Kentucky Derby Consignor Standings Presented By Keeneland: Swiss Skydiver Defied Conventional Auction Wisdom To Succeed

When Swiss Skydiver won the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes earlier this year, Elliott Walden of breeder WinStar Farm sent out a tweet noting that the filly had lucencies in her condyles as a yearling that put a defined ceiling on her commercial value when she was sold as a yearling.

That story was all too familiar in the history of the Select Sales consignment, which famously sold a long list of high-level runners that started with minor dings on their vet reports during the company’s operation from 2009 to 2020.

After Swiss Skydiver jumped into the deep end to test colts in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes, and nearly pulled it off with a gritty second to Art Collector, former Select Sales partner Carrie Brogden said it was just another example of physical presence and patience winning out.

“When we originally looked at our group, when WinStar decides which horses we’re going to get the chance to sell, she was originally slated for our [Fasig-Tipton] July consignment,” Brogden said. “The first time I saw her, she was this big-bodied, strong filly, and that’s when David [Hanley, WinStar general manager] said, ‘We’re actually not putting her in your July consignment. We’re gonna have to push her back to September because of the x-rays.”

The first-crop Daredevil filly’s trouble passing the vet took her from a sale for early-bloomers to Book 4 of the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, where she was offered as Hip 2997.

Swiss Skydiver drew the attention of trainer Kenny McPeek, who has staked much of his career on finding diamonds in the rough at auction by knowing what items on a vet report can be forgiven and outgrown.

“Kenny is one of the best of the best in my opinion for knowing what things he can deal with x-ray wise, and what he can’t,” Brogden said. “I think that’s why he gets so many bargains, because he has a very good hold – much more so than most of the trainers that I deal with – on what works and what doesn’t work.

“Anytime you have stuff written on the stifles or knees, you have a lot of people who don’t have a lot of experience with that,” she continued. “If people see stuff in the stifles or knees, they always get scared. When [Swiss Skydiver] was in the back ring, she stuck out as a physical filly, but even if she had 15 repository checks, it’s not like a lot of them would be passing her.”

McPeek landed the winning bid on the filly for $35,000, and she’d go on to run for owner Peter Callahan.

The price obviously seems like a bargain now for a multiple Grade 2 winner and earner of $677,980, much less one that can hang with her male counterparts. The filly’s transaction was just above the session’s median sale price of $32,000, but both sides of the exchange knew the trainer likely got a deal.

Education efforts are starting to sink in that a clean yearling vet report isn’t the only path to finding a successful runner at auction. The stories of horses that became champions with dings on their reports has become too long to deny, and Brogden adamantly drove that point home when it comes to assessing the next class of hopefuls.

“If a horse goes from a clean-vetting horse to a ‘non-vetter,’ the discount for risk, if they’re still a great physical, is built into the price,” she said. “The discount to cover that risk is built-in, so instead of paying $100,000 for a yearling and having the same training bills, the discount’s there.

“If you only want Ferraris, those are going to be different buyers. But, if you have people that are willing to buy a Ferrari with maybe a dent in the bumper at a 70 percent discount, it drives the same,” Brogden continued. “It’s what we see all the time.”

McPeek said Swiss Skydiver is likely to target the Kentucky Oaks despite her solid showing against the boys, but the Kentucky Derby qualifying points she earned for her Blue Grass effort has put Select Sales in fourth place on the Derby Consignor Standings list.

Joining Swiss Skydiver among Select’s graduates with Derby points are Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post (second choice on the morning line in Saturday’s G1 Haskell), multiple Grade 1-placed Gouverneur Morris, and Remington Springboard Mile Stakes winner Shoplifted.

Success of that caliber is something to be celebrated, but it won’t serve to build the consignment’s reputation. The partners of Select Sales announced in February that the consignment would be disbanded, ending an 11-year run that saw the operation handle the likes of champion Tepin, Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto, and Grade/Group 1 winners Dream Tree, Mind Your Biscuits, Gift Box, Promises Fulfilled, and Twilight Eclipse.

Brogden will remain in the consignment arena at the upcoming yearling sales, selling under the Machmer Hall Sales banner. She’ll be joined by fellow Select partners Amy Bunt and Tom and Michelle Mullikin. Among Select’s other partners, Andrew Cary founded Cary Bloodstock to serve clients as an agent and advisor, while Jay Goodwin joined Eaton Sales as an account manager.

The post Kentucky Derby Consignor Standings Presented By Keeneland: Swiss Skydiver Defied Conventional Auction Wisdom To Succeed appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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