Harrisburg figures continue to climb into second session

Harrisburg figures continue to climb through second session

November 6, 2019

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Entering today’s final session, the gross is up more than $4.6 million (16.6 per cent) and the average of $69,789 is up 17.9 per cent over the first two days of the 2018 auction.

by Ray Cotolo

Trainers Robert Cleary, Luc Blais and Ake Svanstedt shelled out some of the highest dollar amounts on the Tuesday, Nov. 5 session of the Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s yearling sale at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg — all for amounts larger than anticipated but for horses that warranted them.

Cleary, in his second full year of his own training operation, led the day with the $280,000 purchase of Make My Deo, a colt by American Ideal out of the stakes-placed mare Electric Fool bred by Deo Volente Farms and consigned Preferred Equine.

“I thought he was going to be an $100,000-plus colt,” Cleary said. “I didn’t expect to have to pay so much money for him.”

While on the phone, Cleary won the bidding war as agent for Bill Peshina’s Royal Wire Products with another bidder on another agent’s phone. The price climbed higher than Cleary expected but “The owner didn’t want to leave him go,” he said. “I was going to do what the owner wanted to do.”

The colt has a strong connection to Cleary. His dam also foaled Rodeo Rock, a Rock N Roll Heaven gelding also owned by Royal Wire Products with over $700,000 in earnings that brought Cleary to prominence when first forming his own barn.

“He stands quite like him,” Cleary said of Make My Deo, “he’s a tall individual and he’s got some similar characteristics. We’ve had a lot of luck with the family and we like the horse a lot. He’s got a great body and he’s got some class to him. He’s a beautiful looker and I thought he was well put together.”

Though Rodeo Rock is a half-brother to Make My Deo, he is by far the highest-earning foal out of Electric Fool. Trente Deo, a Captaintreacherous colt, has nearly $100,000 banked followed by Cheyenne Deo, a full sister to Rodeo Rock, with over $35,000 earned. So Cleary hopes that his connection to Rodeo Rock eventually justifies the high price tag.

“It’s definitely a shot in the dark, no matter what you do. There’s no doubt about that,” Cleary said, “but I like the fact that he was an American Ideal. He’s New York and they’ve got a strong program there. He’s a very, very good looking colt and, fingers crossed, he can be turned into a good racehorse.”

Svanstedt bought the second-highest priced yearling of the session when bidding $230,000 for Delayed Hanover, a colt from the first crop of Southwind Frank bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms.

“Maybe it was too much for a first year [stallion],” Svanstedt said with a laugh. “Maybe, but I liked the horse.

“All horses are too expensive. The prices are going up the last three years, maybe a little bit too expensive.”

The colt is the second foal from Credit Winner mare Don’t Wait Up. Within his pedigree is also the Cantab Hall mare Amour Heiress, who foaled one of the Standardbred sale’s current highest sellers of the year Spy Booth (a $460,000 yearling).

“The family of the mother, it’s very good.” Svanstedt said. “For me, it was a very good family.

“He was a good-looking horse,” Svanstedt also said. “I liked his conformation… and Southwind Frank is interesting, also. I liked Southwind Frank’s babies. They looked good, a lot of them. It was the family of the mother. It’s very good. For me, it was a very good family.”


Trainer Luc Blais caught the eye of $190,000 purchase Donna Soprano — the fourth highest on the day — long before the sale. Blais — purchasing the filly consigned by Preferred Equine for Serge Godin’s Determination Inc. — visited Donna Soprano at White Birch Farms, where she was bred, and said that he instantly felt a connection.

“When I saw this filly… it’s a package, you know,” Blais said. “I see a few things and the first thing is the animal and the connection. You need to like what you train. I believe that. It’s a long process and you need to have a good feeling in the beginning, I think.

“It’s life, you know, you work with life. You need to have a good feeling about the animal. I like her. It was one of the ones I liked most. That’s the one I would like to have.”

Sired by Donato Hanover, Donna Soprano is the third foal out of 2010 O’Brien Older Trotting Mare of the Year Windsong Soprano. Her half-brother Tony Soprano won the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final as a 2-year-old and her half-sister Jula Shes Magic recently won the OSS Super Final for two-year-old fillies.

