Last year, Kip Elser of Kirkwood Sales embarked on a somewhat unorthodox project in the world of 2-year-old Thoroughbred sales. Working with an undisclosed client, Elser picked up five yearlings over the course of the sale season with the express purpose of selling their purchases at The Gulfstream Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s selected 2-year-olds in training sale.
Under the name “Gulfstream Gallop,” the yearlings were purchased by Kirkwood Sales as agent and eventually sent to The Gulfstream Sale with the understanding that they would gallop, not breeze, during the under-tack show. While the tactic was unexpected, Elser considered the endeavor to be a success—one that he hopes to repeat with similar returns.
“There are plenty of people that still want some horses, and there are some very nice horses here that missed a sale for a little bit of this or that,” Elser said, “October is a great time to sell these horses now that they’ve had a chance to grow up some.”
Among the most successful horses from last year’s experiment was a Noble Mission gelding purchased by Elser for $27,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase. Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Farm out of the Bernardini mare Mahkama, the gelding was purchased by Caves Farm for $120,000 at The Gulfstream Sale.
Another yearling who galloped to the tune of six figures was a Blame filly bought by Elser for $30,000 from Eaton Sales consignment to the Turf Showcase. Named Splashy Kisses, the filly was bred in Kentucky Winchester Farm out of the Cherokee Run mare Indian Valley. Knocked down to Dennis O’Neill and ERJ Racing for $100,000, Splashy Kisses placed second in the Sept. 15 Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
“It was it was very successful last year,” Elser said. “The big filly, Splashy Kisses, (was) pre-entered today for the Breeders’ Cup. We’re going to do the project again with a few more horses. We had five last year and we’re going to aim to do it this time around with seven or eight, maybe as many as 10 horses this year. But we will keep it tight. We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel.”
Elser bought two yearlings under the Gulfstream Gallop banner on Day 1 of the October sale. Hip 1, a Munnings colt consigned by Paramount Sales, agent for Pine Ridge Stables, was purchased for $50,000. A registered New York-bred, the chestnut colt is the fourth foal produced by the Hat Trick (JPN) mare Ubusuku.
“This is always a very solid sale,” Elser said. “You never get to buy all the ones you want. If you did the market would be in pretty bad shape. There have been a few standouts and we’ve gotten a couple so far, but when you’re trying to fit into a little slot it’s never easy—and it’s not supposed to be.”