Large consignments from the Van Clief’s Nydrie Stud turned up in the 1930’s and the 1934 Saratoga sale included a entire session dedicated to 46 yearlings sold by Willis Sharpe Kilmer. Post World War II saw Virginia breeders shipping their horses north by train as they built momentum up to a point where almost half of the catalog would be the Commonwealth’s famous young racehorses.
In 1948, North Wales Stud offered 17 yearlings (prominently seen in a full-page advertisement in the August 7, 1948 Blood-Horse), Nydrie Stud offered ten as well, while Abraham Hewitt offered eight, Blue Ridge Farm five and Rockburn Farm (Hubert Phipps) one.
By 1958 new Virginia consignors had popped up as James L. Wiley of The Plains shipped north with ten, Barracks Farm and Morven Stud (Whitney Stone) both out of Charlottesville headed to the Spa with eight yearlings each, Newstead Farm (Taylor Hardin) from Upperville with five and Fenton Farm (Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth Edwards) from Warrenton with two. They were joined by Pine Brook (Frank O’Keefe), North Cliff (Melville Church), Llangollen (Liz Whitney-Tippett), Blue Ridge, Morven, Kentmere, High Hope (Maria Moore) and Mrs. George P. Greenhalgh.
In the 1960’s the sales company opened the Humphrey S. Finney pavilion and Virgnians attended in droves. In some years, Virginia consignors contributed 40% of the total catalog while setting records. Noted consignors from the Commonwealth now included some old names and some new ones including Pine Brook, North Cliff, Newstead, Rockburn, Nydrie, Morven, Keswick (Mrs. E.H. Augustus), L. Clay Camp, White Oaks (Mr. and Mrs. Sam Rogers, Jr.), Mr. and Mrs. Richard Stokes, Orange Hill Farm (William M. Hackman), Kentmere, Barracks, James L. Wiley, Morton W. Smith, John S. Pettibone, Blue Ridge and Hickory Tree (Mrs. James P. Mills).
Jump ahead to 1978 and the racing and breeding industries continued to thrive. While attendance and handle was just beginning to feel the impact of more and more race days which had more than doubled the numbers run in the late 1940’s and ‘50’s. None the less, the number of runners had climbed from 22,554 in 1950 to 61,960 in 1977, and the demand for these horses rema
Many names from past sales remained in place and new consignors include the Virginia Stallion Station, the Estate of Christopher Chenery (L. Clay Camp, agent) and Verulam Farm (Mr. and Mrs. John A. Ewald Jr.).ined consistent and Virginia consignors and breeders would generate 42% (89 out of 210) of the entire catalog.
To no one’s surprise, Virginia breeders were the top four consignors with Morven leading the way selling 7 head for $2,012,000 for an average of $287,428. The Charlottesville nursery was followed by Newstead (8, $1,275,000, $159,375), Nydrie (15, $1,270,000, $84,667) and L. Clay Camp selling for Christopher Chenery’s estate (9, $1,121,000, $124,555).
As the 1970’s gave way to the booming 1980’s sale prices continued to climb and million dollar yearlings became something of a norm.
As competition for spots in the venerable auction intensified during a market boom, Virginia-breeders didn’t produce the quantities they did in the 1960’s and 70’s, but they continued to produce solid consignments and record prices.
While the total presented dropped to around 20% of the catalog in most years of that decade, Virginians continued to top the sale and set records.
In 1980, Virginia breeders and consignors sold 50 (21%) of the 233 yearlings sold. Consignors included Newstead, Camp, Keswick, Stokes, Peggy Augustus, Tyson Gilpin, Sally and Verne Hosta, Morven, North Cliff, Orange Hill, Pine Brook, Smith, Stokes, White Oak and Wolver Hill.
Newstead sold the top two fillies ($900,000 and $625,000) and Keswick the third highest, a lovely filly by Caro who fetched $565,000.
In 1982, Virginians played a key role selling both the highest priced colts and filly. Setting a new record for a filly sold at Saratoga, Richard G. Stokes’ filly by The Minstrel, out of Directoire was sold to E.P. Taylor of Northern Dancer fame. Not to be out done, Newstead and Morven sold the two highest priced colts. Newstead sold an Alleged colt, out of Gull’s Cry, to Woody Stephens of Belmont Stakes fame for $1 million. Stephens purchased the colt for Virginians Mr. and Mrs. James P. Mills of Hickory Tree Farm in Middleburg.
