Horses like Songbird don’t come around very often. When the two-time champion and nine-time Grade 1 winner stepped into the sales ring at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky, breeder Mandy Pope knew that she would have to go high to acquire the four-year-old mare. She was right, and after an intense bidding process, the hammer fell on $9.5 million dollars, the second highest price ever paid for a broodmare prospect. Pope admitted after the sale that it was a bit over her budget, but it is not the first time she has signed for an expensive ticket at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. The world record price for a broodmare prospect was set in 2012, when Pope parted with $10 million for multiple Grade 1 winner Havre De Grace. Just like Songbird, Havre De Grace was owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms and sold by Taylor Made Sales Agency at Fasig-Tipton.
The $9.5 million dollar mare
SOUMILLON conquers Europe
The charismatic Belgian rider Christophe Soumillon set a new European record of wins in a calendar year, when riding 306 winners in 2017. The 36-year old French-based jockey rode in 1,635 races across the country, over a total distance of more than 3,000 km, to beat the previous record of 300 wins, set the year before by Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Proud of DADDY
Tourist, a multiple Grade 1-winner in the USA, closed his racing career in 2016 with an impressive victory in the fastest Breeders’ Cup Mile in history. His first foal, born on January 11, has every reason to be proud of her dad.
Taking horse sales to the next level
Australia Inglis, the oldest thoroughbred auctioneers in Australia, has opened a state-of-the-art sales complex at Warwick Farm in Sydney. Riverside Stables and the adjacent William Inglis Hotel opened their doors to both horses and people in February when hosting the 2018 Classic Yearling sale. The A$140million venue includes more than 800 boxes and an air-conditioned sales arena. Each of the 144 hotel rooms have their own name and theme based on champion racehorses sold through Inglis. The hotel also features a rooftop pool and bar overlooking the stable area and the Warwick Farm racecourse.
Kitasan Black – signs off in style
The Japanese fan-favourite Kitasan Black, ridden by jockey Yutaka Take, ended his outstanding career with a victory in the G1 Arima Kinen on December 24. More than 100,000 racegoers gathered trackside at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan to enjoy Kitasan Black’s final racecourse appearance and watch him capture his seventh Grade 1 title. The victory boosted his career earnings to almost 1.877 billion yen ($17.4m/€14m), making the five-year-old horse the highest earner in Japanese racing history. Shortly after, Kitasan Black was announced as the Horse of the Year in Japan for the second consecutive year. He will now enter stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.
World’s hippest slipper
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Australia on March 24, one very lucky owner will be awarded a trophy with a 24-carat gold-plated slipper as its centrepiece. Since its introduction in 1957, the Golden Slipper Stakes has grown to become the richest and most prestigious race in the world for two-year-old horses, with a total purse of A$3,500,000. The trophy itself is worth A$23,000, and comes with a detachable golden bow brooch encrusted with 74 diamonds.