A spirited evening of bidding, in which three million-dollar yearlings took centre stage, drew the curtain down on a memorable 100th renewal of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale in New York on Tuesday that evoked comparisons with a pre-Covid world.

Led by a son of champion North American sire Into Mischief, who was sold for $2.6 million to MV Magnier, the sale went on to turn over $55.155 million for 135 lots sold, a figure virtually on a par against the last time that the Humphrey S. Finney pavilion staged this sale in 2019.

The average of $408,556 also hovered around the level set in 2019, falling by only 0.7%, while the median of $350,000 remained static. The clearance rate was 75%.

Four yearlings sold for a million dollars or more and the top 15 lots were purchased by 12 individual buyers.

A number of pinhookers also enjoyed a productive two days, with 19 of 32 pinhooks (officially sold as foals) on offer listed as returning some kind of profit. In all, it was a sale that went some way to restoring a sense of normalcy.

“Fantastic, vibrant, energetic, dramatic, I think were all applicable tonight,” said Boyd Browning, President of Fasig-Tipton. “It all begins with the quality of the horses on the sales grounds. We were lucky to have an exceptional group of horses on the grounds this week.

“All in all, it was a near-record sale in every statistical evaluation. To accomplish that coming off of disruption in 2020 I think is remarkable. That’s what’s so important to the industry. We’ve restored some sense of order. It gets everyone back on their pattern, and it gives people the ability to plan and strategise and feel confident moving forward.”

The $2.6 million sale-topper unsurprisingly boasts top-class connections. By a stallion, Into Mischief, who is carrying all before him, he is the second foal out of the Flatter mare Paola Queen, winner of the 2016 Grade 1 Test Stakes, appropriately at Saratoga.

Don Alberto Corporation paid $1.7 million for the mare at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale and this colt, who was sold by Gainesway on behalf of his breeder, is her second foal.

MV Magnier came out on top in a bidding war against Fabricio Buffolo of Besilu Stables for the colt, who shares his sire with Coolmore America’s promising young sire Practical Joke.

Magnier indicated that the new purchase would remain in the US.

With three other representatives making in excess of $500,000, Into Mischief wound up with an average of $577,143 for 14 sold.

Young sire Bolt d’Oro, meanwhile, gained a major vote of confidence with the sale of a first-crop son for $1.4 million to Larry Best of OXO Equine LLC.

Bolt d’Oro was a dual Grade 1-winning two-year-old whose first crop have been quick to gain market appreciation. However, also working in this colt’s favour is the fact that he is a half-brother to the legendary American racemare Rachel Alexandra, whose 13 wins included four at the highest level. Their dam, the stakes-winning Lotta Kim, has also produced the stakes-placed pair Dolphus and Wooderson.

Hill ’n’ Dale Sales Agency sold the youngster on behalf of breeder Dede McGhee.

The third yearling to hit the million-dollar mark was a Quality Road half-sister to Kentucky Derby hero Always Dreaming who realised $1 million to Kindred Stables.

This filly was foaled when her dam Above Perfection, a Grade 3-winning daughter of In Excess, was 22-years-old. The mare has been an outstanding servant for connections, the Santa Rosa Partners, since her eight winners also include the Grade 1-winning two-year-old Hot Dixie Chick, herself dam of current Grade 3 winner Pauline’s Pearl, and Grade 2 scorer Positive Spirit.

All in all, it was a particularly successful sale for Quality Road as the sire of seven yearlings that averaged $635,714.

First-crop horses popular

The $1.4 million Bolt d’Oro colt helped propel his sire’s average to $407,000 for ten sold, a figure that places him behind Justify on $567,500 and City Of Light on $427,857.

However, only four of ten yearlings by Justify through the ring – and 14 catalogued – were actually sold.

The first offerings by the former Aidan O’Brien-trained Mendelssohn hit a high of $435,000, paid by Klaravich Stables for a filly out of Perazzi, while the septet to sell by North American champion two-year-old Good Magic included a filly who was knocked down to Irish-based pinhooker Robson Aguiar for $145,000.

Gainesway Farm, which sold the sale-topper, was the sale’s leading consignor with 12 sold for a total of $7.105 million.