‘Proper’ Quality Road Colt Brings $1.5 Million To Lead First Session Of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale

Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds knew he needed to pay attention to Hip 211 of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds In Training Sale when consignor Eddie Woods described the Quality Road colt as a “proper horse.”

It might not sound like an open-throated endorsement of an animal, but in the shorthand of his relationship with Woods, it said everything he needed to know.

“Those Irish guys, when they throw that term out, that’s a good indication,” Finley said. “They’ll say ‘He’s a nice horse,’ but when they push it to the next level and talk about this being a ‘proper horse…’ The fact that he did it so well, and he’s a big, strong horse that worked :10 flat. You take a look at him, and he’s not supposed to work that fast.”

So, what constitutes a “proper horse” to Eddie Woods?

“A proper horse is a horse that has all the attributes of being a very good horse mentally, physically, the way they move, the way they handle themselves,” he said. “You see him up in the back ring, and he’d walk beside you without a shank on. He’s been like that since he came to us. I wish they were all like that.”

Two words – and a horse that lived up to them – led Finley to outlast Amr Zedan in a prolonged bidding staredown that ended with the West Point president and CEO signing the ticket for $1.5 million, making the colt the most expensive offering of Monday’s opening session of the Midlantic sale.

It also tied for the most money spent for a colt in the history of the Midlantic sale, joining eventual Grade 2-placed stakes winner Curlin’s Honor, who sold to Breeze Easy and John Oxley in 2017. The overall record belongs to champion filly Gamine, who brought $1.8 million in 2019.

Finley stood at the back of the Timonium, Md., pavilion as the dark bay or brown colt was led into the ring, while Zedan, two days removed from Medina Spirit’s third-place effort in the Preakness Stakes, sat in the front row. Somewhere out there, an online bidder with deep pockets was also watching the proceedings with interest.

The auctioneer, looking to cut through the pleasantries, tried to open the bidding at $1 million on the colt, who breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 seconds flat to tie for the fastest effort at the distance in the under-tack show. The first raised hand ultimately came in the mid-six figures, but it didn’t take long for the bidding to float back up to the seven-figure mark.

A three-way battle between Finley, Zedan, and the online bidder carried into the seven-figure stratosphere, but it narrowed down to the two parties in the pavilion once the bidding approached $1.4 million. Zedan raised the bid to $1.45 million, and the board soon flashed $1.5 million in response. When $1.55 million was asked from the stand, Zedan waved off the bidspotter, and after one more round of asking, the hammer fell to the back of the pavilion.

After the ticket came his way, Finley joked that the battle was longer than he wanted. However, the retired Army captain is battled-tested.

“This is our 30th year, and you can’t be intimidated when you walk onto the sales grounds,” he said. “If you do, you’re going to be intimidated very quickly, because there’s a lot of money in the world. That’s the power of the partnership. I’m able to make some calls and tell people, ‘Look, I’ve got a very good prospect. I think he could be a special horse, and I’d love for you to take a part of him.’ I think this is one of those horses.”

Finley signed the ticket on behalf of West Point, but he noted a 50-percent partner whose name he declined to reveal. However, he did provide a few hints.

“He’s a West Pointer, he’s a little bit older than I am, and he hasn’t had a whole lot of success in the business,” Finley said. “He called me a couple days after the Kentucky Derby and said, ‘I want to compete in the big races.’ I said, ‘I can give you my best effort,’ and that’s what we did.

“The last week has obviously been turbulent, but up until then, I think people are looking at the Horse Racing Integrity Act as something that’ll help our business,” he continued. “I think it’s really going to attract people and investors, and it’s going to present us with a level playing field.”

After the session, Finley confirmed that Dallas Stewart would train the new seven-figure purchase.

The session-topper was bred in Kentucky by Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables, and Woods consigned him for the breeder as agent.

The colt is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Stormy Welcome, whose runners of note include stakes-placed Welcoming. His third dam is Broodmare of the Year Weekend Surprise, putting him in the family of Hall of Famer A.P. Indy, Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall, and Grade 1 winners Happy Saver and Court Vision.

Though the final price and a stallion’s pedigree might suggest the colt was born for a moment like this, Woods said that was not always the case.

“[Clay] usually sells as yearlings,” he said. “This horse was very backward as a yearling, and they weren’t happy with the way he was coming into the sale, so they scratched him. They said, ‘Give him a lot of time,’ and we discussed it, and we said ‘We’ll go to Timonium, then.’ He was always pointed for Timonium, and it was a great plan because it came together.”

It took longer than the connections might have expected, but Woods knew what he had by the time the Midlantic sale was approaching. It can be exciting to have a potential showstopper heading into a sale, but it also brings with it a crushing set of expectations.

The pressure went down immensely, though, after his under-tack performance last Wednesday.

“I was nervous before the breeze show, because I expected him to work really, really good; like, a top work, and it doesn’t always happen,” Woods said. “But, he did and he nailed it, and he galloped out fantastic. When I came back and watched the video, about a half-hour later, I couldn’t believe it. He’s the best video of a horse I’ve had in five, six years. I couldn’t stop watching it. He just nailed it, and that’s why he brought what he brought.”

The Quality Road colt highlighted an especially strong opening session of the Midlantic sale, where 170 horses sold for revenues of $15,826,500.

Monday’s average sale price closed at $93,097, the median was $45,000, and the buyback rate closed at an impressive 19 percent.

“The activity in the barn areas over the weekend was very strong,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales director. “All the people you’d want to see at a 2-year-old sale were here. You just hope that everything lines up, and this morning, people just kept coming and coming. The pavilion was full of folks, and the [Maryland State Fairgrounds racetrack] infield was full of cars.

“Everybody was just remarking like, ‘Have you ever seen this many people here?’” she continued. “We were thrilled, and luckily, the consignors were here with top horses, and people recognized that and battled for them.”

The post ‘Proper’ Quality Road Colt Brings $1.5 Million To Lead First Session Of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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