“We like the animal and if you see the pedigree, it’s a nice pedigree,” Blais said. “I see the filly of June or July, he’s got a filly there [Jula Shes Magic]. She raced in Ontario and I saw her race and she was very competitive.

“She looked like a professional right now,” Blais also said of Donna Soprano. “I brought my veterinarian to check her and she was the type of horse that we like, you know, the attitude of the horse that we like.

Blais said, had he not purchased the filly, “I would be disappointed then.”


“Last year on all Day 2 we averaged $39,816 for Tuesday alone,” said Standardbred Sale CEO and treasurer Pete Spears. “This year, so far, without it being at the end of the sale, right now for Tuesday alone, we’re averaging $44,680. So, that’s a very healthy increase.”

After all 300 yearlings sold Tuesday, the average price rose slightly to $44,750, grossing $13,425,000 on the day. This year’s second-session total gross rose $1.3 million (up 11 per cent) from the gross in 2018 of $12,095,000.

Cumulatively, the 2019 sale has so far grossed $32,652,000, up $4,655,000 (16.6 per cent) from 2018’s two-day gross of $27,997,000. The overall yearling-price average through the two days also went up to $69,769, a 17.9 percent increase from the 2018 two-day average of $59,190.
“People still need horses and people are still slugging, so I think tomorrow will continue to be strong,” Spears said. “Obviously, the more modest horses are always on Wednesday, but this is the last sale and it’ll be the last day of the last yearling sale so I think it will continue all the way to the end.


This year marked the first yearlings from Hanover studs Bar Hopping and Betting Line to hit the sales ring.

“I think sale-wise both of them are averaging better than I thought,” said Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Hanover’s executive vice president and syndicate manager. “We have utmost confidence in both of them to be good stallions, but as far as sale yearling price… they are first-crop stallions. Betting Line at $10,000 and Bar Hopping at $6,500, they are not the most expensive first-crop sires out there, so I think for Bar Hopping, especially, to be doing what he’s doing with a stud fee of $6,500 is amazing. You don’t often get a first-crop sire with a stud fee of $6,500 that averages what he’s averaging.”

A total of 18 Bar Hopping yearlings have entered the ring through the first two sessions and sold for an average of $64,278. Betting Line, meanwhile, has had 52 progeny sell for an average $58,231 — a couple hundred dollars less than the average-yearling price of his sire Bettor’s Delight’s prospects.

“And the Betting Lines are.. I mean, they are fabulous looking. Everyone loves them,” Jablonsky said. “We’d have to look this up, but I believe he’s the second-leading pacing sire average behind Somebeachsomewhere [EDITOR’S NOTE: Betting Line is the third-leading pacing sire. Somebeachsomewhere does lead but Bettor’s Delight has the second-highest average. Western Ideal does have an average of $59,000 but has only had two yearlings sell.] That is just amazing for him, so we’re super, super excited. They are getting into the right hands and they are going to get staked well. They are going to have every chance in the world to have good horses.”

Hanover’s sales for the second session this year rose about 10 per cent from 2018 said Dr. Jablonsky. Through 155 yearlings, Hanover yearlings have sold for an average of $80,335, which is the third highest of all consignments. Concord Stud Farm, selling 54 yearlings through the two days, have averaged $102,759 while Fair Winds Farms, selling only 15 yearlings, have averaged $101,600.

Through two days of improved figures, Dr. Jablonsky thinks the strong numbers should continue into the final session of the yearling sale.

“I think there’s still quite a few people looking for a horse that haven’t gotten one and (Wednesday) is really the last chance to buy a Select Sale yearling,” she said. “I can’t imagine two strong days and then the sale plummeting.

“Once again, typical of Wednesday, people will probably be honed in on the same horses and those horses will sell really well, and there will be some other horses that fall through the cracks.”
 The final session of the yearling sale starts today at 10 a.m. (EST). The 2019 Standardbred sale caps with a two-day mixed sale on Thursday, Nov. 7 and Friday, Nov. 8. Both sessions also begin at 10 a.m. (EST).

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