am I bid? a yearling on the auction block at the Finney
eyeing race-course glory flock to the Fasig-Tipton yearling
sales in Saratoga Springs
the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday
night, horse number 142, listed as chestnut colt
in the catalog (one of many), paced the ring and tugged his
handler around. Hyper-vigilant men in tuxedoes studied the
crowd for signs of movement, looking for new bids. As the
number on the electronic scoreboard overhead flipped past
half a million, the thoroughbred let out a defiant bray heard
up in the balcony. His price soon gained six zeros, a price
reached for only the second time of this years Fasig-Tipton
Saratoga Selected Yearlings sales, which began on Monday.
The crowd murmured, and the excitement increased. Bids flew
across the auction-house floor as the number ratcheted up.
When it finally stalled out, the bidding had eclipsed the
$2 million mark. The crowd was completely silent for a moment,
stunned or maybe deferential. The chestnut colt, sired by
Mr. Greeley, was led from the floor, and a round of applause
rang out from the seats.
the highest price of the two-day sales by more than a million
dollars, the chestnut colt deserved his cheers from the crowd.
But with its applause the crowd also signaled an appreciation
for the audacity of the winning bidders: Team Valor, a horseracing
partnership from Kentucky. Along with the purchasers of more
than 200 other colts and fillies on the auction block early
this week, the partnership took a major gamble that a year-old
horse, untested on the racetrack and yet to be trained by
saddle and rider, can win big at some point in the future,
or at least claim enough prize money to make the investment
worthwhile. Pedigree and physique were among their only guides.
up: a yearling beingled to the pavilion.
from all over the world attend the sales to have their chance
at the progeny of illustrious racehorses like A.P. Indy, Storm
Cat and crowd favorite Smarty Jones. Earlier in the evening,
as the sales got underway, a flank of police officers stood
outside the pavilion as luxury cars rolled up, Jags and Porsches
waiting to be valet-parked. Loudspeakers broadcast the commotion
indoors to the outside, and it could be heard for blocks.
Cries of 110, 110 reached beyond the East Avenue
pavilion, descending into a stream of auctioneers babble,
comical in its cadence, each word coming faster and making
less sense than the one before. Casual observers cruised up
on bicycles, stopping to peer through the bank of windows
surrounding the rotund building named for Humphrey Finney,
the late horse auctioneer and chairman of the Fasig-Tipton
Co., which conducts thoroughbred auction sales in several
locations in the United States.
in the complex of green sales paddock barns behind the pavilion,
freshly brushed horses with numbered stickers on their flanks
were paraded in circles in front of their potential buyers,
who had pens and catalogs in hand. Another auctioneer voice,
expressive and British, projected from the pavilion and beyond,
setting the tone for the auction proceedings. A Robin Leach
for the horse set, his silver-tongued boasts trumpeted horse
DNA, rather than the champagne wishes and caviar dreams
of the rich and famous. From the family of none other
than Rags to Riches, take a look at this wonderful pedigree,
he enthused about one budding equine celebrity. You
could wait a lifetime to find a horse that looks like this,
he trilled about another.
of spectators and bidders filled the back, with all of its
mini-scenes, from the bustling bar and restaurant tables to
the barns, where workers prepared horses for their time on
the stage. Tight-faced women in print dresses and men in blue
blazers, representing the box-seat-at-the-track crowd, rubbed
shoulders with curious onlookers in shorts and T-shirts. A
famous former teen singer smoked a thin cigar; a prominent
jockey chatted with friends. TV screens displayed the action
going on inside, as serious horse buyers carried binders,
spoke strategy into cell phones and leaned on the brown fence
posts to study the muscle-ripped horses, who showed occasional
flashes of their high-strung natures. Rearing and wheeling,
wild-eyed, they required quick tugs on their reins by handlers
to come back under control. People nearby milled about blissfully
unaware of how dangerous it could be if a horse got loose
and charged in their direction.
got the looks, hes got the pedigree, trilled the
auctioneer again, a statement that he also undoubtedly made,
in some creative fashion, about the evenings star horse,
York-bred preferred yearlings sale will take place this Friday
and Saturday (Aug. 10-11) at 7 PM at the Humphrey S. Finney
Pavilion (East Avenue, Saratoga Springs). Admission to the
sale is free and open to the public.
Dee Sarno Theater, Saratoga Arts Center, 320 Broadway,
Saratoga Springs. 8/17, 7:30 PM. Parallel Lives; the
Kathy and Mo Show. $16. 222-5129.
First Baptist Church, 45 Washington St., Saratoga Springs.