Saratoga set more records in 1982, and Virginians were prominent as always. The average jumped from $160,597 to $176,144 and Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables broke the record for a filly set just a year early by Richard Stokes’ The Minstrel filly and set the world record for a filly in the process.
After spirited bidding from prominent Arab buyers, Khaled Abdullah and Shaikh Mohammed, the bay filly by the Minstrel, out of Treasure Chest by Rough ‘n’ Tumble, was knocked down for a final bid of $2.1 million. Keswick would wind up the leading consignor selling four horss for $2,550,000 averaging $637,500 each.
Undaunted, Morven Stud, now under the guidance of Anne M. Stone, sold the top priced colt out of their grand mare Shuvee for $1,400,000 the English bloodstock agent James Delahooke. Riding the strong market Virginia breeders and consignors were responsible for 24% of the yearlings sold.
The August 13, 1983 cover of the Blood-Horse featured a Virginia-bred colt that had sold for another Saratoga record. The yearling cover boy was by Spectacular Bid, by the stakes producing Farouche by Northern Dancer which had sold for a new record price of $3 million to Aston Upthorpe Stud. In keeping with the recent trend, a Virginia-bred filly also brought top dollar when Keswick’s chestnut by The Minstrel, out of Gurkhas Band by Lurullah sold to Michael Goodbody for $900,000.
Again in 1984 a yearling with Virginia connections graced the Blood-Horse cover. This time it was a Northern Dancer colt sold from the consignment of L.Clay Camp (and shown for the photo by well-known Virginia horsemen Noel Twyman) which topped the Saratoga Sale selling for $4.6 million to the B.B.A. Ireland.
The sale marked a crescendo for Virginia and Virginians as the next two top priced colts were Virginia-breds: Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables $4 million colt by Roberto and Newstead’s $1.4 million In Reality colt. Not to be outdone, the distaff side of the ledger was topped by Richard Stokes’ The Minstrel filly that was knocked down for a final bid $2.4 million. Camp followed Stokes’ filly in a tie with Morven each selling one for $750,000.
Camp representing Wild Oak Planation in Florida was the leading consignor with a heady average for four yearlings of $1,675,000 off of a gross of $6.7 million. Keswick was in hot pursuit selling four for a total of $5,185,000 and an average of $1,296,250. Newstead ($3,190,000) and Stokes 4 ($3,055,000) posted big numbers as the third and fourth leading consignors
The final sale totals were nothing short of astounding. Virginia consignors and Virginia-breds represented 55 of the 192 horses sold and $25,141,000 of the $47,825,000 gross. Those 55 yearlings averaged $457,109, while the other 137 sold averaged $165,576. The gross sales represented 52% of all of the 1984 Saratoga sale’s receipts.
In 1985, the Saratoga sale average climbed slightly on the strength of American buyers. The general consensus was that the overall catalog was strong as the $50 million gross and average of just over $258,000 was impacted by just five seven-figure yearlings.
Again, Virginia-consigned and Virginia-bred yearlings out sold their competition averaging $292,224. Among the 49 offered from this group was a pair of $1.6 million yearlings offered by L. Clay Camp as agent and Peggy Augustus’ Keswick Stables. The two turned out to be the second highest colt and second highest filly sold during the three sessions.
Keswick would end up the leading consignor selling seven yearlings for a gross of $3,650,000 and an average of $521,429. Newstead, with much talk about their pending dispersal coming up in November) was the fourth leading consignor selling 10 yearlings that averaged $276,900 each.
Sales of note included Newstead’s $1.25 million In Reality filly, Richard G. Stokes’ Danzig filly for $$700,000, Keswick’s Majestic Light colt for $575,000, Wayne and Susie Chatfield-Taylor’s Sir Ivor colt (consigned by Tyson Gilpin) for $550,000, Keswick’s Alleged filly for $500,000 and EMO’s Northern Prospect filly for $460,000 (a record for that sire).
By 1986, the winds of change were blowing from west to east, out of Kentucky and points beyond and arriving in Virginia with tidings of diminishing returns. With Newstead dispersed and other breeders which traditionally focused on producing commercial yearlings either scaling back or moving slowly out of business altogether, Virginian’s impact on the Saratoga sale was beginning to slide from the top of the mountain so carefully crafted since the 1940’s.
