Tammy McNiven, proprietor of Twinbrook Farm in Embro, Ontario with her husband, Rob, had small dreams for a pacing filly they raised and sold on Wednesday at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
But when hip number #917, Twin B Babe, Wednesday’s sales topper at $100,000, attracted a steady stream of lookers, they thought perhaps their estimates might be exceeded.
“We bought the mare pregnant with this filly for $6 or $7,000, she was from the Hes Watching family and he was good that year,” she said. “We thought if we got $15,000 for the first foal, if it was a nice one, that would be great, but never dreamed of this.
“She was very busy with people looking at her. Casie Coleman was the underbidder and she doesn’t usually pay that kind of money, so you know how good she is. She is pretty. Her name suits her, she’s a real babe.
“She has an impeccable pedigree,” said Myron Bell, who signed the $100,000 ticket as Captain’s Court. “She looks just like her sire, Artiscape, spitting image. [Trainer] Tony Alagna is going to take her to Florida and hopefully she’ll make the races and do some good, get a record and maybe make a few dollars. In two years, she’s in the Captain’s court, she’ll be bred to Captaintreacherous. She has her partnership already, it’s Mike Gulotta, myself, Tony Alagna and Joe DiScala, a good friend of ours.”
A little earlier in the sale, Twinbrook also sold the $90,000 trotting colt Twin B Argo, a son of Chapter Seven and Anklets Aweigh to Mike Kimelman.
The new connections of Lovin A Player, hip #687 at Wednesday’s Standardbred Horse sale, never had a doubt he was the horse for them.
“We loved him,” said Linda Toscano, who signed the $92,000 sales ticket on the Roll With Joe–Lovin A Fool colt. “Wanda [Polisseni, of Purple Haze Stable] and I looked at him the first day and we loved him from the minute we saw him.
“We hoped that he’d go cheaper, but unfortunately that was not to be. He’s a beautiful colt. Mike Kimelman told me he looked as much like Roll With Joe as any colt he’s seen. He has a beautiful head and just enough “boy” in him, which I like and stood real correct. He’s just a very, very nice looking horse, pretty colt.
“He will be going to Pinehurst, I’m training down there this year. After three winters in the cold, we decided it was time.”
Opulent Blue Chip, hip #763, was among the highest selling yearlings of the day. The Art Major filly out of the Bettors Delight mare Hazes Zure Bet was sold for $67,000 to Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario.
Her Shadow Play brother, Nvestment Blue Chip (1:51.1), is a winner of over $280,000, won a division of the Champlain Stakes, three Ontario-sired events and was third in the Breeders Crown.
“She was a beautiful filly and with the colt out there, she’s got tons behind her,” said Jean Brown of Blue Chip. “We’re very excited about her. She was good sized (born February 1), beautiful filly, got a great home with Mark Steacy and wish them a lot of luck.”
“I went to the annual Blue Chip Open House and she was probably my pick of them all that day,” said Steacy. “I liked her conformation. She just had that racey look to her. I also have been racing against Nvestment Blue Chip, I’ve seen the wrong end of him a few times and I knew the family could produce a good horse like that; she looked the part and hopefully she’s a sound filly. She was eye-catching I thought. She’s very athletic, she moved nice on the video.”
Through three days of yearlings sold, a total of 1,010, the cumulative average is $30,835 and a gross of $31,143,500. In 2014, there were 1,089 sold for an average of $32,903 and a gross of $35,831,500.
Russell Williams, chairman of the Standardbred Sales Company, said, at the close of the day, “Those who brought a commercially attractive product to market were well rewarded. Therefore, this sale was like every other sale. I will say that the Pennsylvania yearlings were exceptionally low on average, I was surprised by that.”
Asked if he thought that low average was due to the current difficulties in structuring an adequate operating budget for the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and the looming possibility of a racing shutdown, he said, “I think we’re going to find out if that is the cause. The facts will develop.”