8/19, 7 PM: The Saratoga Choral Festival concert, featuring
Rutter’s Gloria and works by Howells, Vaughn Williams
and Purcell. Reservations recommended. $20, $15 students,
Lake Auditorium, 2 Wesley Ave., Round Lake. 8/19, 8 PM;
8/20, 2 PM: An organ recital with Andrew Henderson. $8-$5.
Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga
Springs. 8/16, 8 PM: Charles Dutoit conducts the Philadelphia
Orchestra in a Tchaikovsky spectacular, with guests Kirill
Gerstein (piano) and Steven Isserlis (cello). 8/17, 8 PM:
Krzysztof Penderecki will conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra
in his Symphony No. 2; Charles Dutoit will conduct
Grieg’s Piano Concerto, featuring André Watts, and
more. 8/18, 8 PM: The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform
Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, and works by Stravinsky
and Chopin. $70-$18. 587-3330.
Little Theater, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga
Springs. 8/19, 2:15 PM: Pianists Kirill Gerstein and Jean-Yves
Thibaudet, violinist Chantal Juillet and members of the Philadelphia
Orchestra will perform works by Rachmaninov and Penderecki.
Gallery 100, 462 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-0818.Horse
of a Different Color, works by Audrey Romano.
on the Hudson, 92 Broad St., Schuylerville, 695-6131.
Early and recent paintings by New York City artist Tom Vincent.
Also, works by Susan Reynolds and Joyce Vincent.
Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, 99 S. Broadway, Saratoga
Springs. 584-2225. On Browaday, through October 2008.
Also, The Dawn of Modern Dance: Music, Myth and Movement,
chronicling the lives of Ruth St. Denis and Isadora Duncan;
also, works by Frank Ohman. Also, Two Dancers, photography
by Charles Bremer and poetry by Robert Bensen. Also, The
Moving Figure. Also, Just Black and White, dance
photography by Clifford Oliver.
Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, 191 Union Ave., Saratoga
Springs. 584-0400. The Voss Family, Artists of American
Sporting Life. The Voss Family, Artists of American
Sporting Life; also, California Images: The Racing
Photography of William Mochon; also, the Racing Art Collection
of Charles H. Thieriot Collection.
York State Military Museum, 61 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs.
581-5100. Worth a Thousand Muskets: Civil War Field Artillery;
also, Battleground for Freedom: New York during the Revolutionary
War; also, World War II: United for Victory; also,
Fiery Trial and Sacrifice: New York and the First World
Studios, 96 Broad St., Schuylerville. 369-3280. Uncorrupted
Horses, a multi-artist show.
Automobile Museum, 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Spa
State Park, Saratoga Springs. 587-1935 ext. 20. East of
Detroit, and New York Racing exhibit. Also, Barn Finds.
Springs History Museum, Canfield Casino, Congress Park,
Broadway, Saratoga Springs. Along the Winding River: A
Natural and Human History of the Kayderosseras Creek.
Visitors Center, 297 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 587-3241.
The Backstretch, Mostly, paintings by R.C. Ewell.
College, Schick Art Gallery, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga
Springs. 580-5049. Regis Brodie: A Retrospective.
Teaching Museum and Gallery, Skidmore College, 815 N.
Broadway, Saratoga Springs. 580-8080. West African Masquerade,
photographs by Phyllis Galembo.
Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St., Saratoga
Springs. 8/12, 3 PM: Saratoga Poetry Zone open mic. 548-7860.
Saratoga Spa State Park, Route 9, Saratoga Springs. 8/22,
7 PM; Summer Family Program: Naturalist’s Choice! 584-2000
Farmers MarketsMalta/Saratoga Farmers Market, Dave Meager
Community Center, Route 9, Malta. Tuesdays, 11 AM-2 PM.
Farmers Market, High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue, Saratoga
Springs. Saturdays, 9 AM-1 PM; Wednesdays, 3-6 PM.
German Motorfest, Saratoga Automobile Museum, Saratoga
Springs. 8/18, 9 AM-3 PM: $8 adults; $5 seniors; and $3.50
kids under 16. 587-1935 or www.saratogaautomuseum.org.
Lake Arts and Crafts Show, Village of Round Lake. 8/18-19:
Sat 9 AM-5 PM and Sun 10 AM-4:30 PM. Over 200 skilled artists
and craftsman will demonstrate their unique wares. Free. 899-2285.
a groom for Denali Stud, at the Saratoga Yearling Sales, Aug.
10: "My nickname is Shiney-Shiney because me always keep the
horses shiney and lookin' good. We like to come to Saratoga.
It's cool here, it's nice. We enjoy ourselves here working
for Denali Stud."
Cool—3 year old filly, Dream Rush, getting cooled off outside
the winners circle, after winning the 250K Darley Stakes [Grade
1] at Saratoga Race Course, Aug. 4.