more interested in the proceedings than others and it was fascinating to watch them stand tall in the ring like a runway model at the end of a catwalk. A few enjoyed being cheeky with their handlers and there was some pawing and stomping, but most were quite well behaved for their age, I thought. 

What is exciting to me is all the possibility that was on display these past two days. Could one of these well-pedigreed sons or daughters of a great sire or dam be the next horse to capture a Triple Crown in a couple of years? Or maybe the progeny of a more modest sire/dam combination holds the keys to racing superstardom? They've all got a lot of maturing to do and we'll get to see which ones fulfill their bloodlines and which ones exceed them. As Eva Peron (via Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber) might say...these sales are about the art of the possible. 

So now my head is filled with fantasy horses--like Velvet Brown in National Velvet. She dreamt of The Pie and the Grand National, and I've just enjoyed two days that would surely have brought an ear-to-ear grin to the face of the fictional Ms. Brown. 


Sid Fernando said...

You have a good eye, M. Btw, that gray was consigned by another tweep, @shesunskippable (Crystal), who was working the Bluewater consignment.

The Paper Tyger said...

How cool! I didn't know...I'll search her out on Twitter. That grey was just a beauty, but some really lovely specimens on display.

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