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Bloodstock Desk: First-crop stallion stars add lustre to Fasig-Tipton Kentucky.

Byline: Janet Hickman

THE mainstream North American yearling auction season gets under way on Monday with the two-day, 495-lot

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Summer Sale.

This month, Fasig-Tipton has Lexington to itself, following Keeneland's decision to drop its July Sale. That decision was influenced by the impact of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) on the 2003 foal crop.

There is no obvious effect of MRLS on Fasig-Tipton Kentucky, but it must have had an impact on the pool of individuals from which the sale yearlings were selected. Even so, this year's auction is 32 lots bigger than the 2003 edition.

Twelve months ago, 303 lots were sold for an aggregate of $28,202,000, average of $93,076 and median of $67,000. All three sums were marginally down on 2002, but encouragingly the clearance rate of 71.3 per cent was far better than the previous year's figure of 60.6 per cent.

This sale invariably has a good record as a stakes producer. Last year's

Grade 1 winners Elloluv, Harlan's Holiday, Hollywood Story, Lion Heart, Lunar Sovereign, Take Charge Lady and Whitmore's Conn are graduates.

There has also been a spate of Graded winners this year, among them Friendly Michelle in Grade 1 company and Lion Tamer, Quinton's Gold Rush, Randaroo and St Averil at Grade 2 level.

As always, the auction starts with the New Stallion Showcase, lasting 223 lots. A list of the stallions with

first-crop representatives in the showcase can be found in the accompanying table, and they are a well-performed, well-bred bunch.

The selection procedure for this sale is generally strict, with individuals looking the part even if some of them lack fashion in pedigree terms. However, ten who particularly catch the eye on pedigree are:

249 Meadowlake

half-brother to Grade 1 Carter Handicap winner Brutally Frank.

272 Silver Deputy sister to Mayo On The Side, winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Handicap in May.

275 Unbridled's Song colt with three stakes-winning siblings, notably triple Graded winner Euchre.

296 Fusaichi Pegasus-Regents Walk colt very closely related to Marquetry, Spain Lane and Five Star Day, all by sons of FP's sire Mr Prospector.

339 A Cozzene brother to US stakes winner Our Cozzette and half-brother to the aforementioned St Averil out of Grade 2 winner Avie's Fancy.

362 Unbridled's Song

half-brother to top-class two-year-old Maria's Mon, sire of Monarchos.

382 Elusive Quality

half-sister to Grade 3 winner Cat's Career out of a Graded-placed half-sister to top-class miler Half A Year. All progeny by the sire, responsible for Smarty Jones, are likely to be at a premium.

395 Thunder Gulch colt out of smart French

middle-distance filly Danseuse du Nord, a

half-sister to Pouliches winner Danseuse du Soir. This one has definite European appeal.

413 Smart Strike

grand-daughter of outstanding turf mare Estrapade, who is also grand-dam of this year's Pouliches third Miss Mambo (by Kingmambo, like Smart Strike by Mr Prospector).

454 Dynaformer

half-brother to smart Lil's Boy from the family of Mr Prospector. This one could also have European appeal.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 16, 2004
Previous Article:Down the years.
Next Article:Bloodstock Desk: In brief.

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