In all, 49 yearlings were presented and sold by Virginia agents and breeders with 20 of those coming mostly from out of the Commonwealth as part of another large L. Clay Camp consignment. Camp sold 20 of the 24 he led to the ring and appeared to be satisfied when he compared the results to those of his fellow consignors. That group of 49 yearlings fetched a total of $9,107,000, but yet again out sold those yearling not bred in Virginia or presented for sale by Virginia horsemen averaging just under $198,000 each and Augustus’ Keswick sold the third highest priced colt, a bay by Nureyev for $750,000.
Mark and Kitty Hardin, who had been primary players in the Newstead Farm Trust (Mark was farm founder Taylor Hardin’s son), returned to Saratoga with an offering from their new Rockburn Farm (the former Phipps farm) and Robert Smith’s Heronwood Farm made it’s spa debut with their partnership of Second Kirsmith Racing Associates.
In 1988, the year the enabling pari-mutuel referendum would pass, Virginia breeders and consigners continued to have a major but declining impact. From there forward consignors and breeders from the Old Dominion would play a major, but declining, role.
For 1988, the sale topper did have a Virginia pedigree, when the filly by Mr. Prospector out of the Newstead-bred Larida topped the sale at $1,500,000. The next Virginian on the highest priced filly list was at number 10 where the Hardin’s Rockburn Farm sold a Roberto colt for $550,000. Over on the colt’s side of tally sheet, the fifth highest priced colt would be an offering from Heronwood Farm sold to Centennial for $650,000. By Fappiano, out of Ruby Slippers by Nijinsky II, the colt would grow up to be Champion Sprinter Rubiano.
Virginians sold 18 yearlings, a heady number for any state other than Kentucky, but a low mark for the Commonwealth. Those horses sold for $3,491,000 with Augustus’ Keswick leading the way selling 4 for $1,370,000, an average of $342,500 each.
Things were not much different in 1989 as again 18 sold but now for just $2,890,000. Heronwood and Keswick represented Virginia on the leading consignors list with Smith’s outfit selling 4 for $2,000,000 and a $500,000 average for fourth and Keswick selling six for $1,265,000 averaging $210,833, good enough for seventh on the list.
Virginia buyers would make some substantial purchases as Paul Mellon’s Rokeby signed for two yearlings, a $410,000 Danzig colt and a $290,000 Fappiano colt. Morven Stud which had retired from consigning made a big purchase when they went to $700,000 for a Nijinsky II filly, and Joe Allbritton was back, buying this time as Lazy Lane Farm, purchasing two for a total of $245,000.
On Thursday, August 10, 1989, when hip #178, a filly by Deputy Minister, out of April Win (IRE) consigned by Hermen Greenberg’s Rutledge Farm (and sold by Virginian Bill Graves) was sold to WIndfields Farm for $190,000, the “Fabulous Eighties” came to a close with financial successes unmatched in any era before or since.
As the 1990’s came and went fewer Virginia horses headed north as the number of commercial breeders declined and those remaining often turned their focus to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
The September date gave yearling more time to mature and the complete catalog allowed breeders to sell all of their crop at one auction.
That said, Virginia breeders, owners and sales agents continued to return in some numbers year after year. By 1998, ten years after pari-mutuel wagering was approved in the Commonwealth only nine Virginia-breds were offered with the high bid being $550,000 by a filly by Unbridled, out of the stakes winner Bashful Charmer.
Ten years later in 2008, the number had declined to four entered and only one sold – a filly by Gulch, out of Patelin’s Legacy (a Buckland Farm pedigree) for $260,000.
Last year, one lone Virginia-bred yearling sold at the 2012 Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Again, a filly, this time by Speightstown, out of Promote Business by Capote bred by Dr. E.C. and Susie Hart’s Hart Farm sold for $200,000 to Bortolazzo Stable LLC.
This year four Virginia-bred yearlings are entered in the sale:
11 C by Speightstown, out of Art Show by Out of Place – Lane’s End, Agent for Smitten Farm. To see the catalog page in a new window, click here.
30 C by Tale Of The Cat, out of Chemise by Secret Hello – Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, Inc. (John Stuart). To see catalog page in a new window, click here.
48 F by Curlin, out of Evening Star by Malibu Moon – Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, Inc. (John Stuart) Agent for Keswick Stables/Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC. To see the catalog page in a new window, click here.
96 F by Blame, out of Miz United States by Valid Appeal – Four Star Sales, Agent for Glencrest Farm. To see the catalog page in a new window, click here.
CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR PHOTOS OF THESE YEARLINGS.