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Liz O'Connell

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It's Sale Time in Saratoga

Posted: 08/06/11 07:30 PM ET

The Saratoga Sale of select thoroughbred yearlings is upon us again. One hundred and sixty yearlings are cataloged to sell at the Fasig-Tipton pavilion in Saratoga Springs, the evenings of August 8 and 9.

For a few days before the sale, the yearlings are on the grounds at Fasig-Tipton where they are shown to prospective buyers. Pedigrees are studied, yearlings are examined, decisions are made. The sales grounds are open to the public, and if you stay quiet and watch the comings and goings, listen to the conversations between the bloodstock agents and their clients, you can get a passable education in Thoroughbred 101.

If you can't get to the sale, you can find inspection videos of the yearlings here. There is also a neat app to use your iPad as a catalog. Starting at 7 pm each evening, the auction will be livestreamed on Fasig-Tipton TV.

This year, the first yearlings of Curlin, Midnight Lute, Big Brown, Raven's Pass, Street Boss and Tiz Wonderful will be sold. An interesting addition to the sale this year is a Galileo colt brought over from Ireland. Standing at Coolmore in Ireland, Galileo is an influential European sire, his sensational 3-year-old son Frankel could be the colt of the decade, if not the century.The US bias against horses with international grass pedigrees has been challenged this year with the success of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom running on dirt. Animal Kingdom is by 2005 champion turf horse Leroidesanimaux out of a German turf stakes mare. It will be interesting to see who takes home this welcome traveler from Ireland.

Strong female lines are represented throughout the Select Sale catalog. There are full and half siblings to Supersaver, Brethren, Careless Jewel, Vacare, Honor in War, Majestic Warrior, Havre de Grace, Harlem Rocker, Funny Moon, Divine Park, Seventh Street, Kodiak Kowboy, Plum Pretty and Unrivaled Belle.

One pedigree that caught my eye is hip no. 59, a bay colt by Street Sense out of Tejareb (Ire). This colt's third dam, his great grandmother, is the remarkable Fanfreluche. It's rare to see her so close up in a pedigree these days. A top race mare, Fanfreluche was Canadian Horse of the year in 1970 and in the same year she won the Eclipse Award for three-year-old fillies (she tied with Office Queen). As a broodmare, Fanfreluche was unstoppable. Her first foal was L'Enjoleur; Medaille D'Or, La Voyageuse, D'Accord and Grand Luxe followed.

Perhaps the most storied of Fanfreluche's offspring was Sain et Sauf. Fanny was carrying the Secretariat colt when she was mare-napped from her pasture at Claiborne Farm, KY in June 1977. According to the July 29, 1999 obituary of Fanfreluche in the New York Times,

Fanfreluche was found five and one-half months later in Tompkinsville, Ky., where a farmer had found the mare walking a nearby road, taken her home, renamed her Brandy and was using her as a riding horse.

Fanfreluche was returned unharmed to Claiborne Farm. Sain et Sauf translates to safe and sound.